READER COMMENTS ON
"'Daily Voting News' For March 16, 2007"
(10 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 3/17/2007 @ 10:10 am PT...
Ever notice how the 2006 election results didn't come close to reflecting the public sentiment hear from the Dems about ending the war is that "the votes for defunding it simply aren't there"? Here's what most likely happened: The Rethuglicans knew they couldn't rig it so that their party remains in the majority in both houses as that would make it look too obvious. Instead they rigged it in enough critical districts so that the Democrats though gaining a majority, would only have a paper-thin majority in both houses. That way they can't accomplish anything too radical without appealing to the Repubs to work with them, and of course they won't work with them on anything that would result in real changes in anything. That way the Repubs can stonewall and filibuster anything they don't like and the Dems don't even have enough votes to force cloture. That's why you see about 70% or more of the population favoring ending the war in Iraq yet the Dems only have a one-vote majority in the Senate and about a 15 or 20-vote majority in the House, not enough to accomplish anything. THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE HAVE CEASED REPRESENTING THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
Remember that the Constitution says explicitly that the government works FOR the people, not the other way around; and that as long as the government is acting in the interests of the people it is behaving in a constitutional manner, but that if it becomes destructive to the needs of the population and acts counter to the will of the people, that the people RESERVE THE RIGHT TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT.
THE TIME TO ABOLISH IT AND FORM A NEW GOVERNMENT, ONE THAT TRULY REPRESENTS THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE IS NOW AT HAND.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 3/17/2007 @ 10:12 am PT...
The first part got garbled for some reason. It should read: Ever notice how the 2006 election results didn't come close to reflecting the public sentiment vis a vis ending the war in Iraq? And that all we hear from the Dems about ending the war is that "the votes for defunding it simply aren't there?"
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 3/17/2007 @ 4:23 pm PT...
Just heard the tail end of a discussion on AAR - Kennedy/Papantonio, Saturday at 4 PM. (This same show will be re-broadcast Sunday at 4 PM)
A doooood from People for the American Way (PFTAW) was staunchly defending the merits of DRE voting machines and the law going thru Congress that will address each/every/all of the problems with the DRE's - making them the best thing since white bread. Extolling the virtues of this legislative bill asking the audience to tell their Representative to come in full support for this DRE bill working it's way thru the system.
Bobby Kennedy kept saying - but Brad (Friedman) does not support the idea of keeping the DRE system of electronic voting because it is to readily subject to error and/or tampering by someone who wants to game an election. Each time Bobby raised the issue of Brad's concerns about DRE's this (PFTAW) guy just breezed by the concerns and would not address the matter. But just rambled on about how the four vision/hearing impaired groups, seven groups representing those of literacy/language limitations, major support from labor unions, and unbelievable endorsements from Secretaries of States, Registrar of Voters, and those who are involved in getting the votes counted - warranted full support for DRE electronic voting machines and passing this law before 2008.
This is bogus. DRE electronic voting machines are what brought all these problems to our elections and bring detriment for the ability of Democracy to survive. Black Box Voting seems to have hit the nail right on the head,.. groups such as People for the American Way pushed for DRE electronic Voting from the outset - before realizing what a bogus choice this system was to modernize the vote counting process. Now rather than admit error and dump these DREs once and for all. These groups want to doctor the laws and doctor the machines - as if the DREs can be made the cats meow.
These DRE machines are trash, they are too easy to game and manipulate the count of the vote. These machines should be thrown in the dumpster and the HAVA law rewritten so these machines can never be used to count our vote again. If the Democrats play doctor and nurse maid with these DRE machines and the Rethugs regain control of majority power,.. the ability for Demos to do something about these bogus DREs will have past and be lost. How can the Demos be so foolish/stupid to play asinine political games with this issue. Haven't we been burnt and our votes been tampered with sufficiently enough yet ? Secret voting, secret counting of votes, lack of the real ability to audit the vote count, and the absence of transparency means we have a sick and failed voting system. We need to address these issues and write laws, and revamp HAVA so America can have confidence in the voting procedures once again.
Black Box Voting comments to the issue,..
Activists throughout America have expressed surprise at the Democratic Party's unwillingness to pull DREs off the shelf. One reason is simply this: To do so would damage the credibility of those who lobbied for
HAVA. And those who lobbied for HAVA just happen to be the biggest funders and activist workhorses for the Democratic Party itself.
Source/link to above (scroll about 1/3 down page),..
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 3/17/2007 @ 4:30 pm PT...
This infuriating and mind boggling,.. I am moving some of this info over here,..
WHO INVESTED THEIR CREDIBILITY (AND MEMBERSHIP FUNDS) TO LOBBY FOR HAVA?
1. Public interest groups - mostly progressive
2. Big labor
3. Minority rights groups
4. Disability rights groups
Of these, the first four tend to favor Democrats but the fifth group ---
industry, the group charged with writing the computer code that counts
America's votes --- is made of vendors that are more often close to the
Democrats lobbied HAVA in but to a large extent, Republican-affiliated
vendors executed the mechanics of the plan. Some would call this
comical; others, tragic.
PUBLIC INTEREST GROUP HAVA LOBBYISTS
1. People for the American Way
2. Common Cause
3. American Civil Liberties Union
4. League of Women Voters
5. American Jewish Committee
7. American Association for Retired Persons
8. Public Citizen
9. American Network of Community Options and Resources
10. Constitution Project (Georgetown University)
11. Open Society Policy Center (Soros)
LABOR UNION HAVA LOBBYISTS
1. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
2. Laborers International Union of North America
3. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
4. United Auto Workers
5. American Federation of Teachers
7. UNITE (Industrial & Textile employees)
Of the seven HAVA-lobbying groups above, five are among the Top-20
largest donors of all time to any political party. All five donate
almost exclusively to the Democratic Party and its candidates. None of
the top 20 Republican donors lobbied for HAVA.
According to OpenSecrets.org, the labor unions that lobbied for HAVA
have given nearly $150 million to support Democrats since 1989, and six
were in the Top-20 Democratic PAC funders for 2006-06.
MINORITY RIGHTS HAVA LOBBYISTS
1. NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.
2. National Council of La Raza
3. Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF)
DISABILITY RIGHTS HAVA LOBBYISTS
1. American Foundation for the Blind
2. The ARC of the United States
3. National Disability Rights Network
4. Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
5. United Cerebral Palsy Association
Black Box Voting has been unable to locate the lobbying disclosure forms
for the American Association of Persons with Disabilities (AAPD)
featuring the vocal Jim Dickson, nor did we find any disclosure forms
for the National Federation for the Blind (NFB), the group that took $1
million from Diebold. Misfiled? Misnamed? Overlooked? Omitted?
Link for NFB $1 million from Diebold:
COUNTY GOVERNMENT HAVA LOBBYING
1. Riverside County, Calif.
2. San Diego County, Calif.
3. Ventura County, Calif.
4. Miami-Dade County, FL
INDUSTRY & BUSINESS HAVA LOBBYISTS
3. Election Systems & Software
6. Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs
7. US Business & Industry Council
8. Assocation of Technology Act Projects
Not found on lobbying forms pushing HAVA: The SAIC, the ITAA, and Diebold.
Diebold Election Systems Inc does not show up on the 2001-02 HAVA
lobbying forms, but did lobby for elections issues in 2004 and 2005.
Also notably missing are the firms referenced by R. Doug Lewis of "The
Election Center" in an August 2003 meeting. In this tape recorded
meeting, he said that HAVA was put into place by an election systems
task force which included Lockheed, Northrop-Grumman, EDS, and Accenture.
Of these, only Accenture shows up the lobbying forms, and there is no
entity called Election anything, except for Election System & Software
and another company, election.com, which lobbied for Internet voting.
(See Chapter 8 of Black Box Voting for more on the Saudi-owned
election.com, which was later taken over by Accenture -
http://www.blackboxvoting.org/bbv_chapter-8.pdf - See Chapter 16 for
more information on the tape recorded meeting:
What about Choicepoint? Choicepoint says it didn't lobby for HAVA.
Choicepoint says it hasn't had any involvement in elections.
The lobbying forms don't show lobbying for voting machines, but a
lobbying firm called Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations filed a
registration form in 2002 indicating they planned to lobby for "Election
Reform" on behalf of Choicepoint. Muddying things up, no 2002 lobbying
form appeared showing that they did. In 2001, however, a lobbying form
clearly puts Choicepoint in the middle of HAVA lobbying, showing that
Choicepoint was involving itself in lobbying for the voter registration
component of HAVA.
Choicepoint has repeatedly stated that they have "no involvement
whatsoever" in elections, and in rebuttal to a controversial article
that appeared for a short while on OpEd News, Choicepoint came on to
deny that they lobbied for HAVA. More on Choicepoint here:
Choicepoint, a controversial database broker, clearly cannot state that
it has "no involvement in elections."
Choicepoint stakeholder Donna Curling, wife of Choicepoint chief Doug
Curling, has continued to fund election reform lobbying by providing
funding for some of the activists working on the Holt Bill.
THEY THOUGHT DRE VOTING MACHINES WOULD HELP THEM BUILD THE DEMOCRATIC BASE
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2007 @ 7:04 am PT...
* You can fix an early spate of faulty printing machines by attending town meetings, and running/campaigning vigorously as/for honest county clerks who will hold vendors' feet to the fire. They can't be faulty for ever; ATM machines have been reliable for years.
* You can file a law suit (show up at the state house!) to make sure full VVPAT recounts are conducted when indicated by the new federal law.
* What are you going to do when Holt's office "gives in" to wiping out DREs, and his bill loses 1/3 of the less than 200 votes it has now, and we end up with
We are so close to having a dramatic and effective shift towards accountability in our elections.
Think about it.
Q: What scenario are you concerned about?
A: A single vendor or programmer flipping votes programmatically, particularly in a DRE machine which report votes electronically.
Q: If such fraud were perpetrated, would HR-811 detect it?
A: Yes, if would definitely detect it in a very high percentage of precincts in which the fraud had an affect.
Note: Those readers who have experience with the 90+ year old field of manufacturing quality control statistics will feel very comfortable with the above statement.
Q: When detected, would there be a way to associate such fraud with the vendor, equipment model or software release on which it was based?
A: Yes. Not only will the findings of initial samples be such that the general public will have no difficulty appreciating a fraudulent "drift" caused by one vendor, model or software release, but the full paper ballot recount required would make such correlations irrefutable.
Q: What about statements being made about "confusion", "printer-malfunction" and "language being interpreted liberally by the states".
A: Think about these statements. Now think about the arguments against addressing global warming. "Confusion among scientists". "Complicated relationship between climate and human activity". "Not enough thermometers have been used to figure out if the earth is even warming! Most of them were located near cities!". Sounds awfully familiar to me.
Commenters: Listen to your own political realities. Think about the sour assessments of congress contained among these comments. If you believe them, you won't be surprise that a quality voting integrity bill such as HR-811 is having tough going, even in a (slimly) Democratic congress. A non-DRE law will never pass. There is too much industry influence and government embarrassment involved.
Have some Passion about this issue? Focus on learning whether the language in HR-811 is really full of holes. (It is not, and any States that are asserting so will not be able to act on such early interpretations.) Focus on learning how to be an HR-811 watchdog in your community, making sure any lapse in meeting its provisions end up in court.
Support HR-811 so that physical records of huge portions of our public votes will no longer go missing. For the first time since the advent of computerized voting, HR-811 would ensure that for each and every vote, the voter will leave behind a paper ballot that they see with their own eyes, and that can be counted by people rather than by computers.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2007 @ 7:51 am PT...
You say, "You can file a law suit (show up at the state house!) to make sure full VVPAT recounts are conducted when indicated by the new federal law." Well it's no longer a VVPAT according to Holt. It's now a paper ballot although with Holt allowing the use of DREs the paper ballot is not necessarily the ballot of record and with holes in the legislation it is not even the ballot of record for audits in some cases.
"What are you going to do when Holt's office "gives in" to wiping out DREs, and his bill loses 1/3 of the less than 200 votes it has now, and we end up with nothing?"
The Holt bill has no "Votes" yet. There are 198 co-sponsors. That is not an indication of how many votes the bill will get. It would probably be a lot more than that. Look at the recent history of elections in this country and the use of DREs. There is no way we should go into 2008 with DREs being used. The use of a vvpat does NOT ensure anything. In fact, Sarasota's 18,000+ undervotes would have happened anyway. A vvpat does not solve most of the problems with DREs.
Q: What scenario are you concerned about?
A: More problems with voting machines disenfranchising voters through vote flipping, huge undervote rates, and poor ballot design software, long lines at the polls, etc. etc.
Q: If such fraud were perpetrated, would HR-811 detect it?
A: You assume that the problems are all done on purpose. They aren't so there fraud is not the issue. There is nothing in Holt that would reliably detect problems on DREs. Voters tend not to look at the review screens and they don't look at the vvpat tapes.
Q: What about statements being made about "confusion", "printer-malfunction" and "language being interpreted liberally by the states".
A: There is a big difference between arguments made against global warming and those that you quote in your question. The difference is that all of the ones referring to voting are true.
You entreat people to have some passion on this issue. I agree and would suggest you read the bill and the arguments for amendments. Look at the loop-holes that exist in the bill and the suggestions for how those loop-holes can be closed.
And then you end up with your final statement that is patently false:
"for each and every vote, the voter will leave behind a paper ballot that they see with their own eyes, and that can be counted by people rather than by computers."
Please show me in Holt where it says that every voter will leave behind a paper ballot. The bill recognizes that vvpat printers may fail. No paper ballot when that happens. The bill has loop-holes that were never closed that allow counties to get out of doing the specified audit.
I'm sorry Mark but rather than being one of those who say that DREs are bad but Holt says we have to keep them so that's alright by me; I won't compromise my principles.
By the way, let's see what the final bill looks like before you go speaking about how great it is. Are you going to still support it when the effective date changes to 2010 or 2012? Will you still be supportive when the audit language is replaced by some weak "spot check"? Will you still be supportive when COTS disclosure is removed from the bill?
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2007 @ 5:36 pm PT...
Aren't the VVPAT smokey grey plastic doors of the EVM's left closed by the precinct workers, so most voters never see let alone review that their intended vote was properly registered on the tape. They don't know to open the door. Are reluctant to do so because they don't want to tamper or break the machine. Less scrupulous or unscrupulous poll workers would rather the doors be left closed, it just makes their job easier. If the tape runs out, jams, or registers no or the incorrect vote the poll worker does not have to attend to a problem (as the EVM's are prone to problems) the day at the polls zooms along much quicker if the voter does not see/scrutinize/review too much of the process. The less the voter sees/knows the better.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 3/18/2007 @ 5:53 pm PT...
Isn't that VVPAT paper thermal activated paper ?
That stuff is quite perishable. Ever leave a grocery receipt on the dashboard for a few days ? Come back and you can no longer read the receipt.
At tax time I need to add up lots of these expense receipts, to back that total out of income to find the taxable. The ones over 60 days old and on thermal paper
are nearly impossible to read. The new ATM transaction receipt off a Diebold cash machine are now all thermal paper, those are very difficult to read if left near the sun, heat, or as they age - near impossible too.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 11:44 am PT...
Thanks to those who've taken the time to comment on my post. Here are my thoughts on key points.
"the paper ballot is not necessarily the ballot of record" I agree that under HR811, for jurisdictions in which no ballot discrepancy was detected by the mandatory sampling, the paper ballot/VVPAT will not be the ballot of record for most precincts. I'm comfortable with that.
"The Holt bill has no 'Votes' yet." I do understand the difference between congressional sponsors and votes, I'm reflecting my understanding of the political climate. I'm no expert in that regard, however. If the political will is there, I highly recommend contacting other legislators with more expansive election reform bills (more on this below).
The use of a vvpat does NOT ensure anything. In fact, Sarasota's 18,000+ undervotes would have happened anyway I don't understand this comment. Had HR-811 been in effect, there would have been 18,000+ paper ballots to count, either from a DRE printer, or if the printers failed (a scenario I see in a number of comments), paper ballots that would have been by law provided immediately. No paperless votes are allowed under HR-811.
Q: What scenario are you concerned about? A: More problems with voting machines disenfranchising voters through vote flipping, huge undervote rates These two are addressed by HR-811, and poor ballot design software, long lines at the polls, etc. etc. You're correct that these issues are not addressed by HR-811, but that's because they are not auditability issues, and HR-811 is an auditability bill. Conyers, Clinton, Obama, et. al. have more comprehensive bills that address these areas.
VVPAT smokey grey plastic doors of the EVM's left closed by the precinct workers...the poll worker does not have to attend to a problem (as the EVM's are prone to problems) Covered VVPAT windows are not accessible, and do not meet requirements. The bill also requires that voters be instructed that their paper ballots "shall serve as the vote of record in all recounts and audits" and that they must "not leave the voting booth until [they] have confirmed" that it is accurate. As stated elsewhere, a broken printer means that the DRE is shut down, and traditional paper ballots provided to voters.
Isn't that VVPAT paper thermal activated paper? Good question. Earlier Holt bills did not stipulate paper durability, but the current HR-811 does. Jurisdictions with existing thermal VVPAT equipment are funded for replacement with suitable printers.
Here are some words in summary.
I'd love to see the US abandon electronic voting equipment as long as disabled voters are accomodated (it's possible; cf. the Vote-PAD). (Frankly, I'd also like to see a tossing aside the scanning machines used to count paper ballots while we're at it. Cf. Canada's 5-hour national hand-counting...)
As for HR-811, many of the differences I have with some of the folks posting comments (and blogging) have to do with the fact that to me, flawed or nefariously programmed computers are a major concern worth addressing in a congressional bill. I agree that there are other issues having to do with things that can occur in indivudual counties or polling places such as confusing ballots, long lines, etc. I consider the software threat, which can be hatched from a single computer desktop and distributed to thousands of polling places, to be a very high priority that's worth addressing by itself. HR-811 as it is does just that.
As some of you may know, Holt's VVPAT bills (2239, 550 and now 811) have all made a point of avoiding specific technology recommendations pro or con, and only addressing the required auditability of ballot equipment of any technology. As his office might not give up this principle, it might be worth including other legislators in the quest for DRE ban legislation. E.g. Hillary Clinton continues to offer a voting reform bill that both addresses paper trail issues, and goes far beyond it to address other aspects of fraud and disenfranchisement.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 3/19/2007 @ 6:08 pm PT...
You say: The use of a vvpat does NOT ensure anything. In fact, Sarasota's 18,000+ undervotes would have happened anyway I don't understand this comment. Had HR-811 been in effect, there would have been 18,000+ paper ballots to count, either from a DRE printer, or if the printers failed (a scenario I see in a number of comments), paper ballots that would have been by law provided immediately. No paperless votes are allowed under HR-811.
If the voters missed the undervotes on the review screen; or if the undervotes did not show on the review screen; the vvpat would have made no difference. Voters tend not to look at the vvpat.
"Q: What scenario are you concerned about? A: More problems with voting machines disenfranchising voters through vote flipping, huge undervote rates These two are addressed by HR-811, and poor ballot design software, long lines at the polls, etc. etc. You're correct that these issues are not addressed by HR-811, but that's because they are not auditability issues, and HR-811 is an auditability bill. Conyers, Clinton, Obama, et. al. have more comprehensive bills that address these areas."
HUH? These issues should be addressed by Holt. They are most certainly a result of the use of DREs. Holt is most certainly NOT just an auditability bill. You probably need to read the bill.
Covered VVPAT windows are not accessible, and do not meet requirements. The non-transparent covers on the vvpat on Diebold machines was put there as an insurance against people looking over the shoulder of blind voters. There are NO requirements that a cover cannot be put over the vvpat as long as it can be lifted by the voter.
Earlier Holt bills did not stipulate paper durability, but the current HR-811 does. Jurisdictions with existing thermal VVPAT equipment are funded for replacement with suitable printers. Suitable printers that do not exist. There is no present technology for the printers required by Holt. It could take years before these new printers are available.