BRAD BLOG FRONT PAGE: They're Not 'Glitches', And They're Not the Fault of the Poll Workers! Stop Blaming Them!
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2006, 2:40pm PT  

On the same day as NYTimes front paged a story on the coming electoral meltdown. Chicago Trib follows suit in a front pager today that focuses on massive problems in Chicago and Cook County.

Like the Times, who modified their original headline yesterday shortly after publishing to refer to "Voting Woes" instead of "Voting Chaos" as it was originally described, the Trib turns backflips to downplay the concerns, blame as much as possible the poll workers and "human error," along with "glitches" and "hiccups," instead of placing blame where it squarely deserves to be placed: on the Voting Machine Companies and the Elections Officials who approved this garbage for use in our elections.

The headline is "Voting Glitches Feared on Nov. 7," but as a close reading of the article reveals, these are not "voting glitches." They are not even "glitches." They are FAILURES of the voting machine companies and elections officials. Period. End of story. Got that?

The story rightly refers to "a virtual meltdown" in last spring's primary in Chicago and Cook County, and goes on to add that vote totals can be completely fried...

[I]t will still be possible for workers to accidentally fry vote totals if they forget to disconnect the power from ballot scanners before data cartridges are removed at the end of the night.

"We don't want you to erase any of the memory," warned Gail Weisberg, Cook County's equipment manager/coordinator, during a training class last week in Hoffman Estates.

So vote totals can be entirely "fried" and yet we're actually using this system on November 7th?! Moreover, note the language above that says it's "possible for workers" to fry the vote totals. Instead of the more appropriate, "it's possible that the poorly designed systems could have their entire vote totals fried."

As I've gotta hit the road to head up North for speaking engagements and meetings over the next several days, and as things are now melting down all around us, as predicted --- with some 20 days left until Nov. 7th --- my patience is just about worn thin with the apologists, liars, and those journalists, "advocates," and public officials who have no excuse to claim ignorance anymore.

So I hope you'll pardon the more graphic language I feel compelled to use below...

The article goes on to read:

But the system...buckled under the pressure in its debut, when poorly trained election judges failed to properly deal with ballot jams, locked-up computer screens and other issues.

"Poorly trained elections judges failed." Blame the poll workers: the mantra of the Voting Machine companies and Elections Officials who refuse to take accountability for their own failure. Shame on the Chicago Trib for playing along.

The system "buckled under the pressure in its debut," not when poll workers failed, but when the machines fucking failed to work!

Is that too difficult to comprehend and report on? Stop blaming the poll workers simply because --- to everyone's surprise --- most of them are 75-year old ladies performing a civic duty for which we should be eternally grateful, instead of fucking Cal-Tech Computer Scientists!

The article then goes on to talk about various "snags" and "snafus."

Once again: These are not "glitches," "hiccups," "snags," or "snafus," as they are frequently referred to in media reports (and you ain't seen nothing yet).

These are deadly dangerous and derelict failures by the Voting Machine Vendors and the Officials who have been granted MILLIONS of free federal government tax dollars to replace our democracy with secret vote counting machines that simply do not work. Period.

Billions of dollars, and the course of history in the free and not-so-free world hangs in the balance. Can we please hold the appropriate individuals accountable here?!

As we were informed recently by the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, some of the systems being used in Illinois today were not even certified before people began voting on them. Hello?! Whose fault is that?! (CLARIFICATION: IBIP has informed us that Chicago/Cook County certified the machines in an unannounced, private phone conference late Friday, prior to the beginning of early voting on Monday. The system, however, had not been federally certified.)

"Most of the inability of the [Hybrid, Activator, Accumulator & Transmitter (HAAT)] devices to successfully transmit data on election night was due to operator error," the article says, in quoting from a report on the Illinois Primary Election Meltdown.

Wrong. Wrong. And wrong again.

Let me be clear here: Our elections are not a fucking Beta Test for unpatriotic Voting Machine Companies. Our Elections are the core of our democracy and should be handled with the care and accuracy and security and transparency that the citizens of the United States deserve.

There are no excuses for the blatant FAILURES (not "glitches," not "snafus," "snags," or "hiccups") of these voting machines, Voting Machine Companies, and the Elections Officials who FAILED to ensure that the systems they have purchased to do the job (that WE hired them for) actually work and do the job they are supposed to do.

They don't.

Apparently, the public officials have forgotten who it is they actually are supposed to be working for. Please remind them. In any way possible. Your democracy hangs in the balance.

Please print out this article or save the URL to keep it handy for reference. It will apply to almost everything you read on this topic between here and the "end" of whatever fresh hell is about to unfold on Nov. 7th. I promise it'll be more than simply "glitches."