Contract with State said to Bar Release of 'Company Secrets' Such as Records of Who Citizens Actually Voted For
Democratic Official: 'It's impossible to say whether the correct candidates were declared the winner in all Alaska races from 2004'
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2006, 2:39pm PT  

In just one more story which illustrates the many undemocratic dangers of allowing private companies to "own" our public elections, Diebold, Inc., one of America's largest Voting Machine Companies is currently blocking citizens in Alaska from viewing election data from the 2004 general election!

"All Alaska races from 2004" are now being questioned, said a Democratic party official in a written letter to the state Elections Director.

Questions have begun to arise about results from that election, including the reported revelation that "district-by-district vote totals add up to 292,267 votes for President Bush, but his official total was only 190,889."

The BRAD BLOG has obtained a copy of the letter sent yesterday by Jake Metcalfe, chair of the Alaska Democratic Party to Whitney Brewster of the Alaska Division of Elections. The letter responds to Brewster's refusal to supply the party with the requested data files and outlines a number of additional concerns about the reported 2004 election results.

The complete letter is available for download here [PDF].

Anchorage Daily News covers the emerging controversy today. Some highlights here [emphasis ours]:

The state Division of Elections has refused to turn over its electronic voting files to the Democrats, arguing that the data format belongs to a private company and can't be made public.

The Alaska Democratic Party says the information is a public record essential for verifying the accuracy of the 2004 general election and must be provided.

The official vote results from the last general election are riddled with discrepancies and impossible for the public to make sense of, the Democrats said Monday. A detailed analysis of the underlying data could answer lingering questions about an election many thought was over more than a year ago, they say.
At this point, it's impossible to say whether the correct candidates were declared the winner in all Alaska races from 2004, [Democratic spokeswoman, Kay] Brown said.

The private contractor hired to provide Alaska's electronic voting machines is Diebold Election Systems.
Diebold told the state it owns the format, which can't be released because it's a company secret.
[U]nder the state's contract with Diebold, that cannot be released, Brewster said.

Never mind, of course, that Diebold's "company secret" has been available for download from the Internet for years, since the company --- who claims to specialize in security solutions --- left the information sitting unprotected on a public download site.

The full story is here...

(Hat tip to our friend Peter B. Collins of KRXA 540-am in Monterey, CA for the lead!)

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UPDATE 2/7/06: Alaska capitulates...sort of. Details now here...