Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Lost Record '02 Florida Vote Raises '04 Concern


IAMI, July 27 - Almost all the electronic records from the first widespread use of touch-screen voting in Miami-Dade County have been lost, 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 uncovered the loss this month after requesting all audit data from that election.

A county official said a new backup system would prevent electronic voting data from being lost in the future. But members of the citizens group, the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, said the malfunction underscored the vulnerability of electronic voting records and wiped out data that might have shed light on what problems, if any, still existed with touch-screen machines here. The group supplied the results of its request to The New York Times.

"This shows that unless we do something now - or it may very well be too late - 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 touch-screen machines. 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 touch-screen 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 touch-screen machines do not allow human error. But several studies have suggested the machines themselves might err - for instance, by failing to record some votes.

After the 2002 primary, between Democratic candidates Janet Reno and Bill McBride, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida conducted a study that found that 8 percent of votes, or 1,544, were lost on touch-screen machines in 31 precincts in Miami-Dade County. The group considered that rate of what it called "lost votes" unusually high.

Voting problems plagued Miami-Dade and Broward Counties on that day, when touch-screen machines took much longer than expected to boot up, dozens of polling places opened late and poorly trained poll workers turned on and shut down the machines incorrectly. A final vote tally - which narrowed the margin first reported between the two candidates by more than 3,000 votes - was delayed for a week.

Ms. Reno, who ultimately lost to Mr. McBride by just 4,794 votes statewide, considered requesting a recount at the time but decided against it.

Seth Kaplan, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade elections division, said on Tuesday that the office had put in place a daily backup procedure so that computer crashes would not wipe out audit records in the future.

The news of the lost data comes two months after Miami-Dade elections officials acknowledged a malfunction in the audit logs of touch-screen 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 and Software of Omaha, Neb., has provided corrective software to all nine Florida counties that use its machines. One flaw occurred when the machines' batteries ran low and an error in the program that reported the problem caused corruption in the machine's event log, said Douglas W. Jones, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa whom Miami-Dade County hired to help solve the problem.

In a second flaw, the county's election system software was misreading the serial numbers of the voting machines whose batteries had run low, he said.

The flaws would not have affected vote counts, he said - only the backup data used for audits after an election. And because a new state rule prohibits manual recounts in counties that use touch-screen voting machines except in the event of a natural disaster, there would likely be no use for the data anyway.

State officials have said that they created the rule because under state law, the only reason for a manual recount is to determine "voter intent" in close races when, for example, a voter appears to choose two presidential candidates or none.

Touch-screen machines, officials say, are programmed not to record two votes, and if no vote is recorded, they say, it means the voter did not cast one.

But The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, in a recent analysis of the March presidential primary, reported that voters in counties using touch-screen machines were six times as likely to record no vote as were voters in counties using optical-scan machines, which read markings on paper ballots.

The A.C.L.U. of Florida and several other voting rights groups have sued to overturn the recount rule, saying it creates unequal treatment of voters. Counties that use optical-scan machines can conduct recounts, though only in extremely close races.

Mr. Kaplan says that the system crashes had erased data from other elections besides Ms. Reno's, the most recent being municipal elections in November 2003. Under Florida law, ballot records from elections for state and local office need be kept for only a year. For federal races, the records must be kept for 22 months after an election is certified. It was not immediately clear what the consequences might be of breaching that law.

Mr. Kaplan said the backup system was added last December.

An August 2002 report from Miami-Dade County auditors to David Leahy, then the county elections supervisor, recommended that all data from touch-screen machines be backed up on CD's or elsewhere. Professor Jones said it was an obvious practice long considered essential in the corporate world.

"Any naïve observer who knows about computer system management and who knows there is a requirement that all the records be stored for a period of months," Professor Jones said, "would say you should obviously do that with computerized voting systems."

Buddy Johnson, the elections supervisor in Hillsborough County, which is one of the state's largest counties and which also uses touch-screen machines, said his office still had its data from the 2002 elections on separate hard drives.

Mr. Kaplan of the Miami-Dade elections office could not immediately explain on Tuesday afternoon the system crashes in 2003.

Martha Mahoney, a University of Miami law professor and member of the election reform group, said she requested the 2002 audit data because she had never heard an explanation of the supposedly lost votes that the A.C.L.U. documented after the Reno-McBride election.
"People can never be sure their vote was recorded the way it was cast, but these are the best records we've got," she said. "And now they're not there."

I am sickened when I read this.  It's over.

Touchscreen Vote Records Lost in Florida

how magnificently convenient for the Bushistas..

MIAMI (AP) - A computer crash erased detailed records from Miami-Dade County's first widespread use of touchscreen voting machines, raising again the specter of elections troubles in Florida, where the new technology was supposed to put an end to such problems.
The crashes occurred in May and November of 2003, erasing information from the September 2002 gubernatorial primaries and other elections, elections officials said Tuesday.

The malfunction was made public after the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, a citizen's group, requested all data from the 2002 gubernatorial primary between Democratic candidates Janet Reno and Bill McBride. In December, officials began backing up the data daily, to help avoid similar data wipeouts in the future, said Seth Kaplan, spokesman for the county's elections supervisor, Constance Kaplan.

Florida counties without the touchscreen machines use optiscan technology, in which computers read voters' pencil marks on paper ballots, and would be able to do physical recounts in tight races.

Administrative Law Judge Susan B. Kirkland has 30 days to make her decision after receiving the hearing transcript, which is due back in 10 working days.

Florida's voting system has been under scrutiny since the 2000 debacle, when it took five weeks of legal maneuvering and some recounting before Republican George W. Bush (
website - news - bio) was declared president.

If the data had not been requested would the FLA folks have ever acknowledged the loss of the data?  This is such a damming indictment of the fruad and corruption present in FLA and plain and simple evidence of how they will steal this election for GWB.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Fear of Fraud (By PAUL KRUGMAN

It's election night, and early returns suggest trouble for the incumbent. Then, mysteriously, the vote count stops and observers from the challenger's campaign see employees of a voting-machine company, one wearing a badge that identifies him as a county official, typing instructions at computers with access to the vote-tabulating software.
When the count resumes, the incumbent pulls ahead. The challenger demands an investigation. But there are no ballots to recount, and election officials allied with the incumbent refuse to release data that could shed light on whether there was tampering with the electronic records.
This isn't a paranoid fantasy. It's a true account of a recent election in Riverside County, Calif., reported by Andrew Gumbel of the British newspaper The Independent. Mr. Gumbel's full-length report, printed in Los Angeles City Beat, makes hair-raising reading not just because it reinforces concerns about touch-screen voting, but also because it shows how easily officials can stonewall after a suspect election.

Some states, worried about the potential for abuse with voting machines that leave no paper trail, have banned their use this November. But Florida, which may well decide the presidential race, is not among those states, and last month state officials rejected a request to allow independent audits of the machines' integrity. A spokesman for Gov. Jeb Bush accused those seeking audits of trying to "undermine voters' confidence," and declared, "The governor has every confidence in the Department of State and the Division of Elections."

Should the public share that confidence? Consider the felon list.

Florida law denies the vote to convicted felons. In 2000 the state hired a firm to purge supposed felons from the list of registered voters; these voters were turned away from the polls. After the election, determined by 537 votes, it became clear that thousands of people had been wrongly disenfranchised. Since those misidentified as felons were disproportionately Democratic-leaning African-Americans, these errors may have put George W. Bush in the White House.

This year, Florida again hired a private company - Accenture, which recently got a homeland security contract worth up to $10 billion - to prepare a felon list. Remembering 2000, journalists sought copies. State officials stonewalled, but a judge eventually ordered the list released.

The Miami Herald quickly discovered that 2,100 citizens who had been granted clemency, restoring their voting rights, were nonetheless on the banned-voter list. Then The Sarasota Herald-Tribune discovered that only 61 of more than 47,000 supposed felons were Hispanic. So the list would have wrongly disenfranchised many legitimate African-American voters, while wrongly enfranchising many Hispanic felons. It escaped nobody's attention that in Florida, Hispanic voters tend to support Republicans.

After first denying any systematic problem, state officials declared it an innocent mistake. They told Accenture to match a list of registered voters to a list of felons, flagging anyone whose name, date of birth and race was the same on both lists. They didn't realize, they said, that this would automatically miss felons who identified themselves as Hispanic because that category exists on voter rolls but not in state criminal records.

But employees of a company that prepared earlier felon lists say that they repeatedly warned state election officials about that very problem.

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 handpicked election officials. 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, and its role in the world. In the face of official stonewalling, doubters 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. I'll write soon about what can be done in the few weeks that remain, but here's a first step: if Governor Bush cares at all about the future of the nation, as well as his family's political fortunes, he will allow that independent audit.
end -----------------------------------
subscription required so I posted the entire thing - so sue me - it's too damed important.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

House Leaders to Bush: Don't Even Think of Delaying Election

By Staff and Wire ReportsJul 20, 2004, 05:46
House leaders called Monday for Congress to affirm that presidential elections, to be held this year on Nov. 2, will never be postponed because of a terrorist attack.
The move comes after the chairman of a federal election commission suggested to congressional leaders last week that there should be a process for canceling or rescheduling an election interrupted by terrorism. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice said the administration is considering no such plan.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge recently warned that intelligence indicates that the al-Qaida terrorist network wants to disrupt the upcoming elections.

A congressional resolution by Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Administration Committee, says "the actions of terrorists will never cause the date of any presidential election to be postponed" and "no single individual or agency should be given the authority to postpone the date of a presidential election."

The resolution is supported by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and more than 60 other lawmakers. Ney said he would introduce it on Tuesday.

No national election has ever been postponed, the resolution says, noting that federal elections took place as scheduled during the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

"Postponing an election in the aftermath of a terrorist attack would demonstrate weakness, not strength, and would be interpreted as a victory for the terrorists," the resolution says.  
Ney said the resolution would restore confidence in the electoral process. Hastert agreed, saying: "This resolution will send a message around our nation and around the world that the United States will not be bullied by terrorism."

Unlike a bill, a House resolution is not binding if passed and does not have the force of law. It merely expresses the sentiment of members of the House.

Separately, about 190 House members, mostly Democrats, wrote to Ridge insisting that he take no further steps in postponing the Nov. 2 elections.

"We must ensure that in the fight against terrorism we do not lose the values and freedoms that we're fighting for in the first place," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.

© Copyright 2004 by Capitol Hill Blue
What is important what is not being said: that there is even a need to say this, hat there are still many in the GOP who will not sign this, that many in Congress support postponing or canceling the upcomming election.
This news is mnore scarry than mer at least.
How about you?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Kerry Building Legal Network for Vote Fights

By DAVID M. HALBFINGERPublished: July 19, 2004

Mindful of the election problems in Florida four years ago, aides to
Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, say his campaign is putting together a far more intricate set of legal safeguards than any presidential candidate before him to monitor the election.

Aides to Mr. Kerry say the campaign is taking the unusual step of setting up a nationwide legal network under its own umbrella, rather than relying, as in the past, on lawyers associated with state Democratic parties. The aides said they were recruiting people based on their skills as litigators and election lawyers, rather than rewarding political connections or big donors.

Lawyers for the campaign are gathering intelligence and preparing litigation over the ballot machines being used and the rules concerning how voters will be registered or their votes disqualified. In some cases, the lawyers are compiling dossiers on the people involved and their track records on enforcing voting rights. The disputed 2000 presidential election remains a fresh wound for Democrats, and Mr. Kerry has been referring to it on the stump while assuring his audiences that he will not let this year's election be a repeat of the 2000 vote.
"A million African-Americans disenfranchised in the last election," he said at the N.A.A.C.P. convention in Philadelphia on Thursday. "Well, we're not just going to sit there and wait for it to happen. On Election Day in your cities, my campaign will provide teams of election observers and lawyers to monitor elections, and we will enforce the law."
The Kerry campaign's legal efforts are hardly occurring in a vacuum.
The Bush-Cheney campaign says it will have party lawyers in every state, covering 30,000 precincts. An affiliated group, the Republican National Lawyers Association, held a two-day training session in Milwaukee over the weekend on "how to promote ballot access to all qualified voters," according to the group's Web site.
The real last minute War has begun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Did you see Jay Leno's comment on Canceling the Elections?

"I love that the Department of Homeland Security always tells Americans if you don't fly commercial airlines, 'the terrorists have won.' If you don't hold the Super Bowl or the World Series, 'the terrorists have won.' If you don't get out to the mall and do your Christmas shopping, 'the terrorists have won.' Comes time for the election, 'Oh, let the terrorists have that one.'"

Monday, July 12, 2004

Report: Touchscreen Voting Flawed in Fla.

Sunday July 11, 2004

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Touchscreen voting machines didn't perform as well as devices that scanned paper ballots in this year's Florida Democratic presidential primary, raising questions about the state's voting process for the November election, a newspaper reported Sunday.

An analysis of just under half of the ballots from the March 9 election shows that votes were not recorded for about one out of every 100 people using the new machines, or a 1.09 percent rate of undervotes, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. An undervote is when a selection cannot be detected on a ballot.

That's at least eight times the number of undervotes in the same election on paper ballots marked with pencils and tallied by an optical scanner, which had a 0.12 percent rate of undervotes, the newspaper reported.


A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Glenda Hood, Florida's top elections official, did not return calls seeking comment Sunday.

what a surprise

Electronic voting critics sue Diebold under whistle-blower law

Monday, July 12, 2004 Posted: 11:46 AM EDT (1546 GMT)

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Critics of electronic voting are suing Diebold Inc. under a whistle-blower law, alleging that the company's shoddy balloting equipment exposed California elections to hackers and software bugs.

California's attorney general unsealed the lawsuit Friday. It was filed in November but sealed under a provision that keeps such actions secret until the government decides whether to join the plaintiffs.

Lawmakers from Maryland to California are expressing doubts about the integrity of paperless voting terminals made by several large manufacturers, which up to 50 million Americans will use in November.

The California lawsuit was filed in state court by computer programmer Jim March and activist Bev Harris, who are seeking full reimbursement for Diebold equipment purchased in California.

Issues cited by the case include Diebold's use of uncertified hardware and software, and modems that may have allowed election results to be published online before polls closed.

They are asking California to join the lawsuit against Diebold. The state has not yet made a decision.

State election officials have spent at least $8 million on paperless touchscreen machines. Alameda County, for one, has spent at least $11 million.


U.S. Mulls How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior House Democratic lawmaker was skeptical on Sunday of a Bush administration idea to obtain the authority to delay the November presidential election in case of an attack by al Qaeda,


U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an emergency proposal on the legal steps needed to postpone the presidential election in case of such an attack, Newsweek reported on Sunday.

"I think it's excessive based on what we know," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a interview on CNN's "Late Edition."

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned last week that Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s al Qaeda network want to attack within the United States to try to disrupt the election.

Harman said Ridge's threat warning "was a bust" because it was based on old information.

Newsweek cited unnamed sources who told it that the Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice Department (news - web sites) last week to review what legal steps would be needed to delay the vote if an attack occurred on the day before or on election day.

The department was asked to review a letter from DeForest Soaries, chairman of the new U.S. Election Assistance Commission, in which he asked Ridge to ask Congress for the power to put off the election in the event of an attack, Newsweek reported in its issue out on Monday.

The commission was created in 2002 to provide funds to states to replace punch card voting systems and provide other assistance in conducting federal elections.

In his letter, Soaries wrote that while New York's Board of Elections suspended primary elections in New York on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election."

Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Rochrkasse told the magazine the agency is reviewing the matter "to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election."

Republican Rep. Christopher Cox of California, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN that the idea of legislation allowing the election to be postponed was similar to what had already been looked at in terms of how to respond to an attack on Congress.

"These are doomsday scenarios. Nobody expects that they're going to happen," he said. "But we're preparing for all these contingencies now."


I hate to say I told you so..but I told you so.

btw: I like reading Yahoo news stories because you can Rate it and also read the messages reader leave - very telling about the mood of the sheeple.

Friday, July 09, 2004

The article that started it all for me...

Elections In America - Assume Crooks Are In Control
by Lynn Landes

Published on Monday, September 16, 2002 by

Don't blame the poll workers in Florida. The facts, supported by voting machine experts and numerous newspaper articles, have made it clear. Computerized voting machines that were certified by the state of Florida, caused most of the problems in Florida's primary election. In the absence of paper ballots, the damage is now irreversible.

This was no accident. It's not new. And Florida is not alone.

"The concept is clear, simple, and it works. Computerized voting gives the power of selection, without fear of discovery, to whomever controls the computer," wrote the authors of VoteScam (1992), James & Kenneth Collier (both now deceased). It's a 'must read' book about how elections have been electronically and mechanically rigged in the United States for decades, and with the knowing and sometimes unknowing support of media giants and government officials, including... ironically... Janet Reno.

Only a few companies dominate the market for computer voting machines. Alarmingly, under U.S. federal law, no background checks are required on these companies or their employees. Felons and foreigners can, and do, own computer voting machine companies. Voting machine companies demand that clients sign 'proprietary' contracts to protect their trade secrets, which prohibits a thorough inspection of voting machines by outsiders. And, unbelievably, it appears that most election officials don't require paper ballots to back up or audit electronic election results. So far, lawsuits to allow complete access to inspect voting machines, or to require paper ballots so that recounts are possible...have failed.

As far as we know, some guy from Russia could be controlling the outcome of computerized elections in the United States.

In fact, Vikant Corp., a Chicago-area company owned by Alex Kantarovick, formerly of Minsk, Belorussia (also known as White Russia, formerly U.S.S.R.), supplies the all-important 'control cards' to Election Systems & Software (ES&S), the world's largest election management company, writes reporter Christopher Bollyn. According to ES&S, they have "handled more than 40,000 of the world's most important events and elections. ES&S systems have counted approximately 60% of the U.S. national vote for the past four presidential elections. In the U.S. 2000 general election, ES&S systems counted over 100 million ballots."

Getting back to Kantarovich, he would not disclose where the control cards are made, except they aren't made in America, writes Bollyn. Nor would he discuss his previous employment. Bollyn says he got some not-too-thinly-veiled threats from Kantarovich.

Kantarovich sounds more like the Russian mafia, than a legitimate businessman.

But the really big deal is this....all of ES&S's touch screen machines contain modems, "allowing them to communicate—and be communicated with—while they are in operation," reports Bollyn. That communication capability includes satellites. "Even computers not connected to modems or an electronic network can still be manipulated offsite, not during the election, but certainly before or after," says voting systems expert Dr. Rebecca Mercuri.

ES&S supplied the touch screens for Miami-Dade and Broward counties where the worst machine failures occurred. But the debacle was nothing new for ES&S. Associated Press (AP) reporter Jessica Fargen wrote in June 2000, "Venezuela's president and the head of the nation's election board accused ES&S of trying to destabilize the country's electoral process. In the United States, four states have reported problems with equipment supplied by the company. Faulty ES&S machines used in Hawaii's 1998 elections forced that state's first-ever recount."

Sequoia is another voting systems company that sends a cold chill down my spine. "Mob ties, bribery, felony convictions, and threats of coercion are visible in the public record of the election services company," according to investigative journalist and filmmaker Daniel Hopsicker, and reported in Hopsicker says that Pasquale "Rocco" Ricci, a 65-year-old senior executive with Sequoia, and the firm's Louisiana representative, recently pled guilty to passing out as much as $10 million dollars in bribes over the course of almost an entire decade." According to American Law Education Rights & Taxation (ALERT), Ricci is the president of Sequoia International, which also manufactures casino slot machines.

That's just great. Now, we could possibly have both the Russian mafia and the U.S. mafia involved in our elections.

In May 2002 Sequoia was bought by De La Rue, based in England. By their own estimate, De La Rue is "the world's largest commercial security printer and papermaker, involved in the production of over 150 national currencies and a wide range of security documents such as travelers checks and vouchers. Employing almost 7,000 people across 31 countries, (De La Rue) is also a leading provider of cash handling equipment and software solutions to banks and retailers worldwide." And they develop technology for secure passports, identity cards, and driver's licenses.

Okay, add Dr. Evil to the mix and be on the look-out for international money launderers, drug kingpins, and Nazis.

The Shoup Voting Solutions of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, has a reputation for rigging elections, wrote the late co-author of VoteScam, Jim Collier. According to Collier, in 1979, Ransom Shoup II, the president of the firm, was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice stemming from an FBI investigation of a vote-fixing scam involving the old-fashioned lever machines in Philadelphia."

These reports are just the tip of the iceberg. The numerous instances of U.S. voting systems error and fraud are documented in a 1988 report for the U.S. Commerce Department entitled, "Accuracy, Integrity, and Security in Computerized Vote-Tallying" by Roy G. Saltman, a computer consultant for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Computer Systems Laboratory. Many other experts and observers have been warning and complaining about these problems for decades.

But complaints, warnings, reports, and books like "VoteScam," haven't deterred government officials like Pinellas County (Florida) Commissioners Calvin Harris and County Judge Patrick Caddell. They told the St. Petersburg Times in October 2001 that they were aware that all of the voting machine companies had "problems in their pasts." But, Harris said, "We have to look at this objectively and not get tied up into the emotions of, 'Some guy might be a crook."

Dear Commissioner Harris...when it comes to elections in America...assume crooks are in control...and then act accordingly.

Lynn Landes is a freelance journalist specializing in environmental issues. She writes a weekly column which is published on her website and reports environmental news for DUTV in Philadelphia, PA. Lynn's been a radio show host and a regular commentator for a BBC radio program.



Activist (Bev Harris): E-Voting to Be a 'Train Wreck'

By RACHEL KONRAD, Associated Press Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Ambushing registrars and tracking down executives at their homes and offices, a literary publicist has uncovered conflicts of interests and security flaws inside the companies that make electronic ballot machines.

Searching the Web and poring over newspaper clippings, Bev Harris has unearthed obscure arrest records, ties to conservative political groups and other embarrassing secrets of senior executives at voting companies.

Her conclusion: there will be so many problems with the more than 100,000 paperless voting terminals to be used in the November presidential election that the fiasco will dwarf Florida's hanging chad debacle of 2000.

"We have a train wreck that's definitely going to happen," Harris said. "We have conflict of interest, we've taken the checks and balances away, and we know the votes are already being miscounted fairly frequently. This is going to be huge."

Harris, 52, didn't set out to become a muckraking voting technology expert.

Accustomed to working with manuscripts and authors in suburban Seattle, she preferred doting on her new grandchild to debating politics. She still doesn't vote regularly.

But when Harris was idly surfing the Web during a lunch break two years ago, she became obsessed with an issue essential to democracy, quickly becoming the unlikely center of a movement to ensure integrity in the nation's voting systems.

Critics say Harris, author of "Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century," is a fear-mongering grandstander and a presumptuous conspiracy theorist. The prime target of one investigation — voting equipment maker Diebold Inc. — says her antics undermine democracy.

"We must not frighten voters or inadvertently provide any type of disincentive to voting," Diebold spokesman David Bear wrote in an e-mail when asked to respond to Harris' claims that the company's software is riggable and insecure. "While security is an important issue ... improvements can and will be made."

Others question the motives behind her obsessive investigations of politicians and executives at big voting equipment companies such as Diebold, Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. and Election Systems & Services Inc.


Bev Harris has been the true leader for all American on this issue. But she is only one woman.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Experts warn of potential problems with electronic voting machines

Posted on Wed, Jul. 07, 2004 By Sumana Chatterjee
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Just four months before November's elections, vulnerabilities persist in electronic voting machines used nationwide, a group of computer experts told House lawmakers on Wednesday.

The experts are concerned that this fall's elections may be plagued by hackers, fraud and computer malfunctions. Some argue for the return of the paper ballot as a backup to verify voters' intentions.

But election commissioners who plan to rely on electronic balloting insisted that their machines work well. They said sufficient security measures and fallbacks are in place to assure that electronic voting is accurate.

Nearly 50 million Americans are expected to vote using touch-screen machines this fall. Many states and counties moved to electronic voting machines after the contested 2000 election results from Florida.

"No matter how you cut this, voters are concerned about their votes being counted," said Rep. Juanita Millender McDonald, D-Calif., a member of the House Administration Committee, which has oversees voting systems.

"Given the gravity of the security failings the computer security community has documented ... it is irresponsible to move forward without addressing them," said Avi Rubin, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute in Baltimore. The institute's doctoral candidates found significant design and programming flaws in software for Diebold voting machines, a popular system.

The general problem, according to Rubin, is that there's no way for election officials to be sure that electronic machines are free of malicious code designed to manipulate election results.


The mainstream media has finally grabbed this issue but it's conveniently too late for the news to have a impact on the problem.

I will say it again...we're Chenneyed...sorry for the profanity.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Judge rules for media on Florida voter list

Upholds both 'right to inspect' and 'right to copy'

Thursday, July 1, 2004 Posted: 2:13 PM EDT (1813 GMT)

(CNN) -- A state court judge in Florida ordered Thursday that the board of elections immediately release a list of nearly 50,000 suspected felons to CNN and other news organizations that last month sued the state for access to copies of the list.

The list is used to determine who will be eligible to vote in November's presidential election in the state.

Florida is one of a handful of states that bar people convicted of felonies in that state from voting.

In 2000, a similar list was the center of controversy when state officials acknowledged after the election that it contained thousands of names in error, thus barring eligible people from voting.

Many of the barred voters were African-Americans, who traditionally tend to vote Democratic.

Bush won the state by a 537-vote margin and, with it, the presidency.

The lawsuit, filed by CNN and joined by other news organizations, challenged a 2001 statute passed by the Republican-controlled legislature that limited the public's access to the list.

News organizations were allowed to inspect the list, but not make copies of it or take notes from it. (CNN asks Florida court for ineligible voters list)

"The right to inspect without the right to copy is an empty right indeed," said Leon County Circuit Judge Nikki Clark, in her six-page order.

condt .......................

This could prove to be a turing point.