Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org
Today our friends at VoterAction announced an action alert to ask the United State's Congress to take action to investigate "the increasing influence and control that private companies wage in the way we conduct our elections and to determine whether certain US voting systems companies have committed crimes under federal and state anti-fraud statutes which should be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution".
VoterAction is asking that you sign a petition to congress.
Their statement follows on the heels of evidence revealed in Dan Rather's stunning investigative report on "The Trouble with Touchscreens" (complete video now posted here) and charges that the report "raises serious questions as to whether US voting systems companies have engaged in commercial fraud by knowingly marketing defective products to jurisdictions throughout the country."
VOTER ACTION CALLS FOR A FULL CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION OF VOTING SYSTEMS COMPANIES
Public Call Issued Following New Evidence Revealed by Dan Rather Reports - "The Trouble with Touch Screens"
Group Says Voting Systems Companies May Have Engaged in Commercial Fraud
Voter Action today released the following statement calling for a full congressional investigation into the new evidence revealed by Dan Rather Reports - "The Trouble with Touch Screens", which aired last night on HDnet and can now be accessed via this link.
Last night's broadcast by Dan Rather Reports of "The Trouble with Touch Screens" raises serious questions as to whether US voting systems companies have engaged in commercial fraud by knowingly marketing defective products to jurisdictions throughout the country. It also serves as a wake-up call to the nation of the dangers associated with the outsourcing of key election functions to private vendors. Voter Action today calls on the United States Congress to launch a full investigation into the increasing influence and control that private companies wage in the way we conduct our elections and to determine whether certain US voting systems companies have committed crimes under federal and state anti-fraud statutes which should be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.
This investigation should include a focus on the following revelations emerging from "The Trouble with Touch Screens":
* The report quotes an employee of a contractor for the ES&S voting machine company who was sent to overhaul operations at a factory in the Philippines as saying that 15,000 or more potentially defective voting machines were shipped from that factory to the United States. Did the ES&S voting machine company knowingly market defective voting machines to jurisdictions throughout the United States? Did the company's subcontractors knowingly market defective parts in the manufacturing of these machines? Have any of the other voting machine manufacturers or their subcontractors knowingly marketed defective products for conducting our elections?
* The report cites the 2006 election for Florida's 13th congressional district as an example of the problems with electronic voting machines. Where did the potentially defective voting machines assembled at a Manila factory get used and in which elections? Are there previously unknown discrepancies in those election outcomes? Are those machines still in use?
* The report cites seven former employees of Sequoia, the company that made punch card ballots used in the 2000 election in Florida, as saying that in 2000, the company began printing ballots on cheaper and possibly defective paper. Did the Sequoia company knowingly market defective paper for the printing of ballots in the 2000 election in Florida? Have any of the other voting systems companies knowingly marketed defective paper for the printing of ballots and, if so, in which other US elections have voters cast their votes on such ballots?
* The report demonstrates that election officials in this country increasingly rely on private vendors to carry out key functions of our democracy - from the printing of ballots to the counting and recording of our votes. This outsourcing extends to other critical aspects of the way we conduct our elections, including the maintenance of voter registration databases, the use of electronic poll books, and the means by which we recount and audit our elections. What is the relationship between election officials and vendors? How prevalent is the pattern of election officials becoming employees of the private vendors after leaving their public positions or becoming otherwise compromised? What standards, if any, are in place in the nation to avoid actual conflicts or the appearance of conflicts between the public and private interests at stake in this arena?
The American public deserves answers to these questions and others emerging from this report. Congress should get to the bottom of this and should determine whether any private voting systems companies have committed commercial fraud in the marketing of their products to election officials around the country. Further, it should fully investigate the threat to our democracy posed by the outsourcing of key election functions to private companies, and it should take all necessary measures to reclaim our elections for the public domain.
We urge voters across the nation to join us in this public call by signing our petition here:
For further review of the performance of voting system companies, see: http://www.votersunite.o...IrresponsibleVendors.pdf