By John Gideon on 1/15/2006, 5:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, of VotersUnite and VoteTrustUSA

The "DVN Top 5" is a feature in the weekly voting newsletter of VoteTrustUSA. The January 9 edition can be found here. The selection of what will be the "Top 5" for each week and where it goes on the list is all mine. The fact that you may disagree with my choices is great because it shows that you have been reading the DVN articles that I've posted throughout the week here on The BRAD BLOG!...

This past week has been full of important stories on voting technology issues. It is hard to choose between the betrayals, the realizations of the truth, and potential decisions to chuck the whole DRE voting issue and go vote-by-mail. This week there are two honorable mention stories to go with my opinion of the 5 top stories of the week:

Honorable Mention #1 Doug Jones, voting systems expert and professor at UofIowa, examined all of the evidence from Precinct 20, Maricopa County, AZ and told all concerned that the questionable ballots from last years primary need to be examined.

Honorable Mention #2 In an effort to upgrade their voting system and to come into compliance with the 2002 Voting Standards, Riverside County, CA purchased voting machines that can only meet the 1990 Voting Systems Standards and that are not accessible for voters with disabilities. And, they spent $14.1M doing this. The voters in Riverside County need to wake up and look at what's happening around them.

And the Top 5 Are:

#5 After doing all she can to squelch public comment on the purchase of new voting machines to replace the machines that they recently purchased but that have failed miserably in recent elections (Hart Intercivic), Boulder County, CO Clerk, Linda Salas has decided to squelch the purchase. According to the Longmont Daily Times-Call Ms. Salas has changed her mind and now wants to lease or rent disabled accessible voting machines until other states and counties have had a chance to work the bugs out of their voting systems. Perhaps the strong contingent of voting activists in Colorado actually made her see the light? One can only hope.

#4 In a sudden turn of events in California, Alameda County announced that they had decided that they would do what they could to be allowed to go to all vote-by-mail. Almost immediately their announcement was echoed by a dozen other North California counties. In order for the counties to change their mode of voting they need a state law that allows them to use vote-by-mail. The Alameda County supervisors have voted to lobby the state legislature for that law.

#3 For months Connecticut activists have been questioning Secretary of State Bysiewicz about why she continuously claimed that any voting system used in the state would have to accommodate a full-face ballot. Coming on the heels of the revelation that the sole choice contractor for a voting system for Connecticut, Danaher Controls, would not be able to fulfill their promise of a 2002 federally qualified voting system, the Attorney General has now revealed that there is no law that requires a full-face ballot. In the mean time, the Attorney General is also investigating what actions can be taken against Danaher Controls for misrepresenting their equipment.

#2 Could it be that a change of mind in New Mexico has come about because of a lawsuit or maybe the governor and elections officials have heard the facts from the voters and those facts finally caused minds to be changed? Whatever the reason we applaud the announcement this week that New Mexico will go with standardized paper ballots statewide. The future purchase of Sequoia Edge II DREs has been cancelled. The following four articles tell the complete story:
Gov. Wants Standardized Paper Ballots Statewide

Richardson Calls For Paper Ballots Statewide

PACE New Mexico and others join the Lopategui vs. Vigil-Giron lawsuit

Plaintiffs Applaud Governor's Decision

#1 The story that I hate to relate is the betrayal of Leon County, Florida and Ion Sancho by ES&S. VoteTrustUSA reports that after agreements and handshakes by Mr. Sancho and ES&S a message was left on Mr. Sancho's cell phone from ES&S telling him that there would be no deal and that ES&S would not be able to provide any voting system to Leon County. According to the Tallahassee Democrat Mr. Sancho is now looking to the lawyers to see what actions can be taken against ES&S for their betrayal.