Sunday, March 19, 2006

Stop the Election Day Cheating

Electronic voting machines cannot be blindly trusted to record our votes accurately. No matter who made it or how it was designed, there still must be a paper receipt generated for every vote cast that each voter can read, affirm, & then drop in a secure container. Then there needs to be a system of random recounts in every congressional district (not just in close races) to hopefully catch problems before the election can be certified. Any irregularities found should trigger a wider recount in that district, and it should also trigger more random recounts in other districts that are using the same model.

You'd think these kinds of safeguards would already be in place as it's just common sense, or "horse sense" as the above ad calls it, yet unfortunately more voters will be voting this November on paperless electronic voting machines than in any election ever before.

I'll go one further and say that there also needs to be even more extensive recounts between elections to look for discrepencies, along with a system in place to hold the voting machine companies accountable for any widespread problems. Any voting machine company that fails to provide a secure and reliable system should be fined heavily and possibly banned from the industry altogether. The least we can do is hold voting machines to the same standards we already do slot machines or ATMs.

There's so much going on recently, I'm posting a collection of voting news, most of which I ran across over at Blackboxvoting and Bradblog & I'm consolidating here. First, let me point out this column that helps raise awareness of this issue...

Miami Herald: VOTE FRAUD
Stop the Election Day cheating -- or it will spread further

Now for the latest news. In Grafton NH, voting machines from ES&S couldn't even count 400 votes without resulting in a 20+ vote discrepency, and the machines have just been seized by the State's Attorney General. Whatever the cause (they are blaming it on dip switches? lol), on the face of it this is really bad. They lost more than 5% of the votes cast, and who knows whether the ones they did keep were recorded correctly. Would it be acceptable if ATMs made mistakes 5% of the time, or misplaced 5% of your deposits? Hell no! 1% would not be acceptable, and 5% ought to trigger a criminal investigation, whether we're talking about dollars or votes.

ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the US. They make nearly half the voting machines used in the United States (Diebold is #2), and yet they are riddled with bugs. So much so one can only imagine what November will be like for elections commissioners using them. They definitely can't be trusted to count votes without generating a paper trail. FYI: Senator Chuck Hagel was chairman of ES&S until 1995, and reportedly still has major financial ties to the company.

In Luzerne County PA, ES&S has just reneged on a deal that now jeapordizes $3 million in federal grants.

The company had consistently assured the county it would be able to provide machines, said Mr. Piazza. But on March 8, an ES&S representative abruptly said the company would be unable to provide training for the machines — a requirement under HAVA. Two days later, a Pittsburgh-based printing company that contracts with ES&S told Mr. Piazza it couldn’t provide the machines, either, and recommended the county look elsewhere.

In Utah, a Diebold rep came right out and told an assembly of elections officials "Some of you are going to hate my guts on Election Day." (...)

Later, another Diebold representative named Drew was asked what LaTour meant when she said "Some of you are going to hate my guts..." "We're going to have problems on Election Day, and we're just going to have to work through them," he said. ...

Meanwhile, Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, Maryland, and Florida are all having major issues over voting machines.

Arizona NBC CH4 News special 'Voting Machine Controversy'Video via Bradblog: Arizona Voting Machine Special

In Florida, the Secretary of State Sue Cobb has been been...

"threatening Leon County's elected Election Supervisor Ion Sancho because he revealed that the Diebold voting machines in Florida and elsewhere can be hacked and flipped without a trace being left behind."

"In the bargain, all three Voting Machine Companies certified to do business in Florida have now refused to do business with Sancho."

Then, at an open hearing over it, Florida's SoS Sue Cobb closed the meeting and even called in the police to throw the press out, despite it's being open was required under Fla Open-Government Laws. Ironically the meeting actually took place on the first day of "Sunshine Week" which is celebrated in honor of Open-Government Laws. Now, the AP and the Tallahassee Democrat have both filed formal complaints with the state's attorney general over Cobb's action.

Despite all of the pressure being put on Sancho, he was just given a unanimous vote of confidence from his county commissioners after an outpouring of support. At the meeting "Commissioner Cliff Thaell, a Democrat, wanted to have the commissioners recognize Sancho as a hero for liberty - an idea that had many members of the public clapping thunderously."

Honest Ion Sancho!

You can show your appreciation for Ion Sancho here. Please do.

Also, in case you're curious, you can check to see what voting system your city/county uses here.

(related posts)
WaPo: How To Steal an Election
Please Watch Votergate
AP: Group Claims 2004 Election Was Flawed
PA News Takes a Look At Voting Machines
Wash Post: Election Hackers ♥ Diebold
More Evidence of a Stolen Election
Evidence of Ohio 2004 Vote Miscount
Again, Al Gore Won in 2000
Ohio Rep. Bob Ney, Abramoff, and Election Fraud
Counting on Diebold
NYT: The Business of Voting
Fla Ch2 News Video: Voting Machines Hacked?
Powerful Government Accountability Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings
Did you know? 20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA


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