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By John Gideon on 10/16/2008 4:22pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

19 days until Election Day.

In a small but notable victory Vermonters for Voting Integrity were able to prove to the voters in Calais Vermont that it was a good thing to stand-up against the Secretary of State’s office and vote down the use of Diebold voting machines for their elections. The town will continue to hand-count their ballots. Congratulations and good work to VVI and the voters of Calais.

The Brennan Center, Common Cause and Verified Voting Foundation report today on what states they believe will be the most likely to be trouble spots on election day. The report evaluates each state by four criteria: procedures for issuing emergency paper ballots, reconciling ballot tallies, providing paper records of votes cast, and post-election audits....

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

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By John Gideon on 10/15/2008 4:11pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

20 days until Election Day.

“Experts” are all speaking out and warning of voting meltdowns across the country. Where were these “experts” six months ago? Where have they been since the last national election? Why have they not spoken out against these same voting systems that they are concerned about now? Of course it wasn’t political for them to take a position against the use of these machines until now.

1-866-OUR-VOTE; 1-866-MY-VOTE1 and now YouTube and WiredNews all want voters to report when they have problems voting. And what will happen with the data collected by these groups? Will any of it be compiled and released after the election? Probably not a lot of it is my guess....

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By John Gideon on 10/14/2008 4:46pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

21 days until Election Day.

Officials in West Virginia have just identified a ballot programming error that will affect straight-party voting. How counties got through their “Logic and Accuracy” testing without discovering this error should give everyone a hint as to why it is important to do testing that is thorough and robust. As to responsibility for the error; all evidence points right back to ES&S, of course. This is more evidence that straight-party voting is not wise. Voters should skip the straight-party option completely and vote in each race; but they need to vote in each race.

Today the NJ judge involved in the Sequoia voting machine problems has ordered the state to tighten up security around the voting machines. She wants everyone back in court on Friday to discuss what actions are being taken to secure the machines. It is also expected that she will finally rule on releasing the Princeton University report on the Sequoia machines....

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By John Gideon on 10/13/2008 4:09pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

22 days until Election Day.

In what may be a program unique to Connecticut, UConn ‘s VoTeR Center performs a pre-election audit of the memory cards for the state’s Premier AccuVote Optical-Scan tabulators. This is a smart program that should be mirrored across the nation.

The University just released a report of its audit of the memory cards used in the state’s August primary election. The cards were programmed by LHS Associates, which also provides voting systems, programs memory cards, and does other election work for the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. UConn received 185 memory cards directly from LHS. Ten of those cards or 5.4% had nothing but “noise” on them. How many bad cards were sent out to polling places in CT? How many bad cards were sent to polling places in the other states LHS services? ...

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By John Gideon on 10/12/2008 4:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Election officials across the country are beginning to make the same statements they make before every election. In order to try to give the voters some confidence they are talking about how they are ready. The voting machines are programmed and tested and all set and this year they will have another successful election. Of course on Nov. 4, just 23 days from today, we will hear the same reports of voter disenfranchisement, long lines at the polls causing voters to give up and not vote, vote flipping on touch-screen machines, and all of the other negative reports, and many will come from the very same jurisdictions that are now talking about being ready.

In a year when turn-out is predicted to be much higher than ever before county election officials should be looking to add polling sites yet in Fairfield Co, Ohio, the county has decided to delete 25 polling sites. This will cause voters to have to travel a further distance to vote and will increase the length of the lines. The county claims they are being forced into this decision by recent rulings from the Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner. If that is correct then Brunner needs to reconsider her rulings. If the county is just trying to make it more difficult for voters to vote, then Brunner needs to re-direct the county. Either way Brunner needs to take action....

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By John Gideon on 10/11/2008 4:38pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

I want to thank all of those who commented on my rant of yesterday. Your kind comments are very much appreciated. One email I received was especially meaningful to me. The subject line was “In loving memory - Michael, James, Andrew” and after a short bit of encouraging text, and the posters signature line, were three names: Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman. The names were then followed by a little historical reminder of “Freedom Summer” and the part those three heroes played in the Civil Rights Movement.

I realized that we all, all of us, owe it to those three, and all like them, past and present, who have given so much for our democracy, to keep fighting the good fight...

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By John Gideon on 10/10/2008 4:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

I’m 61 years old. I’ve been doing this work full-time for nearly the last five years. I long for the days, before I learned so much, when I was ignorant about dirty tricks, phony voter fraud accusations, voter list purges, voter suppression, poorly designed and inaccurate voting machines, absentee paper ballots that have the voters' political parties on the mail-in envelopes (Yes, Broward Co, Florida, does that and strips privacy away from the voters and state law allows them to do it), long lines at the polls, and every other attempt to keep voters from voting and votes from being counted accurately, if at all.

It was kinda nice not knowing about all of those issues. Oh, maybe someone would bring up the old story about ballot boxes floating in the bay. What bay was that? San Francisco? Lake Michigan off of Chicago? The Hudson River? The location seems to have changed with the person telling the story.

It was nice thinking our democracy actually worked the way our founding fathers envisioned it would. It was nice thinking that, no matter for whom I voted, the majority voice was heard. Now, it just feels dirty and somewhat depressing.

I know way too much. It was nice being ignorant...

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By John Gideon on 10/9/2008 4:23pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

“When I finally saw the results of our [EVEREST] tests, I thought I was going to throw up. I didn’t think it would be that bad. And it was — it was awful. I looked at it on a Saturday morning, and that night I went to bed and woke up [just before 4:00 on] Sunday morning going, “Oh my God.” I never wake up on the weekends — trust me.”
Jennifer Brunner, Ohio's Secretary of State, when asked in a recent interview about the state’s EVEREST evaluation of the voting machines used in Ohio.

The group of potential voters that has participated the least in past years has probably been students. From all reports students seem to be engaged in this year’s election and will be turning out in large numbers. That can only be a good thing. However, it seems that some are doing all they can to keep the students away from the polls. Our second “Featured” article discusses the actions being taken to disenfranchise student voters and the counter-actions to enfranchise them.

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By John Gideon on 10/8/2008 4:11pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Regular readers will notice that DVN is growing longer and longer as the election gets closer and closer. There will be a time, probably within a week of the election, when DVN will just be too long to be of use in a once-a-day publication. When that happens, as I have done in previous years, I will split DVN into a “Morning Edition” and “Evening Edition”.

One of the issues that bears watching is voter registrations. The news has contained many articles, of late, about the huge influx of voter registrations. Counties are under the gun to get the registrations completed and filed into the data base. The big question is will they be able to do it in the time they have left? How many voters who filed new registrations or changes in their registrations are going to end up being told they have to vote on a provisional ballot? And then either not have that ballot counted because the county has decided not to count provisional ballots because they won’t make any difference in the outcome as we have heard in the past; OR, have their ballot not counted because the county never did get the voters application processed?

Remember please, do NOT use the straight party option if you get that option. Take the extra few minutes and vote each race on the ballot. ...

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By John Gideon on 10/7/2008 4:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Several days ago, in this space, we recommended that voters who have the ability to vote “straight party” do not exercise that right. Yes, it is easier because all you have to do is mark one box on the ballot for the top-of-the-ticket votes are all taken care of for you. However, consider this. In North Carolina (and South Carolina also) the “straight party” vote does NOT include President.

According to the first “Featured” article, ballots in North Carolina have the following words: “A Straight Party vote is a vote for all candidates of that party in partisan offices. Individual partisan office selections are not necessary if you select a Straight Party below.” What the ballot doesn’t tell you is that this does not include President. How many thousands of voters will vote straight-party but not for President in North and South Carolina?

In our second “Featured” article we learn another good reason not to vote straight party. New Mexico is one of the states that allows straight party voting, including the presidential race. However, if the ballots are not properly programmed and thorough pre-election testing is not accomplished, there is no telling what may be the result of voting straight party. Voters should not take a chance that the county has tested thoroughly. Voters should not take a chance that their machine may not even register straight party votes for their party while it does for the other party. Don’t trust them. Forego the “straight party” selection and pick each candidate individually.

The straight party states are: North Carolina, South Carolina, New Mexico, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. ...

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By John Gideon on 10/6/2008 4:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The non-profit, non-partisan Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has launched a unique website to help safeguard the fairness and integrity of US elections, using the power of citizen journalism. The Election Protection Wiki can be found HERE. It enables citizens, journalists and government officials to actively monitor the electoral process in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. CMD and its community of volunteer editors will continue to improve, expand and update the EP Wiki beyond the upcoming November 4th election....

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By John Gideon on 10/5/2008 4:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today we have four “Featured” articles. These four were selected together because they were all in the “Tennessean” newspaper; one of the largest newspapers in the state of Tennessee. These four articles are all found in the ‘Opinion’ pages and were written by the state’s coordinator of elections, a member of the advocacy community, the mayor of Shelby Co Tennessee, and the newspapers editorial staff. These pieces cover a gamut of issues from voting machines to voter intimidation and suppression. It’s encouraging to have a newspaper feature these pieces and do it in this way. ...

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By John Gideon on 10/4/2008 4:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

We have two important recommendations. Please pass this email on to your distribution lists.

Check your voter registration. For months, we have been recommending that everyone check to make sure they are registered to vote. It has recently come to light that 19 states are not following federal law; they are purging voters close to the election.

These states are: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Masachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington.

But even if you live in some other state, please check your registration status right now – if you can. Otherwise, check on Monday. We have created a page to assist you. It’s HERE

If you have been wrongly purged from the voter rolls, don’t simply register again. Call your county election official to say you were wrongly purged and should be placed back on the rolls. If you do not get satisfaction, contact your state election officials. If you still have problems, let us know.

Don’t vote straight-party. Problems abound with straight-party voting – on electronic voting machines and on paper ballots. We highly recommend that, if you want to vote for the same party across all races, vote for each individual person separately, and don’t mark any “straight-party” choice at all. See today’s “Featured” article for a good reason why straight-party voting is not a good idea....

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By John Gideon on 10/3/2008 4:23pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today I listened to, and watched, a hearing, on-line, from Washington DC in which the DC Council heard testimony regarding the recent failures in the district’s primary election where there were thousands of phantom votes from one precinct and even after those were discovered and cleaned-up the final numbers still do not add up. The two council members who asked questions in the morning, Council members Mary Cheh and David Catania, were extremely well prepared and concerned especially when taking sworn testimony from Michelle Shafer and Ed Smith, both VPs of Sequoia Voting Systems and other Sequoia representatives.

Soon after one representative from Sequoia tried to claim that the problem found in DC was unique, the result of pollworker mistakes, and that no votes had ever been lost on Sequoia machines Mr. Catania began asking questions about past problems that are very much like the problems that happened in DC and that may have resulted in lost votes. There were, of course, claims of mistakes in the media and misunderstanding of the facts from Sequoia.

Further testimony was taken from computer scientists who also had concerns about the Sequoia product and testimony. Our featured article discusses this hearing in more detail. I will include a link to an archive of the hearing if/when it becomes available. And, watch for more articles from Washington DC about the hearing and the fall-out from the hearing....

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By John Gideon on 10/2/2008 4:26pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The latest testing results from Palm Beach Co Florida seem to clearly point to problems with the voting machines. It wasn’t the only problem the county had in the primary but it seems to have been a large part of it.

Tomorrow (Friday) there will be a hearing in Washington DC to discuss and take testimony about the failures in the DC primary election. How did one precinct have over a thousand more votes than it had voters? Again this seems to clearly be a machine issue.

The tie that binds Palm Beach Co and Washington DC together is that their voting machines were all supplied by Sequoia Voting Systems...

ADDENDUM FROM BRAD: More details on all of the above now here...

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