Calls for a Legislative Ban on the Practice
Local Media Report Actually Fact Checks Several of County Registrar Mikel Haas' Obfuscations!
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2006, 3:20pm PT  

The local media, in this case the North County Times looks to finally be getting the story right, and is attempting to hold San Diego County Registrar Mikel Haas accountable for his prevarications concerning the Diebold voting machine "sleepovers" that violated new state and federal laws and security requirements during the now-disputed June 6th U.S. House special election between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray in California's 50th congressional district.

San Diego County's Democratic Party Chair, Jess Durfee is joining the growing calls for accountability in the matter, according to this morning's Times by calling for hearings on the matter and new legislation to ban the procedure known as "Sleepovers" where poll workers are given programmed, election-ready, hackable voting machines to store in their homes, cars and garages for days and weeks prior to the election. It's been shown that these machines, both Diebold's optical-scan and touch-screen voting systems, are exceedingly vulnerable to tampering and can be hacked within a few minutes time with no password necessary.

Previously, dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals have declared "No Confidence" in the results of the "bellwether" election and had demanded hand counts of all ballots after Haas' security breaches resulted in the use of decertified voting machines, and thus, illegal votes were cast on them across the entire county. Last Friday, the national Democratic Party joined the call in demanding accountability and a full manual count of all ballots in the race.

See the Times report for more details, a statement from state Senator Debra Bowen, and attempted obfuscations from Haas, but here's the opening grafs and one misdirect that Haas was allowed to get away with...

SAN DIEGO ---- The head of the local Democratic Party said Monday he will ask the San Diego County Board of Supervisors today to schedule public hearings to investigate the county's handling of the June primary, including its decision to send electronic voting machines home with poll workers several days before the election.

Jess Durfee, chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, said he will stress during a public comment period in the morning board meeting and in a press conference afterwards that election integrity was compromised by what he calls the "sleep over" policy. Durfee said it is his hope that a round of public hearings will yield a new set of reforms, including a ban on the practice.

One point that Haas attempted to get away with in the piece, and which wasn't effectively rebutted by the Times, related to his (obviously disingenous) point that he "could not understand the concern" about the sleepovers...

For starters, the machines are placed only with poll inspectors, he said

"We just don't give this stuff out like candy," Haas said.

What the Times failed to report, or perhaps check out, were the comments from many of the poll workers that we've spoken to here at The BRAD BLOG who reported they were given absolutely no instructions concerning the security of the systems before they were handed them to take home for days and weeks prior to the election. Also, they failed to call Haas on his ridiculous claim that simply because the machines only went to poll inspectors, they were somehow safe from tampering.

California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's own team of computer scientists and computer security experts have recommended that programmed memory cards and voting machines never be out of the control of at least two officials at any one time. The suggestion that poll inspectors are to be trusted, as Haas has also suggested we spoke with him, is absurd.

During our interview with Haas, he claimed he was unaware of any election official ever indicted for election malfeasance. We gave him several examples about which he claimed to be unaware. And, of course, that was before the 43 criminal charges against 13-year Monterey County, CA Registrar of Voters Tony Anchundo had come fully to light just a few days later.

(Hat tip Joseph Cannon)