READER COMMENTS ON
"The EAC Lied, Lever Voting Machines (Almost) Died"
(22 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 3/2/2009 @ 4:26 pm PT...
I'm glad Governor Paterson favors the beloved yet maligned lever machines. I hope he, the ACLU or NY Public Interest Group or some civic-minded group starts an information campaign to counter the Bush Crime Family-led EAC. Voting rights are part of civil rights, so someone should contact that resurrected division of the Justice Department. The Obama administration needs to clean house quickly at the EAC. Good luck, Andrea Novick, at the NYC Board of Elections. And thank you for your public service.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 3/2/2009 @ 6:21 pm PT...
As a legally blind person, Governor Patterson is in an ideal position to call out the misuse/abuse of the disabled to push these useless computerized systems. Let's hope he's as on target and timely as he was with the SNL skit criticism.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 3/2/2009 @ 9:52 pm PT...
Without commenting on the rest of this posting let me say that the italic comment at the bottom that describes lever machines somewhat mischaracterizes them.
1) Although it is true that the mechanics of a lever machine are vastly simpler than software, and can be understood by careful observation (if the back of the machine is open) by a mechanically inclined person, it is easy to tamper with the gear mechanism so that it miscounts votes, either by failing to increment one time out of 10 or by failing to carry into the next decimal place. This almost always causing an undercount for particular candidate(s), and not an overcount. If such a problem occurs, it is unlikely to be discovered very quickly, since undercounts never lead to any outright inconsistency with the counts of voters or any other data. And whether the problem is detected or not, there is no possibility of recovery, because there is no redundancy at all, let alone anything you would call an audit trail.
2) The same is true if the machine has been misconfigured (equivalent to having a bad election definition file). There my be no recovery.
3) It is true that you can change your (tentative) vote as many times as you want with lever machines. But you can also do that with DREs. The max number of three spoiled ballots is only a limitation of paper ballots, and then only because of an arguably obtuse law--not for any fundamental reason.
4) The counters are not any more "immutable" than any other volatile memory medium. If I remember correctly, a single key turn allows all counts to be zeroed, with no record of the time the occurred, or who did, it or anything else. Arguably, the paper record of the counts is just as durable as the counts that are stored mechanically.
5) A lever machine does not accumulate a "record of all the votes cast". It records only counts of the votes cast, which is vastly less information than any other voting system. There is absolutely no redundancy in this information, as there is with all other forms of voting, which is why it is impossible to do a meaningful audit that corresponds in any way to the audits that are possible with paper ballots or VVPAT.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 12:55 am PT...
... David Jefferson said...
"... impossible to do a meaningful audit that corresponds in any way to the audits that are possible with paper ballots or VVPAT."
Well... nothing on Earth corresponds with the things that happen in VVPAT "paper trail" audits...
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 12:56 am PT...
David J. -
I'll leave Andi to respond, if she wishes, to the bulk of your points about lever systems (even as, I believe, the focus of the article was mainly concerning the specious advisory of the EAC, used to forward the fiction that HAVA had "banned" the user of lever systems).
But I'll take the opportunity to respond to just one of your points myself. This one:
3) It is true that you can change your (tentative) vote as many times as you want with lever machines. But you can also do that with DREs.
While you *can* do that with DREs, it must be noted that *none* of those changes, when finally cast as votes, would actually be verifiable by any human being, ever.
The max number of three spoiled ballots is only a limitation of paper ballots, and then only because of an arguably obtuse law--not for any fundamental reason.
I'd certainly defer to your expertise here, but I *believe* you may be wrong on this point, in that some DREs may either be set to allow for only three chances to change, or some jurisdictions procedures may only allow for voters to try to get it right three times.
I'd have to go digging to find my evidence for that, but it's my recollection. And if true, the reasoning is likely equally as obtuse as the reasons for doing so with paper ballots.
And, as long as I'm here, even though I was only going to respond to one of your points, I guess I can't help but respond to this one other point:
...audits that are possible with paper ballots or VVPAT.
While audits are possible with paper ballots, as you and I both know, they are rarely done. But with VVPAT, I would argue, audits are NOT possible --- above and beyond an audit to check that the machine has added correctly the total of votes that it says have been cast for any candidate or initiative. It is strictly impossible to audit a DRE VVPAT in order to know whether or not the number of votes cast, as per voter intent, for any candidate or initiative have actually been recorded accurately on such a system.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 5:47 am PT...
Lever Machines are NOT transparent. They have the highest WPE rates. The unadjusted exit poll gave Kerry 64-35%, but the recorded margin was just 58.5-40.1%. Thats' an 11% WPE. Are we to believe th media propaganda that the exit polls were wrong and the recorded votes were correct? In other words, that fraud was non-existent in 2004?
Bush padded his vote in NY by 750,000 votes (do the numbers) which accounted for a full 25% of his 3.0 million "mandate".
Check out the 7-9% increase in the Democratic share in the NY late (paper ballot) vote (absentee, provisionals, etc.) vs. the Election Day (lever) vote in the last three elections.
NY Democratic Initial and Late Vote Share: 2000-2008
Late Share Initial Share
2000 0.552 65% 6.3 60%
2004 0.499 64% 6.8 58%
2008 0.584 71% 7.0 62%
Obama won 71% of the 584,000 late votes but only 62% of the initial 7.0 million.
Obama McCain Other Total
4.769 2.742 0.082 7.593
62.8% 36.1% 1.1% 100%
Kerry won 64.3% of the 499,000 late votes but only 57.9% of the initial 6.89 million.
Kerry also won the unadjusted exit poll with an identical 64%.
Kerry Bush Other Total
4.314 2.963 0.114 7.391
58.5% 40.2% 1.3% 100%
Gore won 65.4% of the 552,000 late votes but only 59.8% of the initial 6.3 million.
Gore Bush Nader Other Total
4.108 2.403 0.244 0.67 6.822
60.2% 35.2% 3.6% 1.0% 100%
NY 2004 Pre-election and Exit Polls
New York Kerry Bush Nader
Recorded vote 58.5% 40.2% 1.3%
Pre-election poll 57 39 1
Projection 59 40 1
Edison-Mitofsky Exit Poll Measures
Unadjusted WPE 64.1% 34.4% 1.5%
GEO Best Estimate 65.1 33.8 1.1
Composite 63.1 35.5 1.4
Average Voting Machine WPE for all Exit Poll Precincts
Mechanical (Lever) voting machine precincts had the highest mean Within Precinct Error (10.6%).
Paper ballot precincts had the smallest mean WPE (2.2%)
New York votes 99% by Lever.
Method Mean Median Precincts
Paper 2.2 0.9 40
Lever 10.6 10.3 118
DRE 7.1 7 360
Punch 6.6 7.3 158
OptiScan 6.1 5.5 573
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 6:15 am PT...
Were the country interested in reclaiming levers we could have a wonderful discussion, starting about the Mr. Jefferson's first comment, which is that the mechanics of levers "can be understood by careful observation". That alone sets them apart from all software. In NY observation of the inside of the machines is mandated by law before and available after. And not only by government officials, but by observers as well. We see how a lever machine is programmed to count the votes and we can see if it has been tampered with or rigged. NY's lever voting system enables the potential for 100% knowledge of the results where as software, if exploited enabled 0%. We see none of the programming and have no way to tell how the software machine performed at the election. The answer of course to having permitted concealed vote counting to be allowed in America is always the potential for a recount or the ability to "verify" the marked paper ballot on a scanner, after the first count. But if that paper ballot is not counted on election night, before the ballots are removed from the ongoing surveillance of the polling site, history teaches that the potential for tampering is so high that there may indeed be nothing to verify the unknowable and exploitable software count produced by the scanner. Therefore the need for verification to a software system is due to the inadequacy of using the software in the first place.
It's not at all that I am opposed to paper ballots. I support hand counted paper ballots so long as there are proper laws in place to control fraud and a culture that is willing to participate in the faithful counting of our ballots. In New York those laws have always required that the count be conducted and concluded at the polling site because that is the safest way to ascertain the result and avoid chain of custody problems. Tampered ballots cannot verify potentially tampered software counts and therefore are as worthless as a VVPAT in that we can't see the tampering.
In NY our hand count laws have required that the count be completed before the potential for unseen tampering can occur - in other words we must get it right on election night. The lever system in NY continues that wisdom. If we have to recount, the election procedure has failed. Under our hand count laws any recount must be done on election night as part of a completed count. We don't recount post-election because that is an invitation to fraud. Chain of custody is difficult to protect and who is going to determine the factual issues of chain of custody once the count is adjourned. That's why for 232 years we've never permitted such an inherently dangerous system to be legal in NY. A transparent theft-deterring voting system that must be observed by many eyes and must not depend on audit trails. It must be designed to produce an accurate, observable count the first time.
The lever system is designed to do that. Our laws tell us when to look under the hood so that we can prevent fraud and error and not first have to try to verify the count after the count has already happened. Any system can fail, but that should be rare. And when that unusual circumstance occurs we have means of dealing with that which is far too long to go into here. But any system that is so deficient as to require hand counts after the first count to verify the first count– because the first count is so deficient due to its being concealed and vulnerable to exploitation-- is a system that fails by design.
A hand count and lever count system can be rigged. Any system can be rigged. But with a well designed hand count or mechanical lever count the potential for error and fraud is minimized, the exploits are finite and knowable and visible. They are therefore all avoidable. The exploits are all preventable with sound election procedures with both hand count and lever count voting systems. And of course the nature of the fraud is retail. Absolutely none of that is true with a software- based system.
It is also disingenuous for Mr. Jefferson to compare the capability of exploits to a lever as similar to software. It is time consuming to rig a lever and since systematic exploits are not possible, the ability to affect the outcome is not comparable. Software facilitates systematic exploits by a single person on a scale enabled solely by the use of software. And the fraud can never be known. And hence never prevented. Indeed by nature of its concealment, such fraud is encouraged.S
With regard to the comment about incrementing the gears, I will let Professor Bryan Pfaffenberger's comment respond from a published interview, so common is the particular exploit Mr. Jefferson mentions that I can pull a response from numerous places. Teresa Hommel has also written extensively on this subject and if I had time I'd pull her responses to this standard objection if I have time this morning, or I refer you to her excellent work on the subject at her web site wheresthepaper.org. My point is that because the exploits to lever machines are finite and knowable, the ability to respond and detect the manipulation can successfully be prefvented. When the exploits are infinite and not visible, it is often impossible to prevent them.
Bryan Pfaffenberger received a Scholar's Award from the National Science Foundation to study the history of lever voting machines. From an interview with Professor Pfaffenberger:
"The most talked about problem plaguing the machines is a failure of the vote-counting odometers to advance, and there was a "statistically significant prevalence of candidates receiving 99 votes" instead of 100. Still, Pfaffenberger maintains that this problem is "a bit separate from the [LVM] technology as if you have a poorly run district there's no technology you can actually stick in there that'll run correctly." In the right hands, there's very little reason why a lever voting machine should fail. Nowadays, it's "astonishingly rare" for attendants to open up a unit and find a 99 count."
NYS Board of Election Commissioner Douglas Kellner's also responded to this known exploit in an interview he gave a few years ago regarding how New York's lever system successfully prevailed in a scandal in the 1940s:
"The fraud of the 1940s was uncovered because volunteers from the polling stations noticed that the numbers on their machines at the counting location were not the same as when they left the polling station. Similarly, any tampering with a lever machine today would be plainly visible to the volunteer preparing it for poll opening. Becoming aware of fraud on an e voting machine would be much more difficult, because so much of their inner workings are invisible to all but the software programmers.
Fighting fraud carried out by code is also particularly expensive. Some e voting systems run on 150,000 lines of code and to uncover whether fraud has occurred, or by whom and how, requires an army of programmers, a number of years, and millions of dollars. Even then, there is no guarantee that their examination will produce results." (emphasis supplied)
All of which undermines Mr. Jefferson's incorrect statement that "The counters are not any more "immutable" than any other volatile memory medium." You can see fraud and manipulation on a lever machine so while they can be physically changed if someone literally breaks into the locked lever (where locks and seals are real, not virtual as they are with software) you can see that something's been changed. You can know the machine's been tampered with and not use is or can evaluate the impact on the election results. If the myriad of theft-deterring safeguards in a well designed electoral system nonetheless fail, as Commissioner Kellner explains above, you can detect the fraud after the fact because the mechanical operation of the lever is immutable- once changed it won't move on its own (unlike software) and if it is manipulated or moved, we can see that, because it doesn't move back and it doesn't erase itself and it isn't buried in secret or obscure code. On a lever we can see how many undervotes there were and whether it is outcome determinative. Recall there's no vote switching or over votes with levers. It's just a question of votes not recorded and because lever machines limit the number of votes cast (and it is very time consuming to mess with a lever machines), the damage is contained to the few machines that were rigged. Just think about this concept when applied to software. Software technology is the antipode of mechanical lever technology and prevents the detection and hence prevention of fraud or error.
I will not engage in an ongoing debate on this subject with someone who is only interested in tearing down a transparent, knowable system for no useful purpose. I mean it's not like you're interested in exploring the possibilities of the value of levers and their reintroduction into the American electoral scene. There's a fight to be won in NY to save the last transparent electoral system in America. There are alas 24 hours/day. So I have given you all my time in this response, but please do not look for me to continue this discussion on this thread. If you are truly interested I have written about this and you may read those articles. You could start with- The Last Transparent Democratic Electoral System in the United States of America Cannot be Allowed to Perish at hhttp://sites.google.com/site/remediaetc/home/documents/LastTransparentElectoralSystemvic.pdf. You can check out our blog at http://re-mediaetc.blogspot.com/. You can see other articles I've written at Op Ed News and I believe there is an excellent piece posted at the Brad Blog on lever machines by Rady Ananda.
Finally, I leave you with part of an email I received some time ago from Dr. Pfaffenberger:
"Highlights of my findings:
1. In my analysis, the lever machine deserves recognition as one of the most astonishing achievements of American technological genius, a fact that is reflected in their continued competitiveness against recent voting technologies in every accepted performance measure. With as many as 28,000 parts, their mechanisms reflect an agonizingly difficult period of development, spanning more than twenty years (1888-1919) in which interlocking mechanisms had to be developed that were capable of dealing with the enormous complexity and variety of American elections. The result was a machine that captures in its immutable mechanical operations the voting rules that the American people, in their wisdom, developed in order to capture the will of the people.
The mind balks, perhaps, at the suggestion that a century-old technology might be the equal of today's best technologies --- or even superior! --- but the fact is that the lever machine is not alone. U.S. freight railroads continue to use electromechanical signaling systems that were, coincidentally, developed during almost exactly the same frame (1890s-1920). There is no sense of urgency to replace them. Their reliability has been proven in a century of service. They are perfectly adapted to the conditions of American railroading. They are easily understood and maintained by technicians with modest educational backgrounds.
Although lever machines do not produce an independent audit trail, this is --- as software engineers say --- a feature, not a bug. In the 1880s and 1890s, paper ballots emerged as the locus par excellence of election fraud; lever machines were expressly designed to take the human element out of every aspect of the vote recording and counting process in order to eliminate fraud that was gravely undermining Americans' confidence in their democracy.
It is quite astonishing to realize that, while the lever machine was under development, inventors came up with just about every voting machine concept that has since been realized, including precinct-scan punchcard technologies, ballot printing machines, and even electromechanical systems that can be seen as predecessors of computerized technologies. All of these technologies produced paper records, however, and all were flatly rejected, both by voters and election officials, as letting the possibility of fraud in through the back door.
Today, there are widespread calls to bring paper back into the picture, but the reason is that people do not trust the machines. Having studied the history, I strongly believe that there would be no such call for paper if the ugly history of fraudulent practices enabled by paper ballots were known --- unfortunately, the American people have forgotten the lessons they learned a century ago, and I greatly fear that we will have to repeat them in order to learn them again.
The truth of the matter is that our American election system, in contrast, to the election administration systems of most advanced democracies, is inordinately decentralized, less than professionally administered in many instances, and politicized. In New York, the people, in their wisdom, created a system of election administration AND a technology that solved the characteristic problems of American elections; to abandon lever machines for new technologies that will not gain voter confidence and, at the same time, re-introduce paper audit trails or paper ballots which have long proven to be prone to election fraud, amounts in my opinion to a potentially disastrous mistake."
Department of Science, Technology, & Society
University of Virginia
Andrea Novick, Esq. Founder Election Transparency Coalition
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 7:46 am PT...
You have apparently chosen not to reply to my post or comment on the statistical anomalies.
Probably becuse you cannot explain them.
If you do not accept that the NY exit poll discrepancies are evidence of vote theft, please tell all of us why.
Do you believe that Bush won the election by 3 million votes or do you believe otherwise.
Let's take the logic one step at a time.
You assume that NY vote count was accurate and that the 11% margin discrepancy from the exit poll was due to exit poll error.
Then you must also believe that Kerry defeated Bush in NY by the recorded vote (58.5-40.1%).
And you must also believe that
a)the NY exit poll was "off" by 11% (and CT which also voted 100% lever in 2004 was off by even more
b) all the other unadjusted state exit poll results were wrong as well (i.e. there was zero fraud)
OR you may believe that
c) New York and CT were just flukes, the exit polls were correct in the other states and Bush did in fact steal the election.
Which is it?
No response indicates that you cannot logically explain, nor can you refute, the discrepancies.
And no response will indicate that you agree that the discrepancies were due to miscounted votes, caused by humans responsible for verifying the count and/or faulty levers.
You can advocate for levers, but to call them "transparent" just causes one to suspect your motives in doing so.
Patiently waiting for your response.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 9:26 am PT...
While I appreciate the discussion, lever voting machines have unfortunate similarities to mechanical slot machines, which were developed around the same time. One can only wonder what would be going on in Minnesota now if the Franken-Coleman election had been conducted on lever machines. I have an image of hundreds of disassembled machines and piles of gears of different sizes stacked up on the counsel tables, with everyone in the courtroom waving calipers. And Dr. Seuss's birthday was only yesterday...
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 10:12 am PT...
To Paul McCarthy: me thinks you protest too much --- and inaccurately. Lever machines can be tampered with to produce undervotes, but it is impossible to HIDE this tampering --- as opposed to electronic vote-stealing machines which can add votes, subtract votes, and most likely add from one candidate while subtracting from another. While it might be simpler for a corrupt software designer to write a program that would be easy to discover --- if the software code wasn't secret, which it is --- it is highly unlikely that he/she would. Diebold had half of a million lines of code in their electronic vote-stealing machines. Imagine how hard it would be to find the several lines of code (all that's needed according to some computer experts) that are responsible for an election theft.
There are only two types of voting systems that are not an invitation to election theft: the lever machines and hand counted paper ballots. Advocating other types of voting apparati is a sign of ignorance or malfeasance.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 10:24 am PT...
You are obviously not a programmer. Take it from one who has been programming computers since 1965:if the Diebold source code were made available, the malicious code would be found very quickly.
Open-source, verifiable, secure code is the answer in combination with hand-counted paper ballots at the precinct level - verified by the voters themselves.
This is how it could be done:
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 11:24 am PT...
To David Jefferson and Truth Is All:
First, Mr. All --
Thank you for proving that the exit polls were s poor predictor of 2004 Presidential vote shares in the State of NY. You have done so, perhaps unwittingly, by inferring mathematically that NY's voting system, which was and is composed of mainly of lever voting machines, can be made to SWITCH votes BETWEEN candidates -- the way op scanners, DREs and EMS software can and in fact, has. Unfortunately such manipulation is physically impossible at the time the votes are cast on a lever machine, and the total vote is canvassed by bi-partisan witnesses immediately thereafter AT THE POLL SITE, before they may adjourn and BEFORE the levers or the paper returns (multiple copies) may be moved. So you will have to come up with another theory to explain the NY exit poll discrepancy. I'm sure you will, but be advised that NY does NOT use any proprietary EMS central tabulators either. Good luck with your analysis --- but please don't use it again to suggest that lever machines allow vote switching.
Mr. Jefferson --
Thank you for confirming that the tell-tale sign of lever machine manipulation is an excessive undervote rate. This is the case, once again, because there is no vote switching possible between ballot positions on lever machines, and because NY has strict observable canvassing procedures that cannot be subverted by exploitation of software, substitution of paper ballots, or other partisan manipulation. In the 2004 General Election, NY State had an undervote rate of only 0.77%, which is comparable to the lowest rates in any state without a "none of the above" choice on the ballot. This proves that lever are not dropping votes in high numbers, and unlike undervote rates calculated by software, we know it's the real thing.
If you want to have better election verification than that, you have to be prepared to do some SERIOUS HAND COUNTS. No election officials that I know of are pounding the table for this, except occasionally in some of the cases where the election is too close to call --- even with a 100% hand count!
As to the auditing issue, you should know better than anyone that election verification with post-election auditing is not happening, even without the strict attention that has to be paid to the chain of custody of the paper ballots.
In your own state of CA, with one of the friendliest secretaries of state in the nation when it comes to election integrity, SoS Bowen, the consensus of the expert panel on which you served, that also included a statistician and a CPA, has yet to be implemented. As you and your collegues stated back in July 2007:
The [Post-Election Audit Standards] Working Group has reached a consensus that the most effective way to conduct post-election audits is to take a risk-based approach. The sampling model that works best for this approach is the adjustable sample model, where the size of the initial random sample depends on a number of factors, including the apparent margin of victory, the number of precincts, the number of ballots cast in each precinct, and a desired confidence level (e.g., 99%) that the winner of the election has been called correctly.
Yet CA did NOT implement this recommendation and the 2008 elections, and a 10% hand count of the CD-4 contest, which was almost a dead heat, ended without any expansion of the audit to anything close to full manual count.
So when we say we want "election verification", we had better take the necessary steps to achieve it, BEFORE replacing a single mechanical lever machine. Frankly, as of this writing, I do NOT see this happening in New York, or any other state that has already done so and in fact, New York has been lagging CA and CT in some of its attempts to regulate e-vote counting thecnology.
Therefore, it would at the very least, be irresponsible to be advocating for computerized vote counting to replace a non-computerized, non-software-dependent, testable, certifiable system such as our lever voting machines, without the necessary checks and balances --- despite the fact that no other state in the nation has them.
Unlike 49 other states, New York is NOT in a position to have to negotiate this. We have not replaced our voting system, so no verification groveling is necessary here. We have an acceptable status quo --- and a democracy --- if we can keep it.
For those who may suggest that "certification" of software is some kind of panacea, I will leave you with this blog by Dr. Avi Rubin that explains the difference between "certification" of software and certification of lever machines:
you cannot certify an electronic voting machine the way you certify a lever machine. Once the voting machine goes through a lengthy and expensive certification process, any change to the software requires that it be certified all over again. What if a vulnerability is discovered a week before an election? What about a month before the election, or a week after it passes certification? Now the point is that we absolutely expect that vulnerabilities will be discovered all the time. That would be the case even if the vendors had a clue about security.
Dr. Rubin does not mention in this otherwise excellent piece, that the compiled code that runs on the actual voting system is not even the source code that was examined and "certified!" So even after all the money spent on "certifcation" and source code review, we end up having to trust the complier!
Finally, on a geeky note, lever machines ARE testable due to the small state space of the machine. In simple terms, because it's not physically possible for a lever connected to a given counter to increment any other counter the way software can on anywhere from one to thousands of voting machines (all configured via a single EMS computer of course!), the lever machine can be reliably tested, while the software cannot be.
This is why the lever machines, and not the computers, or even paper ballots, have engendered so much trust on the part of the public and election officials over the decades, and it would be foolish for New York to violate that trust for the sake of complying with deliberate misreadings of the Help America Vote Act.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 12:48 pm PT...
Also see this excellent piece by the well respected New York election integrity advocate, Teresa Hommel (wheresthepaper.org).
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 1:27 pm PT...
Thank you for proving that the exit polls were s poor predictor of 2004 Presidential vote shares in the State of NY. You have done so, perhaps unwittingly, by inferring mathematically that NY's voting system, which was and is composed of mainly of lever voting machines, can be made to SWITCH votes BETWEEN candidates --- the way op scanners, DREs and EMS software can and in fact, has. Unfortunately such manipulation is physically impossible at the time the votes are cast on a lever machine, and the total vote is canvassed by bi-partisan witnesses immediately thereafter AT THE POLL SITE, before they may adjourn and BEFORE the levers or the paper returns (multiple copies) may be moved. So you will have to come up with another theory to explain the NY exit poll discrepancy. I'm sure you will, but be advised that NY does NOT use any proprietary EMS central tabulators either. Good luck with your analysis --- but please don't use it again to suggest that lever machines allow vote switching.
I did NOT infer that vote switching occurred on the levers. You are ascribing something to me which I never said. They call that a red-herring. I merely stated that the exit polls and the late votes are prima-facia evidence of election fraud.
It is truly hard to believe that the term TRANSPARENCY would be used by a lawyer to describe the NY Lever voting system.
There are many ways to skin a cat. As I indicated in my reply. Here are just a few:
1)unscrupulous vote counters can miscount the machine totals do the job without hard copy ballot verifiability.
2) Faulty machines could be placed in heavily democratic districts.
3) In the 2008 NY primaries, a number of Harlem districts turned up ZERO votes for Obama, Evcen Mayor Bloomberg called it a fraudulent election.
4) In the nineties, a Miami mayoral election which utilized Lever machines was proven to be fraudulent.
5) The onus is on those who claim TRANSPARENCY in the lever machine voting to prove that ALL the votes were counted correctly. It is obvious to any observer that there is NO TRANSPARENCY in the lever machine vote counts, just as there ios NO TRANPARENCY in unverifiable Touchscreens.
The onus is also on those who would claim TRANSPARENCY on lever voting to reconcile the following facts.
- In 2004, the unadjusted NY exit poll gave Kerry 64% vote share, which EXACTLY matched his percentage of 500,000 LATE (PAPER BALLOT) votes. His Election Day (LEVER) vote share was 58%.
- Both Al Gore and Obama did 7-10% better in their percentage of PAPER BALLOT LATE votes than in the Election Day LEVER vote count.
The onus is on those who fail to even refer to the exit poll and late vote anomalies to explain why they did not do so.
The onus is on those who claim that the NY vote acount was fraud-free to explain the discrepancy. Either the vote was rigged or the exit poll 2% MoE was exceeded by 4%.
The probability of the exit poll discrepancy?
Prob =NORMDIST(0.58, 0.64, 0.02/1.96,TRUE)
or 1 in 485,887,839
Now, please address the questions that I raised regarding the statistics.
The question is not HOW the votes were rigged, but WHY Lever machine advocates do not consider verifiable data entry of hand-counted paper ballots and open-source programs to consolidate the precinct votes on the Internet. The summations could be checked by the voter on their OWN computers, rather than in secret by unscrupulous individuals MISCOUNTING THE VOTES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 4:45 pm PT...
A questionable election in Florida? I had NO IDEA! Who would have thought? LOL!
If levers had been used in FL 2000, Gore would have been President ya know (no overvotes).
I think enough time has been spent on the exit polls over the last 4 years. Most of us have moved on to things like: how the votes are counted, how many to count by hand to know who won an election, etc. I think that's more important than trying to prove something that's never going to be provable. It's not like Dewey beat Truman in 1948, is it? Oh wait, that was ANOTHER LEVER ELECTION! So I guess all those machines were rigged too huh?
Any idea how many of NY's 20,000 lever machines would have to have been rigged to account for 2004 exit poll discrepancy? That might be instructive. As I said, no GEMS or similar central tabulators in NY.
I definitely agree that there should be an open way to consolidate the precinct votes on the Internet. But why with an open source "program?" All you need is a website and certified tabulation observers at each precinct comparing the precinct tallies to the official ones posted on the Net by the counties and states. I've been advocating that for years. Most recently here. And also here.
When Holt introduces the next version of his tabulation audit bill (which is NOT an HR811 sequel, maybe you will support it. It does not require any electronic vote counting and it aggregates all the precinct tallies on the web and requires observers (real people!) to report anyt discrepancies.
If you think open source is going to help, read this. It's NOT a panacea. I'll take levers over open source until I can see every logic gate in the software. I'm not a computer scientist, but I think that would probably preclude the use of stored-program computing. That's fine because computers have proven themselves to be LOUSY lever machine eumulators!
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 7:46 pm PT...
PS --- The reason for my poking fun at FL is simply to point out that it's the procedures and just the machines that have to be designed to prevent fraud. Nearly all the Obaman-got-zero errors in NYC that you alluded to were corrected during the 100% recanvass of the vote on those lever machines by the way.
With respect to HCPB, I don't have a problem with it. As I said earlier, I just don't see it as very realistic in NY at the moment, even just for federal elections. (It's not as if this hasn't been suggested. In fact, exit poll discrepancy arguments were totally ineffective at convincing some of the decision makers. So we need BETTER arguments.)
What luck have you had with HCPB advocacy? Please share.
Finally, if you want to read some really good HCPB election law, read NY's. Automatic recounts on election night at the poll site before the ballots leave, if there are any discrepancies.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 7:59 pm PT...
1.How do you explain the NY Urban Legend?
2. How do you explain the fact that in NYS, Gore, Kerry and Obama did 7% better in late (paper ballot) votes than they did on Election Day?
3. How do you explain the massive 11% Lever machine precinct WPE, compared to the average 7% WPE for touchscreens and optical scanners, and 2% for paper ballots?
4. How do you explain the fact that Kerry's 64% unadjusted NY exit poll share EXACTLY matched his late vote (paper ballot) share?
5. How do you explain the fact that Kerry (58.5-40-1.5) did worse than Gore (60-35-5) even though returning Nader voters broke 3-1 for Kerry?
6. Can you verify the recorded NY vote count, and if not, why would you call Levers transparent?
7. Why have the exit pollsters/media never provided raw, unadjusted exit poll results for each precinct?
8. Do you believe there was no incentive for Bush to steal votes in NY? Would 25% (750k) of his total 3 million vote "mandate" be a good reason?
9. Do you believe Bush won the election by 3 million votes in 2004? Or do you believe that the election was stolen from Kerry?
10. Do you have any experience as a software developer?
11. Do you have any idea what "open-source" means?
12. How did Harlem voting machines register zero votes for Obama in the primary?
13. Why do you find Lever election fraud in a Miami mayoral election humorous, but do not consider that NY Levers have apparently miscounted the votes in every national presidential election?
14. Are you familiar with the fact that the Final National Exit Poll is ALWAYS forced to match the recorded vote, and assumes ZERO FRAUD. And that in 2004, 2006, 2008, the Final had to used an impossible number of returning Bush voters (more Bush voters than were living) to match the recorded vote in each election? What does that indicate to you?
15. CAN YOU CITE NY VOTING DATA IN ANY ELECTION WHICH WILL PROVE THAT THE RECORDED VOTE WAS THE TRUE VOTE- IN OTHER WORDS THAT THE LEVER MACHINES WERE FOOLPROOF?
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 3/3/2009 @ 8:56 pm PT...
The lever machines were defeated by the card stock specifications being purposely screwed with to produce the mess in the 2000 election. Dan Rather did a really thorough job of exposing that at least a year ago.
TIA, if you would like your comments to show up in a timely manner, you should email me so I can explain why they are held up.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 3/4/2009 @ 6:38 am PT...
The reason for my poking fun at FL is simply to point out that it's the procedures and just the machines that have to be designed to prevent fraud. Nearly all the Obaman-got-zero errors in NYC that you alluded to were corrected during the 100% recanvass of the vote on those lever machines by the way.
TIA: Did they re-canvass the Kerry votes i the 2004 election? Of course not, because he won in a (58.5-40.2) landslide. But his TRUE (64-35)LANDSLIDE WAS DENIED. AND AS A RESULT, HIS MARGIN WAS REDUCED 11% (FROM 29% TO 18%).
DO THE MATH:11% OF 7.3 MILLION = 800,000 VOTES
BUSH HAD A RECORDED 3.0 MILLION VOTE MARGIN.
HE COULD NOT STEAL THE NY ELECTORAL VOTES, BUT HE COULD SURELY PAD HIS VOTE THERE.
How were ZERO votes recorded in the first place?
Who rigged the vote?
And why in Harlem?
Could it be because that's where Obama had 96% of the vote?
Willie Sutton, the famous crook, was once asked why he robbed banks. He replied: "that's where the money is".
And the GOP knows where the Democratic votes are.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 3/6/2009 @ 11:01 pm PT...
TIA: of course they recanvassed the Kerry vote! They recanvass 100% of the precincts in every election in NY. This is a best practice for lever voting systems, which is what I meant by "the procedures and [not] just the machines [that] have to be designed to prevent fraud."
As to the math, it's simple:
a 0.77% undervote rate (2004) and no possiblity of vote swithing means the exit polls were off in NY, because even if the entire 0.77% undervote had, in reality, been votes for Kerry, the exit polls would still show a much different result from the vote tally. Sorry but you have to be able to explain how the votes were swithced, and when it comes to NY, I don't think you can.
Find another state to make your point, but pick one where at least vote swithcing was possible like Ohio), and where the exit polls were taken in more than a few handfuls of precincts (probably NO state since these exit polls were never desinged to confirm electoral outcomes in the first place --- you need to hand count some actual ballots to do that).
Agent 99: I'm not sure, but you may be conflating punch cards with lever machines. Sequoia's alledged actions in FL 2000 (Dan Rather) were aimed at punch cards. But it's true that they SOLD their lever machine holdings shortly thereafter, possibly in anticipation of a law like HAVA that would make federal money available for lever machines replacement. The company who bought Sequoia's lever holdings is struggling to stay in business now, but has said they can continue to maintain lever machines indeinitely given certain conditions. You can read more about that here.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 3/7/2009 @ 12:23 am PT...
You have avoided answering most of my questions.
So I will ask you once again to please respond to these:
1) Can you PROVE the results of the 2004 NY election - or any other NY election for that matter? That would indicate transparency; nothing else would.
2) How come Obama's NY primary votes came up ZERO in the first place? How could it have happened? Isn't that PROOF by definition that the LEVERS are NOT FOOLPROOF, regardless of the reason for the miscount?
3) Are you saying that the 12% NY Exit poll WPE discrepancy (and the 16% CT WPE which also voted 100% by lever) were both the result of faulty exit polls? Are you going to hitch your wagon to the long debunked reluctant Bush responder (rBr)argument or Gore voter "false recall"? You really don't want to debate exit polls with me, do you? Because a simple calculation easily proves that in order to match the recorded vote, the Final National Exit Poll had to assume millions more returning Bush 2000 voters in 2004 than were still living.
4)So.... how come Levers produced the highest voting machine WPEs by far? Any explanation?
5) The ONUS is on you to account for the discrepancies in NY and CT. I do not have to theorize how the votes were miscounted; they obviously were. Your only argument can be to suggest that the exit polls (with a maximum 2% MoE) were wrong. Because you have no paper ballot proof.
6) And finally, once again, please explain the following NY late vote anomaly:
How is it that in the last 3 NY presidential elections, the Democrats did 7% better in the late (PAPER BALLOT) votes then they did on Election Day (LEVERS). Late votes were approximately 7-8% of the total recorded vote.
Here is a graph of unadjusted exit poll WPEs for all the states (check out NY and CT):
TO SAY THAT THE LEVERS ARE TRANSPARENT IS AN OBVIOUS FALSEHOOD, NO DIFFERENT THAN DIEBOLD'S DEFENSE OF THEIR NON-TRANSPARENT TOUCH SCREEN VOTING MACHINES.
The problem is that NY voters who claim to love their levers do not know the FACTS.
It's time to move from the 19th to the 21st century. It's time for Levers to go.
We need verifiable paper ballots listed with totals at the polling site as well as on the Internet (by open source central tabulators) where each and every voter can confirm his vote and compare it to the precinct total.
DATA REDUNDANCY AND THE ABILITY FOR INDIVIDUAL VOTERS TO CHECK THE VOTE - NOT JUST APPOINTED ELECTION WORKERS- IS WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR FULL TRANSPARENCY.
LEVER MACHINES DO NOT MEET THE TEST; THEY NEVER HAVE AND THEY NEVER WILL.
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 3/9/2009 @ 4:40 pm PT...
Finally, Howard, do you care to comment on this:
2004 New York Lever Voting Machine Incidents: How Kerry’s NY Landslide was Denied
Of the 19 reported NY voting machine incidents of “stuck” levers, all 19 were stuck for Bush – not Kerry. It is the lever machine equivalent of touch screen vote-flipping. The EIRS New York (Election Incident Reporting System) confirms that Kerry’s winning NY margin was cut drastically by election fraud. Read it and weep.
Eleanor Roosevelt would not be smiling like she was in that famous photo of her voting on the lever if she knew the truth. Instead, she would be telling FDR: “Franklin, you must do something about those damn lever machines; they are disenfranchising your base”.
NY votes have been miscounted for over 100 years. It is time for the Levers to go. The only viable solution is open-source, central tabulating software, with HAND-COUNTED PAPER BALLOTS posted on the Internet and at the precinct. Let everyone verify their own vote as well as the precinct totals. Don’t leave it up to corrupt election officials to count vote. And we thought Stalin was bad.
19 “Stucked” Lever Incidents (all for the Republicans)
1) 28456 141 Machon Street JHS 258
Only one machine in polling place and its STUCK ON REPUBLICAN, they're giving out envelope that says "affidavit oath", no list of candidates
2) 28554 PS 58, Macon Street Brooklyn
Radio report--minister called in that the machine is broken and ONLY TAKING THE REPUBLICAN side of the vote; report came on the radio 2x while on the phone
3) 28715 PS 306, Wortman & Cozine Ave.
Machine is LOCKED ON THE REPUBLICAN side
4) 29919 PS 306, Vermont Ave.
One of the machines was STUCK ON THE REPUBLICANS. The other machine was only for voters A-L. They disenfranchised anyone whose name was not through A-L. Did vote in the end because last name starts with B.
5) 30394 PS 258 JHS - 141 Macon Street
Machines STUCK SO ONLY REPUBLICANS COULD BE VOTED FOR, told people to go back rather than hand out emergency ballot
6) 33002 PS 126 , 424 Leonard Street
Voter reported that SOMETHING WAS WRONG WITH THE LITTLE LEVER FOR THE DEMOCRATIC Presidential candidate's slot at Polling Machine serial number: 91204. She said that lots of voters complained that the lever did not properly click down.
7) 34442 Taylor White Community Center
THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE WASN'T WORKING --- could only vote for president. This is what she was told regarding the ability to vote along party line. She said she will return later to see if fixed.
8) 39120 - SWITCH FOR DEMOCRATIC AND GREEN CANDIDATES WOULDN'T FUNCTION CORRECTLY but other parties would work, officials did offer paper ballots.
9) 33516 New York PS 199 270 west 70th street
2004-11-02 07:57:10 PST Machine problem
LEVERS WERE BROKEN FOR CERTAIN PARTY LINE, they did not give him emergency ballot because they didn't know which one to give the voter. The voter cast vote for all other candidates. (only specific section of party line was broken).
10) 37472 New York ps 158 11/2/2004; 1:15 pm 2004-11-02 10:31:55 PST Machine problem for voters A-L NO LEVER FOR VP CANDIDATE on DEMOCRATIC side.
11) 33495 ps 158 46-35 oceania st
THE JOHN KERRY CHAD WAS HARD TO PUNCH. None of the other chads for the democratic party candidates were hard to punch.
12) 28481 Bronx PS 50 173rd and Bryant Avenue 6:40 2004-11-02 04:02:36 PST Tyrek said that other voters in line told him that the MACHINES WERE STUCK ON "REPUBLICAN". The line was not moving at all and he did not see whether paper ballots were being passed out to voters. He had to go to work so he left the polling place.
13) 28965 Bronx 11/2/2008 7:30 2004-11-02 04:32:37 PST
MACHINE STUCK IN BUSH/CHENEY POSITION - was allowed to cast paper ballot
14) 31417 Bronx 3410 Dereimer Avenue; apartment building 11/02/04--7:30 a.m. 2004-11-02 06:39:20 PST
Voting machine: only one machine for the 8th district at the location; THE MACHINE WAS STUCK ON "REPUBLICAN" and voters couldn't vote unless they were Republican. One of the police officers there looked at the machine and tried to "unstick" it, but was not successful. Voter is concerned that the paper ballots will not get counted, or will be lost.
15) 29968 Bronx PS 50 Rice Ave 2004-11-02 05:29:28 PST
MACHINE ONLY SET FOR REPUBLICANS, could not vote any other way
16) 30579 Bronx 3410 Dereimer Avenue 11/2/04 at 7 am 2004-11-02 06:01:12 PST MACHINE STUCK ON REPUBLICAN; Gave paper ballots; Voter suspects it was a provisional --rather than an emergency ballot.
17) 39075 Bronx p.s. 50, crotona park east 2004-11-02 11:46:17 PST Individual reports news reports of machine irregular; DEMOCRATIC LEVELS MALFUNCTIONING.
18) 33077 Bronx County PS 105, White Plains Road 2004-11-02 07:42:17 PST
Machine is NOT BEING RE-SET for each voter; the machine REMAINS ON "REPUBLICAN" and voters have not been able to vote for other parties. The pol workers said that they cannot adjust the machine because it will jam.
19) 32390 Bronx PS 50 1550 Vyse Ave 7:05 2004-11-02 07:15:06 PST
Went at 7:05; was told that 6 MACHINES "WERE LOCKED ON REPUBLICAN"