Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Wired News: How E-Voting Threatens Democracy

By Kim Zetter

In January 2003, voting activist Bev Harris was holed up in the basement of her three-story house in Renton, Washington, searching the Internet for an electronic voting machine manual, when she made a startling discovery.

Clicking on a link for a file transfer protocol site belonging to voting machine maker Diebold Election Systems, Harris found about 40,000 unprotected computer files. They included source code for Diebold's AccuVote touch-screen voting machine, program files for its Global Election Management System tabulation software, a Texas voter-registration list with voters' names and addresses, and what appeared to be live vote data from 57 precincts in a 2002 California primary election.

"There was a lot of stuff that shouldn't have been there," Harris said.

The California file was time-stamped 3:31 p.m. on Election Day, indicating that Diebold might have obtained the data during voting. But polling precincts aren't supposed to release votes until after polls close at 8 p.m. So Harris began to wonder if it were possible for the company to extract votes during an election and change them without anyone knowing.

A look at the Diebold tabulation program provided a possible answer.

Harris discovered that she could enter the vote database using Microsoft Access -- a standard program often bundled with Microsoft Office -- and change votes without leaving a trace. Diebold hadn't password-protected the file or secured the audit log, so anyone with access to the tabulation program during an election -- Diebold employees, election staff or even hackers if the county server were connected to a phone line -- could change votes and alter the log to erase the evidence.

Watch a parody of Diebold's e-voting machine.

"It was getting scarier and scarier," Harris said. "I was thinking we have an immense problem here that's much bigger than me."

Over the past year, doubts about the accuracy and integrity of e-voting equipment have been growing, thanks to Harris' discovery. Some election officials have called Harris, a 53-year-old mother of five and a self-employed publicist, a wacko, a conspiracy nut and even a threat to democracy for her role in raising the controversy. But day by day, other election officials, secretaries of state, legislators and voters have come to agree with her that something is seriously wrong with electronic voting systems and the companies that make them.

In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, which allocated $3.9 billion in matching federal funds to help states upgrade to new e-voting systems. Touted as the answer to the hanging chads in Florida that marred the 2000 presidential election, e-voting machines have been lauded by their makers as faster, more accurate and easier to use than punch-card and lever machines. But election glitches involving the systems paint a different picture, depicting machines that sometimes fail to boot up, fail to record votes or even record them for the wrong candidates. Computer scientists say the machines are also easy to hack.

In addition to glitches, there are concerns about the people behind the machines. A few voting company employees have been implicated in bribery or kickback schemes involving election officials. And there are concerns about the partisan loyalties of voting executives -- Diebold's chief executive, for example, is a top fund-raiser for President Bush.

Condt --- Wired News: How E-Voting Threatens Democracy

A very detailed piece.


Diebold, Electronic Voting and the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

Published on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 by the Free Press, Columbus, Ohiio by Bob Fitrakis

The Governor of Ohio, Bob Taft, and other prominent state officials, commute to their downtown Columbus offices on Broad Street. This is the so-called “Golden Finger,” the safe route through the majority black inner-city near east side. The Broad Street BP station, just east of downtown, is the place where affluent suburbanites from Bexley can stop, gas up, get their coffee and New York Times. Those in need of cash visit BP’s Diebold manufactured CashSource+ ATM machine which provides a paper receipt of the transaction to all customers upon request.

Many of Taft’s and President George W. Bush’s major donors, like Diebold’s current CEO Walden “Wally” O’Dell, reside in Columbus’ northwest suburb Upper Arlington. O’Dell is on record stating that he is “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President” this year. On September 26, 2003, he hosted an Ohio Republican Party fundraiser for Bush’s re-election at his Cotswold Manor mansion. Tickets to the fundraiser cost $1000 per couple, but O’Dell’s fundraising letter urged those attending to “Donate or raise $10,000 for the Ohio Republican Party.”

According to the Columbus Dispatch: “Last year, O’Dell and his wife Patricia, campaigned for passage of two liquor options that made their portion of Tremont Road wet.

On November 5, Upper Arlington residents narrowly passed measures that allowed fundraising parties to offer more than beer, even though his 10,800-square-foot home is a residence, a permit is required because alcohol is included in the price of fundraising tickets. O’Dell is also allowed to serve “beer, wine and mixed drinks” at Sunday fundraisers.

O’Dell’s fund-raising letter followed on the heels of a visit to President Bush’s Crawford Texas ranch by “Pioneers and Rangers,” the designation for people who had raised $100,000 or more for Bush’s re-election.

If Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has his way, Diebold will receive a contract to supply touch screen electronic voting machines for much of the state. None of these Diebold machines will provide a paper receipt of the vote.

Diebold, located in North Canton, Ohio, does its primary business in ATM and ticket-vending machines. Critics of Diebold point out that virtually every other machine the company makes provides a paper trail to verify the machine’s calculations. Oddly, only the voting machines lack this essential function.

State Senator Teresa Fedor of Toledo introduced Senate Bill 167 late last year mandating that every voting machine in Ohio generate a “voter verified paper audit trail.” Secretary of State Blackwell has denounced any attempt to require a paper trail as an effort to “derail” election reform. Blackwell’s political career is an interesting one: he emerged as a black activist in Cincinnati supporting municipal charter reform, became an elected Democrat, then an Independent, and now is a prominent Republican with his eyes on the Governor’s mansion.

Voter fraud

A joint study by the California and Massachusetts Institutes of Technology following the 2000 election determined that between 1.5 and 2 million votes were not counted due to confusing paper ballots or faulty equipment. The federal government’s solution to the problem was to pass the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.

One of the law’s stated goals was “Replacement of punch card and lever voting machines.” The new voting machines would be high-tech touch screen computers, but if there’s no paper trail, how do you know if there’s been a computer glitch? How can the results be trusted? And how do you recount to see if the actual votes match the computer’s tally?

Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century, argues that without a paper trail, these machines are open to massive voter fraud. Diebold has already placed some 50,000 machines in 37 states and their track record is causing Harris, Johns Hopkins University professors and others great concern.

Johns Hopkins researchers at the Information Security Institute issued a report declaring that Diebold’s electronic voting software contained “stunning flaws.” The researchers concluded that vote totals could be altered at the voting machines and by remote access. Diebold vigorously refuted the Johns Hopkins report, claiming the researchers came to “a multitude of false conclusions.”

Perhaps to settle the issue, someone illegally hacked into the Diebold Election Systems website in March 2003 and stole internal documents from the company and posted them online. Diebold went to court to stop, according to court records, the “wholesale reproduction” of some 13,000 pages of company material.

The Associated Press reported in November 2003 that: “Computer programmers, ISPs and students at [at] least 20 universities, including the University of California, Berkeley, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology received cease and desist letters” from Diebold. A group of Swarthmore College students launched an “electronic civil disobedience” campaign to keep the hacked documents permanently posted on the Internet.

Harris writes that the hacked documents expose how the mainstream media reversed their call projecting Al Gore as winner of Florida after someone “subtracted 16,022 votes from Al Gore, and in still some undefined way, added 4000 erroneous votes to George W. Bush.” Hours later, the votes were returned. One memo from Lana Hires of Global Election Systems, now Diebold, reads: “I need some answers! Our department is being audited by the County. I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16,022 [votes] when it was uploaded.” Another hacked internal memo, written by Talbot Iredale, Senior VP of Research and Development for Diebold Election Systems, documents “unauthorized” replacement votes in Volusia County.

Harris also uncovered a revealing 87-page CBS news report and noted, “According to CBS documents, the erroneous 20,000 votes in Volusia was directly responsible to calling the election for Bush.” The first person to call the election for Bush was Fox election analyst John Ellis, who had the advantage of conferring with his prominent cousins George W. Bush and Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Incestuous relationships

Increasingly, investigative writers seeking an explanation have looked to Diebold’s history for clues. The electronic voting industry is dominated by only a few corporations – Diebold, Election Systems & Software (ES&S) and Sequoia. Diebold and ES&S combined count an estimated 80% of U.S. black box electronic votes.

In the early 1980s, brothers Bob and Todd Urosevich founded ES&S’s originator, Data Mark. The brothers Urosevich obtained financing from the far-Right Ahmanson family in 1984, which purchased a 68% ownership stake, according to the Omaha World Herald. After brothers William and Robert Ahmanson infused Data Mark with new capital, the name was changed to American Information Systems (AIS). California newspapers have long documented the Ahmanson family’s ties to right-wing evangelical Christian and Republican circles.

In 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported, “. . . primarily funded by evangelical Christians – particularly the wealthy Ahmanson family of Irvine – the [Discovery] institute’s $1-million annual program has produced 25 books, a stream of conferences and more than 100 fellowships for doctoral and postdoctoral research.” The chief philanthropists of the Discovery Institute, that pushes creationist science and education in California, are Howard and Roberta Ahmanson.

According to Group Watch, in the 1980s Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. was a member of the highly secretive far-Right Council for National Policy, an organization that included Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, Major General John K. Singlaub and other Iran-Contra scandal notables, as well as former Klan members like Richard Shoff. Ahmanson, heir to a savings and loan fortune, is little reported on in the mainstream U.S. press. But, English papers like The Independent are a bit more forthcoming on Ahmanson’s politics.

“On the right, figures such as Richard Mellon Scaife and Howard Ahmanson have given hundreds of millions of dollars over several decades to political projects both high (setting up the Heritage Foundation think-tank, the driving engine of the Reagan presidency) and low (bankrolling investigations into President Clinton’s sexual indiscretions and the suicide of the White House insider Vincent Foster),” wrote The Independent last November.

The Sunday Mail described an individual as, “. . . a fundamentalist Christian more in the mould of U.S. multi-millionaire Howard Ahmanson, Jr., who uses his fortune to promote so-called traditional family values . . . by waving fortunes under their noses, Ahmanson has the ability to cajole candidates into backing his right-wing Christian agenda.

Ahmanson is also a chief contributor to the Chalcedon Institute that supports the Christian reconstruction movement. The movement’s philosophy advocates, among other things, “mandating the death penalty for homosexuals and drunkards.”

The Ahmanson family sold their shares in American Information Systems to the McCarthy Group and the World Herald Company, Inc. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel disclosed in public documents that he was the Chairman of American Information Systems and claimed between a $1 to 5 million investment in the McCarthy Group. In 1997, American Information Systems purchased Business Records Corp. (BRC), formerly Texas-based election company Cronus Industries, to become ES&S. One of the BRC owners was Carolyn Hunt of the right-wing Hunt oil family, which supplied much of the original money for the Council on National Policy.

In 1996, Hagel became the first elected Republican Nebraska senator in 24 years when he did surprisingly well in an election where the votes were verified by the company he served as chairman and maintained a financial investment. In both the 1996 and 2002 elections, Hagel’s ES&S counted an estimated 80% of his winning votes. Due to the contracting out of services, confidentiality agreements between the State of Nebraska and the company kept this matter out of the public eye. Hagel’s first election victory was described as a “stunning upset” by one Nebraska newspaper.

Hagel’s official biography states, “Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Hagel worked in the private sector as the President of McCarthy and Company, an investment banking firm based in Omaha, Nebraska and served as Chairman of the Board of American Information Systems.” During the first Bush presidency, Hagel served as Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit).

Bob Urosevich was the Programmer and CEO at AIS, before being replaced by Hagel. Bob now heads Diebold Election Systems and his brother Todd is a top executive at ES&S. Bob created Diebold’s original electronic voting machine software. Thus, the brothers Urosevich, originally funded by the far Right, figure in the counting of approximately 80% of electronic voting in the United States.

Like Ohio, the State of Maryland was disturbed by the potential for massive electronic voter fraud. The voters of that state were reassured when the state hired SAIC to monitor Diebold’s system. SAIC’s former CEO is Admiral Bill Owens. Owens served as a military aide to both Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, who now works with George H.W. Bush at the controversial Carlyle Group. Robert Gates, former CIA Director and close friend of the Bush family, also served on the SAIC Board.

Diebold’s track record

Wherever Diebold and ES&S go, irregularities and historic Republican upsets follow. Alastair Thompson, writing for scoop.co of New Zealand, explored whether or not the 2002 U.S. mid-term elections were “fixed by electronic voting machines supplied by Republican-affiliated companies.” The scoop investigation concluded that: “The state where the biggest upset occurred, Georgia, is also the state that ran its election with the most electronic voting machines.” Those machines were supplied by Diebold.

Wired News reported that “. . . a former worker in Diebold’s Georgia warehouse says the company installed patches on its machine before the state’s 2002 gubernatorial election that were never certified by independent testing authorities or cleared with Georgia election officials.” Questions were raised in Texas when three Republican candidates in Comal County each received exactly the same number of votes – 18,181.

Following the 2003 California election, an audit of the company revealed that Diebold Election Systems voting machines installed uncertified software in all 17 counties using its equipment.

Former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell writes that one of the favorite tactics of the CIA during the Reagan-Bush administration in the 1980s was to control countries by manipulating the election process. “CIA apologists leap up and say, ‘Well, most of these things are not so bloody.’ And that’s true. You’re giving politicians some money so he’ll throw his party in this direction or that one, or make false speeches on your behalf, or something like that. It may be non-violent, but it’s still illegal intervention in other country’s affairs, raising the question of whether or not we’re going to have a world in which laws, rules of behavior are respected,” Stockwell wrote. Documents illustrate that the Reagan and Bush administration supported computer manipulation in both Noriega’s rise to power in Panama and in Marcos’ attempt to retain power in the Philippines. Many of the Reagan administration’s staunchest supporters were members of the Council on National Policy.

The perfect solution

Ohio Senator Fedor continues to fight valiantly for Senate Bill 167 and the Holy Grail of the “voter verified paper audit trail.” Proponents of a paper trail were emboldened when Athan Gibbs, President and CEO of TruVote International, demonstrated a voting machine at a vendor’s fair in Columbus that provides two separate voting receipts.

The first paper receipt displays the voter’s touch screen selection under plexiglass that falls into a lockbox after the voter approves. Also, the TruVote system provides the voter with a receipt that includes a unique voter ID and pin number which can be used to call in to a voter audit internet connection to make sure the vote cast was actually counted.

Brooks Thomas, Coordinator of Elections in Tennessee, stated, “I’ve not seen anything that compares to the Gibbs’ TruVote validation system. . . .” The Assistant Secretary of State of Georgia, Terrel L. Slayton, Jr., claimed Gibbs had come up with the “perfect solution.”

Still, there remains opposition from Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell. His spokesperson Carlo LoParo recently pointed out that federal mandates under HAVA do not require a paper trail: “. . . if Congress changes the federal law to require it [a paper trail], we’ll certainly make that a requirement of our efforts.” LoParo went on to accuse advocates of a paper trail of attempting to “derail” voting reform.

U.S. Representative Rush Holt introduced HR 2239, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003, that would require electronic voting machines to produce a paper trail so that voters may verify that their screen touches match their actual vote. Election officials would also have a paper trail for recounts.

As Blackwell pressures the Ohio legislature to adopt electronic voting machines without a paper trail, Athan Gibbs wonders, “Why would you buy a voting machine from a company like Diebold which provides a paper trail for every single machine it makes except its voting machines? And then, when you ask it to verify its numbers, it hides behind ‘trade secrets.’”

Maybe the Diebold decision makes sense, if you believe, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, that democracy is too important to leave up to the votes of the people.

Dr. Bob Fitrakis is Senior Editor of The Free Press , a political science professor, and author of numerous articles and books.

© 1970-2004 The Columbus Free Press

------ end --------------------------------

If this article does not scare you, nothing will.


Monday, March 29, 2004

Vote Crime - The Mugging of America

Posted on Bartcop

Vote Crime - The Mugging of America
by Faun Otter

Did you know that the number of votes cast on touch screen machines in some precincts in the California primary last month exceeded the number of voters registered?

Move along, nothing to see here.

This ballot disaster was reported in the LA Times on March 9, 2004. As always, our do-nothing media have not bothered to investigate or report on it since that date.

"In 21 precincts where the problem was most acute, there were more ballots cast than registered voters."

The article includes a chart of the names of precincts, the number of registered voters, the number of votes cast and what percentage of turn out this represents. Here are just two typical precincts from amongst the many listed:

Kaiser Elementary 91 264 290%
Costa Mesa 681 60 9%

Shh, don’t tell anyone (although the Diebold and ES&S vote machine makers already know)
here is a recipe for using this type of "error" to commit an unprovable vote crime:

condt.................. (Link)

This is a must read piece...it's a letter from a reader of Bartcop but man is it a bute.



Monday, March 15, 2004

Suffrage Suffers in the Land of Rights

By Jamin Raskin - LAtimes.com - 3/15/2004

You have to admire President Bush's willingness to amend the Constitution over an issue of basic principles. But before we forever deny millions of Americans the chance to marry the persons they love, shouldn't we first pass an amendment guaranteeing all of us the right to vote and the right to have those votes counted?

You may think such a right already exists, but it doesn't. In fact, among 119 electoral democracies in the world, the United States is one of only 11 whose constitutions do not include the right to vote and to be represented. This embarrassing national secret reflects our origins as a slave republic in which votes were cast only by white male property owners over 21. Universal suffrage was never on the agenda in Philadelphia, and the founders left the tricky issue of voter qualifications to state legislatures. Only gradually was the electorate broadened in the years that followed, with anti-discrimination amendments that prevent disenfranchisement based on race (the 15th), gender (the 19th) and failure to pay a poll tax (the 24th).

But these incremental stabs at voting rights fall way short of international standards requiring universal suffrage. Florida 2000 was not a fluke but a vivid glimpse behind the scenes of a fragmented and politically compromised system that, according to a Caltech and MIT study, managed to lose the votes of more than 4 million Americans in that election.

Florida highlighted several things: We have no uniform ballot for national elections, but a free-for-all of local butterfly and caterpillar ballots spawning confusion. We have no independent, nonpartisan federal commission overseeing national elections, as Mexico has, but rather partisan state officials doing the job, like Florida Secretary of State Katharine Harris, who doubled as state chair of the Bush campaign. We have no national voter registration system, as more than 100 nations do, but rather state-based systems subject to manipulation. So under the guise of centralizing Florida's voter list, Harris contracted with a private company that proceeded, under her direction, to wrongly purge more than 18,000 voters, most of them minorities, on the false grounds that they were ex-felons. We don't even have a national ballot count or tally.

Florida laid bare the undemocratic structures that constrain our politics. When the Florida Supreme Court ordered the counting of 175,000 ballots that did not register on the punch-card machines, Republican legislative leaders threatened to disregard the popular vote and choose their own electors. This threat startled much of the nation. But, in Bush vs. Gore, the Supreme Court quickly recorded that they were acting within their powers under Article II ("Each state shall appoint, such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors … ").

The court emphasized that the "individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the president of the United States."


The BFL folks is we do NOT have the right to vote for our President. This the the real leave behind of the Bush 2000 Selection.

..just wonderful..

Saturday, March 13, 2004

In Response to Major Fax Campaign by TrueMajority.org,
Three More States Protect Voters from Pitfalls of Computer Voting

Americans in seven states - up from three states less than a month ago - can now be assured that their votes will not be lost by unreliable computer voting machines.

That's because the secretaries of state of Vermont, Missouri, and West Virginia - in response to TrueMajority.org's "Computer Ate My Vote" campaign - recently pledged to require all computer voting machines in their states to produce a voter-verified paper ballot trail. Those states join California, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Oregon, which already require a paper trail.

The Computer Ate My Vote campaign is urging secretaries of state nationwide to safeguard democracy as a growing number of their colleagues are doing.

In the past three weeks, our campaign has

- staged a national press event in Washington, D.C., that generated coverage on National Public Radio, on CNN, in Wired magazine, and by local outlets across the country;
- helped 35,577 TrueMajority members send faxes to their secretaries of state;
- held news conferences addressing secretaries of state in Colorado and Florida, with Pennsylvania scheduled this week and others soon thereafter;
- promoted a Super Tuesday protest at polling places in Maryland, and
- testified against paperless voting at a hearing held by Pennsylvania legislators.

Letters to the editor, op-eds, and paid advertising will follow in succession to generate sustained pressure.

Check out the Computer Ate My Vote campaign materials at http://www.truemajority.org/ComputerAteMyVote/index.cfm.

For more detailed information about computer voting, visit www.verifiedvoting.org or www.calvoter.org/votingtechnology.html#resources.

We'll keep you posted.

Yours in Stopping Computers from Eating Our Votes,

Ben Cohen
President, TrueMajority.org

USATODAY.com - Calif. senators want decertification of e-vote systems

Calif. senators want decertification of e-vote systems
By Anna Oberthur, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Citing problems in last week's primary election, two leading senators Thursday asked the secretary of state to decertify the use of touch-screen voting systems for the upcoming November election.
"California has a lemon law which protects consumers if they buy an automobile that doesn't work. So far, electronic voting in California is a lemon. It needs to be fixed," said Sen. Ross Johnson, R-Irvine.

Electronic voting machines have been controversial almost since their invention. Some computer scientists say the systems leave elections vulnerable to hackers, while other critics say that because most electronic voting terminals do not produce paper records, there's no way to ensure accurate recounts.

There's also a concern that system problems in California could lead to voter confusion like that surrounding the 2000 presidential election in Florida.

In the March 2 statewide election, where 14 counties used touch-screen voting systems, the number of system failures was "alarming," said Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland.

Perata cited San Diego County, where touch screens failed to start properly, causing delays up to two hours in some polling places.


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Election panel OKs Illegal software

By Mary Beth Schneider
March 11, 2004

The Indiana Election Commission voted late Wednesday to let four counties use illegal voting software after hearing desperate appeals by county clerks who feared primary election disasters if they didn't get help.

The unanimous decision by the four commission members, though, belied the anger they felt at Election Systems & Software, the voting equipment vendor whose mistakes had created the potential mess for the state and Johnson, Vanderburgh, Wayne and Henry counties.

"I find this whole thing incredibly distasteful," said Brian Burdick, chairman of the commission. "We're all lined up to be sued all because you derelicts couldn't get your act together."

He was particularly concerned about Johnson County, where a potentially close primary election contest is brewing between two Republicans -- state Sen. Larry Borst and Johnson County Council President Brent Waltz.

"God forbid we have a problem" in the tallying of that race, Burdick said.

To make sure the Nebraska firm -- known as ES&S -- would be liable for any costs, the commission voted to require the company to post a $10 million bond. If it is unable to provide the counties with legally certified voting equipment by Oct. 1, it must install any other company's voting equipment that satisfies the four counties in time for the November election.

The problem came because ES&S had sold the counties new touch-screen voting software that has not been certified for use in Indiana. Three of the counties -- Johnson, Wayne and Henry -- used the illegal voting system in the November 2003 election.

To meet Indiana law, ES&S retrofitted the machines in those counties, and Vanderburgh, with older software certified for use in Indiana. They could not guarantee it would work smoothly.

ES&S senior vice president Ken Carbullido compared the old version to an Edsel automobile that hasn't been driven for a while. And, he and others in the company said, voters could be confused


Chuck Hagel's company btw...

Black Box Backlash
Seattle Weekly: News: by George Howland Jr.

Bev Harris of Renton created a firestorm with her national Internet campaign against electronic voting. Now she's trying to persuade people in the real world that their democracy is on the line.

America's leading critic of electronic voting lives on a cul-de-sac in the blue-collar suburb of Renton. Bev Harris drives a gray Dodge Caravan with a bumper sticker that says, "Keep honking, I'm reloading." Last year, several things broke in her home— the furnace, a sink, and a toilet—and she didn't have the money to get them fixed right away. In fact, the sink and toilet are still broken.
At 53, Harris worries about being overweight, and she can't find a hairdresser she's happy with. In recent years she's made her living as a literary publicist, hawking such books as Odyssey of the Soul by Hugh Harmon and Pamela Chilton, which is about channeling spirits, and Two Codes for Murder, a true-crime story by Dorothea Fuller Smith. A year and half ago, she admits, "I thought voting was boring."

Clearly, Harris' feelings about voting have changed a lot in the past 18 months. Voting has become Harris' passion and vocation. Voting issues consume her life, even pushing her to work around the clock at times.

Since September 2002, Harris has battled a U.S. senator, large corporations, and election officials across the country in her effort to ensure our votes are counted fairly and accurately. At first, she focused on the problems with computer voting. Since then, the name of her Web site (www.blackboxvoting.com) and her book devoted to the subject—Black Box Voting—have become shorthand for concerns about computers and elections. Moreover, her astounding discoveries on the subject have resulted in damning research by distinguished computer-science professors and numerous articles in major newspapers across the country. Secretaries of state, including Republican Sam Reed of Washington and Democrat Kevin Shelley of California, have responded by proposing key changes in how we will cast our ballots in the future.


All Hail Bev Harris..... a modern day American hero, a true patriot, and a tireless fighter for our rights and democracy. If only we fought along side here with anything resembling the same level of dedication and vigor.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Bush's flip flops

Bush's flip flops
by kos

Sun Mar 7th, 2004 at 21:37:53 GMT

So Bush has a site somewhere that tracks Kerry's "flip-flops". Reader TK probably spent three seconds coming up with this list of Bush flip flops. It's not like they're hard to find:

Bush is against campaign finance reform; then he's for it.

Bush is against a Homeland Security Department; then he's for it.

Bush is against a 9/11 commission; then he's for it.

Bush is against an Iraq WMD investigation; then he's for it.

Bush is against nation building; then he's for it.

Bush is against deficits; then he's for them.

Bush is for free trade; then he's for tariffs on steel; then he's against them again.

Bush is against the U.S. taking a role in the Israeli Palestinian conflict; then he pushes for a "road map" and a Palestinian State.

Bush is for states right to decide on gay marriage, then he is for changing the constitution.

Bush first says he'll provide money for first responders (fire, police, emergency), then he doesn't.

Bush first says that 'help is on the way' to the military ... then he cuts benefits

Bush-"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. Bush-"I don't know where he is. I have no idea and I really don't care.

Bush claims to be in favor of the environment and then secretly starts drilling on Padre Island.

Bush talks about helping education and increases mandates while cutting funding.

Bush first says the U.S. won't negotiate with North Korea. Now he will

Bush goes to Bob Jones University. Then say's he shouldn't have.

Bush said he would demand a U.N. Security Council vote on whether to sanction military action against Iraq. Later Bush announced he would not call for a vote

Bush said the "mission accomplished" banner was put up by the sailors. Bush later admits it was his advance team.

Bush was for fingerprinting and photographing Mexicans who enter the US. Bush after meeting with Pres. Fox, he's against it.

Salon.com News | Florida, again

Florida, again
The 2004 presidential race could turn on the Sunshine State, just as it did in 2000. And the early evidence suggests Bush is in big trouble.

By Tim Grieve
March 9, 2004 | PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. -- Five hundred and thirty-seven votes.

Assume for a moment that all the votes were counted in Florida four years ago. Assume that the punch-card voting machines never malfunctioned. Assume that a badly designed butterfly ballot didn't cause thousands of Democrats to vote for Pat Buchanan by mistake. Assume that a highway patrol roadblock didn't scare off black voters, and that all of the black voters who made it to their polling places actually got to vote.

Assume that Katherine Harris and the Supreme Court Five and all of those angry white men with the "Sore-Loserman" bumper stickers were actually right about stopping the recount.

Assume all of that -- give the Republicans the benefit of every conceivable doubt -- and it still comes down to this: In an election in which 5.9 million Floridians went to the polls, the official margin of victory -- the one Katherine Harris certified, the one you'll find in the history books, the one that put George Bush and Dick Cheney in the White House, the one that wrought massive tax cuts, huge budget deficits, a war on Iraq, a slew of extremist judges, an attorney general named John Ashcroft, and a culture war over gay marriage -- that margin of victory was 537 votes.

"If you throw out enough votes, you can call it a nail-biter," says U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., who led a major African-American voter turnout effort in 2000 and is pushing hard for Sen. John Kerry this time around. "But if George W. Bush keeps being George W. Bush, I'm not expecting it to be a nail-biter this time around."

Condt ..............................

Not exactly a pure BBV story but it's close enuff

Monday, March 08, 2004

2 Points:

1) These machines need additional software modifications beyond the numerous security fixes.

They need to create a digital audit trail. A simple cash register creates a digital and paper audit log or Register for each transaction. These machines need to do the same. This digital paper trail that then can be matched to any paper ballots.

Data Fields:
- Transaction #
- Date and Time of transaction
- Items in transaction
- Transaction end time
- Customer/Voter # (if appropriate)
There of course would be many more highly technical fields of data to be tracked as well (Sum Check data etc)

2) Above all - The software code that counts the votes must be public domain or open source - NO ONE should be allowed to hold in secret or under copyright control the very mechanism that counts our votes.

How much more simple could it be?

How much is our Democracy worth?

Diebold's Political Machine

Diebold's Political Machine : Political insiders suggest Ohio could become as decisive this year as Florida was four years ago. Which is why the state's plan to use paperless touch-screen voting machines has so many up in arms.

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman - March 5, 2004

... Asked recently about the importance of Ohio in this year's presidential campaign, one veteran of Buckeye State politics told Salon, "Ohio is the Florida of 2004."

That label sounds ominously accurate to the many who are skeptical of computerized voting. In addition to being as decisive as the 2000 polling in Florida, they worry this year's vote in Ohio could be just as flawed. Specifically, they worry that it could be rigged. And they wonder why state officials seem so unconcerned by the fact that the two companies in line to sell touch-screen voting machines to Ohio have deep and continuing ties to the Republican Party. Those companies, Ohio's own Diebold Election Systems and Election Systems & Software of Nebraska, are lobbying fiercely ahead of a public hearing on the matter in Columbus next week.


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