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Question Voting Machines

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  • Mike Hersh
    Thanks to hapi22 via Leftwing (leftwing-subscribe@yahoogroups.com) *Groups Question Voting Machines Accuracy* By Robert Tanner Associated Press Oct. 30,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2003
      Thanks to "hapi22" via Leftwing (leftwing-subscribe@yahoogroups.com)

      *Groups Question Voting Machines' Accuracy*

      By Robert Tanner Associated Press Oct. 30, 2003

      Doubts about the trustworthiness of electronic voting machines are
      growing among election officials and computer scientists, complicating
      efforts to safeguard elections after the presidential stalemate of 2000.

      With just over a year to go before the next presidential race, touch
      screen voting machines don't seem like the cure-all some thought they
      would be. Skeptics fear they'll only produce more problems, from making
      recounts less reliable to giving computer hackers a chance to sabotage

      "I'm deeply concerned about this whole idea of election integrity," said
      Warren Slocum, chief election officer in California's San Mateo County.
      His doubts were so grave that he delayed purchasing new voting machines
      and is sticking with the old ones for now.

      He's not alone. While the Florida recount created momentum for revamping
      the way Americans vote, slow progress on funding and federal oversight
      means few people will see changes when they cast ballots next week. And
      new doubts could further slow things.

      In Florida's Broward County -- scene of a Bush-Gore recount of
      punch-card ballots --- officials spent $17.2 million on new touch screen
      equipment. Lately, they've expressed doubts about the machines'
      accuracy, and have discussed purchasing an older technology for 1,000
      more machines they need.

      The concerns focus on:

      _Voter confidence: Since most touch screen machines don't create a
      separate paper receipt, or ballot, voters can't be sure the machine
      accurately recorded their choice.

      _Recounts: Without a separate receipt, election officials can't conduct
      a reliable recount but can only return to the computer's tally.

      _Election fraud: Some worry the touch screen machines aren't secure
      enough and allow hackers to potentially get in and manipulate results.

      "The computer science community has pretty much rallied against
      electronic voting," said Stephen Ansolabahere, a voting expert at the
      Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "A disproportionate number of
      computer scientists who have weighed in on this issue are opposed to

      Other doubters say the solution would be "voter verifiable paper trails"
      -- a paper receipt that voters can see to be confident of their choice,
      that can then be securely stored, and that election officials can rely
      on for recounts.

      Federal election-reform legislation passed in 2002 aims to upgrade
      voting systems that rely on punch-card ballots or lever machines, and to
      improve voter registration, voter education and poll worker training.

      States upgrading their equipment are looking at two systems: electronic
      machines, with voters making their choice by touch screens similar to
      ATMs; and older optical scan machines, with voters using pen and paper
      to darken ovals, similar to standardized tests.

      Still, North Dakota changed its plan to give officials the flexibility
      to go with touch screens or optical scan machines. And the National
      Association of Secretaries of State held off from embracing touch
      screens at its summer meeting, pending further studies.

      "This is too important to just sort of slam through," said William
      Gardner, New Hampshire's secretary of state. In Congress, Rep. Rush
      Holt, D-N.J., has introduced a bill that would require that all voting
      machines create a paper trail.

      [Rep. Rush Holt's bill http://holt.house.gov/issues2.cfm?id=5996]

      Computer manufacturers and many election officials say the critics are
      mistaken. They insist that security is solid and machines records are
      examinable. They also say the sought-after improvements will create
      other problems, such as malfunctioning machines and violating the
      integrity of a voters' privacy.

      [NOTE from me: It should be remarked that the CEO of Diebold Election
      Systems is a Republican and a campaign supporter of President Bush, and
      has promised to do everything he can to assure Mr. Bush's victory in the
      next election. That sends chills up my spine.]

      Slocum figures that only about a half-dozen of California's county
      election commissioners share his concerns.

      The complaints echo those that came up when lever machines were
      introduced in the 1920s, and again when punch cards came on the scene,
      said Doug Lewis, an expert at The Election Center in Houston, Texas.

      "We were going to find that elections were manipulated wildly and
      regularly. Yet there was never any proof that that happened anywhere in
      America," Lewis said.

      [NOTE from me: Yes, it has happened and Mr. Lewis is being deceptive.
      For more on all the fraud committed on touch screen machines, read the
      links I have added at the end of this e-mail. Also, see: "E-Vote
      Software Leaked Online" at:

      <<Software used by an electronic voting system manufactured by Sequoia
      Voting Systems has been left unprotected on a publicly available server,
      raising concerns about the possibility of vote tampering in future

      The software, made available at ftp.jaguar.net, is stored on an FTP
      server owned by Jaguar Computer Systems, a firm that provides election
      support to a California county. The software is used for placing ballots
      on voting kiosks and for storing and tabulating results for the Sequoia
      AVC Edge touch-screen system. >>]

      David Bear, a spokesman for Diebold Election Systems Inc., one of the
      larger voting machine makers, said "the fact of the matter is, there's
      empirical data to show that not only is electronic voting secure and
      accurate, but voters embrace it and enjoy the experience of voting that

      This week, a federal appeals court in California threw out a lawsuit
      that challenged computerized voting without paper trails, finding that
      no voting system can eliminate all electoral fraud.

      That didn't satisfy doubters.

      John Rodstrom Jr., a Broward County (Fla.) commissioner said local
      officials there wanted to upgrade to optical scan machines, but were
      pressured into buying more than 5,000 touch screens.

      "We were forced by the Legislature to be a trailblazer," he said. "The
      vendors ... they're going to tell you it's perfect and wonderful. (But)
      there are a lot of issues out there that haven't been answered. It's a
      scary thing." >>

      Election Reform Information Project: http://electionline.org

      Read this at:


      SEE also:

      "The Diebold Memos' Smoking Gun: Volusia County Memos Disclose Election
      2000 Vote Fraud" at:


      "An open invitation to election fraud" at:

      "Computer Voting is Open to Easy Fraud, Experts Say" at:

      "Global Eye -- Vanishing Act" at:

      Black Box Voting at: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/

      "Election fraud risks attract wide notice" at:

      "The research and activism arm of BlackBoxVoting.com" at:

      "All the President's votes?" at:

      Johns Hopkins report "Analysis of an Electronic Voting System" at:


      E-Voting: How it Can Put the Wrong Candidate in Office Common Dreams,
      Sept. 3, 2003 at: http://www.commondreams.org/

      The Theft of Your Vote is Just a Chip Away Thom Hartmann, July 31, 2003
      at: http://www.SmirkingChimp.com/article.php?sid=12461

      How George W. Bush Won the 2004 Presidential Election Infernal Press,
      September 2003 at: http://www.infernalpress.com/Columns/election.html

      Now Your Vote is the Property of a Private Corporation Thom Hartmann,
      March 11, 2003 at: http://www.smirkingchimp.com/print.php?sid=10536

      The Diebold AccuVote TS Should be Decertified USENEX Security
      Symposium, Aug. 6, 2003 at:

      Who Counts the Votes? Southern Exposure, Winter 2002/2003 at:

      Florida Invests $24 Million in Wireless Voting Machines Wireless News
      Factor, Jan. 31, 2002 at:

      Diebold Internal Mail Confirms U.S. Vote Vulnerabilities Scoop, Sept.
      12, 2002 at: http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0309/S00106.htm

      Voting Machine Controversy as Diebold Chief Backs Bush Cleveland Plain
      Dealer, Aug. 28, 2003 at:

      The Voting Machine Fiasco: SAIC, VoteHere and Diebold Online Journal,
      Aug. 20, 2003 at:

      Hacking Democracy? Salon.com, Feb. 20, 2003 at:

      Possible Flaw Triggers Electronic Voting Concerns Houston Chronicle,
      Sept. 11, 2003 at:

      Piecing it Together Black Box Voting, Aug. 25, 2003 at:

      Bay of Pigs 2000: The November Surprise at:


      *Bill Introduced to Counter Voting Machine Fraud*

      This is an article from last May, but it is as important today as it was
      the day it was written.

      As Mark Crispin Miller recently put it, "The Democrats could run the
      most brilliant campaign in history and it wouldn't matter. They could
      elect Charley Manson president with those [no-paper-trail, touch screen
      voting] machines."

      Please bear in mind the software inside these touch screen voting
      machines can be programmed (read: "fixed") from a remote computer, and
      the local election officials would NEVER know ANYTHING had been changed,
      altered, fixed, rigged.


      *Bill Introduced to Counter Voting Machine Fraud*

      Tuesday, 27 May 2003, 12:40 pm Press Release: www.blackboxvoting.com

      This is a countermedia dispatch from HeadBlast. A ray of hope for

      New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt introduced a bill to require a
      mandatory paper trail for the voting process.

      Voting machines with secret workings do not satisfy the minimal
      requirements of transparency and verifiability of a democratic process.
      This is extremely important and Holt needs a great outpouring of support
      for this. There is no more important issue right now. As Mark Crispin
      Miller recently put it, "The Democrats could run the most brilliant
      campaign in history and it wouldn't matter. They could elect Charley
      Manson president with those machines."

      All members of Congress need to hear from their constituents about this.
      Here is something really meaningful we can do.

      * For the text of the bill, see Representative Rush Holt's website (
      http://holt.house.gov/issues2.cfm?id=5996). * To contact your
      congressperson, see this Congressional Database:
      http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/. * The Congressional switchboard
      number is (202) 224 3121.

      To send support to Representative Holt, here is contact info:

      Honorable Rush Holt United States House of Representatives 1019
      Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-3012 DC Phone:
      202-225-5801 DC Fax: 202-225-6025 Email Address:
      http://holt.house.gov/feedback.cfm?campaign=holt District Office: 50
      Washington Road West Windsor, NJ 08550-1012 Voice: 609-750-9365 Fax:

      For the definitive source of information on the voting machine crisis,


      Here is information from the website of Congressman Rush Holt:



      Rep. Rush Holt Introduces Legislation to Require All Voting Machines to
      Produce a Voter-Verified Paper Trail

      Washington, DC - Rep. Rush Holt today responded to the growing chorus of
      concern from election reform specialists and computer security experts
      about the integrity of future elections by introducing reform
      legislation, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of
      2003. The measure would require all voting machines to produce an actual
      paper record by 2004 that voters can view to check the accuracy of their
      votes and that election officials can use to verify votes in the event
      of a computer malfunction, hacking, or other irregularity. Experts often
      refer to this paper record as a "voter-verified paper trail."

      "We cannot afford nor can we permit another major assault on the
      integrity of the American electoral process," said Rep. Rush Holt.
      "Imagine it's Election Day 2004. You enter your local polling place and
      go to cast your vote on a brand new "touch screen" voting machine. The
      screen says your vote has been counted. As you exit the voting booth,
      however, you begin to wonder. How do I know if the machine actually
      recorded my vote? The fact is, you don't.".

      Key provisions of The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act
      of 2003 include:

      1) Requires all voting systems to produce a voter-verified paper record
      for use in manual audits and recounts. For those using the increasingly
      popular ATM-like "DRE" (Direct Recording Electronic) machines, this
      requirement means the DRE would print a receipt that each voter would
      verify as accurate and deposit into a lockbox for later use in a
      recount. States would have until November 2003 to request additional
      funds to meet this requirement.

      2) Bans the use of undisclosed software and wireless communications
      devices in voting systems.

      3) Requires all voting systems to meet these requirements in time for
      the general election in November 2004. Jurisdictions that feel their new
      computer systems may not be able to meet this deadline may use an
      existing paper system as an interim measure (at federal expense) in the
      November 2004 election.

      4) Requires that electronic voting system be provided for persons with
      disabilities by January 1, 2006 -- one year earlier than currently
      required by HAVA. Like the voting machines for non-disabled voters,
      those used by disabled voters must also provide a mechanism for
      voter-verification, though not necessarily a paper trail. Jurisdictions
      unable to meet this requirement by the deadline must give disabled
      voters the option to use the interim paper system with the assistance of
      an aide of their choosing.

      5) Requires mandatory surprise recounts in 0.5% of domestic
      jurisdictions and 0.5% of overseas jurisdictions.

      Link: http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/WO0305/S00256.htm


      MikeHersh.com - http://www.mikehersh.com
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