Primary election results hang in balance...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2011, 3:46pm PT  

On Tuesday, we highlighted some of the many failures of e-voting systems in the Jackson, Mississippi (Hinds County), metropolitan area during their statewide primary election that day. Apparently enough systems failed, touch-screen systems that simply malfunctioned and refused to allow votes to be cast, names missing from electronic "ballots," etc., that the Clarion-Ledger quoted a senior Democratic party official yesterday offering this remarkable statement:

“What the public needs to know is that there is no election at this point,” said Claude McInnis, vice chairman of the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee. “All we have is numbers from precincts. Until the committee verifies the election, we don’t have one.”

What? Verify an election before announcing results?! Candidates refusing to concede before that's done?! And how exactly will they be able to "verify" those numbers from 100% unverifiable electronic voting systems? My goodness. It's anarchy in Mississippi!...

Officials may be able to try and count the paper ballots that were handed out when touch-screen machines failed on Tuesday. But as for the "ballots" cast on the touch-screen, or Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines made by Advanced Voting Solutions (AVS) --- a company that has long since gone out of business --- there is absolutely no way to verify that even a single one of them was recorded as per the voter's intent. Hinds County is the only one in the state to use the 10-year-old AVS machines. Most of the other counties use touch-screen systems manufactured by Diebold/Premier. Some of those also failed, according to another Clarion-Ledger report:

In Madison [County], voting machines in the Twin Lakes precinct failed to work. Election officials switched to paper ballots but ran out and "had to rush out and get more paper ballots," he said.

Votes cast on the Diebold DREs that didn't fail are also 100% unverifiable.

"Everyone I've talked to is baffled," McInnis said Wednesday, referencing the voting machine failures and races, such as the primaries for Governor and Lt. Governor, which failed to appear on some voters' electronic "ballots" at all. Yes, who could have known these electronic voting machines would fail on an Election Day? It's not as if there has been any blog out there reporting day after day on such issues for years, warning about exactly that.

McInnis went on to say that members of his committee --- in Mississippi the political parties run their own Primary Elections, while the state/counties run the general elections --- may need the rest of this week and part of next to finish work required to "verify" the election.

As Clarion-Ledger notes:

Pending what happens there, Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin this morning isn’t giving up the fight to retain his seat in a tight race against fellow Democrat Tyrone Lewis.

“I haven’t conceded,”McMillin said.

Democratic Party officials discovered well into the count Tuesday night that some votes apparently were counted twice.

Among the problems, party officials overseeing primary elections found a Clinton precinct box appeared to be still out after others were accounted for, officials said.
“I’m going to wait to see what happens at the courthouse, and what they find out, to determine what’s going on and then take action from there,” McMillin said today.
Unofficial figures from the Hinds County website’s elections section showed Lewis received 17,743 votes, or 51.1 percent, to McMillin’s 15,503, or 44.7 percent.

McInnis reiterated that “all these totals are unofficial.

“I don’t make statements about artificial counts. It would be irresponsible to make statements about the election at this time,” he said.

Artificial counts. If they are based, in any way, on touch-screen voting machine results, they are all "artificial counts" because they can never be overseen and verified by the citizenry, or even the party committees who run the primaries in MS.

Had votes been cast on hand-marked paper ballots and counted on Election Night at the precincts, in front of the full public, with results posted directly at the polling places before any ballots moved anywhere, none of this would be happening and the state's democracy would not be left to best-guesswork. That would have been "Democracy's Gold Standard."

Instead, the voters of Mississippi will be forced to accept whatever results officials end up reporting, as they make it all up as they go along. Self-governance and democracy have been lost.

All of this is, of course, just meant by way of a preview for what is soon to come to the rest of the country. Again.

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