Former Circuit Court Judge Vic Rawl's official protest against the results of South Carolina's Democratic U.S. Senate primary election last Tuesday --- when he was purportedly beaten by Alvin Greene, a jobless man who didn't campaign and didn't even have a campaign website --- will focus on what he describes as "systemic issues involving the software of the voting machine," according to the four-term, former state legislator in an interview with Fox "News" today.
The video and transcript of that interview --- in which Rawl displayed a very impressive command of the issues surrounding the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines used in the election --- are posted below. It's well worth reading and/or watching.
But first, Democratic House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) also appeared on Fox today where he said, "I believe there was hacking done into that computer." He later added, that because SC used the type of voting machines that have been decertified by so many other states, "maybe somebody wanted machines that were easily hacked into."
Take a look...
Clyburn's comments are remarkable --- certainly for a currently-serving Democratic official, much less one as high ranking as he is. Perhaps his comments will help change the way the bulk of the mainstream media has been covering this issue to date. They've been looking at everything but the obvious potential for computer failure or manipulation, even though Rawl has been going out of his way to point to it --- as we saw in his remarkable statement announcing his protest of the election results filed yesterday, due, in no small part, to "the well-documented unreliability and unverifiability of the voting machines used in South Carolina."
Since speculating on the accuracy of the results, or lack thereof, is all that most of us can do, given the nature of the type of e-voting system in use in SC which offer zero proof of actual winners and losers, there is certainly every reason to believe the election could have been hacked. The state's woeful ES&S system --- both its voting machines and its central tabulators --- has been shown time and again, in scientific report after scientific report, to be easily manipulated, particularly by a well-placed election insider.
That said, there still remain other less nefarious explanations for the results, and it should also be noted that Clyburn got quite a few of the details --- albeit fairly minor ones in the scope of his main point, if rather important to the rest of the country --- wrong...
Here's the key portion of the interview, as it applies to the oft-failed ES&S voting machines in question:
REP. JAMES CLYBURN: I'm saying I believe there was hacking done into that computer. Remember, these are the same machines that the state of Ohio, the state of California, uh, Louisiana, uh and Alabama, I believe --- all outlawed this machine. I think that 49 states have decided that this machine is not reliable, and ought not be used for campaigns.
Yet, South Carolina --- the administration of South Carolina --- decided to go down to Louisiana and buy these machines, machines that Louisiana discarded. So, maybe somebody wanted machines that were easily hacked into.
The fact of the matter is, that's a proven fact, and we had no business with those machines in South Carolina, but this administration made the decision to buy machines that 49 states rejected as being unreliable. Why?...
Clyburn is wrong in his assertion that "49 states have decided that this machine is not reliable."
In fact, though many states have indeed found the ES&S iVotronic unreliable for a number of reasons, including the fact that they can be easily hacked, and have either recommended against their use or decertified them all together, many are still using the very same Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems to this day.
In addition to South Carolina, the exact same ES&S iVotronic machines --- the ones without the so-called "Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" (or VVPAT, the cash register-type tapes that print out a supposed record of the voter's vote, even though few read them, nobody actually counts them, they can also be hacked, and they don't actually have any bearing on how the computer records votes) --- are still used, according to VerifiedVoting.org's 2008 database, in Colorado, Florida (for disabled-accessible voting only), Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
The equally-unverifiable version of the ES&S iVotronic with VVPAT, is still used in Arkansas, Colorado, D.C., Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Moreover, similarly unverifiable DRE/touch-screen voting systems, also oft-failed, easily-manipulated and equally-unverifiable, though made by other private companies, are used in dozens of other states across the country.
Of course, as we've pointed out in previous articles on this SC mess, simple machine failure, versus malicious hacking, is also quite possible with these systems, as they have failed on many occasions --- most notoriously, perhaps, in the 2006 FL-13 special election for the U.S. House when 18,000 votes disappeared in a race decided by just 369 votes. Whether the cause was hacking or machine failure remains unknown to this date, though it did help lead Florida to return to paper ballots as they decertified all DREs other than for limited use to meet the disabled voter requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.
There are other reasons that SC's results could have been what they were. Though not many. As Tom Schaller at FiveThirtyEight.com has speculated, the only other known explanation at this time would be a wildly possible cocktail of combined factors like ballot position, and a tiny percentage of voters who knew who Rawl was, but didn't like him. Though those factors would seem to apply to votes on paper-based absentee ballots as well, where there was an inexplicable 11-point disparity with the Election Day votes cast on the touch-screens.
Once again, that returns us to the possibility of machine malfunction or manipulation.
And that is squarely where Rawl seems to be focusing his attention, as explained to Fox's Bill Hemmer today.
The video is well worth watching or reading (transcript is also posted below). The most impressive part of it all, from where we sit, was early in the interview, when Rawl appropriately interrupted Hemmer to disabuse him of the notion that the major concerns were not in "the voting booth", but in the software that runs the entire system.
Rawl has done extraordinarily well in a series of recent interviews over the last 48 hours, particularly given the speed at which he's had to climb the sharp learning curve involved with the complexities and concerns of Election Integrity issues.
The good news is that, as a former Circuit Court Judge, he should be very familiar with the idea of what actually constitutes "evidence", and the fact that there is absolutely none to prove that either Greene won, or that he lost.
Rawl's protest will be argued before the 92-member SC Democratic Party executive committee in Columbia on Thursday at 3p ET.
The BRAD BLOG has reached out to both Rawl and his campaign for a number of questions we still have, but we have yet to make contact. We are, however, getting closer.
Also related today... D.C. watchdog group Citizen for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), took two actions related to the election. In one, they asked the SC Attorney General to investigate whether "was induced to run for the Senate in violation of South Carolina law." In the other, they "filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that primary-winner Greene and three other candidates in the June 8, 2010 Democratic primary in South Carolina: Gregory Brown, Ben Frasier and Brian Doyle and their campaign committees, violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and FEC regulations by failing to file mandatory disclosure reports prior to the election."
There has been speculation that Greene, who has said he saved up for two years in order to raise the $10,440 filing fee to enter the election, was a "plant" in the race.
He is currently scheduled to face incumbent Republican Sen. Jim DeMint in the general election this November, unless Rawl's protest leads to a new election, or if DeMint himself is somehow tied to a malicious scheme --- in which case, it could turn out to be DeMint's Waterloo.
Judge Vic Rawl's 6/15/10 interview with Bill Hemmer on Fox "News" follows in full...
BILL HEMMER: Yeah, it's the voting booth that is at the core of your investigation. Now, I can understand...
RAWL: No, sir. It's not the voting booth...
HEMMER: Go ahead.
RAWL: It's not the voting booth. It's the software that runs the touch-screen, non-paper controlled machines.
HEMMER: Okay, now this...these machines...I believe the ones in South Carolina have been used in Louisiana and that Louisiana officials got rid of it and went to a new system. Now I can understand in 2000, a difference of 537 votes and we hold the Presidency up for 36, 37 days, but this guy got almost 60 thousands...or, sorry, 60 percent of the vote. That's a huge discrepancy. What explains that? I mean, what's your theory?
RAWL: Well, theoretically, I have to rely on my experts. And talking to experts is very interesting unless you are one. However, it's pretty clear that the patterns indicate a systemic problem with the machine. And the systemic problem in my opinion, from the information that I have, is contained in the software.
HEMMER: Do you think this election, as some have theorized now, publicly, do you think this was rigged?
RAWL: I don't know if it was rigged or whether it was a technical error, it was a software error, it was a software breakdown. I can't say it was rigged ,per se, intentionally or otherwise. But it certainly appears to be a software problem with the election.
HEMMER: As some have suggested, this Alvin Greene was a Republican plant. Do you buy that theory?
RAWL: I have no comment on what Alvin Greene is or is not. I campaigned very diligently from March the first until the primary date. I never saw Alvin Greene. I never met Alvin Greene. I never saw any materials whatsoever containing his name or campaign paraphernalia and that's all I know about Alvin Greene.
HEMMER: On Thursday, the Democratic Party in South Carolina is going to take up your case. In the 15 seconds I have left, will you win on appeal? And can you win, technically?
RAWL: This isn't an appeal. This is a protest. And in a protest, you have to show that there is a significant problem, and that that problem has a significant outcome on the election. An appeal would be from an adverse opinion by the [SC Democratic Party] Executive Committee and I don't know if I will appeal or not. I cross that bridge as I get to it. We take this situation one step at a time...
HEMMER: Alright, if the story...
RAWL: ... I would, however, like to make sure... Go ahead?
HEMMER: One more thought you have there?...
RAWL: I would like to make sure that people understand that this is not a campaign against two people that did nothing. That is very disingenuous to my campaign people that worked very diligently from March the first until the Election Day.
HEMMER: I can understand that. We'll see what comes of this on Thursday. If the news changes, I hope you come back. Vic Rawl, I thank you for your time...
RAWL: Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.
HEMMER: ...out of Charleston, South Carolina. Martha?
MARTHA MCCALLUM: Must have been a shock to him to lose to someone who had never seen or run into on the campaign trail and never saw a bumper sticker or poster and then he wakes up in the morning and goes 'what?'. It's bizarre.
UPDATE 6/16/10: Rawl also appeared on the Thom Hartman Program on Tuesday, and did a fine job there as well. Here ya go...
Previously related at The BRAD BLOG:
- 'Experts' Eye 100% Unverifiable E-Vote System in 'Win' of SC's Mystery U.S. Senate Nominee
- UPDATE: More Statisticians Focus on 'Tampering, Malfunction' of E-Vote System in SC Primary
- BREAKING: U.S. Senate Candidate Files Challenge to SC's 'Unreliable, Unverifiable' E-Vote Results
- SC Election Commission Hoodwinks Local Media