ALSO: Unverifiable, Decertified, Virus-Prone, Failed E-Voting Systems Set for Use in Hoosier State Primary Tomorrow...
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2008, 1:23pm PT  

[Ed Note: Please see the update at the bottom of this article, for the state's explanation concerning the 1.1 million voter records discussed in the following.]

The Republican War on Voting continues apace.

In addition to the recent, outrageously bad decision by the Supreme Court to approve Indiana's draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions, sure to keep thousands of legal voters from even being able to cast votes in tomorrow's important Primary Election --- despite the state's inability to offer up a single instance of in-person polling place voter impersonation that's ever occurred during the state's entire history (as we've covered here, here and here, for example) --- another 1.1 million voters have now been purged from the voting rolls altogether, reports Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, as based on the Hoosier State's own data.

Moreover, the state will use unverifiable touch-screen style voting systems across the state. One widely used system, made by MicroVote, will be used despite having been decertified, and two other systems, made by ES&S and Diebold, have been found vulnerable to undetectable vote-flipping viruses by several reputable universities.

According to Harris' report...

In April 2008 when Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced the release of "record high" voter registration rolls, with 4.3 million voters set to vote in the Tuesday May 6 primary, he didn't mention that a whopping 1,134,427 voter registrations have been canceled.

Now, the voter rolls are supposed to be tidied up prior to each election. Indiana's last general election was in Nov. 2006, and they have had a slew of special and general elections since then. So how have 1.1 million voters --- 26 percent of the current statewide list --- escaped the regularly scheduled voter registration cleanup squads? Who are these million voters and where do they come from?

One quarter-million of them come from just two northwestern Indiana counties: Lake and Porter. Lake County reports purging 137,164 voters and neighboring Porter County canceled out 124,958 voters.

Lake County, the home of Gary, Indiana, has spawned the Jackson Five and a great old musical (The Music Man) and and has been referred to as "the second most liberal county in America." Lake County has one of the heaviest concentrations of African-American voters that you'll find anywhere in the USA.

Nearby Porter County, the home of Valparaiso, is 95% white and went solidly for Bush in the 2004 election. It also has a lot of college kids.

For whatever reason, these two counties had ... what ... massive data entry problems? Exceptionally messy records? Lots of dead people who climbed back into their graves? Or will we see a lot of disappointed voters on Tuesday, when they perhaps learn that they were among the lucky million people who got purged?

Harris goes on to offer several useful documents for helping to monitor the situation tomorrow, including a spreadsheet (EXCEL), detailing which sort of unverifiable voting machine will be used in each county. She notes one of the most widely used across Indiana, the MicroVote system, has been decertified for use, but has been grandfathered in for continued use in the state nonetheless. That, despite the same system having been found to have failed spectacularly in other states such as Tennessee and Pennsylvania, and MicroVote's own insurance company's allegations that the machines are defective.

Several counties in Indiana also use the ES&S iVotronic, the same type of DRE (touch-screen) voting system which lost 18,000 votes entirely in Florida's 2006 13th Congressional district election, which was subsequently found to be vulnerable to the same type of undetectable vote-flipping virus which Princeton University was able to embed in a Diebold AccuVote TS (touch-screen) system.

That same Diebold system will also be in use in several counties in Indiana tomorrow.

For the record, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has still flatly refused to issue any warnings about either of those findings, as made years ago now, by computer scientists at reputable universities, despite the EAC's federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) mandate to act as a clearinghouse for such voting system problems.

Also, for the record, North Carolina will be using unverifiable touch-screen voting systems in many counties as well tomorrow, even though a state law --- passed after thousands of votes were entirely lost on e-voting systems during their 2004 election --- requires "paper trails" on such machines. As The BRAD BLOG has many times reported, such "paper trails" on DRE-style voting systems do not make them any more reliable or verifiably accurate, as they can be hacked just as easily, and undetectably, as DRE systems without such "paper trails."

UPDATE: A number of folks around the net have offered skepticism and/or what they believe to be explanations concerning Harris' numbers, as taken from the IN SoS website.

For example, "dedmonds" at DailyKos writes...

According the the most recent 2006 estimates, the state of Indiana has an approximate population of 6.3 million people. Given that probably at least a good 20-25% of that population would be too young to vote, a voter registration of 5.4 million would represent more than 100% of the voting age population of Indiana.

4.3 million would still represent a better than 90% registration, which is truly impressive in American politics.

So if there were 5.4 million registered voters, it's a good thing some of them were purged from the rolls.

Now, should there be some checking into the exact details of the purging? Almost certainly. But is the purging some sort of de facto sign of Evil Things afoot in Indiana?

Hardly.

...before, unfortunately, somewhat discrediting him/herself by making the usual, de rigeur dKos-style allegations of "poor sourcing" (the source for the numbers is the Indiana SoS's own website) lack of "due diligence" and the self-destructive, if oft-made at that site, claim that "As a community, we lose a huge amount of our power if we become the little blog that cried wolf."

Meanwhile, our colleague Steve Rosenfeld of Alternet, in the middle of several others stories (as are we), was able to do a bit of actual due-diligence, unlike the dKos poster above who seemed more interested in calling others out, rather than doing any actual legwork of his/her own.

Rosenfeld says he spoke with Matt Tusing, Chief of Staff to Indiana's Republican Sec. of State Todd Rokita. According to Rosenfeld, Tusing explained that the 1.1 million registration records marked as "Canceled" in the state database don't actually mean the voters were purged. He was told anytime a record is changed in the database it results in that record being marked as "Canceled." So voters purged because they died, or voters who moved from one location to another who changed their registration, would both result in a "Canceled" voter, according to Tusing's explanation.

We checked with Harris, who wrote back to say that she had been hearing that "the numbers could be explained this way or that," as the dKos diarist mentioned above, "but Porter County could not be explained at all no matter what."

In reply to Rosenfeld's explanation, as received from the IN SoS along with a few other sources he'd cross-checked against, Harris still had concerns, even in the light of "Canceled" not actually meaning canceled, but meaning changed...

Okay...But let's think about this. It doesn't say "edited." It doesn't say "updated". It says "canceled."

And in Porter County, this would mean that 115% of the current registered list was changed, edited, updated, what have you. That means basically every voter in the county, some more than once. In Monroe County, 85% of the records were altered, edited, changed, what have you.

That's a different concern, but still very much a concern. At least, in Indiana (I think), it does no good to go in and alter a Democrat registration to make it Republican, because Republicans can vote in the Democratic primary. I'm not sure it goes the other way though.

It is also a concern now that they've added the new ID laws, along with a requirement that the names match on the roster and the government-issued ID.

Think about this: You don't have to purge if you can just go in and alter a bunch of spellings, or addresses. And with electronic pollbooks, how would they ever even find you? If I change your name to Brad Freeman [ed note: my name is actually spelled "Brad Friedman"], and your address from 56143 Oak Lane to 65413 Oak, that electronic poll book --- and maybe that stubborn or partisan pollworker --- won't find it.

She goes on to note, however, that she "like[s] the idea of having the computer flag every time a change is made, if that's what it's doing."

So what is it really doing? And should Rokita's office be trusted here? He is, after all, the state Republican most responsible for pushing the reprehensible, unconstitutional Photo ID restriction law with misleading (at best) information, despite being unable to cite a single instance of in-person, polling place voter impersonation fraud --- ever in state history --- of the type the law was deceptively "designed" to protect against.

That law is sure to disenfranchise thousands of voters tomorrow and this November. And we'll find out tomorrow, and this November, whether his office's explanation of the 1.1 million voter records "changed," but not inappropriately "canceled" or purged, was accurate or not...hopefully...