With special thanks to David Edwards for the Video Magic...
Lou Dobbs has now done at least eight reports over the last two weeks on the grave danger to American democracy as posed by Electronic Voting. We've had a tough time keeping up with them all.
We've yet to hear anybody so far refer to Dobbs as a "Lefty" or a "Moonbat" or a "Conspiracy Theorist" or a "Sore Loser" or suggest that he wears a "tinfoil hat". Just a coincidence, we guess.
Here's two of his reports that we've only gotten to post finally today. One is on un-recountable paperless elections and the other focuses on Democrat Cathy Cox (Georgia's SoS and Diebold champion) and her extreme conflict of interest in running her own unverifiable election now that she's the Gubernatorial nominee. Will Dobbs be running a similar report on Ohio's J. Kenneth Blackwell's similar conflict of interest? We'll hope so.
Please note: It seems Diebold is no longer returning Lou's calls for comments. Go figure.
Text transcripts from both reports follow...
(See previously posted Dobbs reports here.)
Aired June 13, 2006 - 18:00 ET
Well, coming up next here, your ballot may not be counted if you're voting on electronic voting machines. You'll never know. Perhaps neither will we. But some states are awakening to the dangers of those e-voting machines and trying to determine whether they are jeopardizing our democracy.
We'll have that special report tonight.
DOBBS: Nationwide, as many as a third of all voters are expected to cast their ballots in the midterm elections on electronic voting machines. But serious questions about those machines' reliability and their vulnerability to fraud are rising. Some election officials in some states are returning to paper ballots in order to assure competence in the election process.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In Newark, they are using lever voting machines for a special city council run-off election Tuesday. The local election officials say they went back to the old system for this specific election because voters felt more comfortable and confident in using the old equipment. But last week, for the primary elections, they used electronic voting machines.
The New Jersey State Attorney General's Office says there were no reported problems with the primary last week, but they admit they are discussing moving to a statewide verified paper trail system in the future.
WARREN STEWART, VOTETRUST USA: The real difference with an electronic voting machine like a touch-screen machine or any of the direct record electronic machines is that the votes are counted with software. In the case of a paper ballot that's run through an optical scanner, yes, it is counted by software initially, but there's the possibility of hand counting it. PILGRIM: New Mexico has decided to move to an all-paper ballot system in the future to increase voter confidence, even though they stand by their previous results on electronic voting systems.
REBECCA VIGIL-GIRON, NEW MEXICO SECRETARY OF STATE: We were trying to accomplish uniformity more than anything in the state of New Mexico because we had all these different types of voting machine systems in the state. We decided that uniformity was the best way for us to go.
PILGRIM: According to verifiedvoting.org, a watchdog group, 26 states have legislation or regulations requiring paper ballots. And 13 more have proposed legislation but have not yet enacted it.
Eight counties in Arkansas are not using touch-screen voting in Tuesday's run-off because there was not enough time to reprogram the machines after last month's primary. But officials say they are looking into tabulation problems with their electronic machines in the May 23rd primary.
PILGRIM: Now, some in Congress are calling for a bill that would set federal standards for voter-verified paper records and legislation that would also call for election officials to conduct random audits of the systems. And those are audits done by election officials and not the companies that make the machines --- Lou.
DOBBS: Well, I'll tell you, frankly, I'm no more reassured by the fact that some election official is doing an audit of a machine with proprietary software for which there is not a paper record of that vote cast and for which we have the ability to conduct a recount reliably and accurately. After all, that is the purpose of the recount.
This e-voting machine wave that has taken over about a third of the country I think desperately needs to be re-examined and re- examined with care.
PILGRIM: And many officials are doing that just now.
DOBBS: As you have just recorded. As always, thank you, Kitty.
Aired June 20, 2006 - 18:00 ET
And more voters are casting their ballots on electronic voting machines. But how election officials are verifying these votes is causing something of an uproar. We'll have our special report on democracy at risk.
DOBBS: Serious questions about electronic voting machines are threatening to undermine confidence in our electoral system. All voters in the State of Georgia will cast their ballots on electronic voting machines this year. But watchdog groups say election officials can't verify the accuracy of the count and can't conduct a proper recount. Those groups say our democracy is at risk. Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Georgia has a primary in less than 30 days. Voting is 100 percent electronic, except for absentee ballots. Diebold has the contract for 24,000 TSR6 touch screen machines. Some activists are worried there is no proper record on this model.
JOHN FORTUIN, DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY: I have 20 years experience programming computers mostly for the financial sector, and the standards that are used in the financial sector are wholly absent from the Diebold voting system.
PILGRIM: At a state election board meeting this week, activists were demanding decertification of the machines. The Georgia Secretary of State office says that electronic voting will be discussed at a later date, adding that we do testing on every unit before the election.
Voting activists say even if machines are certified and tested before the election, the only real way to check results is with a printed paper record that is put into a lock box on Election Day. That will not be done in Georgia.
Another troubling issue for watchdog groups is current secretary of state Cathy Cox who championed the transition to electronic voting machines in Georgia and will certify the vote statewide is running for governor in that same election.
AVI RUBIN, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: That's a terrible conflict of interest. I think elections need to be run by unbiased, independent parties. And such things do not exist, what we need are very transparent voting mechanisms so no one has to bring into doubt anybody's motives or behaviors.
PILGRIM: Georgians for Verified Voting say their goals have nothing to do with politics.
DONNA PRICE, GEORGIANS FOR VERIFIED VOTING: It is not political. It is not with Cathy Cox. It is about making sure that the election is legitimate for Georgia.
Voting in a democracy is not about trusting that behind the curtain individuals will do the right thing. It's about security, transparency and auditability. It's about checks and balances. And Georgia's voting system fails on all counts.
PILGRIM: We called Diebold about this model, they did not return our calls.
(END VIDEOTAPE) PILGRIM: The secretary of state's office points out the votes are certified by local election boards first and historically other secretaries of state have run for another office, but activists say this only illustrates the broader concerns that electronic voting systems must have a voter-verified paper trail to establish trust with the voters --- Lou.
DOBBS: Well, how in the world can you verify the accuracy of a machine if you don't have an analog, if you will, control for it?
PILGRIM: There really is no question. It's not even debatable.
DOBBS: And the idea --- I love the situation --- I kind of like I guess if I were betting, I'd bet on, is it secretary of state Cox in this upcoming election? She gets to certify the results, decide on the machines, while running for governor.
PILGRIM: They say they're locally certified first, but she signs off on it statewide.
DOBBS: They have a secretary of state that's actually hooked up now with Diebold, right?
PILGRIM: That's exactly right. Their previous secretary of state, Louis Massey has a lobbying firm, Diebold is a client.
DOBBS: Quite a little industry. E-voting. Thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.