READER COMMENTS ON
"'Daily Voting News' For November 16, 2007"
(10 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 11/16/2007 @ 11:15 pm PT...
This is the text of some letters I sent to all of the New Mexico County Clerks, and Secretary of State Mary Herrera (whose website is maintained by ES&S). I was contact by a rep from the voting security advocates United Voters of New Mexico, and he said "Your action may help open the way for our state to negotiate downward these charges or eliminate them entirely." Good stuff, but it doesn't seem like anythign has changed witht he contracts yet.
Dear Secretary of State Herrera,
I urge you to contact all county clerks in counties where ES&S tabulators are used, and recommend that the counties neither sign maintenance contracts for the machines, nor purchase new equipment from ES&S or other voting machine companies. Electronic voting machines, using partisan and covert software, are inherently unsafe, regardless of the propaganda that ES&S distributes. All across the country, companies like ES&S and Diebold are perpetrating fraud on our democratic process.
Do the right thing. Do not sell our votes to the highest bidder.
I am organizing a statewide campaign to expose the danger that electronic voting machines and tabulators pose to our democracy. I will be contacting the County Clerks of all New Mexico counties to demand that the relationship between ES&S and our local governments be terminated.
I would suggest that having a company like ES&S maintain your website exhibits a conflict of interest.
Sincerely, and in Peace
Candidate, US Congress New Mexico CD 1
Dear New Mexico County Clerks,
I have spoken with Leonard Piazza, who is the Director of Elections in Luzerne County, PA. Luzerne County experienced the same situation with ES&S concerning maintenance contracts for their electronic voting machines. Mr. Piazza suggested that you look carefully at the purchase orders involved in the contracts with ES&S and keep the following questions in mind:
1) Did either the state or individual counties negotiate warranty/service contracts with ES&S? It sounds to me like they didn't. If they didn't, then they are not obligated to sign anything or pay anything now, and can repair them individually as needed.
2) If a warranty contract was negotiated, was there a fixed price involved? Is that price what ES&S is claiming they now require?
3) If the state negotiated the purchase order for the machines, and the state negotiated a warranty/service contract, did the counties knowingly sign off on that service contract? If not, then it may be the state's responsibility to pay the cost of servicing, and not the counties.
4) Has ES&S acted in bad faith with these service contracts? I wonder why the servicing (and the costs) seem to be such a surprise to the county clerks. If it can be shown that ES&S acted in bad faith, can these contracts be nullified by court order? I ask this because in PA, ES&S took the opportunity of counties needing machines right away to say "We'll talk about negotiating the service contract later, let's just get you your machines now." Mr. Piazza insisted all along that the service contracts were too expensive, but when they came back to renegotiate these contracts, ES&S refused to lower their price. It seems like ES&S is pressuring counties to make a quick decision (Dec 1) on these maintenance contracts, and thus may have an expectation that counties will overlook the language in the initial purchase orders.
5) Given that ES&S has had problems with sourcecode and vote flipping in the past, how are we as a public supposed to regard this obvious manipulation of our tax dollars? If we can't trust ES&S to negotiate in good faith, how can we trust their equipment to accurately count the votes? There is strong evidence that votes were manipulated in the 2006 CD 1 race with Madrid and Wilson. I'll provide that evidence if you desire.
The letter that Mr. Piazza wrote to the Pennsylvania State Elections Commissioner can be found in .pdf form here: http://www.bradblog.com/...ToDeptOfState_071907.pdf
Mr. Piazza was able to save Luzerne County alone almost $300,000 through careful interpretation of the language in the original ES&S purchase orders. He has indicated to me that he would make himself available for questions.
My name is Jason Call, and I am a candidate for US Congress in CD 1. I am of the firm opinion, based on extensive evidence, that any electronic machine either receiving or counting our votes is inherently unsafe. I advocate a shift to entirely hand counted ballots, under bipartisan scrutiny. My website page http://www.call4democrac....org/article.asp?AID=760 gives my perspectives on electronic voting machines and tabulators, and I have been studying this issue for years.
Sincerely, and in Peace
Candidate, US Congress, New Mexico CD 1
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2007 @ 3:42 am PT...
We don't have these types of problems in our county, and our county has ES&S. But then the election staff in our county does all the programming. That being said, if someone is now wanting to side-step maintenance of equipment, the next thing you will be complaining about is how the equipment is not maintained properly. For me, it's not about the equipment. There should be more emphasis on the management of elections--policies, procedures and security (cameras, logs, passwords, etc.) I continue to be entertained by your paranoia. Good day to you.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2007 @ 7:24 am PT...
Rawstory is saying US is urging Russia not to ban election monitors. Our very own Georgia passed a law to bar watchers to make sure the machines started on 0 to keep Cynthia McKinny from winning.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 11/17/2007 @ 8:39 am PT...
The fact that your county does their own ballot programming is great. If only all counties did that they would save a lot of tax payers money.
The question is if your county can do that then why can't they do their own maintenance? That's the question for every county in the US. Oklahoma did it in the late 80's early 90's. They buy parts from ES&S but they do all of their own maintenance.
You say that for you it's not about the equipment. It's all about management of elections. That sounds a lot like the vendors always pointing to human error and never accepting the fact that their equipment is not accurate and reliable, amongst other faults.
I'm not following your statement about paranoia?? Is pointing out corporate greed a sign of paranoia? If it is then I guess I am paranoid.
Anyway, thank you for your comments.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2007 @ 12:13 pm PT...
If electronics are still being used to tabulate the vote this whole argument needs to fall apart.
I mean come on, get rid of ES&S and buy a printer and print some paper ballots.
Seems to me that if your going to allow the state to program black boxes to use electronics to tabulate the vote, you just eliminated oversight completely. So your going to save a few million dollars on eliminating public oversight and replace that with Trillions of dollars of debt by further corruption in the deepest recess's of government.
These electronic tabulation devices in ANY FORM are UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
It matters not who "Programs them." If all these SOS's are incapable of leadership to do their sworn oath, then there needs to be federal mandated law to eliminate them to use UNCONSTITUTIONAL electronic tabulation devices.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2007 @ 3:42 pm PT...
I have this on my campaign website. If elected, I will introduce legislation that bans all electronic devices in elections at local, state, and federal levels. Read here: http://www.call4democrac....org/article.asp?AID=760
Our Secretary of State, Mary Herrera, is corrupt (her website is maintained by ES&S if that tells you anything), and I am going to try to take her down if she doesn't move on this situation with the maintenance contracts.
I now have a local radio journalist who is going to be finding out for me whether Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse intends to look into the purchase orders as I have indicated in my letters above. So far, not one of the New Mexico county clerks has contacted Leonard Piazza of Luzerne County, PA. I'm guessing that Herrera may be doing her best to squash this. I'm going to be following up tomorrow with the SoS office in Santa Fe.
Candidate, US Congress, New Mexico CD 1
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2007 @ 4:47 pm PT...
I've been out having fun this weekend. Our state laws don't allow the counties to maintain the equipment; there are pretty strict rules and security in place. It's all performed with log-ins to enter the warehouse and in front of cameras. An election staff person must also be present to witness the process. I don't really like paper ballots. Even back in the 20s, it was proven that people couldn't count accurately, there's a lot more human error with paper ballots. And back then, those counting ballots use to put lead under their fingernails so they could compromise the ballots. I guess we've come full circle now that you people really want to go back that far in time.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2007 @ 6:27 pm PT...
Spin it any way you want Evoter. Electronic machines exist to steal elections.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2007 @ 10:09 pm PT...
I'm glad you trust a group of individuals who work for the county to oversee your elections, and that you trust they are doing so correctly. That's up to you, of course, and it makes you a sucker. I'll take transparent democracy any day.
If that makes me "paranoid", then I'll just point out the irony of your making that claim about folks like John Gideon and myself --- who put our name on everything we do --- from behind an anonymous user name.
That's rather amusing. But you keep spouting off those same tired and debunked voting machine company/election official talking points all ya like. The cowardly disinformation you forward here --- too paranoid to stand behind them with your real name --- is less than impressive.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 11/18/2007 @ 10:17 pm PT...
BTW, E-Voter, which county in "your state" of Colorado is it that does it's own programming on ES&S systems?
And have those ES&S systems actually been recertified yet? Because, as you know, those ES&S DREs in "your state" of Colorado, are currently not allowed for use in elections at all.