Anonymous Blogger Offers Evidence-Free Claim That 'Left-Wing Activist' Academics and SoS Brunner 'Cooked Up' Report Results Showing All Buckeye State E-Voting Systems Vulnerable to Failure, Fraud, Easy Tampering...
By Brad Friedman on 12/16/2007, 2:21pm PT  

The anti-democracy faction of Ohio's GOP party launched an extraordinary assault on the state's elected Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, following the release (BRAD BLOG's full coverage here) of her landmark, independent study of e-voting systems on Friday.

Shamelessly (an inaccurately) writing on the Ohio Republican Party's blogsite, an unnamed writer posted the following opening to a critique of the $1.9 million bi-partisan study [strikethrough included in the original]:

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner found some left-wing activists academics to issue an expensive taxpayer-funded "study" criticizing Ohio's election system.

"Left-wing activists"? Incredible. And wrong. And slimy enough on its own --- never mind the rest of the blog item, which gets even worse, as posted by an unnamed election terrorist from the Ohio GOP --- to merit an immediate apology and retraction by the Ohio Republican party, along with the outing and firing of whoever the official was who wrote it...

For the record, the bi-partisan study, which the cowardly anonymous GOP Buckeye blogger labels as "biased," was the effort of several teams of world-class computer scientists and security experts from both the academic and the corporate worlds.

The teams of testers included corporate contingents from private firms such as Systest Labs, a company which had previously tested, and approved, the very same systems as meeting federal voting systems guidelines on behalf of the federal testing authorities, and as paid for by the voting machine companies themselves. Due to the apparent conflict of interest, their participation was much decried by Election Integrity advocates prior to the release of the findings.

MicroSolved, Inc., was another of the corporate firms that participated, as well as academic teams of computer scientists --- the so-called "left-wing activists," though the GOP blog fails to offer any evidence of the political bias of any team members in its disgraceful slash and burn reply --- who came from University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, and University of California at Santa Barbara. The project manager for the study was the Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus.

Moreover, when announcing the findings of the study at a press conference on Friday, Brunner was joined by Jon Husted, Ohio's Republican House Speaker "to show that the review of the report and any action taken on it will be done in a bipartisan way," according to the Columbus Dispatch. The Toledo Blade also noted Husted's participation in the presser, as meant "to send a signal to Ohioans that any attempt to swiftly react to the report's findings is not partisan."

As well, Brunner chose not to decertify any of the machines (as she could have, and arguably should have), but she instead determined to pass the 1000-page scientific study and her recommendations on to the Republican-majority Ohio General Assembly, along with the state's new Democratic Governor, to be the final arbiters of how the state should proceed in regard to its voting systems.

So the Ohio Secretary of State commissioned a $1.9 million study of the state's voting systems. Before it could commence, the study and its participants were approved by the Republican led Ohio legislature. And then some anonymous GOP blogger decides to undermine election integrity in his/her state by playing the politics of personal destruction because he/she doesn't like the results.

Those results, by the way, include the finding that a simple magnet, or even a personal digital assistant such as a Blackberry, can corrupt the votes of countless thousands of Ohio's voters --- both Democratic and Republican --- and that insiders, such as election officials, can change the results of any election they wish with impunity.

Yet, the democracy-hating Republicanist blogger then goes on to use the comments of several Ohio election officials --- who the blogger claims to be "Democrat" [sic] officials, ironically enough --- which were also included in the report, to make the ridiculous claim that the report was "biased."...

So was it "biased" in favor of Democrats? Apparently not, since the blogger goes on to offer comments of supposed Democratic officials included in it, who disagree with the bi-partisan scientific findings.

Was it "biased" against electronic voting machines? We'll presume that's the implication here (though it has nothing to do with the insipid "left-wing activist" slur) though it has apparently escaped the author of the piece that if anyone would have a bias here, it would be election officials, either Republican or "Democrat," who have put their careers on the line in buying and supporting the use of such machines in the first place. Not to mention Systest labs, which, after being paid by the vendor of the machines originally, was again testing those machines, in no small part against its own original findings.

The genius GOP blogger apparently doesn't understand that. Or, more likely, doesn't wish to point that out and would rather take cheap political shots rather than standing up for a free and fair and accurate election system in the state.

"Keep in mind, these are the views of a bipartisan panel of elections officials who actually get paid to administer elections (and the panel had a Democrat [sic] majority)," writes the anonymous Republican in regard to the snippets of dissent included in the report itself, before scurrilously concluding that Brunner "cooked up" the report:

Obviously, Jennifer Brunner cooked up this report to appease the fringe conspiracy groups who still think - despite dozens of investigations - that Ohio's 2004 presidential election was stolen.

The only thing stolen was $1.6 million of our tax dollars used to fund this colossal waste of paper.

Of course, the democracy-hating author forgot to mention that it was his/her own party's State Legislature that approved the funding for the study. But that, and any of the above other points, also likely didn't serve the agenda of J. Kenneth Blackwell whoever wrote the offensive blog item.

As usual, partisan politics comes before --- way before --- American democracy for Ohio's Republican Party.

And just to be clear, we take strong exception to a great number of the recommendations made by Brunner in light of the report's findings. We outlined a few of those major concerns on Friday in our initial coverage of the study. We have also been critical of her failure, since taking office, to take action on myriad serious and well-documented reports of corruption, malfeasance, misfeasance, and likely election fraud in her state.

But all of those concerns are because we are interested in accountable, transparent, free and fair democracy, not because we feel they will benefit any particular party over another.

We've said, and written, countless times that Election Integrity is not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong. The Ohio Republican Party apparatchiks, and their shameful anonymous blogger, are simply wrong to have posted the item they did, and to have made those particularly outrageous and unsupportable attacks on Brunner and this long overdue bi-partisan study.

As mentioned, those responsible for the posting should be outed and removed from their posts immediately. The piece should be retracted, and an apology should be issued forthwith. But these are Ohio Republicans, so we doubt such responsible, accountable, ethical behavior is even a possibility.

For the record, here's a short video of Brunner explaining the findings and recommendations from the Evaluation & Validation of Election-Related Equipment, Standards & Testing (EVEREST) report, as posted by her office on Friday...