The Timesizing® Program
©2003-10 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 117, Harvard Sq PO, Cambridge, MA 02238, USA 617-623-8080 - HOMEPAGE
Visit also Michael Parenti's campaign for election reform *Voting in the USA (second in list) and *BlackBoxVoting.org.
Phase 1 - electronic referendums - debugging issues
There are naturally debugging issues with the new technology of electronic voting machines, as anticipated by Stalin's statement that it doesn't matter who casts the votes, only who counts 'em. Our position is based on Systems Science. Big systems need fast and accurate and plentiful feedback to survive. If they don't get it, they don't survive. This is a systems issue. This voting-system issue is covered by websites such as *BlackBoxVoting.org and in New York Times (NYT), Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and regional-news articles such as -
Quick Reference. The 5 phases of the public-sector stage of the Timesizing program (bear in mind there's a long private-sector stage preceding that) are:
- BIPARTISANLY YOURS: COAKLEY WON THE HAND COUNTS, 1/10/2010 BlackBoxVoting.org
[Rigged elections means no system feedback. No feedback for a large complex system like the USA means no variability or adaptibility, its strategic derivative. No variability is lethal for a large complex system since variability is critical.]
MASSACHUSETTS -- This article is about our right to know, not about Martha Coakley or Scott Brown. And lest you think something here favors a Democrat, just you wait, I'm still working on anomalies in the NY-23 election that are just plain hard to 'splain. As Richard Hayes Phillips says when people tell him to forget it, "I'm a historian, I've got all the time in the world." NY-23 still has history to be written. My public records are starting to arrive. But that's another story.
Back to Massachusetts, I think you have a right to know that Coakley won the hand counts there.
According to preliminary media results by municipality, Democrat Martha Coakley won Massachusetts overall in its hand counted locations,* with 51.12% of the vote (32,247 hand counted votes) to Brown's 30,136, which garnered him 47.77% of hand counted votes. Margin: 3.35% lead for Coakley.
Massachusetts has 71 hand count locations, 91 ES&S locations, and 187 Diebold locations, with two I call the mystery municipalities (Northbridge and Milton) apparently using optical scanners, not sure what kind.
ES&S RESULTS [Electronic Systems & Software, like Diebold, run by the O'Dell brothers, two fanatical Republicans and conveniently located in swing-state Ohio]
The greatest margin between the candidates was with ES&S machines -- 53.64% for Brown, 45.31% for Coakley, a margin for Brown of 8.33%. It looks like ES&S counted a total of 620,388 votes, with 332,812 going to Brown and 281,118 going to Coakley. Taken overall, the difference -- 8.33% Brown (ES&S) added to 3.35% Coakley (Hand Count) shows an 11.68% difference between the ES&S and the Hand Counts. Of course, as Mark Twain used to say, there are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics. These statistics don't prove anything, and probably shouldn't be discussed without a grain of salt handy before examining more detailed demographics.
As a point of reference, however, in the Maine gay marriage issue recently there was no significant overall difference between machine count and hand count locations.
Diebold's results are 51.42% for Brown, with 791,272 Republican votes counted by Diebold, vs. 47.61% for Coakley, with 732,633 Democratic votes counted by Diebold, for a spread of 3.81% favoring Brown.
It's always interesting to watch hand counts beat machine count results to the newspaper.
In the Massachusetts special senate election, results from six of 71 hand count locations were reported about 2 1/2 hour... More (MA) 1/10 - LOOKING OUT FOR PREMATURE "CALLING" OF MASS. ELECTION - SHINING A BRIGHT LIGHT ON AN UNDEMOCRATIC TACTIC
For 10 years, I've been watching a trend to manipulate elections through premature "call" of the race by a media outlet. See below for predictions on what may follow a media call for either candidate in Massachusetts.
The media "call" can be manipulated because the public doesn't know that projected winners come from a system that is not even a governmental source! In fact, the media "calls" elections based on data from just one media outlet -- usually a quiet little division of the Associated Press that occupies a little corner somewhere and answers very few questions. Volunteers call in result reports to the corporation. The reports are often inaccurate (see below for examples). The names of these volunteers are not part of the public record. We will never get the list of names for those who will call in the 351 numbers which will result in "calling the election" for Tuesday's Massachusetts election.
HOW THE MEDIA "CALL" MAY ULTIMATELY CONTROL POLICY
If Tuesday's Massachusetts special senate election is "called" for Democrat Martha Coakley, expect to see a rush to install her, copying a Republican tactic in 2006 whereby San Diego's Brian Bilbray was seated by the US House of Representatives before tens of thousands of votes were even counted. Yes, the Senate can override the actual election results, or pre-empt the real results, and pre-emptively install a candidate based on a media prediction, or a bunch of unofficial tallies, or whatever they want. It can be done. It has been done. And if the media calls the race for Coakley, expect to see it done again.
If the race is "called" for Republican Scott Brown, expect to see a rush from Republican lawyers to claim that Brown has the right to vote immediately, instead of Paul Kirk who is current interim successor to Ted Kennedy. If that fails, look for an attempt to force abstention on the Massachusetts vote while stall tactics play out.
Sixty votes are needed. If Coakley is called and installed, they've got the 60. If Brown is called and stalled, they've got 59. Either way, the media "call" on Massachusetts is going to be under exceptional political pressure.
No matter where you stand on the controversial healthcare bill, be aware that what you see reported on Election Night is not only not "official" or "final", but is not even real, and ma... More (MA) 1/10 - WHAT TO DO ABOUT MASSACHUSETTS - Below you'll find suggestions for effective actions everyone can take, whether you live in Massachusetts or not, to help protect the truthfulness of Tuesday's Massachusetts senate special election.
Massachusetts election results will roll in from 351 municipalities (counties do not run elections in Mass., unlike most states). I've been poking around, and it looks like initial results will be posted through this news Web site:
These will be media results, not a governmental source, but should be collected as they roll in and compared with governmental results.
Yes, the machines are hackable*, machines are programmed by a firm with a member of its key management team afflicted with a criminal record and a history of driving around the state with replacement memory cards and voting machines in his trunk. And this election is vehemently political, with the winner possibly holding a key vote on the controversial healthcare bill.
(* Did a program update eliminate hackability? Well, the point is that no one really knows what's on the machines, and there's no point in taking anyone's word on anything with regard to whether problems have been "fixed" or not (or whether new vulnerabilities were introduced with a "fix"). But if anything was "fixed" it was put there by LHS Associates, the firm that programs all the machines.
NOTHING IS REALLY DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION
Except for the unusually high octane senate race, this election is no different than any other Massachusetts elections over the past 10 years. They've had tamper-friendly machines and a thuggish, centralized voting machine programming firm for many years now, the same situation that afflicts New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut.
When I say "thuggish" I refer not only to the narcotics trafficking conviction of LHS Associates' key management team member/voting machine support guy Ken Hajjar (photocopy of record here: http://www.bbvdocs.org/LHS/hajjar.png), but to the sometimes profane and very blustery and pushy interactions many of us have had with these characters. Here's YouTube video showing LHS President John Silvestro interrupting a New Hampshire legislative hearing: *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiiaBqwqkXs
Now, when I say there is never basis for 'trust', what I mean is this: Public elections are the method by which we choose our representatives. Some say we have chosen to trust, because we empower our representatives to make decisions for us, and that is somewhat true. But the process of CHOOSING our representatives can never be ceded entirely to insiders, whether they work for the government or not. The public must retain the right to see and authenticate every essential step; if any key step is concealed from the public, the election ceases to be public, and an inadvertent transfer of power (from the public to a handful of insiders) takes place.
WHAT EVERYONE CAN DO TO HELP WITH PUBLIC AUTHENTICATION
"Poll watching" is a good and important thing to do, but it does very little to protect results. Let's assume that the political parties and various members of the public will get out there and poll watch, to make sure that registered voters can vote and no non-legitimate votes get into the pool.
Nowadays, with computerized counting and absentee voting, two key steps are removed from public right to see and authenticate:
(1) Computerized counting removes public right to see and authenticate the count. After the fact audits do not replace or restore this. One of the "essential steps" is the original count, and no "after the fact" procedure -- especially one which takes place after ballots are transported -- can replace public right to see and authenticate the original count.
(2) Absentee voting removes public right to see who actually casts each vote.
So what can we do? I say that citizens both in and outside of Massachusetts can help protect the election, because we can all help pinpoint municipalities that merit special vigilance.
THE SEA IS VAST AND EACH CITIZEN'S BOAT IS SMALL
Massachusetts has 351 election jurisdictions. We can help Massachusetts residents pick locations to watch -- and "watch" does NOT mean just during the live election. Election Night and the days following the election are perhaps even more important!
Those of us who live outside Massachusetts can help locate possible problem areas. How? By Googling around to see where there were anomalies, allegations, election complaints, or irregularities in the past. Tune into local races, like past mayor, sheriff or town council elections. Flag locations of interest by e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org or posting information here or in the Massachusetts section of this Web site.
ACUSHNET — April 16, 2008: "As questions swirl around the shredding of absentee ballot envelopes just two days after the April 7 town election..."
Yep. Let's put Acushnet on the Watch List. I'd also add Methuen, where LHS Associates is located (and where a family member of an LHS guy was working for the city); and Lawrence. Please share your nominations for Massachusetts Watch List municipalities!
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QUICK PRIMER: UNIQUE ASPECTS OF MASSACHUSETTS ELECTIONS
1. They don't run elections by counties, but instead by municipalities. Massachusetts municipalities can be found on the Black Box Voting .ORG Web site in the Massachusetts section, here's the link:
This is an interactive site where you can help archive information you find within each municipality and for the state as a whole.
2. Massachusetts uses computerized voting machines (mostly the Diebold/Premier Accuvote scanners, with a few antiquated ES&S Optech scanners scattered around), they have a "paper trail" but do not allow the public to watch the counting of the paper ballots, and the state imposes restrictions on candidates seeking recounts which can block ability to recount if margins exceed a certain threshold.
3. Massachusetts does not have Wild West-style vote by mail, and places at least some restrictions on absentee voting, such as the requirement to request an absentee ballot. That said, in this election they've been pushing pretty hard for in-person requests and in-person absentee voting. That is somewhat troubling.
4. By and large, Massachusetts election officials don't use the Diebold/Premier "GEMS" central tabulator. LHS Associates DOES use it, to prepare the memory cards, and LHS sometimes lets certain election officials also have it and shows them how to make their own memory cards.
RECONCILING BALLOTS, POLL BOOKS, EARLY/FINAL COUNTS, AND POLL TAPES
This is the method used by Richard Hayes Phillips and Paddy Shaffer to spot impossible numbers in Ohio in the 2004 general election, and this simple kind of audit is still one of the best ways to spot problems!
1. The number of people who sign in to the poll book should match the number of votes cast. Sometimes it can be off by one or two, but in that case, you will always have one or two FEWER votes than the number of people who signed in. Any number off by more than one or two, or any time there are more votes than voters, you've got an anomaly (in the first case) or an impossible number (if more votes than voters). Such discrepancies merit a loud shout.
2. The results should not show a large variance from initial results to final results (which are certified several days after the election), at least, not without an explanation and documents to back it up.
3. The numbers on the poll tapes should: (a) have correct date and times; (b) match the initial results -- sometimes you have to add poll tape plus absentee plus machine-unreadable ballots; (c) should be signed by poll workers (d) should have header and footer information intact and (e) should have signed, time-stamped "zero results" attached. Any discrepancies need to be red-flagged.
4. The number of ballots delivered, used, unused, and spoiled should appear on a polling place reconciliation form signed by poll workers, and the numbers need to add up. Any location that fails to account for its blank (unused) ballots needs to be red-flagged.
MOST AMERICANS DON'T UNDERSTAND WHERE THE BIG RISKS ARE WITH VOTE BY MAIL
Picture this: Suppose you have people dumping REAL voters into the voter registration list, without their knowledge. This is possible by insiders, in states with Internet voter registration, and by outsiders, by copying names out of phone books or just finding lists of addresses. Some of these people will be duplicates and are weeded out. But after dups are removed, what will remain is a whole bunch of REAL names on the list for people who rarely vote (thus were not registered) and are unaware that they are even registered. This is the real risk for Internet registration, and for the so-called "voter registration modernization" which heads us toward dumping everyone on the rolls based on driver's licenses etc., and for the kinds of violations publicized with ACORN.
When you combine voter list stuffing with vote by mail, you open up a huge vector for fraud: Insiders casting votes in the name of real people who are registered voters but unlikely to vote.
In other words, the risk for large, wholesale vote-by-mail fraud is not with some dead guys, nor is it with the non-matching signatures. The real risks are with the signatures that DO match and the voters who are REAL, but don't vote and who may not even know they are registered. As for faking the sig match: This is a trivial little end-run but merits a separate write-up.
Now, when you start pushing people to come in personally to apply and drop off absentee ballots, you also add risks for an insider operation for counterfeit absentee voting, by eliminating post office records. You also don't have to deal with the tricky little detail of where to mail a bunch of unasked-for ballots. Absentee applications can magically appear (a bunch of people "dropped them off") and voted absentee ballots for the matching names can sprout like mushrooms (people "dropped them off", you know).
Absentee voting already has a rich and proven history of fraud, just ask any Appalachian state, and is being ramped up in Massachusetts for this election. And it's a bit troubling.
Here's one strategy that can be used to detect counterfeit absentee-dumping: Because it requires an insider, there will be considerable variation among the 351 municipalities as to whether insider absentee fraud is doable. So by comparing the percentage of absentee votes between municipalities, it should be possible to pick out locations with higher-than-normal absentee participation.
VOTING MACHINE FORENSICS
For more detailed examination of voting machine and tabulator functionality, here are some of the diagnostic reports available by request. These are all considered non-proprietary and fall under public records laws.
POLLING PLACE VOTING MACHINE AUDIT TAPES: Each polling place voting machine can print an audit tape. Typically they just print the results tape, but there are two additional options: The AccuVote machines can also print a "long tape" which shows results in more detail, including blank ballots; and they can print an "Audit Tape", which shows important information like when the machine was turned off or on, whether someone pushed an override button, and so forth.
CENTRAL TABULATOR AUDIT LOGS: Most Massachusetts locations don't use the central machine that adds up multiple polling place results, but some jurisdictions, like Boston and Cambridge, may use the GEMS central tabulator. If so, GET THE AUDIT LOG. Get it in electronic form. This will show many different events, all of them important. This central tabulator runs on Windows, so also request an electronic copy of the Windows Event Log, the Windows System Log, and the Windows Administrative log. GEMS runs over 80 different kinds of diagnostic reports; here are links to examples:
One of the most useful reports is in sample 8, which shows whether duplicate memory cards were created. The example here shows one precinct that had an extra memory card (ballot box) created, but in Putnam County Florida after the 2004 election, every precinct had 2-3 memory cards (ballot boxes). This is important information for tracking chain of custody.
For more information, such as how to request public records, or details on looking at audit logs or automating collection of preliminary results, go to our Tool Kit page: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/toolkit.html -- both the 2008 and the earlier Tool Kit contain many valuable suggestions.
The most interesting information will come out in the days and weeks following the election. Happy hunting, and you can use this link to share information:
- 12/19/2007 Many voting machines decertified in Colorado - Official faults accuracy, security, by George Merritt, AP via Boston Globe, A19.
[This is the only real issue in American politics today. None of the "candidates" are talking about it. And even the Boston Globe has buried it on page 19 when it should be front page above the fold. And the writing of the article is cushioned like crazy. America is doomed if this is all its feedback system, "democracy," is worth to Americans. We'll rearrange the article to get to the meat first.]
DENVER - Colorado's Secretary of State [Mike Coffman] has declared many of the state's electronic voting machines to be unreliable [and] decertified three of the four voting equipment manufacturers allowed in the state....
[Unnamed, but probably the three largest manufacturers, all owned by fanatical Bush supporters, Diebold, ES&S, and Hart InterCivic.]
In his announcement Monday,
[ah, why wasn't this in the news Tuesday (yesterday) instead of Wednesday (today)?]
Coffman said Colorado's actions would have national repercussions. "What we have found is that the federal certification process is inadequate," he said....
Coffman announced in March that he had adopted new rules for testing electronic voting machines. He required the four systems used in Colorado to apply for recertification.
In Ohio, the state that narrowly gave...Bush his win in 2004, a review concluded last week that electronic voting machines are vulnerable to security breaches and human error.
[And partisan manipulation?!! - why aren't we SAYING THIS YET??? And all this less than eleven months before the next election??? Why didn't this explode three years ago? or better, seven years ago?! America is doomed. Huge system. No feedback function. Doom. End of story. End of America. *Naomi Wolf is right.]
Touch-screen machines have been purchased across the nation to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act.
[Yeah sure. This is like the Save Our Forests non-profits that the suicidal megalumbering corporations set up to ensure they can keep clear-cutting, or the Save Our Fisheries dot-orgs of the megafishing firms to keep on drag-netting. The only thing American CEOs are good at today is megasuicide - they have turned America into Jonestown. "Here, we're all gonna drink this koolaid, you first."]
Nationally, $3 billion was spent to replace the punch-card system that faltered in the 2000 election.
[$3B wasted replacing a bad system w'ith a worse one. At least with punch cards there's a paper trail you can audit. With these Bushie-owned Diebold, ES&S and Hart InterCivic machines, there's no paper trail. American elections can no longer be audited = Karl Rove's greatest triumph. Again, a strategy of Suicide, Everyone Else First.]
..\..The decertification decision [in Colorado], which cited problems with accuracy and security, affects electronic voting machines in Denver and five other counties.
..\..The day after \his decision\ Coffman met with a task force of state lawmakers to discuss what Colorado should do. \He\ said yesterday that some [machines] could still be used in November if a software patch was installed.
[A software patch from the corrupt Karl Rove operatives who own the three biggest voting-machine manufacturers? And installed by them? Brilliant.]
Other machines that failed could be replaced with equipment certified for use in other states [he] said....
[Where, like, Ohio? America is finished.
...Everywhere, the ceremony of innocence [eg: elections] is drowned.
The best [eg: civil service, Democrats] lack all conviction,
while the worst [Karl Rove & his strategic army of termites] are full of passionate intensity...."
Yeats, The Second Coming (1921) ]
- 2004 ELECTION BIBLIOGRAPHY
Mark Miller (2005), Fooled Again: How the right stole the 2004 election & why they'll steal the next one too unless we stop them
Bob Fitrakis, As Goes Ohio: Election theft since 2004
Bob Fitrakis & Steve Rosenfeld (2008), How the GOP stole America's 2004 election and is rigging 2008
Bob Fitrakis & Steve Rosenfeld & Harvey Wasserman (2006), What Happened In Ohio: A documentary record of theft and fraud in the 2004 election
- 11/27/2004 Ohio: Lawsuit over provisional ballots, AP via NYT, A12.
A watchdog group [People for the American Way] sued...Secy of State Kenneth Blackwell and the Cuyahoga [County] Board of Elections..\..from rejecting thousands of provisional ballots until they were hand-checked against voter registration cards.... The deadline for counties to complete their official counts is Wednesday [four days away].
- 11/24/2004 Fixing the way we vote: Some more ideas, letter to editor from Stuart Sherman of Fort Lee NJ, NYT, A26.
[These ideas are added to Nicholas Kristof's ideas in "No more sham elections," NYT, 11/20/2004:]
- ...Availability of early voting.
- ...Ending voting in each time zone at 9 pm Eastern time..\..
- ...Voting on Sunday.... Almost every other democracy has Sunday voting, and voter participation is often over 90%, compared with our recent...55%. With few people having to [go] to work on Sunday, many more could vote without suffering economic penalities..\.. Although some states have established Election Day as a holiday or require employers to provide two hours off for voting, it's not universal and imposes a penalty on employers. ...The original reason for [voting on] Tuesday was...concern for churchgoers. But this consideration should no longer apply in our society, which, in most areas, permits shopping malls...to open Sunday..\..
- have nonpartisan experts draw up Congressional districts after each census,
- eliminate the Electoral College and
- funnel campaign donations through a blind trust...
- 11/24/2004 Coloradans vote to embrace alternative sources of energy - An energy plan that failed 3 times in the Legislature [in the last 3 years] went to the polls and won, by Kirk Johnson, NYT, A13.
Colorado utilities will have to sell a lot more electricity from wind power under a statewide ballot initiative approved by voters on Nov. 2...over the vehement objections of most energy companies. [The] proposal mandat[es] that 10% of the state's electricity must come from wind and solar power by 2015. The law, Amendment 37, makes Colorado the 18th state with an environmentally friendly energy standard, but the first one to have bypassed the Legislature and put the rule into place through referendum....
[So here we have another argument for direct democracy through referendum. The problems involved are the right problems. Their solution makes humanity more sustainable and continuable. “The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy." Al Smith.]
- 11/19/2004 Bush 'beat' Kerry [our quotes], pointer blurb [to A4], WSJ, front page.
...by about 10,000 votes in Iowa [well within easy rigging range with the new no-paper-trail electronic voting machines manufactured by unscrupulously partisan Republicans], an as-yet-certified tally says, the first time state electoral votes 'went' [ie: were rigged as] Republican since 1984. Ohio 'results' still aren't final, but lessons have emerged.
[= lessons that Karl Rove & Co. will carefully obscure.]
- 11/19/2004 Release of future election day [exit] poll results is to be delayed [further], by Jaques Steinberg, NYT, A18.
[We understand they're already delayed because they proved so accurate, they were discouraging voter turnout on the West Coast. This additional delay is obviously a bid to remove the last remaining check on election honesty, now that the Republican dictatorship has squelched paper trails in their massive shift to the electronic vote-rigging machines that they themselves manufacture.]
The 'news' organizations [our quotes] overseeing the polling system that served as an early handicapper of the presidential race on Election Day have decided [or been ordered by their lord and master, Rupert Murdoch] to delay the release of future races' results by at least three hours.
[That should give them time to start moving the accurate exit-poll results toward the corrupt Republican-owned paperless electronic 'voting' machine results so there's no Bush-embarrassing discrepancy.]
Their decision is intended to 'remedy' one of the main 'breakdowns' associated with the new $10m system: that preliminary results showing Sen. John Kerry with an apparently sizable lead over pResident Bush began appearing on Internet sites in the early afternoon, not long after they had been released on strictest confidence to newspaper editors and television producers at 1 pm EST....
[And those figures were still showing Kerry at 53% around 11 pm when mathematician Jonathan Simon downloaded them for 47 of the 50 states prior to their usual adjustment to agree with the actual - but rigged - voting machine results.]
- 11/17/2004 Most ballots pass scrutiny, Ohio officials say, AP via NYT, A16.
[But then, why would anyone believe them when they are overwhelming partisan-Republican and the supervising secretary of state is also a Bush campaign leader?]
- 11/13/2004 Lingering questions about the vote, 9 letters to the editor, NYT, A30.
- 10/26/2004 Rise of the machines - It may already be too late to avoid a repeat of 2000, by David Boies, NYT, A29.
["Already"??? There's nothing "already" about one week before the election, FOUR YEARS after the multiple paper-ballot manipulations of the 2000 "elections."]
- 10/26/2004 Election day misdeeds, editorial, NYT, A28.
The Republican Party [or what passes for it these days] has announced plans to place thousands of election challengers in Ohio polling places next week. It says it is only trying to prevent fraud.... Republicans have been raising a lot of charges of fraud lately [but] have come up with little in the way of specifics....
[Karl Rove's usual M.O. = attack from Republican weakness to Democrat strength. Republicans vulnerable to election fraud charges? Pre-emptively attack Democrats for election fraud!]
- 10/26/2004 Republicans notched last-minute legal victories that rejected requiring paper receipts for touchscreen voting in Florida..., news blurb, WSJ, front page.
[So there's no way to tell who really wins this election.
How silently, how quietly the Land of the Free
Turns into a dictatorship,
And slides from cosmetic democracy to plutocracy to kleptocracy,
Ruled by a mumbling strongman who doesn't even read the newspapers.]
- 10/25/2004 Make-or-break balloting - Election of '04 may be key to future of electronic voting and principal player Diebold, by Anne Marie Squeo, WSJ, B1.
...Diebold's secret software for its computerized voting-management system mistakenly ended up on the Internet, where it was found to have numerous security flaws..\..
The company's chairman and CEO, Walden O'Dell...a major Republican fundraiser, committed a highly publicized gaffe by sending a letter to fellow Bush supporters committing to deliver Ohio's electoral votes to Bush this year....
In California, the company is the subject of civil fraud changes over its newest voting equipment, the AccuVote TSx, whose battery and software problems during the March primaries caused 55% of San Diego polling places to open at least one hour late....
- 10/19/2004 Electronic vote in NJ faces a fight - lawsuit [by Rutgers law professor Penny Venetis] claims results cannot be trusted, by Tom Zeller Jr, NYT, A25.
- 10/15/2004 Block the vote - The campaign to disenfranchise Democrats, op ed by Paul Krugman, NYT, A27.
Earlier this week, former employees of Sproul & Assocs. (operating under the name Voters Outreach of America), a firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters, told a Nevada TV station that their supervisors systematically tore up Democratic registrations.
The accusations are backed by physical evidence and appear credible. Officials have begun a criminal investigation into reports of similar actions by Sproul in Oregon.
Republicans claim, of course, that they did nothing wrong [isn't tearing up people's voter registrations illegal??] - and that besides, Democrats do it too. But there haven't been any comparably credible accusations against Democratic voter-registration organizations. And there is a pattern of Republican efforts to disenfranchise Democrats by any means possible.
Some of these, like the actions reported in Nevada, involve dirty tricks. For example, in 2002 the Republican Party in New Hampshire hired an Idaho company to paralyze Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts by jamming the party's phone banks.
But many efforts involve the abuse of power. For example, Ohio's secretary of state, a Republican, tried to use an archaic rule about paper quality to invalidate thousands of new, heavily Democratic registrations. That attempt failed.
But in Wisconsin, a Republican county executive insists that this year, when everyone expects a record turnout, Milwaukee will receive fewer ballots than it got in 2000 or 2002 - a recipe for chaos at polling places serving urban, mainly Democratic voters....
[One gets the distinct impression that the Republicans are pre-emptively trying, in any way they can, to prepare the ground to make their stealing of the election look plausible - despite evidence that they are planning to use their ownership of the largest three electronic voting machine companies to manipulate voting returns in their favor - and these are the voting machines that leave no paper trail for recounts. Unless a lot of Republicans wake up to the fact that their party is no longer conservative or even law-abiding, the USA as a bastion of democracy is history.]
- 10/15/2004 Parties trade charges of vote irregularities across the nation, by Jackie Calmes, WSJ, A4.
[Calmes is at pains to make this look bipartisan. In fact, as his last paragraph unexplicitly admits, irregularities are heavily loaded on the Republican side.]
Republicans see fraud in some Democratic registrations: Democrats counter that Republicans are trying to suppress minority votes on technicalities [eg: registered on wrong type (weight) of paper]. From Lake County OH to Wake County NC and Clark County NV, election officials see identical handwriting on some registrations from Democrat groups' contract workers.
Rather than fraud, "there just seems to be a crime of greed," says Gary Bartlett, NC's chief election officer.
[Doesn't he mean that rather than a crime of fraud, there just seems to be some wrist-slappable greed?]
Nevada and Oregon probe complaints against a Republican registration outfit, Sproul & Assocs.; it denies the charges.
[But as reported by Krugman in the article above, former employees told a Nevada TV station earlier this week that Sproul supervisors systematically tore up Democratic registrations.]
Civil-rights leaders write Bush adviser Rove seeking a promise no party funds will go to suppress votes.
Overruling [Republican] Ohio Secy of State Blackwell, [a] federal judge says county residents in wrong precinct can vote.
[See next item.]
- 10/15/2004 Judge rules for Democrats in dispute over Ohio voting, by James Dao & Kate Zernike, NYT, A24.
...The decision Thursday, by Judge James G. Carr of US District Court in Toledo, blocked a directive by J. Kenneth Blackwell, the secretary of state, that election workers not give provisional ballots to people who appear at the wrong precincts....
- 10/15/2004 Voting system challenged, by Kirk Johnston, NYT, A22.
A lawsuit filed in Denver has challenged the legality of a ballot proposal ["Amendment 36"] that would scrap Colorado's winner-take-all system of apportioning Electoral College votes for president. ...The proposal...would take effect immediately and be applied to this year's presidential election.... Bush received just under 51% of the state's vote in 2000, which, under the proposal, would be good for only 5 of the state's 9 Electoral College votes [instead of all 9].
[So the disenfranchisement of the majority continues.]
- 10/15/2004 Citizen delays called a curb to voting - Government backlogs in processing applications are cited, by Nina Bernstein, NYT, C10.
Nearly half of the nearly 126,000 immigrants in NY State who have applied to become American citizens have lost their chance to vote in the presidential election because of processing backlogs in the federal Dept. of Homeland Security, according to a new study [by] the NY Immigration Coalition, an umbrella group and advocacy arm for more than 150 community organizations serving newcomers. [It] found that about 60,000 prospective citizens in NY were not naturalized in time for last week's state voter registration deadline.
[And newcomers, with a more international view, would tend to vote Democrat.]
The situation is similar...in other states, including several swing states. "New York is the worst by far," said Margaret McHugh, director of the coalition. "But the numbers in some battleground states are startling. This has a potential impact on the election."
[The Republican Party has lost its commitment to democracy and will do ANYTHING to win - this spells the end of the USA as a minimal 2-party democracy and the beginning of the US as a one-party "democratic republic" like the old satellite states of the USSR, such as the German Democratic Republic (ie: East Germany, the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik).]
The analysis used government figures for the number of pending cases, along with an average approval rate of 75%. It applied the difference between actual processing times and the 6-month standard to estimate how many would have become citizens before voter registration deadlines had the standard been met....
- In Florida, where the margin of victory in the 2000 election was 537 votes, an estimated 25,000 new citizens would be eligible to vote if they had been naturalized within the six months set as a national standard by Bush, the coalition calculated. Instead, the Miami office of US Citizen & Immigration Services, now part of the Homeland Security Dept., has a 21-month backlog.
- In New Jersey, backlogs have shut out about 12,000 immigrants from voting, the analysis found,
- and in Arizona, where processing now takes 13 months, about 6,500 would-be citizens were unable to vote.
[The once-progressive Republican Party, now dominated by neo-cons, has spread an unprecedentedly multidimensional strategy of winning by ANY MEANS. The at-least cosmetically democratic America we knew is now history, gone, kaput. The only good thing about this is that the neo-cons are so ideology-, not reality-based, that their suppression of feedback will soon take the US out of the category of "the world's last remaining superpower." Already they have placed the nation in a position of all-but-declared bankruptcy, and left the nation unprotected by funnelling all its military resources into 9/11-relevant Afghanistan and 9/11-irrelevant Iraq. They have betrayed historic Republican principles of fiscal responsibility and conservatism, in favor of radical imperialism and makework for certain Republican-owned oil companies and service companies, such as previously all-but-bankrupt Halliburton. America is betrayed from within, and from the top.]
- 10/14/2004 Ballot disputes mushroomed across the country, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
[What a disgrace! Some "democracy"!]
- The Justice Dept. wants Pennsylvania to take overseas ballots after Election Day due to late mailings.
- Oregon is investigating if canvassers threw away Democratic registrations.
- A server crash delayed a Florida electronic voting dry run.
- 10/14/2004 In '04 Florida, lawsuits begin before election, by Abby Goodnough, NYT, front page.
MIAMI - Not a single ballot has been counted in the presidential election, yet Florida is already teeming with lawsuits charging the state and its county elections supervisors with voter disenfranchisement, a legal muddle likely to grow worse before Election Day....
- 10/12/2004 Legal costs prompt Diebold to cut earnings forecast, AP via NYT, C6 = WSJ, B13.
Mounting legal costs over its electronic voting equipment have forced Diebold, the maker of ATMs, to cut its Q3 earnings forecast [to] about 67 cents a share from its earlier forecast of 70-74 cents per share. The company said that it also expected lower Q4 and full-year earnings.
Last month, the Calif. attorney general, Bill Lockyer, joined a lawsuit that contended that Diebold, based in N.Canton, Ohio, sold the state at least $10m worth of poor quality hardware and software, exposing elections to hackers and software flaws.
[Not to mention exposure to purposeful manipulation, according to *BlackBoxVoting.org. This "company" should be run out of business.]
- 10/11/2004 Bush and Kerry raced..., news blurb, WSJ, front page.
...A Florida judge indicated that a suit demanding touch-screen machines give paper receipts may not be heard before Nov.2. Ballot experts say provisional voting may spark disputes.
- 10/11/2004 Among Black voters, a fervor to make their ballots count, by Jim Dwyer, NYT, front page.
[Sounds like we're back in the Reconstruction Era of the 1870s, doesn't it?]
- 10/11/2004 Be part of the solution, editorial, NYT, A28.
The 2000 mess in Florida was supposed to make the nation more dedicated to ensuring that elections are fair, but it appears to have had the opposite effect. The chances of having an election in which all qualified citizens can cast votes that are counted accurately seems more remote than ever.
As bad as things have been so far, the most vulnerable time for a democracy is Election Day itself.
- Local election officials have been choosing electronic voting machines of questionable reliability that do not produce a paper record.
- Secretaries of state have been rejecting valid voter registration forms on technicalities.
- And rather than trying to attract supporters to their own candidates, some political operatives are concentrating on disqualifying voters on the other side.
[And this White House thinks we're in any position to spread democracy around the world?]
- Polling places can be closed or moved at the last minute, with little or no notice.
- Registered voters arrive at polling places where they have been voting for years, only to find that their names are not on the rolls.
- "Ballot integrity" teams show up in heavily minority precincts, trying to intimidate people into leaving without voting.
- Voting machines fail to start up properly or develop troubling glitches.
- [And even if people get to vote and the machines work properly, if they're electronic machines they may have no paper trail, therefore allowing no recounts or even challenges, and they may be manufactured by one of the three major electronic machine makers, all owned by Republicans, and they may be a machine model that is not only vulnerable to Republican election stealing but DESIGNED for Republicans to steal the election, such as Diebold GEM models 18.19 and 18.23, as demonstrated by BlackBoxVoting.org.]
Ordinary Americans can, and should, become more involved in monitoring the election process....
[No kidding. The editorial also mentions other websites -
- 10/09/2004 Maintaining enough levers to carry a vote - Keeping 7,291 aging voting machines in working order is a year-round task, by Dan Barry, NYT, B14.
[...as long as there's a paper trail....]
- 10/08/2004 We cast a jaundiced eye on voting flaws in Florida, letter to editor by Staff Director Lee Jin of US Commission on Civil Rights in DC, WSJ, A17.
["Jaundiced" is a poor and partisan choice of adjective here, presumably picked by the rabidly partisan editors of the Wall Street Journal. "Critical" would have been a less insulting and more neutral and accurate choice.]
In response to your Sept.29 editorial 'The Florida myth': The US Commission on Civil Rights did conclude that the problems in the 2000 presidential election in Florida and elsewhere were serious and not isolated. The Commission found a high level of nonfeasance, ineptitude and neglect that resulted in voter discrimination. Many barriers amounted to unknown numbers of African-Americans [Democrat-leaning] being prevented from casting their vote as a result of purges, spoiled ballots, and other flaws in the administration of the electoral process.
In July 2004, the Commission heard evidence to support this conclusion. Meg McLaughlin, partner with Accenture, a company contracted by the state of Florida to generate election lists, said that the state was fully aware that the felon purge lists contained flawed data and neglected proportionatedly or accurately to identify/purge Hispanic [Republican-leaning] felons.
The Commission continues its probe of potential barriers and challenges confronting voters in November 2004. It is a bipartisan fact-finding agency and takes seriously the recent allegations of voter intimidation and suppression. To ensure accuracy in future reporting, please note that [the Commission's?] Chairperson Mary Frances Berry is a long-time registered Independent.
- 10/05/2004 November butterflies - As election nears, counting the vote faces new pitfalls - Provisional ballots, voter IDs, antiquated technology loom for Bush-Kerry race - Will Ohio be the next Florida? by Jackie Calmes, WSJ, front page.
[Better 'antiquated' with paper trail than 'modern' without!]
- 10/01/2004 Election fights have already started..., news blurb, WSJ, front page.
...in Florida courts over the removal of 17,000 from voter rolls. The FEC advised the campaigns they can use legal-compliance funds on any recount.
- 9/30/2004 Playing with election rules, editorial, NYT, A28.
One of the lessons of the election mess in Florida in 2000 was that a secretary of state can deprive a large number of people of the right to vote by small manipulations of the rules. This year in Ohio and Colorado, two key backgrounds, the secretaries of state have been interpreting the rules in ways that could prevent thousands of eligible Americans from voting....
[Last 4 years seems like a plague of undemocracy among officials whose neo-con leaders are going around the world bringing peaceful nations 'democracy' over their dead bodies.]
- 9/28/2004 Ex-President Carter said Florida..., news squib, WSJ, A1.
...hasn't made changes needed to prevent recurrence of 2000 election problems. A federal court revived a suit demanding the state's touchscreen voting machines give paper receipts.
[Compare NY Times squib -]
9/28/2004 Florida: Court reinstates electronic voting suit, AP via NYT, A13.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit revived a lawsuit demanding that all Florida voters who use touchscreen mahines receive a paper receipt, in case a recount becomes necessary. It was not clear if the case could be decided before the Nov.2 presidential election.
- 9/25/2004 Verifying electronic votes, letter to ed by Robert Barry, Head of Kazakhstan Election Observation Mission, NYT, A26.
As a frequent observer of elections for the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe and for the Carter Center, I was interested in your Sept. 18 editorial about paper receipts for electonic voting ("They said it couldn't be done," "Making votes count" series). Yes, they can do it, and they do it in Russia as well as in Nevada.
The two types of electronic voting now being experimented with in Russia include touchscreen machines with paper receipts preserved for eventual recounting, and optical scanning of paper ballots, which are also kept for eventual recounts.
Both these systems are superior to what we just observed in Kazakhstan, which introduced electronic voting without the possibility of a manual audit.
[Compare across the page, what will be America's future if the Republican Party continues to undermine the public trust in our elections -]
Poison politics in Ukraine, by Jason Shaplen, NYT, A27.
...On Sept. 6 the leading opposition candidate disappeared from the campaign trail. The first news of Viktor Yushchenko came a week later: he had been in Austria recovering from [an illness] doctors in Vienna [said] was due to "chemical substances not normally found in food products." At a rally upon his return to Kiev a week ago, Radio Free Europe reported Mr. Yushchenko's face was swollen and half-paralyzed, he had difficulty reading his text, and he was salivating excessively....
- 9/23/2004 Planning for recounts, AP via NYT, A22.
[The latest "this-hemlock-will-be-good-for-you" Bush initiative -]
The Bush campaign is urging election regulators to allow it and the Kerry campaigns to raise unlimited individual donations to cover costs for a possible recount, as Mr. Bush and Al Gore did in 2000. In a letter to the Federal Election Commission [FEC], the Bush campaign argued that nothing in the campaign finance laws had changed on raising money for a recount since 2000....
- 9/18/2004 Electronic voting - The trouble with technology -
Can high-tech voting machines prevent a repeat of America's 2000 electoral fiasco
- or will they make things worse?,
The Economist (of London), 39.
[We remind readers that The Economist is a conservative magazine!]
- 9/18/2004 The congressional elections - Pyongyang on the Potomac?
- The battle for control of the Senate is tight;
the battle for the House of Representatives is a travesty of democracy
[due to Republican gerrymandering], The Economist (of London), 39.
...If democracy means multiparty competition at the grass roots, America is not a full democracy in elections to the House of Representatives.
The current Republican House majority is 22. The sheer uncompetitiveness of most House races takes one's breath away....
- ...An average of more than 100 of the 435 House seats were listed as competitive by Congressional Quarterly in 1992-96, and
- 50 in 2000-02.... [During these years] Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia...call[ed] his list of close races the "nifty fifty"..\..
[Linguistic note: We know that the colloquial word "nifty," a light-hearted fusion of "neat" (in the original sense of "tidy") and "thrifty"(?), goes back at least to 1950, where it also had a "clean" connotation, because the city trashcans in Toronto that year bore the legend, "KEEP TORONTO NIFTY IN 1950". Phil Hyde still has a mental photograph of one of what we then called "garbage cans" at the corner of Hoskin (north side) and St. George with this catchy motto.]
- That compares with only 29 [close congressional races in 2004.] Larry Sabato...now names [his list] the "dirty 30." Charlie Cook, a political analyst, lists 33
- but puts the really close races at just 13 [out of the 435 total].
- [Another day, September 16, 2004, portraying the world's greatest democracy in free-fall towards dictatorship, towards a scheming, democracy-simulating pResident surrounded by a hegemony of neo-cons and the Council for National Policy, who determines domestic and foreign policy regardless of the public will, duly obscured by election rigging -]
9/16/2004 How it works - A look inside the Diebold machine at the center [or 'one center'] of a debate over touch-screen voting, pointer blurb (to E8), NYT, E1.
[and the indicated article's headline -]
Holding the vote-counting machines accountable, by Lisa Guernsey, NYT, E8.
[machine focused on =]
[= probably not as big a problem as the county-central models, Gem 18.19 and 18.23.]
- 9/18/2004 They said it couldn't be done, editorial, NYT, A26.
Many computer scientists insist that electronic voting machines will be trustworthy when they produce paper receipts that can be audited. But supporters of electronic voting have long argued that [getting the machines to do] so would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
[What nonsense. Such 'supporters' know better, and by making this argument have damaged not only their trustworthiness and credibility, but the cause of electronic voting.]
Nevada proved the naysayers wrong this month, running the first statewide election in which electronic voting machines produced paper records of votes case. Now election officials across the country have no excuse for not providing a system voters can trust....
- 9/16/2004 The return of 'Katherine Harris', editorial, NYT, A32.
[Oh no-o-o, Mr. Bill! This just proves that a determined and imaginative minority can turn any democracy into a dictatorship. It can happen here.]
Every state has an obligation to run elections that are not only fair, but also appear fair to the average voter. After the debacle of 2000, Florida's officials should understand this better than anyone. But its top elections officer, Glenda Hood, is acting in ways that create a strong impression that she is manipulating the rules to help re-elect her boss's brother [=Jeb's bro, Geo.W.]. After her maneuvers this week to try to put Ralph Nader on the ballot, she cannot be trusted to run an impartial election.
In Florida's 2000 election mess, it was Katherine Harris who served simultaneously as Florida's secretary of state [in charge of elections] and as co-chairwoman of the state's Bush-Cheney campaign committee. In her official capacity, she repeatedly took actions that favored the campaign [of her boss's brother-in-law].
This year has turned out to be more of the same. When Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Ms. Hood as secretary of state, he chose someone with a history of partisanship as a Republican officeholder and as a Bush-Cheney elector in 2000. Now [surprise surprise] Ms. Hood's politics appear to be influencing her election duties.
- She recently held a highly suspect voting-roll purge of felons...includ[ing] more than 22,000 African-Americans, who generally vote heavily Democratic, but just 61 Hispanics, who tend to favor Republicans in Florida....
- In last month's primary, some people without photo ID were turned away from without being told that they could vote if they signed affidavits affirming their identities.... Ms. Hood's office insisted that voters need not be told of the affidavit option. ...Poor people and members of other groups that are less likely to have ID often vote Democratic....
- 9/16/2004 Company fired for overseas ballots faced lawsuit over a bill, by Michael Moss, NYT, A16.
A Pentagon contractor [Omega Technologies Inc.] that has been entrusted [by the Federal Voting Assistance Program] with handling the unsealed absentee ballots of military and civilian voters overseas was sued two years ago by a Tennessee business that accused it of fabricating information and other fraudulent behavior involving an overdue bill, according to federal court records....
- 9/16/2004 Electronic voting challenge is rejected, Reuters via NYT, A16.
Maryland's highest court has rejected a challenge to the state's electronic voting system and upheld a ruling that toughscreen-style voting machines provide a reasonable level of ballot security. A group of voting activists called TrueVoteMD had sought to block the state from using the machines, made by Diebold Inc., or to require that each ballot be printed out as it is cast to ensure votes were recorded properly....
[It's amazing how many Americans no longer believe in democracy, like these judges in Maryland!]
- 9/14/2004 Voting at the polls outdated and absurd, letter by Oren Spiegler of Upper St.Clair PA, WSJ, A21.
I wonder why, in this modern age, absentee voting hasn't become the norm throughout the nation ("Cast a ballot from the couch: Absentee voting gets easier," 9/02). Forcing voters to go to the polls so cast their ballots is an antiquated, outdated, absurd practice, which is neither sustainable or prudent. It is predicated upon the notion that one can only be assured of casting a secret ballot if they are able to do so in a public place, behind a curtain.
We have found over the years that the greatest potential for fraud exists through shenanigans that occur at polling places, not in the homes of voters.
[But then, there was no comparable control sample in the homes of voters for the experiment to be valid.]
At a time when local governments are increasingly forcing tax increases upon their residents, why is one of the most expensive and needless functions of government - operating and staffing hundreds of thousands of polling places - not re-evaluated and sent to the scrap heap of history?
[But how far is it from this view ... to "polling is one of the most expensive and needless functions of our government"?]
- 9/12/2004 Protect the vote - Fighting for a fair election, op ed by Bob Herbert, NYT, A27.
[Isn't "honest" the word he wants?]
More than 80% of the population of Detroit is black. This is very well understood by John Pappageorge, who is white and a Republican state legislator in Michigan. "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote," said Mr. Pappageorge, "we're going to have a tough time in this election."...
[Is there any way we can deport people like this to Russia?]
1-866-OUR-VOTE...is a hotline set up by the Election Protection Coalition, a group that was formed to identify and stamp out attempts to disenfranchise voters, especially in predominantly black and Latino precincts around the country....
- 9/12/2004 Technology - How secure is e-voting? pointer blurb (to R1), WSJ, front page.
On the ballot, pointer blurb (to R13), WSJ, R1.
Electronic voting is going to face a big test in the November elections.
[Target headline -]
On the ballot - Electronic voting will be seeking public approval in November, by Jim Carlton, WSJ, R13.
[They mention Diebold model AccuVote-TSX, but not the Gem 18.19 and Gem 18.23, which *BlackBoxVoting.org has proven are not only vulnerable to fraud but designed for fraud. They have a 3-minute demonstration that they've presented to Howard Dean and to California election officials that shows there is in these models software provision for entering a code which sets up a second separate set of voting returns which are entirely manipulable. And these are the big county-central roll-up machines that count a million votes at a clip and there are 1000 of them out there. This WSJ article does have a chart that shows the increase in electronic voting machines in place over the 2000, 2002 and 2004 (est.) elections. Clearly the neo-cons and the Council for National Policy (see headline from hell #6 on 8/28-30/2004) are trying to finish turning this country into a plutocratic dictatorship cum government by fundamentalist utopians. Compare the end of the Athenian democracy, the end of the Roman Republic, and the end of the Weimar Republic in 1930s Germany. "It couldn't happen here"? That's what Germans said throughout the late 1920s and half the 1930s.]
- 9/07/2004 Voter ID problems in Florida, editorial, NYT, A26.
There is no excuse for turning away eligible voters at the polls, but that is what apparently happened in Florida's primary elections last week. Under Florida law, registered voters can vote without showing identification [now there's an invitation to corruption!]. But election officials at some polling places misstated the law [don't they mean "misread"?] and tried to keep eligible voters from voting....
[We are sooo fed up with Floriduh. We need a "3 strikes you're OUT" law to disenfranchise entire states from federal decisions if they repeatedly screw up what should be a simple and squeaky-clean matter, the democratic election process. Apparently embarrassment isn't enough for Florida officials and voters. It just goes on and on.]
- 9/02/2004 Here and there, pointer blurb (to D1), WSJ, front page.
Voters get to cast absentee ballots even when not absent.
[Indicated headline -]
Cast a ballot from the couch: Absentee voting gets easier - Rule changes mean millions of Americans are eligible; Web sites pave the way, by Ron Lieber, WSJ, D1.
- 8/31/2004 The Pentagon's troubling role, editorial, NYT, A20.
Barely two months before the presidential election, Missouri's Secy of State [Matt Blunt - D or R?] has suddenly announced that he will allow military voters from his state - one of the the most pivotal in the election - to e-mail ballots from combat zones to the Defense Dept.
E-mail is far too insecure to be used for voting.
Missouri and North Dakota, which announced a similar rule yesterday, should rescind these orders right away.
Missouri's action also sheds light on the Defense Dept.'s role in administering federal elections, a troubling situation that needs far more scrutiny.... E-mail voters will be required to sign a release acknowledging that their votes may not be kept secret.... The e-mailed ballots will be handled by a contractor, Omega Technologies, hired for this purpose, at the company's offices and without the election observers who are present at normal polling places....
E-mail voting by military personnel also opens the door to coercion. Many soldiers may have to vote on computers in places where their commanding officers may be present. They may also be reluctant to vote their conscience if they know that the [Bush] Defense Dept. could be reading their ballots. [Then there's] the larger issue of why the Pentagon is directly handling so many presidential ballots [via] the Federal Voting Assistance Program, a unit of the Defense Dept. [It] is charged with helping [or handling?] not only military voters [number?] but all eligible voters overseas, a total of about 6 million people.
It is a fundamental aspect of the American election system that handling and counting of votes is supposed to occur at the local level. The Defense Dept. should stop handling actual ballots, and instead help military and other overseas voters to send them directly to local election officials. ...It invites cynicism about our democracy [when] employees who answer to the Secy of Defense [Rumsfeld, R] could control the margin of victory in a close presidential election.
[America continues its plunge toward one-party military dictatorship.]
- 8/29/2004 At risk on election day, editorial, Boston Globe, D10.
Voting is endangered in the U.S. Too many voting machines didn't work in the 2000 presidential election. Too many people succumb to apathy on Election Day. And too many state officials accept shoddy and possibly underhanded election proceedings... The country needs credible, transparent, and verifiable election procedures that will restore public confidence.... People must also act, casting off apathy and refusing to accept substandard election practices, irregularities, or abuses. Presidents come and go. But to survive, democracies need a deep, free-flowing stream of voters.
- 8/28/2004 In Palm Beach, results of 2000 still stir a fight,
by Abby Goodnough, NYT, front page.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - ...Theresa LePore...designed the infamous "butterfly ballot"..\.. Four years after her county became the red-hot center of the 2000 presidential election standoff, she is under just about as much stress and scrutiny as she was back then, when camera crews from as far away as Japan camped at her office and she surrendered to emotional exhaustion and teared up in public....
"She is the problem, my dear," said Donald Kronfeld, a retiree in Lake Worth who said he, like thousands of other county residents, accidentally voted for Patrick J. Buchanan in 2000 instead of Al Gore because of the confusing ballot design.
[Never mind the thousands of other stupid or venal Americans who were involved in the non-paperless election rigging of 2000. With paperless electronic voting machines and the Democrats' attempt to require paper trails 'safely' beaten down, it's sooo much easier now in 2004.]
Other votes were invalidated because paper tabs called chads did not properly detach from ballot cards. In all, about 29,000 ballots in Palm Beach County were thrown out because they included votes for more than one presidential candidate or appeared to have no name punched....
[Oh look, the NY Times manages to trivialize-by-ridicule the whole article on the inside page (p.A12, where it's continued from page A1), by inserting the subhead, "An elections official is blamed even for the Sept.11 attacks and the Iraq war. But on the other hand, this elections official is also being lionized as a hero - can you guess by whom?]
"She is the exactly what everyone wants in a civil servant," said Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party, which has practically granted Ms. LePore folk-hero status.
Ms.LePore...is determined to prove herself not just stoic but also nonpartisan (she changed her voter registration to unaffiliated from Democrat after 2000)....
[One might wonder how dropping her Democrat registration was supposed to prove she wasn't biassed against the Democrats. One might also wonder why in the world this individual is still in office.]
- 8/24/2004 i voted... at least i think i did, full-page ad by discovery.com/times, NYT, A7.
["Headline" is caption on campaign button worn by uneasy voter.]
...Ballot Battles - Nearly four years after the 2000 presidential election, new rules and new technology are in place to streamline the voting process. But will it work? Or could Florida happen again?
Tonight at 8 pm on Discovery/Times channel.
[The more we think about the calm certainty of Geo.W.Bush during the public uncertainty of the weeks after the 2000 election, the more it seems to us that Karl Rove, Jeb Bush, the Republican majority on the Supreme Court and all the other shadowy Republican manipulators planned the whole thing (including, with help from their pals in the Saudi government, 9/11 and the Iraq invasion - it's just that they stopped there and didn't plan any invasion followup). The once-Grand Old Party, the party of Lincoln, the party that once saved the union of the United States of America, is now destroying the United States of America.]
- 8/19/2004 The new hanging chads, editorial, NYT, A30.
...The nation's voting rolls are notoriously inaccurate. One study found that as many as 6 million votes were lost in the 2000 presidential election because of registration problems and that the use of provisional ballots nationwide could have cut the loss significantly..\..
But in many places the provisional ballots aren't working out the way they are supposed to because of poor procedures and overly technical regulations. If this year's election is close, there are liekly to be furious battles over how these rules were applied. While there is still time, state and local officials should fix the provisional-voting problems....
- 8/19/2004 Chavez foes say Venezuelan touchscreen voting machines were rigged to cap votes favoring recall - several had oddly identical tallies, pointer blurb (to A11), WSJ, front page.
[We are not alone.]
- 8/18/2004 Early ballots could weigh heavily in fall election - As more voters make choice before election day, parties aggressively woo prospects, by John Harwood, WSJ, front page.
[Don't they mean "as more voters get nervous about the lack of a paper trail"?!]
- 8/17/2004 Colorado certified, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
...a ballot question that would made it the first state to award electoral votes by popular-vote percentages, not as winner-take-all.
- 8/17/2004 Saving the vote - Can we prevent a suspect election? op ed by Paul Krugman, NYT, A25.
Everyone knows it, but not many politicians or mainstream journalists are willing to talk about it, for fear of sounding conspiracy-minded:
[it was exactly this fear that allowed Germany to drift into extremism in the 1930s]
there is a substantial chance that the result of the 2004 presidential election will be suspect.
...I don't [necessarily] mean that the election will, in fact, have been stolen.
(We may never know.)
I mean that there will be sufficient uncertainty about the honesty of the vote count that much of the world and many Americans will have serious doubts.
[2000 election deja-vu.]
...To take only one of several possibilities, suppose that Florida - where recent polls give John Kerry the lead - once again swings the election to George Bush [or was it the Republican Supreme Court?]. Much of Florida's vote will be counted by electronic voting machines with no paper trails [and] independent computer scientists who have examined some of these machines are appalled at the security flaws....
Intensive exit polling would do triple duty.
It's horrifying to think that the credibility of our democracy...is now in danger. It's so horrifying that many prefer not to think about it....
- If all went well, it would help validate and silence skeptics.
- ...early warning [of] tampering....
- 8/16/2004 Suppress the vote? - Another frightening story out of Florida, op ed by Bob Herbert, NYT, A19.
...State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November. The officers, from the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement, which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating allegations of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando mayoral election in March....
- 8/11/2004 Voting, the old-fashioned way, 6 letters to the editor on the biggest issue this November: recent Republican history of co-opting voting, NYT, A22.
- [and here's another problem -]
8/06/2004 Quotation of the day, by Exec. Dir. Doug Chapin of nonpartisan watchdog group, NYT, A2.
You talk about testing with real bullets, this [provisional voting] is going to be testing election reform with real ballots.
[referenced article -]
A rule to avert balloting woes adds to them - In a primary in Chicago, most votes using a new method are tossed, by Ford Fessenden, NYT, A1.
CHICAGO - When poll workers could not find Kelly Pierce's name on the [voter] registration rolls during the primary here in March, they told him to take advantage of a new election rule that allowed him to cast his vote using a provisional ballot.
The rule is intended to prevent one of the major problems experienced in Florida during the 2000 presidential election, when scores of voters, especially minority voters, were turned away at the polls over registration questions that could not be resolved quickly.
So Mr. Pierce, who had voted regularly since 1989, filled out his paper ballot. Election administrators then proceeded to throw it out, determining that poll workers had Mr. Pierce file it in the wrong precinct.
He was hardly alone. Of the 5,914 provisional ballots cast in the Chicago primary, 5,498 were disqualified, mostly on technical grounds.
Provisional voting, the centerpiece of the Help America Vote Act that Congress passed in 2002, will be put into effect across the nation in the coming presidential election in an effort to ensure that more votes are counted.
But election officials say the experience of Mr. Pierce - and hundreds like him across the country during primary season - show how failures in carrying out the measure could end up disenfranchising voters instead.
All but a handful of states have passed legislation creating some form of provisional balloting.... An examination of those rules, however, shows there is no uniformity in how they are applied.
"Training your poll workers gets harder every election," said Tom Leach, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections. "We're laying more and more on the judges, and they're not professionals, they're senior citizens and housewives."...
- Some states, for example, allow provisional ballots to be counted even if they are filed in the wrong precinct, but at least 16 states, including Illinois, throw them out. [But] in wards that are 80% or more minority members, the rate of disqualified ballots was double that of wards that are 80% white, \similar to\ the problem in Florida four years ago..\..
- And few states have worked out the details of how to train workers to carry out provisional balloting and other voting changes....
- [Some good news for a change -]
8/05/2004 Oklahoma's model voting, letter to editor by History & Geography Prof. Kenny L. Brown of Univ. of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, NYT, A22.
The gnashing of teeth over election machines is unnecessary ("Florida's bad record on voting records," 7/29 below). Oklahoma has sthe model that other states should follow. Well before the 2000 election, the state had a seamless, rapid, efficient and accurate system.
Every precinct has optical scanners, and the rules are controlled by the statewide election board rather than by the fragmented systems found elsewhere. The optical scanners provide a fast count and use paper ballots, essential in case of a recount.
What has caused the race to touchscreen machines? A love affair with computers? Savvy marketing of companies selling the machines?
[The desire of some Republicans to win regardless of the cost to America?]
If [or when?!] we undergo another fiasco in November, the election officials in all the states involved should be ashamed.
[Or proud, if they're Soviet-style, one-party Republicans.]
They did not investigate their options.
Oklahoma has been the model for years.
- 8/01/2004 Why you're still voting on paper - Electronic ballots are costly, hackable, and error-prone, by Paul O'Donnell (email@example.com), Wired mag, 038.
...Diebold? Isn't it part of a conspiracy? Diebold became the bad guy after it shut down the website of an activist who stumbled upon the code for one of its machines. Then documents emerged that suggested the company fudged certification requirements in Georgia's 2002 election, which popular Democrats lost. (CEO Wally O'Dell is a major Republican donor.) In California, Diebold had to apologize for claiming certification for a DRE [direct-recording electronics system] that later had problems....
- 7/30/2004 Florida Republicans sent fliers, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
...urging its [sic] voters to demand absentee ballots to ensure a paper record, which touchscreen machines don't provide.
This either means that not even the Republicans are in control of the crazy new voting machines in Florida, or that they're trying to give this impression.
- 7/30/2004 Concern for the integrity of the vote, 7 letters to the editor, NYT, A14.
- 7/29/2004 A Florida audit faulted contracts, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
...to politically connected BearingPoint & Accenture. The latter worked on a list to keep felons off voting rolls.
- 7/29/2004 Florida's bad record on voting records, editorial, NYT, A26.
Millions of Florida voters will cast ballots this November on electronic voting machines that do not produce paper records....
[And therein lies the end of democracy in America.]
- 7/28/2004 Lost record of vote in '02 Florida race raises '04 concern, by Abby Goodnough, NYT, front page.
MIAMI - Almost all the electronic records from the first widespread use of touchscreen voting in Miami-Dade County have been 'lost' [our quotes], stoking concerns that the machines are unreliable as the presidential election draws near.
The records disappeared after two 'computer system crashes' last year, county elections officials said, leaving no audit trail for the 2002 gubernatorial primary. A citizens group [Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition] uncovered the loss this month after requesting all audit data from that election. "This shows that unless we do something now...Florida is headed toward being the next Florida," said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, a lawyer who is the chairwoman of the coalition.
After the disputed 2000 presidential election eroded confidence in voting machines nationwide, and in South Florida in particular, the state moved quickly to adopt new technology, and in many places touchscreen machines....
[with which Jeb Bush can presumably still steal elections but not be so obvious about it.]
Voters in 15 Florida counties - covering more than half the state's electorate - will use the machines in November, but reports of mishaps and lost votes in smaller elections over the last two years have cast doubt on their reliability.
Like "black boxes" on airplanes, the electronic voting records on touchscreen machines list everything that happens from boot-up to shutdown, documenting in an "event log" when every ballot was cast. The records also include "vote image reports" that show for whom each ballot was cast. Elections officials have said that using this data for recounts is unnecessary because touchscreen machines do not allow human error.
[Huh? Who cares about unintentional human "error" - we're worried about intentional human vote manipulation.]
But several studies have suggested the machines themselves might err - for instance, by failing to record some votes....
[Yeah, how about an instruction like: only "record every second Democratic vote"?]
After the 2002 primary, between Democratic candidates Janet Reno and Bill McBride, the ACLU of Florida conducted a study that found that 8% of votes, or 1,544, were lost on touchscreen machines in 31 precincts in Miami-Dade County. The group considered that rate of what it called "lost votes" unusually high.... Ms. Reno...ultimately lost to Mr. McBride by just 4,794 votes statewide [out of how many total votes? of which 8% would have been how many? - this is very poor half-measure reporting! Abby Goodnough is not good enough!]
[At any rate, these "errors" succeeded in replacing a nationally known challenger for Jeb Bush with a nobody. What a 'coincidence'. Another voting-machine 'error' in the Bush regime's favor.]
The news of the lost audit data comes two months after Miami-Dade elections officials acknowledged a malfunction in the audit logs of touchscreen machines. The elections office first noticed the problem in spring 2003, but did not publicly discuss it until this past May.
The company that makes Miami-Dade's machines, Election Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb. [Republican-owned], has provided 'corrective software' to all 9 Fla. counties that use its machines.
...A new state prohibits manual recounts in counties that use touchscreen voting machines except in the event of a natural disaster....
[Does this stink or does this stink?!]
...The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, in a recent analysis of the March presidential primary, reported that voters in countries using touchscreen machines were 8 times as likely to record no vote as were voters in counties using optical-scan machines, which read markings on paper ballots....
[Floriduh voting is set up for corruption. Bit by bit. That's how Athens lost its democracy and Rome its republic.]
- 7/28/2004 Many Europeans don't applaud electronic voting - No paper trail, by John Miller, Dow Jones via WSJ, B2A.
BRUSSELS - ...When 350m EU citizens voted for the EU Parliament on June 13, only Belgium and the Netherlands relied on computer-based systems. France, Germany, the UK and a dozen other countries ran pilot programs, and some even tested voting by email and text message. But overall, citizens and governments preferred to choose their leaders with paper votes counted by hand.
...A plan in Ireland was scrapped in April, only 2 months before the election, because of security concerns. In London, a new electronic-counting device drew fire after computers spit out hundreds of ballots with rumpled bar codes. The EC, usually a proponent of new technology, refuses to endorse e-voting. ..."Nothing is as safe as a paper ballot," says Darren Johnson, who was the Green Party's unsuccessful mayoral candidate in London in June. He terms an "absolute scandal" the rejection this year in London of several hundred ballots with torn or rumpled bar codes....
For a few hours in 2003 on national election day, Maria Vindevoghel thought she had started a Belgian revolution. Then she found out that a binary-code malfunction caused by a cosmic ray [you mean that isn't just nerd smoke?] had given her Communist Party 4,096 extra votes in Schaerbeek, a Brussels precinct....
- 7/27/2004 Fear of fraud - Will the 2004 election be tainted? op ed by Paul Krugman, NYT, A19.
[An excellent recap of many of the horrifying voting frauds already committed by Republicans in the last 4 years, particularly the recent attempt by Jeb Bush to stonewall independent examination of voting machines and disclosure of list of convicted felons denied the vote in Florida. When finally disclosed, by an 'innocent mistake,' that list still included 2100 Dem-voting black citizens who's been granted clemency and had their right to vote restored but included only 61 Repub-voting Hispanics out of 47,000 supposed felons. What a 'coincidence'! The fact that Democratic leaders have enjoined 'niceness' at the current DNC convention in Boston shows they still don't have a clue what they're dealing with. Finale -]
...Let's not be coy. Jeb Bush says he won't allow an independent examination of voting machines because he has "every confidence" in his hand-picked election officials.
[Colleague Kate: "You bet he has!"]
Yet those officials have a history of slipshod performance on other matters related to voting and somehow their errors always end up favoring Republicans. Why should anyone trust their verdict on the integrity of voting machines, when another convenient mistake could deliver a Republican victory in a high-stakes national election?
This shouldn't be a partisan issue. Think about what a tainted election would do to America's sense of itself [has already done for many ashamed Americans!] and its role in the world [has already done for many nations, especially in Europe and the Mideast!]. In the face of stonewalling, doubtes probably wouldn't be able to prove one way or the other whether the vote count was distorted - but if the result looked suspicious, most of the world and many Americans would believe the worst.
[And as H.L. Mencken said, "It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake." Quoted by Jon Winokur in Aug/2004's Funny Times, p.4. Most of our 'paranoid' fantasies in the 60s about what the CIA was up did not imagine the half of it.]
I'll soon write about what can be done in the few weeks that remain, but here's a first step: if Gov. Bush cares at all about the future of the nation, as well as his family's political fortunes, he will allow that independent audit.
[Note Al Gore's comment -]
7/27/2004 Quotation of the day, NYT, A2.
...You know the old saying: you win some, you lose some. And then there's that little-known third category.
- 7/27/2004 Ohio: trial on punch cards, by Albert Salvato, NYT, A13.
A challenge to punch-card voting in Ohio, filed by the ACLU, went to trial in federal court in Cleveland, about 3 months before the federal election and nearly 4 years after punch cards in Florida hung up results of the presidential election for more than a month. The ACLU [wants] all punch-card ballots removed by Ohio in November. Voters in 69 or 88 counties, accounting for nearly 3 out of every 4 voters, use punch cards. Secy of State Kenneth Blackwell says the state cannot meet a Nov. deadline.
- Potential perils of electronic voting, 5 letters to the editor, 7/26/2004 NYT, A18. Highlights:
[In our view, the one thing no one has been prepared for in the last 4 years is the audacity and speed of the neo-con coup. This relatively small junta of oil(y)men quickly walked into the centers of money and power and broke every unwritten, and many written, rules that stood in their way. No one was prepared for their sheer cheek. And no one is now. We're still praying that this will go away. We're praying that if it doesn't, we won't immediately hear the jackboot on our doors at midnight. We're praying that either they will discover a conscience and have mercy on the minimally two-party America we knew, or that they too will be overwhelmed by their own audacity and success, and relent, unprepared, as they were in Iraq, for the demands of post-success operations. They own the 'voting' machines. Unless there are those within the voting-machine companies who are courageous enough and concerned enough about a two-party America to come forward and blow the whistle, unless there are those within the Republican political machines across the country who are courageous and concerned enough to sabotage their election-theft effort, this is mourning, not morning, in America. This is nationwide Alzheimers. This is the end of America's day in the sun. Because our two-party system barely got enough feedback to survive. A one-party system, dominated by ideologs, will never get enough feedback to survive - they demonstrated this by their failure to hear anything they didn't want to hear in the Iraq intelligence and their breathtakingly realistic counterfeit of a blank check on mid- and lower-income American taxpayers, both present and for decades into the future.]
- By Jack Hutchinson of Flagstaff AZ.
...We have had four years to fix this system, and here we sit blithely sailing into another election debacle..\.. It just amazes me that we can go to nearly any small store in a rural town in this country with an ATM card and have a paper receipt of our transaction, and yet we cannot have foolproof voting machines. I wonder what the reason could be....
- By Marianne DeKoven of Killington VT.
...As has been demonstrated
we know that the Republicans will do whatever it takes to re-elect George W. Bush.
- by Rep. Tom DeLay's redistricting machinations in Texas,
- and by the lengths to which Florida Republicans went to ensure the outcome of the 2000 election,
- \and by the likely theft of\ the 2002 election in Georgia...from Sen. Max Cleland by Republican manipulation of electronic voting machines,
- [and by the] outspoken support...of George W. Bush \by\ Walden O'Dell, the chairman and CEO of Diebold, [the largest] manufacturer...of the electronic voting machines that will be used in the Nov. election...
In my belief, unless the Kerry campaign and Democrats everywhere do everything possible to protect this election from fraud, the outcome...is predetermined.
- By John Freund of Fairfield PA.
...At this point in time, the only realistic means of avoiding these dangers is a federal law requiring all polling places that are using equipment without a paper trail in the fall election to use paper ballots instead....
- Insurance for electronic votes, editorial, 7/23/2004 NYT, A22.
This November, millions of voters will use electronic voting machines of questionable reliability.
[Land of the Free? Ha! Capable of spreading democracy to anyone else? You have to have it yourself first, and all America has is plutocracy, and a pretty corrupt one at that. Unless millions more Americans stop patting themselves on their ignorant backs and scream like furies for simple, honest voting, the Football of History, fumbled, will be picked up by other, smarter teams.]
The election is by now too near for the sort of major overhaul that electronic voting requires.
[We 'only' had FOUR YEARS to do this - and have done nothing for 3½].
But there is still time for states and localities to protect the integrity of the voting and build public confidence in the results. The public should insist that election officials put these protections in place right away.
There has been extensive documentation of the problems with electronic voting. Several studies have found that it is vulnerable to vote theft and to inadvertent errors that can alter the outcome of an election. These inherent flaws are made worse by the reckless, and possibly illegal, actions of voting machine companies....
- Review ordered for Florida's voter database, AP via 7/23/2004 NYT, A18.
Florida's top election officials ordered a review of the state's voter database after a list used by county officials to remove felons from voting rolls came under heavy criticism. Secy of State Glenda Hood acknowledged that the list of 48,000 potential felons was flawed and scrapped it. It contained thousands of people who are eligible to vote, like people who had their charges reduced, and was flawed by a technical glitch that excluded many possible Hispanic felons. Ms. Hood said she now wanted her inspector general to review how the overall database was put together to ensure there were no other problems.
[Yeah, sure. Every voting-related official in Florida is under a cloud and utterly suspicious of lack of motivation to straighten out anything. Only their actions, if any, will clear any of them.]
- Ohio counties delay electronic voting, AP via 7/17/2004 NYT, A10.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Three counties that were considering electronic voting machines made by Diebold cannot switch by November because tests have shown security problems, the Ohio secretary of state said Friday.
[No wonder. Ohio was the state that the president of Diebold promised to deliver to Bush.]
The counties, Hardin, Lorain and Trumbull, will stick with their current systems, the secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, said. Some of the state's 88 counties were already using electronic voting machines, and the decision does not affect them. Most Ohio counties use punch-card ballots, the type that plagued the Florida vote in the 2000 presidential election.
A first round of security tests of the electronic machines found 57 problems, mostly security related, in machines made by three vendors: Diebold, Electronic Systems & Software, and Hart Intercivic.
[All three Republican-owned? Yes, per Jonathan Simons of Arlington, Ma. in Nov.-Dec. 2004.]
Diebold was the only vendor to undergo retesting, and Mr. Blackwell's office said the results would be released when the full study was complete.
- Report calls for fixes in high-tech voting - New systems are in place for November, but glitches may exist, by John Schwartz, 6/30/2004 NYT, A16.
- As e-voting grows, calls for paper trail delay cards' demise, by Brian Mooney, 6/21/2004 Boston Globe, front page.
- Backup steps urged for voting machines, 6/09/2004 NYT, A17.
In a major sign of concern about electronic voting machines, a senior federal voting official recommended Tuesday that several backup measures be put in place before the November elections to try to inspire voter confidence in the machines.
The measures include
DeForest Soaries Jr., chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, told Maryland election officials that he would make these recommendations to his fellow commissioners on Wednesday. He said in an interview that while he had faith in the machines [why?], he wanted to give voters reassurance.
- asking the makers of the machines to let election officials examine their proprietary source codes;
- asking officials of all election jurisdictions in the country to identify the steps they are taking to ensure the security of their systems, whether it is using a paper trail or some other step;
- and having vendors of voting software submit their certified software to the National Software Reference Library.
At the speech [what speech? something omitted!] was Aviel Rubin of Johns Hopkins University, who helped expose problems with the machines. Mr. Rubin said after the speech that he believed the recommendations were the best patch that could be applied in a last-ditch effort to salvage the voting in November.
[But enough to stop the three major voting-machine companies, all Republican-owned, from letting the radical neo-cons steal the election again??]
- Florida officials said, news blurb, 6/14/2004 WSJ, A1.
...said touchscreen voting machines in place for November may make manual recounts impossible [but?] they say that can be fixed.
["Can" but won't? - unless by "fixed" they mean rigged.]
- "California: County ends pact on voting machines," 5/27/2004 NYT, A18: "Supervisors of Solano County voted 3 to 1 on Tuesday to end their contract with Deibold Election Systems and replace the touch-screen voting machines with paper ballots from another company."
- "Executive calls vote-machine letter an error," 5/12/2004 NYT, A17, states, "Walden O'Dell, CEO of Diebold Inc., said on Mon. that it had been a 'huge mistake' for him, as head of a voting-machine company, to express support for...Bush's re-election in a fund-raising letter last year [but thanks for tipping us off!].... He sent an invitation to a fund-raising party that said, 'I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to [Bush] next year.' "
- "Who hacked the voting system? the teacher [cptr-security Prof. Avriel Rubin - Johns Hopkins] professor's fight against computerized elections has angered the industry," 5/03/2003 NYT, C4. But this is an industry that needs sooo badly to be angered ... till they drop their corruption and lose their incompetence.
- "High-tech voting system is banned in Calif. - Security [and reliability] concerns push thousands of tough-screen machines to the sidelines," by John Schwartz, 5/01/2004 NYT, A10, which states, "Calif. has banned the use of more than 14,000 [AccuVote TSX] electronic voting machines made by Diebold Inc. in the Nov. election...Kevin Shelley, the Calif. secy. of state announced yesterday. He also declared 28,000 other touchscreen voting machines in the state conditionally 'decertified' until steps are taken to upgrade their security. Mr. Shelley [also] said that he was recommending that the state's attorney general look into possible civil and criminal charges against Diebold because of what he called 'fraudulent actions by Dielbold.' In an interview, Mr. Shelley said that 'their performance, their behavior, is despicable,' and that 'if that's the kind of deceitful behavior they're going to engage in, they can't do business in California.' The move is the first decertification of touch-screen voting machines.... The systems are less secure than what they replace [because they lack] a paper trail, created at the time of voting, to show the votes [and enable detection of] electoral flaws or fraud [and allow] recounts.... Mr. Shelley's decision comes after more than a week of furor in Calif. over glitches that plagued the Super Tuesday primary elections in March in several counties [probably carefully selected counties - by Diebold].... Thousands of San Diego voters were turned away from polling places when Diebold equipment malfunctioned \thus\ jeopardiz[ing] the outcome of the primary.... A report issued by Mr. Shelley's office on April 20 accused the company of breaking state election law by installing uncertified software on machines in four counties [and of lying] to state officials about the machines..\.. At public hearings...Robert Urosevich, [GOP-partisan] president of Diebold Election Systems, said in the company's defense, 'We're not idiots....' " But apparently he and the rest of the neo-cons think everyone else is. November will tell. See *VerifiedVoting.org.
- "California: Paper ballots recommended," AP via 4/29/2004 NYT, A23, says, "A state advisory committee recommended that 10 counties be able to use their touch-screen voting machines only if they provide paper ballots as well. The committee also bars other counties from introducing electronic voting equipment in November, unless it contains a verified paper trail of votes cast." [Compare 4/23 story above.]
- "A compromised voting system," editorial, 4/24/2004 NYT, A24, states, "Electronic voting is no doubt the wave of the future, but it is being rolled out with too little thought, and without the necessary safeguards."
- "Touch-screen voting machines criticized," AP via 4/23/2004 NYT, states, "California should ban the use of 15,000...voting machines...made by Diebold Election Systems..\..in the Nov. election because the equipment malfunctioned in last month's primary.... The state Voting Systems & Procedures Panel said...many voters in San Diego County had been turned away [and] cited a litany of other problems, including fears that the systems are vulnerable to security breaches. The 8-to-10 recommendation affects machines...in San Diego, Solano, Kern and San Joaquin counties.... Mark Radke, Diebold's marketing director, said the company disagreed with the panel....
- "Chad: still hanging out," pointer summary (to A4), 4/22/2004 WSJ, A1, states, "November may see yet more pregnant chads and balky levers. The government allotted $3.9B to fix the nation's voting technology, but plenty of hitches remain.
- Good news for a change - "Voting software to be demonstrated," 4/01/2004 NYT, C8, states, "*Open Voting Consortium [visit for simulation] criticizes the current crop of privately developed electronic voting machines as hacker prone. [It] will demonstrate free software today in San Jose CA that it says will make elections more secure and accountable.... The software runs on most computers [and] allows voters to verify...on a paper ballot after casting their votes.... Alan Dechert [is] president of the group of volunteer computer engineers...from around the world who contributed to the effort." Beautiful!
- "This time, Florida, how does your vote count?" = 4 letters to editor on above story, all pessimistic, 3/17/2004 NYT, A24.
- "To laughs and applause, another student [in New Delhi] gibed that the U.S. should outsource the counting of election results in the coming presidential election 'because you’ve got backward stuff.' India, the world’s largest democracy, votes electronically over a period of days." Excerpted from "India unconvinced by [Colin] Powell's concerns on outsourcing," 3/17/2004 Boston Globe, A6.
- "Florida as the next Florida," editorial, 3/14/2004 NYT, A12, which states "Florida's official line is that its machines are so carefully tested [by whom?], nothing can go wrong [for the manipulators?]. But [three] things have already gone wrong. In a January election in Palm Beach and Broward Counties..., in 2002 in the primary race for governor between Janet Reno and Bill McBride [and] this past Tuesday [when] voters were wrongly given computer cards that let them vote only on local issues, not in the presidential primary. Machines did not work. And there were, no doubt, other mishaps that did not come to light because of the stunning lack of transparency around voting in the state. When a Times editorial writer dropped in on one Palm Beach precinct where there were reports of malfunctioning machines, county officials called the police to remove him.... Given its history, Florida should be a leader in requiring paper trails. But election officials...have refused to put them in place." America is rushing into dictatorship. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" and clearly the Democrats, the media, most of the wealthy and many of the citizens have fallen asleep.
- "The results are in and the winner is ... or maybe not," editorial, 2/29/2004 NYT, 4:12, which states, "Rob Behler...who helped prepare Georgia's machines for the 2002 election, says secret computer codes were installed late in the process. [In Nebraska,] Charlie Matulka, who lost to Sen. Chuck Hagel...the same year, [was] suspicious of Sen. Hagel's ties to the voting machine company [and] demanded a hand recount of the paper ballots. Nebraska law did not allow it, he was informed."
- "Electronic vote faces big test of its security," 2/28/2004 NYT, front page, which states, "The machines could allow democracy to be hacked."
- "Electronic voting: Not ready for prime time," letters to ed., 2/07/2004 NYT, A30.
- "Online ballots canceled for Americans overseas - DOD decides that today's technology is inadequate to meet security concerns," 2/06/2004 NYT, A16.
- "How to hack an election," editorial, 1/31/04 NYT, A1, which states, "Concerned citizens have been warning that new electronic voting technology being rolled out nationwide can be used to steal elections. Now there is proof. When the State of Maryland hired a computer security firm to test its new machines [16,000 of Diebold's AccuVote-TS machines], these paid hackers had little trouble casting multiple votes and taking over the machines' vote-recording mechanisms. ...By exploiting a software flaw and using a modem, they were [even] able to change votes from a remote location.... In Boone County IN last fall...an electronic system initially recorded 144,000 votes in an election with fewer than 19,000 registered voters. \But now\ the Md. study shows convincingly that more security is needed for electronic voting, starting with voter-verified paper trails....
- "Democracy at risk - The dangers of electronic voting" and "The perils of online voting," 1/23/2004 NYT, A25 & A24, and related "Biggest Web problem isn't about privacy, it's sloppy security," 1/26/04 WSJ, B1.
- "New economy - Computerized voting machines are secure and efficient, their makers say - Skeptics are demanding a paper trail," 12/15/2003 NYT, C4.
- "Report raises vote security issues," 9/25/2003 NYT, A22, referring to a report from Diebold Election Systems, "conducted for the state of Maryland, after researchers warned this summer that the Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machines, more than 33,000 of which are used in 38 states, may be vulnerable to manipulation.\.because of software flaws," and a partisan GOP manufacturer.
- "California puts direct democracy to the test," 9/07/2003 Boston Globe, D1.
- "Computer voting is open to easy fraud, experts say," 7/24/2003 NYT, A12.
- "Accenture to develop [Internet] voting system," 7/08/2003 NYT, C6.
1. Referendums, to broadly define unemployment and set target rates
2. Corporate overtime tax with an exemption for OJT and hiring
3. Individual workoholic tax with an exemption for mentoring and employing
4. Making the workweek vary inversely with unemployment, newly defined to include welfare, disability, homelessness, prisons, forced part time and self employment...
5. If the workweek gets too low too fast, shifting the pressure to imports, immigrants, or births
6.=new 1. If the public doesn't want to squeeze imports, immigrants or births, we move on to the next program, "Paysizing," and go through the same private and public sector stages of 5 phases apiece with "income and poverty" instead of "employment and joblessness".
For more details, see our campaign piece alias social-software manual, Timesizing, Not Downsizing, which is available from *Amazon.com online.
Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.
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