DOBBS: 'The Threat to American Democracy from Within', 'Mind-Boggling', 'What in the World are We Thinking About in This Country?'
A BRAD BLOG Source in San Diego Interviewed for Story...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2006, 11:48pm PT  

Earlier this evening, I heard Mark Crispin Miller as the guest on Air America's Majority Report discussing the Busby/Bilbray election fiasco with whoever was guest hosting tonight (sorry I missed the name.) As well, I'm told that Lara Flanders covered the issue on Air America as well tonight while guest hosting for Mike Malloy (I believe both Mimi Kennedy and Jeeni Criscenzo were her guests.)

But the largest media outlet to cover the story that we originally broke back on June 7th --- and who still failed to invite me as a I hard to reach? --- was Lou Dobbs on CNN.

Tonight, Dobbs covered the threat to democracy posed by the Voting Machine Sleepovers that we've been reporting on here since the Busby/Bilbray election was run on highly-hackable Diebold voting machines which were sent home overnight with poll workers for days and weeks prior to the election in contravention of both state and federal rules and laws.

One of our sources, San Diego Poll Worker Patti Newton, who we had helped CNN's producers get in touch with, is interviewed in tonight's report. Newton shows, on camera, the location of the "secure storage" she provided (her garage, near the paints) for the voting machines given to her for use in the "bellweather" Busby/Bilbray U.S. House Special Election a full week prior to the Election Day on June 6th. We originally posted some of Patti's story in our report back on June 8th.

Tonight Dobbs and reporter Kitty Pilgrim discussed "the threat to American democracy from within," the lack of security for e-voting machines and described them as "incredibly vulnerable to fraud, tampering, hacking and theft."

Here's a QuickTime video of Dobbs' report, courtesy of BRAD BLOG reader, Tab B. UPDATE: Here are faster streaming versions of the video courtesy of David Edwards...

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

The full text transcript from Dobbs' report tonight follows below. It's short! Please read it!...

DOBBS: And the threat to American democracy from within. Electronic voting machines, they can be rigged to erase your vote, so who's guarding the machines? You're not going to like the answers in our special report coming up next.
Coming up next here, our democracy at risk, the electronic voting machines that are playing a critical part in our upcoming elections. Just about a third of those elections will be decided by electronic voting, although they're incredibly vulnerable to fraud, tampering, hacking and theft. We'll have that special report.

DOBBS: ... In the upcoming midterm congressional elections, a little more than four months from now, a third of the nation will be casting ballots on electronic voting machines. Tonight, new questions about the extraordinary lack of security that results from the use of these machines. Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In San Diego county Patti Newton volunteered as an election worker in the June 6th primary. After her training class for electronic voting machines, she got the surprise of her life.

PATTI NEWTON, FORMER POLL WORKER: We were given slips of papers, had them stamped by one of the staff members and we were directed to drive across to the parking lot to pick up our voting machines and take them home. We all felt an ominous kind of responsibility. It was not something that we were told we would be doing.

PILGRIM: She stored the electronic voting machine here, on the floor of her garage for seven days until the election. According to Vote Trust USA, states with so-called sleepovers for electronics voting machines are California, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Florida, but certain counties in other states do it also. Voter activists say while millions have been spent buying the machines, counties don't have the budgets for storing them or delivering them on election day.

SUSAN PYNCHON, FLORIDA FAIR ELECTIONS COALITION: Each jurisdiction has been given money through the Help America Vote Act to purchase the machines, but many of these jurisdictions are strapped when it comes to trying to maintain them, already, and to have this some huge delivery charge on top of that, that money comes directly out of the local taxpayers' pockets.

PILGRIM: In Florida the Volusia County Department of Elections manual makes it official, "Pick up the voting equipment and ballots at your designated pick-up site prior to the day of the election. As soon as the items are picked up, they must be stored in a secure place." But on March 5th in Dallas County, a 14-pound electronic voting machine was stolen from the home of an election judge. Today the Dallas sheriff's office told us the voting machine has still not been recovered.


PILGRIM: Now, voter activists say this simply reinforces the argument that the only real way to make sure that the machines haven't been tampered with is to have a paper trail record of the machine on election day, so if there are any questions the machine can be audited. Lou?

DOBBS: What are...So often I say, what in the world are we thinking about in this country?

PILGRIM: It's pretty mind-boggling when you start to look at this, that these machines would be in private homes.

DOBBS: What are the companies that make and run and maintain these machines saying?

PILGRIM: They basically made the sale and say they should be secured. But, the definition of secured, as we have just proven is a little bit nebulous.

DOBBS: I think nebulous is a very kind word for it. I mean, this is enough to scare the dickens out of anybody.


DOBBS: Kitty thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.