Direct Recording Electronic Voting Systems Made by Hart InterCivic and Diebold Also Reportedly Now Flipping Votes From Democratic to Republican in TX...
UPDATE: 7 TX Counties Now Reporting Vote-Flipping!
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2008, 5:04am PT  

We've been reporting for the last week or so on the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines which are flipping votes from Democratic candidates to others in, so far, at least four states. We've showed you actual footage of it and how even after being "recalibrated" these machines still continue to flip votes.

(See our special coverage page here for links to our many recent stories on this issue, and advice on what to do if the problem happens to you.)

Unfortunately, it's not just the error-prone, hackable, wholly unverifiable iVotronics from ES&S which are failing. Error-prone, hackable, and wholly unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by Hart InterCivic, Diebold, and Sequoia Voting Systems are also having the same problems across the country. And the Democrats, who have the most to lose, continue to do nothing about it...

On Monday, we posted a video of a WV county clerk demonstrating the vote-flips on the ES&S iVotronic and suggesting that the problem was due to touch-screen calibration issues on the machine. The video then shows the clerk inserting a cartridge into the machine to recalibrate it, after which the machine still mis-records a vote.

We also pointed out, in that article, that it doesn't matter what the screen (or even "paper trail" that some of them have) displays. The computer can record any vote it wants, any way it wants, despite what the voter is shown.

While recalibration has been ordered in many of these cases, it needs to be pointed out that there is no way that any touch-screen voting machine should ever have a cartridge inserted into it, for any reason, by anybody, after it's already been programmed for an election. That is the very moment these machines are the most vulnerable to malicious software and other forms of tampering and attack. That recalibration is being advised where these problems have occurred --- instead of complete removal from service, to be replaced by paper ballots --- is insane.

Recalibration, so far, has been the response prescribed by election officials and, to their shame, we have seen absolutely no sign that the DNC and Barack Obama attorneys have done anything to take appropriate action on these matters up until now.

But it's not only the ES&S machines that are failing. We now have reports of vote flipping in Texas on both Hart InterCivic DREs and, of course, the always unreliable ones made by Diebold.

Last week, from the Houston Chronicle:

[Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman's] office was informed early today that some of the first voters had cast straight-ticket Democratic ballots and then discovered that the electronic machines listed them as voting for John McCain in the presidential election.

In the report, Kaufman, as expected, tries to play down the reports of problems. Harris County (Houston), the largest county in the second largest uses the Hart InterCivic eSlate DRE. Though the eSlate is not a touch-screen --- voters use a wheel and a button to select candidates from the computer screen --- it's still an unverifiable DRE voting system.

Our friend Pokey Anderson, an election integrity advocate in Houston and host of KPFT/Pacifica's Sunday Monitor program, confirmed with one of the first 30 or so voters to vote on the first day of early voting at the West Gray Multi-Service Center that her straight ticket Democratic vote was flipped to McCain.

Fortunately, "the voter caught it, and finally called for help from a pollworker, and they got the machine's McCain choice changed back," Anderson told us. "She said the pollworker told her she was not the only one who had had this problem."

We've received reports that some locations in TX, using the Hart eSlate, have taken to taping signs on the machines which read "This is not a touch-screen!" Whether that's meant to deceptively ease voter concern about the systems --- which are still unverifiable DREs, just like touch-screens but with a wheel to make selections, instead of a touch-sensitive screen --- or simply an attempt at a helpful instruction to keep folks from trying to select candidates by tapping the screen, we couldn't tell you. Either way, Hart's DRE is as unverifiable and susceptible to tampering and vote-counting error as those made by ES&S, Sequoia, or Diebold.

Speaking of Diebold, this in on Tuesday from another part of TX, El Paso County, as reported by the local NBC affiliate KTSM, NewsChannel 9:

Newschannel 9 received a complaint from one voter who says he tried to vote straight ticket Democrat.

But when he reviewed his finished ballot he noticed that all votes were cast for Republicans.

El Paso county election administrator Javier Chacon says the machines are user-friendly but mistakes can happen. Chacon says make sure you don't have anything hanging off your clothing or wrists that could inadvertently change your vote. If you want to be more precise you can ask for a stylus pen to cast your vote.

El Paso County uses the hackable, error-prone, unverifiable Diebold AccuVote TS touch-screen DRE.

Finally, for good measure, and by way of a reminder, the ES&S iVotronics continue to flip votes in TX also. Adding to the reports on that from last week on that, CNN reported yesterday that a caller from Beaumont, TX, called the CNN voter hotline (877-GOCNN08) to report the now-too-familiar problem which occurred when he took his mother to vote.

"She went to punch the selection for Obama and it flipped to McCain," the caller said, according to CNN. "They need to do something about this."

But again, the Democrats, to our knowledge, have taken no action to remove these machines from service and demand voters be provided instead with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots.

UPDATE: Seven TX counties are now reporting vote flipping. Kim Zetter at WIRED has the details...

Our special coverage page on DRE Failures 2008 is right here...

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