SoS Brunner's Directive Contains Specifications for Proper Storage of Election System Components, Outlawing Overnight Stays with Pollworkers
But Flaws Still Exist in the New Orders for Machine Deployment...
By Steve Heller on 8/21/2008, 9:40am PT  

Guest blogged by Steve Heller of Velvet Revolution

Jennifer Brunner, Ohio's Secretary of State, has issued Directive 2008-68 [PDF] entitled Voting Machine Delivery Requirements. The directive contains storage specifications regarding temperature, humidity, dust, fire protection, and proximity of liquids. It also makes it clear that there are to be no more election component "sleepovers" in which poll workers take home voting equipment days or even weeks before an election for so-called safekeeping. In actuality, the "sleepovers" are an invitation to tampering and hacking.

The BRAD BLOG was the first to report on these sleepovers, truly a menace to election security, back in 2006, and coined the phrase "sleepover," which seems to have made its way into the national lexicon. AP themselves used the phrase in their coverage this week of Brunner's new directive.

As Lou Dobbs Tonight noted in 2006 following The BRAD BLOG's original exposé of the practice, the sleepover procedure is still used in many states and counties. But now, at least, Ohio's Brunner has taken a step in the right direction by ordering an end to the practice. It remains to be seen whether all of Ohio's local election officials will comply.

However, while we applaud this latest initiative by Brunner, it looks as if it may not go far enough in at least one very important aspect...

As John Gideon of noted, "The directive includes permission for machines to be put at polling places before election day, with memory cards installed, as long as a 'tamper evident seal' is over the memory card."

Problems found in the past with such seals as used in the state of California, and defeated with ease by watchdog organization Black Box Voting, don't inspire much confidence.

But still, this is some progress, and having seen little-to-no attention paid to this important chain-of-custody issue for the machines, scanners, memory cards, and ballots, we'll take this as a positive step, albeit an incomplete one.

The New York Times has taken note of Brunner's directive, and the added publicity might, we hope, prompt other state election officials to follow Brunner's lead.

So… any of the other states who are now delivering their voting machines without any security, leaving them for days and sometimes weeks at a time in poll worker's cars, houses, and garages going to follow suit before November? (Yes, we're talking to you, Florida, among others!)

Hope so. But p'rolly not. And so we soldier on, hoping that America will one day return to clean, transparent, and verifiable elections.

Before it's too late.