READER COMMENTS ON
"CA GOVERNOR APPROVES RADICAL NEW ELECTION LAW ENDING ALL FEDERAL TESTING OF NEW E-VOTING SYSTEMS IN THE STATE"
(16 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 10/5/2013 @ 4:10 pm PT...
Mr Speaker, free ALL the hostages now. Not just the arbitrary few you feel you need to absorb political damage.
Speaker Bohener, at least put up a clean CR to the floor so your OWN party can vote on it. My goodness. At a time of economic recovery, this is beyond criminally negligent and bordering on treasonous at this point.
Congress has a fiduciary and judicial obligation to pay the bills for the laws they have passed, it is really quite simple.
Stop the d@mn games Sam I Am.,.
(if you are reading this, if you haven't already, why are you reading this instead of writing your own letters, and placing your own calls to every member of Congress you can get a hold of? Contact your two Senators. Contact other states Senators. I certainly have and do daily. I can't do it alone though.. give em a call (Even if you support this setting the economy on fire by intent as the GOP is doing, you have a voice too, contact them, this is America) let your Congress know, the people need to speak as at LEAST as loud as the big money...., the politicians need guidance, they are in great distress right now.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 10/5/2013 @ 4:13 pm PT...
Was it just a partisan thing (i.e., whatever you're for, I'm against it) for this particular party-line vote to put the Democrats on the wrong side and the Republicans on the right side, or were Republicans on the right side because they were actually supporting doing things right?
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 10/5/2013 @ 4:51 pm PT...
I suspect it was a "whatever you're for, I'm against it", on the Republicans side. But since there was little or no public debate over the bill, it's hard to know for sure. What "debate" there was, seemed to be among Dems. For example, changes made to get the support of various EI groups and Sec. Bowen, etc.
That even a number of the supposed election watchdog groups supported this, is disappointing to say the least. In each case, based on my reporting, they cited various things tossed into the bill that they liked, which seems to have allowed them to look the other way at things that I believe most of them know to be very very dangerous.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 10/5/2013 @ 4:52 pm PT...
Chas Holman -
If you can do your best to keep your comments on topic with the particular thread you are commenting on, I know I --- and, I'm guessing, the rest of our readers here --- would very much appreciate it.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 10/5/2013 @ 6:44 pm PT...
well, honestly, testing gives false assurance. However, such machines should not be used at all, tested or not. They cannot be made secure against their creators and their maintainers, and their creators and maintainers have an inherent conflict of interest. (Note all the recent news about NSA deliberately weakening security software.)
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 10/5/2013 @ 6:57 pm PT...
Just when things were looking dim for Republicans, there is now hope for their political takeover of California. Election system errors almost exclusively favor Republicans for some strange reason. I'd blame Brown and our aging population of politicians that may not understand the risk that comes with technology, but Mainstream Media has failed (by design) to inform the public of our gimmicked election systems while reporting on photo ID to stop the virtually nonexistant voter fraud. America had a nice experiment in a government of the people while it lasted, but it dies with the Fourth Estate.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 10/6/2013 @ 12:16 am PT...
So appreciate you Brad. Hope commenting adds me to your email list.
I'm 62, long time Californian. It's sad how far off the deep end Jerry has gone, especially lately. Brilliant years ago, now obsessed with too many projects, of his and only his "tinker toys." The absurdity that ALL electronic voting machines are not outlawed. Technology changes. Meanwhile "they're" a gonna privatize the USPS aka Feinstein a twirlin
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 10/6/2013 @ 4:16 am PT...
Well this certainly sucks! Notwithstanding all the effort to get info to the governor showing how the elimination of testing of voting systems, and the consolidation of power in one person (the SOS)would essentially emasculate any efforts to get verifiable voting results out of - well, out of L.A. County to begin with, and later on down the line from other counties following in L.A.'s footsteps as well.
Thank you Brad for the very diligent effort you put in to trying to get the governor to veto this bill. There were a number of us who followed your suggestion and emailed our concerns directly to Jerry Brown, but apparently "more important" forces - more important than "the people" - prevailed. It's like 2006 Deja Vu all over again! I am very much saddened by this action.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 10/6/2013 @ 11:08 am PT...
Thank you, Lyn @ 7. No, commenting here does NOT add you to our mailing list, but as you seem to have requested it, I've gone ahead and added your email address to our BradBlogAlert mailing list.
And thanks again.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 10/6/2013 @ 1:15 pm PT...
At last, we have a chance for open source code systems in electronic voting machines! Hurrah for SB 360! It's time to say good-by to secret proprietary source code in our election machinery, where even the courts have determined they have no oversight and cannot take a peek.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 10/6/2013 @ 1:53 pm PT...
Nice try, Alec Bash @6.
However, SB 360 does not require Open Source code for voting systems, nor is LA County's new system set to be Open Source.
For the record, the source code for the current systems in use across California, while proprietary, are already reviewable by the state under current law.
In short, either you have been scammed, or you are allowing yourself to forward misinformation for either nefarious or naive reasons.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 10/6/2013 @ 11:18 pm PT...
Please save the put-downs. It's good to hear about CA courts having ability to review proprietary source code. That sure wasn't the case in Florida's 13 Congressional District in 2006, where the source code never saw the light of day. Per Wikipedia: Election officials certified Buchanan as the winner of the race over Jennings by 369 votes. Buchanan was declared the winner after a mandatory recount and analysis of alleged voting machine errors in the race. The primary controversy in this race was that over 18,000 ballots (or roughly one in six) cast in Sarasota County apparently did not register a vote for this race, far higher than in the two previous elections involving Jan Schneider, but lower than the undervote in 2000. Sarasota County voted for Jennings by a six-point margin. Jennings refused to concede the race and pursued administrative and legal challenges to the result, including an appeal for an investigation of the election with the House Administration Committee. Preliminary results from an investigation by Congress's Government Accountability Office concluded that there was no evidence that the voting machines caused the high undervote, but that inadequate testing made it impossible to prove their complete reliability. Sarasota County has since moved to optical scanned paper ballots as a result of a 2006 referendum vote.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 10/7/2013 @ 4:01 pm PT...
Alec Bash -
Please save the history lesson. I have covered the FL-13 disaster in scores of detailed articles here, other news sites, books, etc. I broke several of the stories about that issue nationally. I know it very well. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the ill-considered bill just signed out here in CA.
In fact, CA's SB 360, which you seem to know nothing about, will make an FL-13 type disaster more likely, rather than less, as it does away with federal testing and certification of voting systems used in CA. While FL did not, at the time, require federal certification for their voting systems, the ones they were using during that disaster were both federally certified and state certified, and still failed. And, yes, the computer scientists who investigated the matter afterwords on behalf of the state of FL, were allowed to examine the systems' source code.
In short, your copy/paste from Wikipedia has nothing to do with SB 360, and you apparently have no clue what the bill actually does. I suggest you read some of my reporting about it, much of which is linked in the story about it above that appear to have ignored.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 10/7/2013 @ 5:06 pm PT...
Brad, I'd like to suggest that you interview Jacob Barnett and invite the Perimeter Institute students to look at mathematically impossible election results in the United States. Present it to them as mathematical and statistical puzzles and anomalies. As I understand it, they are encouraged to explore "untouchable" territory.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2013 @ 4:29 pm PT...
You know that I respect the work that you do. Nevertheless, I think there are some misrepresentations in this article. (Use of *stars* here are always mine.)
o You state that "the new law also affords sweeping new executive powers to the Sec. of State (SoS) to approve new e-voting systems for use in so-called "pilot programs" without any certification testing at all, even from state auditors." Yet in an earlier posting (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10242), you noted that the law states that "The Secretary of State *shall* use a state-approved testing agency or expert technicians to examine and *test* voting systems or parts of voting systems *proposed for use* or sale in this state." (SEC. 15. 19223 and SEC 76. 19285.) Maybe you are making some kind of distinction between certification testing, and testing of any system proposed for use in this state, but I don't see it. Especially when you write the phrases [certification testing] "at all, even from state auditors". Claiming that pilot systems are exempt from testing as at least debatable, if not incorrect.
It is true that the above named sections do not, upon my reading, provide for testing independent of the SoS, which federal testing would have done. I think this is the point you need to make.
o On the concept that Senator Padilla has misrepresented his bill, SB 360, you write: "Padilla argued that the bill was needed so that CA counties may *own* their own, non-proprietary voting systems." If I refer to last February's announcement ( http://bradblog.com/Docs...sIntegrityAct_022513.pdf ), which says "Padilla Legislation Would Facilitate Creation of Public Voting Systems", and "Counties would be allowed to *develop, own & operate* voting public systems" Yes, LA County currently owns a publicly owned system, called the Micro Tally System (MTS). But that is ancient, and has been *grandfathered in* by the state. Pre-SB360 law, and you know this, did not allow the county to use federal/state money to develop/create a new system. Without that money, developing a new system would have been very expensive, even for Los Angeles County.
I have a "Fact Sheet' from the senator's office, headed with "Publicly Owned Voting Systems (3/14/2013)". That they did not title it "Publicly Developed and Owned Voting Systems" is regrettable. But I do not consider it to be a gross misrepresentation of the situation, since without SB 360, LA County would have had the funds to develop a new, publicly owned system under existing law, which is the intent of the bill.
o You also stated that Senator Yee "has also gone on record calling for Internet Voting systems in California." He may have done so last winter. I do not have a screen shot of the original statement, but he is quoted as having written that we should "*explore* the possibility of one day ... voting online" (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/11/sen-leland-yee-to-run-for-california-secretary-of-state-.html). Exploring the possibility is different from saying that we should do it. In any case, he learned then talked with some experts, and that unfortunate statement was swiftly clarified last January, when he wrote that "Internet voting systems are *not* yet ready for deployment. [federal experts] have reviewed the currently commercially available Internet voting systems and found that fundamental security problems have not been resolved and thus should *not* be used yet in our public elections." (http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/opinions/2013-01-10/op-edtechnology-in-our-electoral-process/1761228.html). All that to say that it is false to write that Senator Yee is (any longer?) calling for Internet voting.
o You point out that there was "no debate in either chamber of the state legislature." You know that it is rare that a bill is debated before the full chambers. The work is mostly done in committee. I saw significant evolution of the bill between April and August, probably mostly due to discussions between the offices of Senator Padilla and SoS Bowen. Beyond that, the Voting Rights Task Force did show up, twice, and testified in Sacramento. I also wrote to Senator Padilla last June about my reservations about SB 360. Mostly absent from the debate was BradBlog, which saw fit to post 1 column in April, when there was time for debate and modifications, and now 5 when it's too late. I know that you work very hard, and are extremely dedicated and busy. But timing is critical.
Some of my reservations about SB 360 remain. Mainly, the testing and its consequences are ill-defined, and left largely up to the Secretary of State, instead of an independent body. This is what we will need to focus on in the future. We will also have to work hard to ensure that future secretaries of state have the integrity, technical savvy, and leadership of the current SoS, Debra Bowen.
With respect and appreciation for what you do,
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2013 @ 7:03 pm PT...
Jim Soper @ 15 -
Of course you know I appreciate your work as well. So allow me to respond to your points...
Maybe you are making some kind of distinction between certification testing, and testing of any system proposed for use in this state, but I don't see it. Especially when you write the phrases [certification testing] "at all, even from state auditors". Claiming that pilot systems are exempt from testing as at least debatable, if not incorrect.
I have been careful to refer to "certification testing", since the bill sets some general standards for that (as David Jefferson noted today in comments in this thread). It does not, as you yourself noted --- and were quoted in one my stories on SB 360 --- include any standards requirements for testing prior to use of a new system in a live election.
As I recently explained in an email thread that you were participating in, after this point came up there...
If you feel I am wrong or still missing something on this issue, of course, I hope you'll let me know.
It is true that the above named sections do not, upon my reading, provide for testing independent of the SoS, which federal testing would have done. I think this is the point you need to make.
And I have. Over and over and over again. In articles, on the air, etc. Not sure how many more times or ways I can make that point.
Yes, LA County currently owns a publicly owned system, called the Micro Tally System (MTS). But that is ancient, and has been *grandfathered in* by the state. Pre-SB360 law, and you know this, did not allow the county to use federal/state money to develop/create a new system. Without that money, developing a new system would have been very expensive, even for Los Angeles County.
Whether "ancient" or not, LA County already owns there own system, and I am aware of nothing in pre-SB360 that keeps them from doing so, even with a new system. Again, I have reported on the County's interest in freeing up the millions in HAVA and Prop 41 money for use in further development. But, in truth, they have long ago begun development on that system without SB 360. Nonetheless, as I've stated, I'd have had no prob if the original 4-page version of SB 360 had been passed as written, to free up monies for further development of LA County's proposed unverifiable new touch-screen systems, but requiring that they be federally certified before use.
I stand strongly by my reportage that Padilla has wildly and purposely misrepresented SB 360 to both lawmakers and the public --- for months.
You also stated that Senator Yee "has also gone on record calling for Internet Voting systems in California." ...but he is quoted as having written that we should "*explore* the possibility of one day ... voting online" ... All that to say that it is false to write that Senator Yee is (any longer?) calling for Internet voting.
He was a proponent of Internet Voting, as I saw it, and continued to be, even after he had a speaking to from experts in the field. I agree my wording was not precise enough in the article above, largely because I was trying to keep the article from becoming another BradBlog Novella, and that part of the story was largely a tangential one at the moment. So I don't fully disagree with your thoughts on that point. I'll try to be more precise on that in the future.
You point out that there was "no debate in either chamber of the state legislature."
As long as we're being precise, please note that I actually reported that the bill was passed "with almost no debate in either chamber of the state legislature." That said, the changes made to the bill, as I was able to follow it, were largely between supporters or potential supporters of the bill. I am aware of no changes made to satisfy the opponents of the bill on the Republican side, where every single member (save for one) in both chambers voted against the bill.
Testimony from the public in committee is not what I consider to be "debate" in chamber, in public, or even in committee. But now we're largely into semantics, and I take your point that you disagree with me, and believe there was plenty of debate in both the legislature and among the public before the party-line passage of this radical new bill.
Mostly absent from the debate was BradBlog, which saw fit to post 1 column in April, when there was time for debate and modifications, and now 5 when it's too late. I know that you work very hard, and are extremely dedicated and busy. But timing is critical.
Agreed. I was unable to devote the attention to this issue that I wish I had been able to. There are a number of reasons for that, but none takes away from the fact that I was able to do only one very detailed article in the spring, along with a number of broadcasts about SB 360 at the time, but was not able to return to it publicly until after it was passed in both chambers last month.
My only other response to that thought is that it was not "too late", as you write, when I returned to the issue after the bill's passage. It took more than three weeks between that time and the time it was finally signed by the Governor. I did a LOT of reporting and a lot of advocacy on the dangers of the bill during that time, both here and on air and in interviews elsewhere. I received very little support, either from the public or the EI community in the process, but continued on because it was the right thing to do, which is the basis for all of my work here (unfortunately...since that doesn't bring in anywhere near the funding that is required to continue doing so for very much longer, I'm afraid.)
But, yes, had I been able to have done more, I would have liked to. In the end, however, I still appear the only person to have gone on record journalistically to highlight the dangers this ill-considered bill poses to our state and, potentially, to the rest of the country. I used thousands and thousands of words to do so, but it wasn't enough to keep it from becoming law. I stand by that effort, even as I wish it could have been more, and I thank you, Jim, for your input here, critiques, and continuing efforts on behalf of Election Integrity.