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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By John Gideon on 8/29/2008 4:37pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Last week Premier/Diebold admitted that their GEMS software used in as many as 34 states may have failed any number of times over the last 10 years. The admission comes from their actions in Ohio but no jurisdiction in any of the 33 other states can truly say they have not had the same problem but just never caught it.

Then this week the same company had to admit that their software used in Florida has more problems, on top of the earlier admission. We also learned that their high-speed optical scan machines failed in Sarasota Co. to a point where Premier/Diebold is loaning the county older machines in hopes of not having problems in November.

All of these problems are still on the voting system that is presently awaiting EAC certification. All of these problems are forcing a change to that voting system. Now the vendors are working hard to lobby congress to force the EAC to go back to the old NASED type system. The vendors don’t want the test labs to be forced to actually test their systems and report problems. The vendors want a rubber stamp.

In no other industry do the vendors have so much power over the process of testing and approval. They should never have that power when it comes to our elections. If they can’t put out a product that they can stand-behind and be proud of then they need to get out of the business. Have a safe and sane Labor Day weekend...

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

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By John Gideon on 8/28/2008 3:42pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

It is never easy asking for funding but it is something that non-profit groups have to do occasionally. VotersUnite.Org is not a project of Pew or one of the big-money organizations and we don’t want to be. We like being able to make our own decisions and not having to make those decisions based on a position of a sponsoring organization. However, this freedom means we have to do our own fundraising and we have to ask, hat in hand, for your help. “Daily Voting News” is a near daily service provided by VotersUnite free of charge to subscribers. I have never taken a penny, beyond some expenses, for doing this; not for over four years of gathering the news; and I never will. We do, however, have overhead and we need help with that. So, here I am doing what I dislike doing very much, asking for help from you so we can keep doing this work and keep VotersUnite.Org as one of the premier informational election integrity organizations. Please help us out with a tax-deductible donation. ...

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

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By John Gideon on 8/27/2008 4:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today Premier/Diebold has again had to accept the blame for voting machine failures. This time the optical scan machines that had tallied absentee ballots in Sarasota County would not upload the totals to the main server and refused to post elections in Hillsborough County. Election officials in Sarasota ended up having to count 10,000 ballots by hand. It is a good thing they had the paper ballots to count by hand or those votes would have been lost....

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By John Gideon on 8/26/2008 4:54pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

College students in Dutchess Co. New York are taking advantage of a grant from the Election Assistance Commission to be trained to operate the counties voting equipment. These students will work as “fellows” earning a stipend as the recruit up to 200 more students to help out as election workers. Students from local colleges; Vassar, Marist and Dutchess Community College are taking part in the training process. This is a great idea that needs to be repeated all over the country. Kudos to the EAC for helping to fund this worthy project....

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

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By John Gideon on 8/25/2008 4:32pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today’s featured article is a warning from Greg Gordon of McClatchy News in which he points to the fact that the recent disclosure of flawed software in Premier/Diebold machines points directly to a system of testing and certifying voting systems that was broken. Gordon points out, “NASED watched over the issuance of "qualified" reports from Independent Testing Laboratories, but with little control over the testing. The vendors secretly negotiated payments with the labs, helped design the tests, got to see the results first and only shared the codes driving their software with three NASED technical experts who signed non-disclosure agreements.”

All it took was a disclosure by Premier/Diebold that all of their voting systems of the past ten years have potentially lost votes and the media has woken up to the issue. Of course, some election officials are just too wedded to their vendors. Officials in South Carolina and West Virginia proudly proclaim that while states around them are doing the right thing by changing from DRE voting to paper based systems they are going to stand firm behind their paperless voting systems, ignoring the facts in doing so. ...

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By John Gideon on 8/23/2008 4:44pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today many of the articles could have been “Featured” but I chose one because it contains one of what seems to have become Premier/Diebold’s requisite half-truth. In our featured article Premier spokesman, Chris Riggall is quoted as saying, "There are no votes that are lost here; the votes remain on the memory cards, and the original ballots still exist." This is all true. The votes remain on the cards and, when voting is done on a paper ballot the original ballots still exist. As factual as this statement is, it does not tell the true story.

The problem with the Premier machines (all of them sold for the last 10 years that use the GEMS software) is that in some circumstances the system will tell the operator that it has downloaded the votes from memory cards but the votes are never downloaded and tabulated. This problem is not readily apparent which is clear because it has existed for 10 years and was only found by accident. One thousand votes would have been lost in Ohio if the problem had not been discovered. How many votes have been lost nationwide over the past 10 years?...

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By John Gideon on 8/22/2008 4:26pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

So far this year your kind donations to VotersUnite.Org have allowed us to keep providing ‘Daily Voting News’ at least 6 days a week except for a couple weeks of vacation or conferences. We have also been able to spend over four weeks of long hours to research, write and edit a report that has been discussed by media around the nation and was featured on Lou Dobbs earlier this week. In the upcoming months, as election day grows nearer, our work load will grow and then as voters begin going to the polls and problems are announced we will be passing on the information to all of you via DVN and our website. We know money is tight right now but your help is needed to allow us to keep doing our work. Please help us out with a tax-deductible donation. ...

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

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By John Gideon on 8/21/2008 4:20pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

This past March, a Butler Co Ohio election official was examining the database from the just held primary. The official found a problem he was not looking for. It seems that two memory cards had not been downloaded even though the system had reported that it was. 150 votes were affected. That revelation led to an inspection of the system and a pronouncement by Premier/Diebold that there was a problem with the interactivity between the GEMS software and anti-virus software. This problem has led to a lawsuit and counter-suit. Recently SoS staff and Premier/Diebold staff went to Butler Co to look closer at the software in question. Today it was announced that Premier has admitted that their GEMS software has a programming error and that this error goes back over ten years worth of software. Of course, they make the highly implausible claim that no votes were lost during all that time. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner also has said that no votes were lost in Ohio. However, Brunner ignores the fact that the problem has been on the machines for years and just because they found the problem in March does not mean the problem did not affect elections in previous years....

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By John Gideon on 8/20/2008 5:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Tonight’s Featured article discusses the report from VotersUnite.Org that we discussed in this space on Monday. The report does not just tell what is wrong; it also tells about what states and local jurisdictions can do that is right. “Researchers then offer solutions by highlighting the story in Luzerne County, Pa., where election director Leonard Piazza in 2006 refused to allow ES&S to service its voting machines. Instead, Piazza and his staff perform most maintenance functions and ballot design programming without letting vendor representatives upgrade the machines or come near county precincts during an election. It's not too late, Theisen said, for more public officials to take election administration into their own hands come November.”...

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By John Gideon on 8/19/2008 4:31pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Today’s general news has articles about an expanded post-election audit in Connecticut. SOS Bysiewicz has ordered an audit of the results of the August 12 primary. This audit will be of 33% of the precincts. This audit plan had input from UConn. We congratulate the state for taking this step.

Meanwhile in Ohio Secretary of State Brunner has taken a huge step toward securing the voting machines in her state. She has outlawed all "sleepovers" of voting systems at poll workers homes prior to election day. We congratulate the Secretary for taking this step....

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By John Gideon on 8/18/2008 4:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The Executive Summary of a new report from VotersUnite.Org, and our Featured article, begins: “As we approach the 2008 general election, the structure of elections in the United States — once reliant on local representatives accountable to the public — has become almost wholly dependent on large corporations, which are not accountable to the public. Most local officials charged with running elections are now unable to administer elections without the equipment, services, and trade-secret software of a small number of corporations.

If the vendors withdrew their support for elections now, our election structure would collapse.

However, some states and localities are recognizing the threat that vendor-dependency poses to elections. They are using ingenuity and determination to begin reversing the direction.”...

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By John Gideon on 8/17/2008 4:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

There were two interesting admissions in yesterday’s New York Times article and today’s “Featured” article. Chris Nelson, Secretary of State of South Dakota, admitted that the voting machines used in his state for voters with disabilities do not always mark ballots accurately. Also election officials in Chicago admit their voting machines do not always accurately count the vote. Both jurisdictions admit inaccurate vote counting by their voting machines yet neither of them has done anything about it. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates that accurate voting systems be used in our elections. These, and other comments about the NYTimes article, are discussed in the second “Featured” article....

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By John Gideon on 8/16/2008 4:35pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In today’s “Featured” article Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America voices the opinion shared by many veterans, including this writer, with regards to actions by the Department of Veterans Affairs with regards to voter registration help to our nation’s veterans. For some reason the DVA just does not want our veterans to be able to vote....

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By John Gideon on 8/14/2008 4:25pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

If I lived in Butler Co Ohio I would be very concerned about whether my vote was going to be counted this November. If you recall Butler Co uses Diebold/Premier DREs and in the March primary and April recount over 200 votes nearly went uncounted. The cause of the problem proved to be a conflict between the voting system software and anti-virus software. Rather than take action against Diebold/Premier, as recommended by Election Integrity attorneys, the state sat back until the vendor sued them and nearly forced the state to counter-sue. But the county, and many others in the state, will be using the same voting system with the same software in November.

Diebold/Premier claims to have a software patch but also claims it will be years before they can use it because it has to have federal approval. Meanwhile, Secretary of State spokesman Kevin Kidder says, "We've never lost a vote because of the problems we cite in the counterclaim because election officials have caught them. We can't prevent it. We can only catch the problem and correct it."

As good as election officials may be they cannot and will not catch everything and when they don’t find a problem it means votes are lost or incorrectly tabulated. The solution should have been to force the counties involved to go to paper based systems. It’s too late for that now...

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By John Gideon on 8/13/2008 4:22pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Voter registrations and voter registration data bases have been a huge problem during the primary elections. There is no reason to believe that they will not be a huge problem in November. One of the only ways to ensure a voter is registered is for that voter to check his or her registration. We recommend every voter check now and then check again just before the voter’s state registration closes before November. We urge voters who find themselves purged from the registration roles to write letters of complaint to their local Boards of Supervisors, especially their own representatives, with copies to their SoSs, their local newspaper Editors, and their congressional members. If those responsible for representing the citizenry start receiving such letters they might act to eliminate the cause. You can find out the date that your state is closing registration and whom to check with to ensure your registration is still HERE. You should also give 1-866-OUR-VOTE a call and report the incident to them They may be able to assist you on the legal side [See our Featured article]...

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