Kevin Zeese Issues Open Letter to Maryland Media via BRAD BLOG, Calls for Independent Review of Diebold in State
Says MD Election Administrator Linda Lamone Failed to Report Electoral System Facts Accurately in Diebold's 'Showcase' State, Calls for New Voting Equipment in State in Light of Unreported Details, Contradicting Information and Stunning Letter from Republican Governor...
By Kevin Zeese on 2/18/2006, 3:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Kevin Zeese

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kevin Zeese is an independent candidate running for the U.S. Senate in Maryland. His following "Open Letter to the Maryland Media" comes on the heels of Thursday's news of Republican MD Governor Robert Ehrlich's letter announcing, amongst other things, that he "no longer [has] confidence in the State Board of Elections' ability to conduct fair and accurate elections in 2006." In the letter, Ehrlich expressly singles out Democratic Election Administrator Linda Lamone, charging that she and the SBE have been "working primarily on behalf of partisan legislators and their interests" and questions her claims that Diebold's paperless touch-screen voting machines --- deployed across the state in 2002 as part of Diebold's "showcase" roll-out of their new system --- could not be replaced by voting devices with voter-verified paper trails in time for the 2006 election. Ehrlich called for paper ballots in his letter.

It was also revealed on Thursday, that Lamone had allowed uncertified Diebold voting machines to be used in elections in Maryland in both 2002 and 2004. Diebold's election equipment has since been show to be hackable, prone to massive failure, and has lost votes in recent elections according to a recently released non-partisan GAO Report, a recent "hack test" in Leon County, FL, and scores of other confirmed reports, studies and analysis from around the country. Lamone is also the curent President of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).

Given the national implications of this matter and the media's general lack of coverage of these important matters, we're happy to honor Zeese's request to run the letter in full here at BRAD BLOG.

OPEN LETTER TO THE MARYLAND MEDIA

There is an unreported elections scandal in Maryland. Part of the story has been reported on the web in an article I wrote, at RAW STORY and at TrueVoteMD.org at the hearing. It has yet to be reported in the traditional media.

Kelly Brewington in the Baltimore Sun demonstrated in an article today ("Voting machine maker says new system doable by fall") that whenever Linda Lamone makes a claim, the media should either ask for documentation or get independent verification - from somewhere other than Diebold. Lamone testified in the Senate this week that it was not possible to get new machines by the fall, but the manufacturer told Ms. Brewington that they could provide appropriate equipment in time for the elections.

As someone running in what will become a close three way race for the U.S. Senate, I am very concerned that Maryland have voting equipment that voters can trust and that can be counted in an open and transparent manner in 2006. Every legislative office in the state and the governor is up for election. Maryland cannot afford to use insecure machines, that have a history of machine failure and that do not allow for an independent recount. Therefore I favor leasing an optical scan system for one year and use that time to develop a long-term solution that ensures accurate, transparent and trustworthy elections in Maryland.

LETTER CONT'D BELOW...

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs, Linda Schade of TrueVoteMD.org provided the committee and media with a Board of Elections document showing that votes were lost in the November 2004 election. The Baltimore County document showed 11 machines with no votes or 7 with very low vote totals. Normally a machine will have approximately 200 votes --- so it is likely that thousands of votes were lost.

What was Lamone's response to the documents? She testified she had never seen the documents before. I'm amazed that the media has not mocked her for this testimony as it does not pass the straight face test. She is in charge of the Board of Elections and she is unaware of an SBE document that shows machines not recording votes! Is this believable? If it is than there must be widespread acceptance that Ms. Lamone is incompetent. Which is it --- is she a poor administrator unaware of machines not recording votes or is she being dishonest when she testifies before the legislature?

In addition, we have spoken with a Diebold "Deep Throat" who was in Baltimore County on Election Day 2004. He describes systemic failures, widespread blank memory cards, corrupted audit logs and problems with tabulating the votes. The documents received in litigation from the SBE document these claims. In that same election Montgomery County's IT department reported screens freezing in mid-vote, machine crashes and other problems with the hardware of the Diebold machines. Documents show that thousands of Diebold machines were delivered with defective motherboards and Lamone has knowingly hidden this information from legislators and the public.

Maryland is sitting on a major voting scandal --- a scandal with national implications. TrueVoteMD.org has documents demonstrating a three year history of a consistent partnership between the SBE and Diebold to tell the media and public that all is well when in fact there are consistent serious problems with the Diebold election system. In looking through the non-confidential documents that Linda Schade has received in her litigation it is obvious there have been three years of SBE covering for Diebold. The truth, as far as we know it, is:

  1. Diebold provided uncertified election equipment and the SBE discovered it in December 2003. The equipment was not completely certified until the summer of 2004. (There was a March presidential primary during that time and it may also have been uncertified for the 2002 elections as well.) Using uncertified election systems is illegal under Maryland law. Lamone said nothing to anyone and in fact sung the praises of Diebold. Ms. Schade has in her possession a year's worth of correspondence between Lamone and Diebold discussing this situation, from 12/03 to 12/04.
  2. Uncertified software was used in the March 2004 primary --- described in the RAW Story article and in my article yesterday (links above). We provide links to the evidence. Again, nothing said by Lamone.
  3. People have complained about Senate, State Delegate and school board candidates not being on the ballot to the SBE and to TrueVoteMD --- which we provided to SBE. Yet Lamone said it didn't happen.
  4. Machines have frozen, crashed in mid-vote during elections. Again, Lamone says this does not happen.
  5. Machines have lost votes with blank memory cards and corrupted audit logs --- again Lamone denied anything went wrong.
  6. The machines are insecure --- shown by three studies --- again Lamone denies there are security problems.

I hope people covering Maryland politics will recognize the importance of getting this story out.

Maryland needs an independent review of Diebold election systems in Maryland this begins with the media and should be followed by an official commission if Maryland continues to work with Diebold. Sadly, we can not trust the State Board of Elections to provide the information needed for voters to know what has really gone on as she has consistently misled the media and public.

Linda Schade of TrueVoteMD.org can be contacted via email here.

Kevin Zeese
www.KevinZeese.com