The Top Three (Latest) Spin/Lies of the San Diego County Registrar of Voters
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2006, 2:05pm PT  

I'm getting ready to go out of town for a bit, and will need to rely on 6 or 7 of you to help keep San Diego County Registrar Mikel Haas' misleading statements and out-and-out lies from making their way into "conventional wisdom".

He's working hard to cover his ass right now in regard to his horrendous administration of the June 6th U.S. House special election between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray, in which he allowed programmed, hackable, election-ready Diebold electronic voting machines to become effectively decertified (at both the state and federal level) when he sent them home with poll workers for days and weeks prior to the election. As he well knows, that means he allowed illegal votes to be cast on those decertified voting machines used across the entire California 50th congressional district.

There are loads of articles on all of this today in the San Diego papers and on the local television news websites. That's all good, in general, even though the reporters continue to allow Haas to pass on his knowing obfuscations, and the media is usually too lazy or ill-informed to bother to call him on it. So that's your job now! Especially while I'm otherwise on and off the grid over the next several weeks trying to sneak in some much needed R&R.

(On that note, I'm leaving ASAP, but am scheduled to appear live tomorrow night on Catherine Crier's CourtTV show at 5pm ET. Probably will have to do it from Vegas, where I'll be nearby. Currently RFK Jr. is booked along with me on tomorrow's show.)

So, very quickly before I scram, here are are Mikel Haas' top three spins, lies and misleads of late that he's shoveling out to media, as witnessed in coverage over just the past 24 hours on San Diego's Channel 8, Channel 10, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, just to name a few. (Channel 10 and the U-T story had the worst of them)

Please help such media out by giving them the facts to counter Haas' ass-covering spin, misleads, red-herrings and bald-faced lies. Here are his latest Top Three most dangerous, disingenuous and misleading whoppers...

SPIN/LIE #1) Only poll inspectors took voting machines home, "we didn't give them out like candy," says Haas, so there's nothing to worry about.

Actually, Haas gave them out like free cheeseburgers at the drive-up window in the parking lot. Literally. But never mind that. The notion that "only poll inspectors" took them home is an attempt to suggest that, even though CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's own computer scientists on his Voting Systems Technology Board had recommended programmed memory cards never be in the custody of less than two elections officials at any one time, everything is okay because we can trust poll inspectors.

How absurd and disingenuous. For a start, those poll inspectors were required to pass little if any background checks. The notion that they'd never do anything untoward is equally disingenuous and, of course, Haas knows it. In a previous interview with Haas, he admitted that it was possible to tamper with the systems via the unsealed PCMCIA slots on the touch-screen systems as they were given to poll workers. But he wasn't all that concerned, felt such an occurrence would be "highly improbable," because, as he told me, workers "would have to want to commit a felony" in order to do that. "Which," he added, "would knock out most of our poll workers in San Diego."

Haas also claimed he'd never heard of an election official being indicted. Of course honest elections officials are the first to admit that nobody should ever be trusted and that our system is not built on trust, but rather checks and balances.

His spin also ignores that those "poll inspectors" have reported that they were not given any details instructions about security concerns and that many other people, besides themselves, would have had access to the voting machines as they sat in their cars and garages, etc.

Remember, it takes just one person to effect an entire election as reported by CA SoS McPherson's own leading computer scientist, David Jefferson on the PBS News Hour, and later confirmed by a recent story in the Washington Post headlined, "A Single Person Can Reverse an Election."

SPIN/LIE #2) The Red-Herring: "Only a few thousand votes were cast on touch-screen systems" in the CA50 race.

That's true. But, as Haas well knows, (and yet presumes, correctly, that most media won't bother to try and sort out) nobody has ever claimed that the touch-screen (DRE) systems are the sole concern here!

Diebold optical-scan systems were used all over the county and in the CA50 race and, in fact, it was a hack of a Diebold optical-scan system in December of 2005 that led directly to the very emergency security mitigation requirements issued by both the state of California and the federal authorities where were subsequently violated when Haas sent home the machines home with poll workers. Like candy. The federal and state laws were subsequently violated, and both the optical-scan and touch-screen systems used in the race were then effectively decertified for use upon that security breach.

To Haas' delight, Channel 10 translated Haas spin --- incredibly --- like this:

According to the supervisor, 98 percent of those who voted in the last election used optical scanners. The rest used electronic voting machines.

Good god. Diebold optical-scan systems aren't even "electronic voting machines" according to that report! Waytago, Mikel! Great serving of your constituents!

SPIN/LIE #3) $6000 per day was quoted to the requester as the cost (arbitrarily set by Haas) for the hand count of ballots in the CA50 race because the requester had required so many evidentiary documents, like chain of custody logs etc. when she made her filing.

This one is just an out and out lie. As Haas well knows (but hopes reporters and various politicos won't bother to check out.) That $6000 per day price quoted to hand count requester Barbara Gail Jacobson for counting ballots --- equating to $1 per vote, versus .14 per vote charged to hand count ballots in neighboring Orange County --- was the same price he forced citizens to pay for previous hand counts in San Diego County!

As well, and as we've previously reported, Haas' office initially quoted the price of $6000 per day to another voter on 7/3/06, prior to Jacobson's having filed her request in the first place on 7/5/06 which included the document demands that Haas is now claiming are the reason for the $6000 quote. (The 7/3/06 email from Haas' office, quoting $6000/day is right here. Jacobson's 7/5/06 hand count request is right here.)

Yes, as per her rights, as the requester of the count, she asked for a number of chain of custody documents for ballots and voting machines (which Mikel Haas refused and still refuses to turn over to anybody), but the $6000 price that Haas attempted to charge her for the hand count had nothing to do with those documents.

Further, since Haas is only allowed to charge for real expenses for the next day's counting, when Jacobson informed him that she wouldn't need any counting boards assembled for the first day of counting (she'd need that day to examine the documents Haas was refusing to give to her) it should have lowered the cost required for the first days counting. It didn't. Haas' office instructed Jacobson she would have to pay $6000, no matter what, to begin the procedure. That's illegal, of course.

Haas' insipid habit of lying to the media and other folks who are inquiring with him about all of these things is an affront to the voters of San Diego. I hope they will join in the efforts to hold Haas accountable for his actions and continue to press to find out what it is that Mikel Haas is hiding. And why he feels it's okay to mislead the very citizens he is supposed to be serving.

Legal efforts are still coming together to do just that (please donate at VelvetRevolution.us to support the effort!) and the folks in San Diego will be holding a rally to demonstrate on these points this Friday at Noon outside the Registrar of Voters office. Hopefully, BRAD BLOG concierge-in-my-absense, Winter Patriot, will be able to post the details for that rally shortly here.

And now, I gotta get outta here. Please save the world while I'm gone and don't let the bad guys get away with their democracy-hating bullshit in the mean time! Thank you!