CNN Anchor Files 6th Report, in As Many Days, on Electronic Voting Machines: 'Democracy for Sale'
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2006, 8:19pm PT  

Yesterday, Lou Dobbs did his 6th straight report on the dangers of E-Voting. Today he did his 7th report in a row, we hope to have that for you tomorrow.

In yesterday's report, Dobbs introduced it by describing the "rising doubts" about Electronic Voting Machines and said those doubts "about their accuracy and integrity threaten to undermine confidence in our democracy." Right on, Lou.

The report even quotes from last year's landmark GAO report on Electronic Voting, broken here last October, and unreported by CNN (or virtually anyone else in the media) at all until yesterday! (See the graphic at upper right)

Attorney Lowell Finley of VoterAction.org, the non-partisan group filing lawsuits to stop these systems around the country, is quoted as saying, "The real danger with electronic voting is with insider fraud, who just need a few minutes of access to a voting machine or to a tabulating computer and they can wreak havoc."

Dobbs closed the segment yesterday, incredulously, with this:

DOBBS: This is --- this is becoming a very, very troubling exercise in that we have people defending results who can't even defend the process or the technology because it's proprietary and it's not being shared. And therefore, it's not auditable...And without that ability, how do you conduct a recount reliably and transparently?

We'll have a report on one of those "people defending results," Michael Haas, the Registrar of Voters in San Diego County, where the results of the 50th Congressional district U.S. House race have been corrupted by his cavalier lack of concern about the security of Diebold voting systems used in the race. He seems to have no concerns, as Finley mentioned, about "insider fraud," or of the concept that "a few minutes of access to a voting machine...can wreak havoc." More on that tomorrow.

The video of Dobbs' 6th report in a row (compliments of David Edwards, natch) is linked below:


-- Video in Streaming Flash format...
-- Video in Windows Media format...

The complete text-transcript of yesterday's report follows...

DOBBS: The all-important midterm congressional elections are now less than five months away. And nearly one-third of all votes in this country will be cast on electronic voting machines. But rising doubts about their accuracy and integrity threaten to undermine confidence in our democracy.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At the board of supervisors meeting in Alameda County, California, accusations flying against electronic voting systems.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All you need to do is hire a kindergarten level computer hacker and the votes are yours.

PILGRIM: The county put the electronic machines in place three years ago after the contested 2000 presidential election problems. The Help America Vote Act provided funds for local and state governments to upgrade their voting systems.

REP. RUSH HOLT (D), NEW JERSEY: One of the unintended consequences of that legislation was that all over the country jurisdictions, counties, states, and so forth, hurried out to buy electronic voting machines in an effort to get away from hanging chads and butterfly ballots. And they bought machines that are unauditable. And therefore a recount is meaningless.

PILGRIM: A 2005 GAO report on electronic voting confirmed the worst fears of watchdog groups and election officials. "There is evidence that some of these concerns have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes."

Lowell Finley is an activist who is suing state and local election officials over the use of e-voting machines.

LOWELL FINLEY, VOTER ACTION: The real danger with electronic voting is with insider fraud, who just need a few minutes of access to a voting machine or to a tabulating computer and they can wreak havoc.

PILGRIM: Twenty-six states now have passed legislation that in one way or another calls for voter verified paper audit trails.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now, we talked to election officials in the states of California, New Mexico and New Jersey who defend their recent primary results. But in the case of New Mexico, they've decided to go to an all-paper ballot system for the upcoming election, Lou, just to put to rest any fears that the voters may have about the systems.

DOBBS: Put to rest their fears? I would say those fears are rising right now.

PILGRIM: We talked to election officials today with those three states who had primaries last week. And they said they defend their results, but clearly everyone is re-examining their systems.

DOBBS: This is --- this is becoming a very, very troubling exercise in that we have people defending results who can't even defend the process or the technology because it's proprietary and it's not being shared. And therefore, it's not auditable, as Congressman Holt points out. And without that ability, how do you conduct a recount reliably and transparently?

PILGRIM: And some of this is on the local level, where local officials are just saying, well, they used it, we maybe should use it. So it's sort of not understood fully, I think is the fair way to say.

DOBBS: Not understood fully, and perhaps becoming more understood and more alarming as a result.

Kitty, thank you very much.