READER COMMENTS ON
"Obama Camp Sends 'Urgent Request for Assistance' to Louisiana SoS as Voters Find Party Registration Switched"
(39 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 12:48 am PT...
Screw that wasteful electronic shit...paper and pen still work in my precinct, and district for poll books... I don't care how big your district is, SET IT UP RIGHT , QUITE COMPLAINING YOU OBFUSCATORS. We can do this! Shit people are dying.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 4:20 am PT...
Hmmm, The more people registered as indy (Lou Dobbs anyone ?), the easier it will be to swing the elections electronically by voting for them that are registered but didn't vote.
They can do this easily, nobody ever gets to go back and recount the shit accurately after it gets reported to the state, do they ?
Or if they happen to let you, it is done so that it is as miserable as possible to keep track of.
President Corporate Lunatic wins !
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 4:30 am PT...
It's not necessarily a matter of "privatizing" the function of creating a good statewide database, it's just a matter of getting it right. In California the statewide voter registration database is the responsibility of the Secretary of State and for the first few months of 2006 their database was incorrectly rejecting up to 25 percent of submitted registrations which included spaces between the letters in a name, such as De Leon, or a two-word last name that wasn't hyphenated.
It has long been known this would be a problem regardless of whether database is created and maintained by a government or private entity, as discussed in this October 2006 article, "Voter registration lists may foil voters." http://pantagraph.com/ar...3fafde65b86269691706.txt
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 4:45 am PT...
By the way, California's Statewide Voter Registration Database was created in 2006 by the office of the Secretary of State during the Bruce McPherson administration. At the time, Deborah Bowen was chair of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee. She wrote this letter to McPherson, asking "Now that you’re aware that registration forms from tens of thousands of eligible voters have been rejected pursuant to the McPherson-USDOJ Agreement, what are you doing to re-evaluate and revise your data matching system?"
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 7:06 am PT...
I can hardly wait to vote 3/4. ES&S is supplying machines and software for our primary. We've received our voting place cards, and reasonably expect to vote. We hope it'll be for the same party we've belonged to for 25 years in this house and at the same voting location.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 7:42 am PT...
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 7:53 am PT...
... mr.ed said...
"We hope it'll be for the same party we've belonged to for 25 years in this house and at the same voting location."
Don't "hope"... Check it out!
Then double check it!
And get the results in writing.
The written response won't help on election day proper, but it may indicate a problem in time to fix it beforehand... and it will serve as evidence afterwards.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 8:09 am PT...
In the California situation, I'd like to know the source of the problematic poll books' registered voters' lists. Do the precincts work from printouts or computer terminals? Are the lists printed and distributed, or do they access the latest version of the registration database online or what?
Taking this apart piece by piece should be instructive. The voters were confused, but somebody must understand clearly how the errors occurred. I can't believe it will be that hard to figure out. However, I think the odds are evenly divided as to whether it will be called a glitch, hiccup, pollworker error, or honest mistake.
And, as Desi said to Luci, somebody's gonna have some 'splainin' to do.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 9:13 am PT...
Brad, since you are apparently one of the only sources for news about election problems, how might the eventual outcome of the LA County debacle affect CA's final results outcome?
And ... I guess I need to follow up on exactly what happened to the voters in my county who claimed their registrations had been mixed up on the voter roster, and so chose to vote provisionally rather than on a ballot not for the party they thought they were registered with.
As a matter of fact, if other citizens throughout CA read this, you might be interested to follow up on this very issue yourselves wherever it is you live. Since this is a very close primary election for the candidates, something like this could definitely sway the outcome for one candidate over another.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 9:14 am PT...
This isn't a new - most of us more or less expected it! I am glad Obama is aware and hopefully will make some waves. For a candidate running for office, it's tough enough on the campaign trail, spending millions of dollars, giving speaches debates, etc. to only have thousands of earned votes flipped, destroyed, oops - gone!! Sometimes things have to hit rock bottom before it can be improved.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 9:25 am PT...
Finally...a major player courageous enough to talk. Corporate Hill just hates a caucus..Harder to steal them. I have gotten 3 or 4 calls from her campaign...One was outsourced ..could hardly speak English. Obama drew 7,000 in Bangor ME at the civic center. Anybody noticing the size of crowds in your area? We should hit the media with that.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 9:42 am PT...
HAVA wasn't just about paperless voting, it was also to disenfranchise on every level possible.
Ought people be checking in with their county offices about now to see how the system has them registered? If wrong, see that it's corrected, if right, get some kind of documentation that as of that date, they were registered as _____?
Maybe if election officials see people forced to pursue avenues that cause them even more work, they won't be so inclined to jump to corporate "technology."
That would have to be something binding, maybe a copy of the registration signed by the county authority, with a seal; notarized.... is there some way to create a paper trail on registration ahead of time to subvert the outsourcing of registration rolls to corporations?
On that thought, in the states I've lived in, I've been given a card that shows my district, where to vote, and my party ID. What's happening at the polls when/if this is presented and people are told it is not correct- even though it was generated by the "system"?
In other words, now that the problem appears to be widespread, how to PROACTIVELY fight it? Ideas, anyone? I'm not a fan of making more work for some good people in elections, and there certainly are many, but when massive flaws in the "system" sold to them crop up, I don't see much of a way out of it.
If Obama would carry this further, and urge people to check before the primaries, general election, etc., now that would begin to get people's attention and rock the establishment boat.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 10:19 am PT...
Do you, Brad, John Gideon, or someone else have a sense whether this is malfeasance, misfeasance, or some combination? This is just so widespread it boggles the mind.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 10:47 am PT...
After watching the Sunday mourning crap, I just hope that if this superdelagate shit tries to shove their candidate down the PEOPLE'S throat, Obama has enough savy to hold Martin Luther King Style Marches and isn't a capitulator like Kerry was!
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 10:57 am PT...
This is about the PEOPLE'S WILL, not playing nice in the korporate sandbox.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 11:18 am PT...
Regarding the ongoing complaints about "privatizing" the election process (as mentioned above) you MUST understand this: There is not a county in the country that has the resources to build their own voter registration system or voting system. In fact, they also can't build their own database software, accounting systems, email systems, documents filing systems, welfare systems, or any other systems. With very few exceptions, ALL government I.T. infrastructure is "outsourced" and has been for a decade or two, at least. Election systems are no exception. So demonizing "private" systems as if there were an alternative is a futile waste of time.
The critical thing is oversight. System building is outsourced, but must be managed and monitored by dedicated and reliable government employees who know the requirements and the laws and will enforce them. There's where the problem lies and where efforts to correct the problem will pay off. Voter registration and voting systems will always rely, to some extent, on custom or off-the-shelf software and hardware supplied by private companies. The critical factor in making them reliable and accurate is the government officials who use them. I would suggest that most or all of the problems observed during this current election cycle are the fault of lazy, incompetent or negligent election officals, not the tools they purchased to do the job.
The best construction tools in the world become weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a negligent carpenter.
Hold your election officials accountable.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 11:27 am PT...
Redeem yourself Hillary. We women have waited a long time yes, but the moment is not quite right. If I hear another woman is voting for you, for simply the selfish reason they want to see a woman in the office before they die, I'm gonna PUKE! The beauty of being a woman is we do know how to wait for the right moment. Get on the right side of the fight in the senate, girl!
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 11:52 am PT...
Right on, Ancient!!! It's been so disheartening all these years to listen to white guys talk about how they think only white guys should be president. YUCK!
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 11:55 am PT...
Uuuhhhhhmmm, that would be... no telecom imunity.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 12:30 pm PT...
Jack Nauti said:
There is not a county in the country that has the resources to build their own voter registration system or voting system.
As I understand, Oklahoma builds their own voting system. As VotersUnite.org's database shows, there are no problem reported out of that state for years. Just a coincidence? We report, you decide...
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 12:32 pm PT...
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 12:39 pm PT...
Can't we start helping each other instead of taking this to a bitter end?
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 2:29 pm PT...
Jack Nauti #16, Brad #20
While Jack is correct for most counties, Los Angeles County, the largest elections jurisdiction in the US, built their own voting system. It's called the "Micro Tally System" (MTS). It's ancient. It's early '80s technology originally designed to count punchcard ballots but modified to read the "Ink A Vote" ballot. It was not part of Deborah Bowen's original Top to Bottom Review but was finally examined and given "conditional certification" in time for this election. The part of the system the public sees is the Ink A Vote ballot. Those ballots are marked, then taken to Registrar HQ where it is scanned and tabulated on the MTS system.
The most press was given to the squabble between Bowen and ES&S, but that was only concerning ES&S's AutoMark voting system which LA county, and others, use for the disabled. Less than one percent of LA county's vote is done on the AutoMark. The real tabulation is done on the ancient Micro Tally System.
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 2:49 pm PT...
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 3:28 pm PT...
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 3:38 pm PT...
BTW, the InkaVote-PLUS scanners in the LA county polling places, manufactured by ES&S, merely check for over-votes, they do not "tally" (count) the ballots. The count is done on the home-grown MTS in Norwalk.
COMMENT #27 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 5:02 pm PT...
I am a certified election commissioner in Louisiana. We did have complaints about party registration yesterday but EVERY ONE was a person who had been voting Republican for years and had never changed their registration FROM Democrat.
This was our first closed primary and lots of people were furious that they had to chose between two candidates they despise. We had some refuse to vote.
COMMENT #28 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 5:02 pm PT...
Confabulator #23 -
You're wrong. LA County uses the audio portion of ES&S InkaVote system for the disabled. At my precinct, the machine wasn't working, as wires were hanging out of it and both the poll workers and an election inspector from the county were scared to touch it for fear of being electrocuted.
Had meant to cover that (and still hopefully will, with pictures), but have had to prioritize it down given all the other more notable disasters.
Of course, it didn't much matter because at the time I showed up, no voter had so far asked to use it. Other than me.
It should also be noted that "the squabble between Bowen and ES&S" as you called it, was because ES&S refused to turn the source code over to Bowen, as required by law.
"It was not part of Deborah Bowen's original Top to Bottom Review" because ES&S refused to cooperate. Once they did, it became clear that their system was as simple to hack as any other.
And yes, Conny McCormack had previously been using the machines to tally votes and give those results to the media, though she didn't tell her voters that.
COMMENT #29 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 5:48 pm PT...
Let me see if I understand what part of my post you believe is wrong, Brad: Are you saying that the Ink A Vote ballots are not collected and tallied by LA county's Micro Tally System (MTS)? If so, I suggest you call the office of the LA registrar and ask them about it.
COMMENT #30 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 6:11 pm PT...
When I wrote "It was not part of Deborah Bowen's original Top to Bottom Review" I'm talking about LA County's Micro Tally System, not ES&S.
Let me make this clear: LA's Ink A Vote ballots are counted by the Micro Tally System.
COMMENT #31 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 6:28 pm PT...
Confabulator #29 -
I understand perfectly well how the ballots are counted in LA County. Yes, they are tallied by the MTS system at the county headquarters in Norwalk.
Until she was previously busted, however, McCormack HAD in fact been tallying them for her "snap tallies" at the precinct, using the ES&S InkaVote scanner. She used those tallies when reporting to the media, after repeatedly denying that the machines were actually tallying votes at the precinct. They were.
I suspect, that she got caught and has cut and run from her job, that they are no longer tallying at the precinct, only checking for overvotes.
The Diebold GEMS 2.0 she had previously likely been using as well, is also off the table for use since Bowen required that it actually be certified instead of just used as Conny wanted with no body ever checking to see if it worked.
LA County is very lucky she is gone, though Diebold will have to change their sales brochures to remove her picture I guess. Unfortunately, we've received King County WA's equally dubious registrar in her place for the moment.
And just so you understand I don't give a damn about the partisanship involved here, the LA County's Democratic Board of Supervisors should be ashamed of themselves for hiring Conny in the first place, and allowing her to hire Dean Logan in the second place.
COMMENT #32 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 9:03 pm PT...
According to the Pew Center on the States, under Electionline.org, Election Administration, Oklahoma uses ES&S optical scan and a vote-by-phone system by IVS.
Go here: http://www.pewcenteronth...info.aspx?category=admin
and click on "Voting Systems 2007"
COMMENT #33 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 9:35 pm PT...
Oklahoma purchased their hardware from ES&S and then threw them out of the state and took over all of their own programming for their own elections.
BTW, Pew Center is also busy giving money to Conny McCormack, as if Electionline.org wasn't bad enough.
But that's an entirely different issue.
COMMENT #34 [Permalink]
said on 2/10/2008 @ 9:50 pm PT...
I wasn't aware of that. Thanks for the update.
COMMENT #35 [Permalink]
said on 2/11/2008 @ 9:06 am PT...
If you do not want California's Statewide Database on Voter Registration to be privatized, you better talk to Secretary of State Debra Bowen real quick because she has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the project.
Her website says, "The Secretary of State established the VoteCal Registration Database Project to develop and implement this federally mandated statewide voter registration list. The next major step in this project is the procurement of a vendor to develop this system."
See here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/votecal_home.htm
COMMENT #36 [Permalink]
said on 2/11/2008 @ 1:20 pm PT...
Gee, couldn't one of those advanced classes at one of those big universities in California take the voter registration database on as a project, money to go to the school's computer science program?
Why does this stuff have to be outsourced to private industry?
COMMENT #37 [Permalink]
said on 2/11/2008 @ 1:47 pm PT...
COMMENT #38 [Permalink]
said on 2/16/2008 @ 9:41 pm PT...
Badger #36, that IS a great idea. I emailed Secretary Bowen about it just now. Maybe I will call later too.
Emailing is so easy and anyone can do it in a few minutes. Mine is probably not professional sounding but what is important is that these officials hear SOMETHING from us!
Subject: Calif. Statewide Database of Voter Registration should not be privatized
Dear Sec. Bowen,
I have been pleased with the actions you have taken to protect the integrity of elections
and take a meaningful stand against "black box" voting. Equally important is that the creation and maintenance of any centralized voter registration database be handled in a publicly auditable manner.
I read recently that you have issued an Request For Proposals to looking for private vendors to create a statewide voter registration database.
I was reading a discussion online about this and came across a very good suggestion: that this type of project be done by a public university with the money going to fund their computer science/public policy/whatever programs.
This would be an excellent way to
1. maintain the integrity and confidence in public elections;
2. get advanced, expert work product in a transparent environment;
3. get the project executed with the product quality as the primary motivating factor, not
maximization of profit;
4. direct public money back into the public sector where it benefits many more people
directly, and countless more people indirectly, than if it were directed to the private
sector, where it would only enrich investors;
5. get off the privatization bandwagon that is currently hollowing out our public services
infrastructure and bleeding our tax dollars away; and
It would be nice if you were to take the initiative and contact the universities
pro-actively and give them preferential consideration for this project.
The auto-reply suggests: "If you're writing with regard to an urgent or time sensitive issue, I’d suggest calling the division listed below that deals with the subject you’re asking about...
... Elections Division (916) 657-2166 ..."
COMMENT #39 [Permalink]
said on 2/17/2008 @ 11:26 pm PT...
One last point for Confabulator that I missed replying to (but meant to). Way late, and perhaps never seen by him, but at least by history.
LA County does NOT use the AutoMARK for the disabled. It does not use the AutoMARK at all.
We use the InkaVote Plus for non-disabled voters and the InkaVote Plus audio system for disabled voters. (Though it seems it the audio portion of InkaVote Plus that is disabled as frequently as the voters may be).
And yes, after InkaVote Plus tallies the ballots at the polling places, they are sent back to Norwalk for the "official" tally, though previously the official didn't matter since Conny had given the InkaVote precinct tallies out as her span tallies, without bothering to tell the voters that that was what she was doing.
Couldn't be happier she's gone. Even if her damage to the election system lives on to this day in this county.