Monday, April 07, 2008

It's been a while but here is a summary of where we stand:

Road to e-voting crisis paved with money, good intentions
Ars Technica: By Jon Stokes | Published: April 07, 2008 - 09:50PM CT

The story of how America got into its present e-voting mess is pretty well known among e-voting activists, and versions of it told by some who were there have shown up in my inbox before, but I've never had occasion to spell out this background explicitly in any of my regular e-voting coverage. However, a Maryland voting activist organization,, has released a report [PDF] on the costs of e-voting that (quite unintentionally) provides a useful and vivid illustration of exactly how and why we arrived at the present point. In a nutshell, there's one single event that set in motion the years-long train wreck that has been America's experiment with electronic voting: the 2002 passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

Here's the story of how HAVA got us into this mess, told with a few charts and graphs from the study.


This is a pretty good article that should catch us up.

I've been too sad and beat down by this GOP movement to post regularly. I just went back to focusing on making money and shopping. Now I have lots of stuff and money but we are really in the shiter electioneering wise.

woo hoo


Thursday, May 03, 2007


A Huge Victory (Finally!) for Voters in the Sunshine State!
ALSO: Congress Asks GAO to Investigate Contested FL-13 Election...




TALLAHASSEE: In a historic vote, the Florida House today unanimously passed CS/HB 537, already passed in the Senate, that provides almost all voters paper ballots in time for the 2008 Presidential election, and bans paperless DREs outright by 2012. The bill now goes to the Governor where he’s sure to sign it since it’s his initiative.


THIS is a major postive development.

I have been too disheatened to post for a long time. Now maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Major Problems At Polls Feared :The mainstream media has been awakened to this problem.

Major Problems At Polls Feared
Some Officials Say Voting Law Changes And New Technology Will Cause Trouble

By Dan Balz and Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 17, 2006; Page A01

An overhaul in how states and localities record votes and administer elections since the Florida recount battle six years ago has created conditions that could trigger a repeat -- this time on a national scale -- of last week's Election Day debacle in the Maryland suburbs, election experts said.

In the Nov. 7 election, more than 80 percent of voters will use electronic voting machines, and a third of all precincts this year are using the technology for the first time. The changes are part of a national wave, prompted by the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 and numerous revisions of state laws, that led to the replacement of outdated voting machines with computer-based electronic machines, along with centralized databases of registered voters and other steps to refine the administration of elections.

But in Maryland last Tuesday, a combination of human blunders and technological glitches caused long lines and delays in vote-counting. The problems, which followed ones earlier this year in Ohio, Illinois and several other states, have contributed to doubts among some experts about whether the new systems are reliable and whether election officials are adequately prepared to use them.

In a polarized political climate, in which elections are routinely marked by litigation and allegations of incompetent administration or outright tampering, some worry that voting problems could cast a Florida-style shadow over this fall's midterm elections.

"We could see that control of Congress is going to be decided by races in recount situations that might not be determined for several weeks," said Paul S. DeGregorio, chairman of the federal Election Assistance Commission, although he added that he does not expect problems of this magnitude.


The outcome addressed in the last para above is only the begining of what WILL happen. Make no mistake people the fix is in.

Monday, April 24, 2006


From the TalkingPointsMemo

(April 23, 2006 -- 04:58 PM EST // link)

Dionne: "Here's the real meaning of the White House shake-up and the redefinition of Karl Rove's role in the Bush presidency: The administration's one and only domestic priority in 2006 is hanging on to control of Congress."

Another choice graf from E.J.'s Friday column ...

As one outside adviser to the administration said, the danger of a Democratic takeover of at least one house of Congress looms large and would carry huge penalties for Bush. The administration fears "investigations of everything" by congressional committees, this adviser said, and the "possibility of a forced withdrawal from Iraq" through legislative action.


No chance they will let this happen. No chance in hell.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Abramoff helped Diebold corrupt HAVA from the getgo

From the piece:
Meet Mr. Republican: Jack Abramoff

The article lays bare the gargantuan web of corruption that is the work product of Jack Abramoff.

The part that droped my jaw..

" it comes out that Diebold, the notorious voting-machine company, paid some $275,000 to Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig, with the apparent aim of keeping legislation requiring paper trails in the voting process from getting into the Help America Vote Act."


Now it makes sense how they got the HAVA act turned into an instrument for stealing elections.

Read it and weep people. Come Nov 2006 you will see the next big payoff for the GOP.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

As Alito takes Supreme Court seat, Ohio GOP guts election protection

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
Online Journal Guest Writers

Feb 3, 2006, 16:06

Ohio's GOP-controlled legislature has passed a repressive new law that will gut free elections here and is already surfacing elsewhere around the US. The bill will continue the process of installing the GOP as America's permanent ruling party.

Coming with the swearing in of right-wing extremist Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, it marks another dark day for what remains of American democracy.

Called HB3, the law now demands discriminatory voter ID, severely cripples the possibility of statewide recounts and actually ends the process of state-based challenges to federal elections -- most importantly for president -- held within the state.

In other words, the type of legal challenge mounted to the theft of Ohio's electoral votes in the 2004 election will now be all but impossible in the future.

Section 35-05.18 of HB3 requires restrictive identification requirements for anyone trying to vote in an Ohio election. Photo ID, a utility bill, a bank statement, a government check or other government document showing the name and current address of the voter will be required.

This requirement is perfectly designed to slow down the voting process in inner city precincts. It allows Republican "challengers" to intimidate anyone who turns up to vote in heavily Democratic precincts. It virtually eliminates the homeless, elderly and impoverished from the voting rolls. Election protection advocates estimate this requirement will erase 100,000 to 200,000 voters in a typical statewide election. By way of reference, George W. Bush allegedly carried Ohio -- and the presidency -- by less than 119,000 votes in 2004.

The ID requirement is the direct result of intervention by two high-powered Republican attorneys with ties to the White House and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Congressman Bob Ney allowed the Bush-Cheney re-election national counsel Mark "Thor" Hearne to testify last March as a so-called "voting rights advocate." Hearne, whose resume shows no connection to voting rights organizations, was responsible for advising the Bush-Cheney campaign on national litigation and election law strategy during the 2004 election.

Hearne, with the help of Republican attorney Alex Vogel, concocted a story that the problem with the 2004 elections in Ohio was the NAACP paying people with crack cocaine to register voters. Vogel's front group, the Free Enterprise Coalition, even indemnified a local Republican operative, Mark Rubrick, to file an Ohio corrupt practices act suit against the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, ACT-Ohio and ACORN, The suit was later quietly withdrawn after discovery showed that the operatives behind it were linked to the top levels of the Republican Party.

Ironically, the Republican Party engaged in racist and massive voter repression in Ohio and are now institutionalizing that very Jim Crow-style repression and selling it as an election reform bill.

HB3 also ends the ability of the public to conduct meaningful audits of voting machines. Election protection activists recently forced the adoption of an auditable paper trail into the Ohio election process. In a state where virtually all ballots are cast and/or counted on electronic equipment, this cuts to the core of the ability to monitor an election's outcome. The new provision in HB3 will make the paper trail virtually meaningless.

HB3 further imposes a huge jump in the cost of forcing a recount. In 2004, the charge was $10 per precinct, with some 11,366 precincts in the state. Thus the Green and Libertarian Parties, which paid for it, had to pay somewhat more than $113,660. Now the charge will be $50 per precinct, jumping the charge to some $568,300.

Finally, and perhaps most astonishingly, HB3 eliminates the state statutes that have allowed citizens to challenge the outcome of federal elections within the state. After the 2004 election, election protection advocates filed a challenge to Bush's victory. Their attorneys were attacked with an official attempt to levy sanctions, and then were thwarted from an effective suit when GOP Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell locked up the state's voter records.

But HB3 would now entirely eliminate any possibility of a state-based legal challenge. The only alleged recourse for those wishing to officially question the vote count in a presidential, US Senate or US House race in Ohio would be at the United States Congress. There is now no recourse whatsoever on the state level.

Despite grassroots protests and bitter opposition from Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and other pro-democracy groups, HB3 passed with only one Republican vote against it (all Ohio Democratic senators and representatives voted against).

So the Ohio GOP has taken another giant step toward ending the possibility of any other party ever taking power in the Buckeye State. When combined with new campaign finance laws that allow huge chunks of private and corporate money to flow virtually unregulated into GOP coffers, HB3 may have all but ended free elections in Ohio -- at least until election protection forces can somehow reverse the trend. .

Since the Civil War, only one presidential candidate -- John F. Kennedy in 1960 -- has won the White House without carrying Ohio. This and the other repressive legislation passed by the Ohio GOP will make it virtually impossible for anyone but a Republican to carry the Buckeye State in future statewide and federal elections.

Bills like HB3 are also being lined up to flow through Republican-controlled legislatures throughout the US, including a very similar one in Georgia. "This comes straight from Karl Rove," says Cliff Arnebeck, one of Ohio's leading election protection attorneys. "This legislation originates with a demand that one-party rule by made permanent throughout the United States."

With today's passage of Ohio HB3, along with the seating of Justice Alito, the GOP grip on the American throat has very significantly tightened.

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of "How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election and Is Rigging 2008". They are co-editors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of "What Happened in Ohio?" forthcoming from the New Press.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Voting machine source code must be made open

WTN News • Published 01/04/

Madison, Wis. — Among the 15 bills governor Jim Doyle signed into law on Wednesday will require the software of touch-screen voting machines used in elections have its source code opened up to public viewing.

Municipalities that use electronic voting machines are responsible for providing to the public, on request, the code used.

Any voting machines to be used in the state already had to pass State Elections Board tests. Electronic voting machines, in particular, already were required to maintain their results tallies even if the power goes out, and to produce paper ballots that could be used in case of a recount. The new law also requires the paper ballots to be presented to voters for verification before being stored.

But of this bill's provisions, perhaps the more influential in a wider sense is the requirement that municipalities provide source code, and the more general condition that "the coding for the software that is used to operate the system on election day and to tally the votes cast is publicly accessible and may be used to independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the operating and tallying procedures to be employed at any election."

The bill passed the Assembly 91-4 and the Senate 29-2.


Let's all move to Wissonsin. Better yet, demand these changes to your local elections processes. Better hurry.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Government Hijacked: Baltimore Chronicle Book Review

Reviewed by William E. Betz
Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)
by Mark Crispin Miller
364 pages; New York, Basic Books, 2005; $24.95 hardback

There is no joy in this book. It documents in excruciating detail overwhelming evidence of the broad-ranging election fraud that took place in the United States in connection with the 2004 national election. Unfortunately, the reaction of the typical naïve American to the fact that the election was stolen by the right-wing Republicans who are currently in power in this country has been an insistent disbelief. The indisputable facts have been either roundly disputed or assiduously ignored by the mainstream print and broadcast media, and the proponents of this ugliest of truths have been relegated to the status of tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists.

The subject of this book is self-marginalizing. It utterly destroys the reflexive "It can't happen here" response of those of us who refuse to believe that it HAS happened here. I say "those of us" because acknowledgement of the basic premise of the book is the most revolutionary of thoughts for anyone who has learned to believe in the sanctity of our electoral system, and the basic premise is extremely painful to admit in spite of the overwhelming proof: Our government has been hijacked by undemocratic forces that manipulated election results to reinstall the Bush administration, an illegitimate administration initially installed by a Supreme Court decision that invalidated the results of the 2000 election, an administration dedicated to world domination and the destruction of American democracy, the U.S. Constitution and the individual rights that made this country the envy of striving people throughout the world.

hy do we refuse to believe that it can happen here and, indeed, that it has happened here? The reason is that the inevitable conclusion that American democracy has been fatally compromised can lead to only one reaction: and that reaction is action. "And what if it's true?" people ask. "What can we do?" Indeed, what can we do? Can we go on as before? Certainly not. Can we ignore it? No. (Only the press can ignore it.) We as citizens have several options: vote the bastards out, have them removed by impeachment, or take up arms against them. Yet if elections, with the help of Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S and the other private machine proprietors and counters of votes, are permanently fixed, the first option is eliminated. In that case, we are truly doomed.


I am becomming more and more encouraged by the many voices of much higher profile and journalistic capacity then my own, who have made this their cause celeb.

Maybe there is cause for hope.

State quiet on voting machines

TheReporter.Com letter to the Editor

Before anyone breaths easier that the state won't be decertifying voting machines used in Solano County and 10 other counties ("Solano's voting machines OK," The Reporter, Dec. 30), don't voters have a right to know whether the machine's problems truly have been fixed?

Anyone who believes they are entitled to have their vote counted accurately should be concerned about the revelation that some Election Systems & Software machines didn't proper record people's votes in the November 2005 election. Despite being aware of the issue since mid-November, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson has yet to publicly disclose the problems with the machines or, more importantly, how ES&S plans to fix the problems and why voters should have confidence in those proposed solutions.

You do not build people's confidence in voting systems by refusing to talk about the problems with the machines in public and for the Secretary of State to continue to withhold this information is as outrageous as it is unacceptable. The decisions about the types of voting equipment Californians are going to use to elect their representatives and approve or defeat proposed initiatives need to be made in public, in the open, right here in California.

The Help American Vote Act was designed to make it easier for people to cast their ballots and improve the accuracy of the vote count. If the Secretary of State simply makes it easier to vote without ensuring every voter's vote will be accurately counted, California will have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and pulled the rug out from under our democracy in the process.

Debra Bowen, Redondo Beach

The author, a Democrat, is the chairwoman of the state Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee - Editor.

Voting 2.0 - Will Your E-Vote Count?

By Cheryl Gerber

Imagine this: A Trojan Horse unleashes thousands of illegitimate votes and disappears without a trace, election commissioners bypass laws, uninvestigated computer glitches and easily picked locks in voting systems, no federal oversight holding e-voting vendors accountable—yes folks, elections can be stolen.

Since the 2000 Presidential election, problems stemming from the use of electronic voting machines have called into question the foundation of American democracy—the US voting system. At the forefront of concerns are security issues surrounding the use of Direct Recording Electronics [DREs], better known as touch screen computer voting machines, and their lack of a paper trail in the form of an auditable paper ballot. Widely reported irregularities from voting districts around the US have alarmed many and opened claims of stolen elections. Some even doubt the legitimacy of the outcome of recent US elections. A team of top computer scientists has been working diligently to resolve the many underlying design problems in the e-voting system that leave it open to cheating. Stalled by the federal government, and with doubts about e-voting continuing to spread, these scientists have instead turned to state governments and the National Science Foundation for help.

"Maryland, where I live, uses Diebold DREs, which are an ideal opportunity for cheating," said Dr. Avi Rubin, Technical Director, Information Security Institute, Johns Hopkins University. "In fact, you couldn't come up with a better opportunity for cheating. There's no ability to audit or recount, and the entire process takes place inside the computer, which is not transparent."

In May 2004, Rubin co-authored an analysis of electronic voting systems, raising concerns about lack of security, for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world's largest professional organization for technical standards. He also served in 2004 as a poll worker and election judge in Baltimore County, Maryland, where he lives. These and other experiences have only served to raise his concerns about the possibility for cheating via the use of electronic voting machines.


This is an excellent all in one primer and update on the issue of electronic voting irregularities.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Diebold Hack Hints at Wider Flaws

By Kim Zetter | Also by this reporter

02:00 AM Dec. 21, 2005 PT

Election officials spooked by tampering in a test last week of Diebold optical-scan voting machines should be equally wary of optical-scan equipment produced by other manufacturers, according to a computer scientist who conducted the test.

Election officials in Florida's Leon County, where the test occurred, promptly announced plans to drop Diebold machines in favor of optical-scan machines made by Election Systems & Software, or ES&S. But Hugh Thompson, an adjunct computer science professor at the Florida Institute of Technology who helped devise last week's test, believes other systems could also be vulnerable.

"Looking at these systems doesn't send off signals that ... if we just get rid of Diebold and go to another vendor we'll be safe," Thompson said. "We know the Diebold machines are vulnerable. As for ES&S, we don't know that they're bad but we don't know that they're (good) either."

Thompson and Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer scientist, were able to change votes on the Diebold machine without leaving a trace. Hursti conducted the same test for the California secretary of state's office Tuesday. The office did not return several calls for comment.

Information about the vulnerability comes as states face deadlines to qualify for federal funding to replace punch-card and lever machines with new touch-screen or optical-scan machines. In order to get funding, states must have new machines in place by their first federal election after Jan. 1, 2006.

Optical-scan machines have become the preferred choice of many election officials due to the controversy over touch-screen voting machines, many of which do not produce a paper trail. Optical-scan machines use a paper ballot on which voters mark selections with a pen before officials scan them into a machine. The paper serves as a backup if the machine fails or officials need to recount votes.

The hack Thompson and Hursti performed involves a memory card that's inserted in the Diebold machines to record votes as officials scan ballots. According to Thompson, data on the cards isn't encrypted or secured with passwords. Anyone with programming skills and access to the cards -- such as a county elections technical administrator, a savvy poll worker or a voting company employee -- can alter the data using a laptop and card reader.

To test the machines, Thompson and Hursti conducted a mock election on systems loaded with a rigged memory card. The election consisted of eight ballots asking voters to decide, yes or no, if the Diebold optical-scan machine could be hacked.

Six people voted "no" and two voted "yes." But after scanning the ballots, the total showed one "no" vote and seven "yes" votes.

Diebold did not return several calls for comment.


More evidence.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bush Picks Controversial Nominees for FEC

President Bush nominated two controversial lawyers to the Federal Election Commission yesterday: Hans von Spakovsky who helped Georgia win approval of a disputed voter-identification law, and Robert D. Lenhard, who was part of a legal team that challenged the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

In addition, Bush proposed a second term for commissioner David M. Mason and nominated Steven T. Walther, a Nevada lawyer with close ties to Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
In a letter to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) wrote that he is "extremely troubled" by the von Spakovsky nomination. Kennedy contends that von Spakovsky "may be at the heart of the political interference that is undermining the Department's enforcement of federal civil laws."

Career Justice Department lawyers involved in a Georgia case said von Spakovsky pushed strongly for approval of a state program requiring voters to have photo identification. A team of staff lawyers that examined the case recommended 4 to 1 that the Georgia plan should be rejected because it would harm black voters; the recommendation was overruled by von Spakovsky and other senior officials in the Civil Rights Division.


It goes all the way to up to the office of the President. Make not mistake people, the Fix is In.