By John Gideon on 2/19/2006, 5:15pm 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 February 13 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!...

#5 In Arizona the state legislature ignored past voting machine counting errors as they refused to adopt legislation to require a 5% hand-counted audit. As reported by the Arizona Daily Star the legislation did not even make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

#4 Meanwhile, next door neighbor New Mexico, VoteTrustUSA reports that in the last few hours of the legislative session the legislature passed a bill to require optical-scan voting and to ban DREs. This bill had the approval of the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State and was a result of hard work from voting activists from across the state and nationally. Groups like Verified Voting New Mexico, United Voters of New Mexico, and Voter Action deserve a lot of credit for the work they did to get this passed.

#3 The state of Illinois seems to be in an awful hurry to certify Sequoia voting machines for use in the state. Maybe because Chicago and suburban Cook County have already signed a contract for more than $50M with the Venezuelan owned Sequoia Voting Systems. As reported by Robert A. Wilson of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project in VoteTrustUSA, the system that has been state certified and has already been contracted for is not even 2002 compliant.

#2 The lines are being drawn in Maryland. On one side are voting activists and the governor. On the other side is the state elections chief, Linda Lamone and her friends at Diebold. Last week was a busy week in the state. The Baltimore Chronicle announced that the state legislature and civic groups had united for voter verified paper ballot legislation with the filing of SB713, with 23 co-sponsors. Then Avi Rubin opined that flawed election machines were leaving state voters guessing. Following this the Baltimore Sun announced that Governor Erlich had stated that the state was not ready to hold elections and that he was now coming out with his support for a paper trail. In the meantime, RawStory revealed that documents show elections and a primary were held on uncertified voting machines. And, The Brad Blog reported on the potential damage that the news would have on Diebold. In an attempt at 'damage control' Linda Lamone and Diebold ignored the facts and told all who would listen that the state's voting system was the best in the nation.

#1 This week was a big news week in California. State Senator Debra Bowen held a hearing to discuss open source voting software and voting systems certification. In that hearing one county election official, Warren Slocum of San Mateo County, questioned the use of vendor provided software and voting systems. Then on Friday afternoon just before a holiday weekend, the Secretary of State announced that he was going to conditionally certify two Diebold voting systems; the Accuvote OS and Accuvote TSx. This surprise certification was welcomed with amazement from some in the activist community and with questioning comments from Sen. Bowen. Why was the announcement made late on a Friday afternoon? Why did the SoS see fit to send a letter to Diebold, the Independent Test Authorities, the National Association of Secretaries of State, and the National Association of State Elections Directors but not to the Election Assistance Commission?