The BRAD BLOG has reposted information we collected in 2008 for your use today:
* Call poll supervisors to observe the problem.
* Fill out a problem report.
* Refuse to vote on that machine.
* Request that the machine be taken out of service.
* Get a serial number of the machine if possible (may be difficult in many cases).
* Tell other voters in line which machine it was and that they should NOT vote on that machine!
* Report it to county/town election office.
* Report it to the Secretary of State.
* Call local reporters and tell them the story.
* Call voter problem hotlines (eg. 866-OUR-VOTE) and report it.
* Contact bloggers and Election Integrity websites.
* Raise holy hell.
REMINDER: Please bring a video camera/cell phone camera when you go to vote so you can document these problems on video tape.
More at link.
If you have reason to suspect election fraud, please call Velvet Revolution's whistleblower hotline at 888-VOTE-TIP.
Please keep in mind that the most serious problems with electronic voting are invisible to voters, election officials, and candidates alike. So while it's true that the problems you may run into -- your votes visibly flipping to candidates you didn't choose, machines not working, etc. -- truly are problems, it's even more important to remember that results of an election that appeared to run smoothly absolutely cannot be trusted when votes are counted electronically!
Says Brad, "While computer generated animations are great, computer generated, unverifiable e-voting ain't. Vote on a paper ballot this year (not on a touch-screen system with or without a so-called "paper trail"), if you can. Here's why..."
Racketeering charges have been filed by attorney Cliff Arnebeck and a subpoena served on Karl Rove in connection with the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville class action lawsuit, which revolves around the integrity of the 2004 election in Ohio.
For details, see Why We Filed Racketeering Charges Against Karl Rove's Election Operations by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman at AlterNet.
Though the Republican and Democratic parties have been largely silent for years as voters and election integrity advocates have repeatedly pointed out the insecurity of electronic voting systems, the GOP in North Carolina has suddenly taken notice. A lawsuit has been filed against the North Carolina State Board of Elections citing evidence of votes visibly flipping from Republican to Democratic candidates in early voting in the Tar Heel State.
This is at least the second report of Republican voters watching their votes flip this election, the first being in Texas, where a voter reported a vote intended for Republican Governor Rick Perry flipping to the Green Party slate.
While these reports are indeed disturbing, it's crucial to remember that votes that visibly flip from the intended recipient to another candidate can be evidence of poorly-performed election manipulation. If a hack is done 'right,' the votes will flip invisibly inside the machine and neither the voter, the election workers, or the candidates will ever know.
Read the full story at VR co-founder Brad Friedman's The BRAD BLOG.
Our colleagues at the Election Defense Alliance have just released two new videos for you to share with people, especially those who still expect votes to be counted accurately in U.S. elections. Who do you know who needs to hear these messages? Please share on Facebook, by email, by projection on a public building, or ... use your imagination!
In Das Vote, Dan Rather details the work in Europe that has led to halt to electronic voting in three European countries, and tells a few stories from similar struggles here in the U.S. The entire show can be viewed online for free until Wednesday, November 3 and thereafter downloaded from iTunes for $1.99.
This show follows a superb Rather Reports investigation shown on HDNet three years ago, which includes startling revelations about how the hanging chads in Florida 2000 came to be. If you don't know this story, you'll want to. View it at The BRAD BLOG.
Here's a clip about the 2010 Senatorial primary in North Carolina:
ProtectOurElections.org has posted the reward for anyone who can provide evidence that vote tabulation results were manipulated in such a way that the results changed the legitimate winner in a 2010 federal election. The information must lead to arrest and conviction in order for the reward to be paid.
Computer Science Professor J. Alex Halderman led a team from the University of Michigan to successfully penetrate and manipulate the internet voting system Washington D.C. planned to use for military and overseas voters for the general election.
The team of "white hat hackers" was able to change all of the votes, implant code into the system that would result in any future votes being changed as well, and program the system to play the University of Michigan fight song after a vote was cast.
What they found inside the system was as frightening as their ability to penetrate it in the first place. They were not the only hackers trying to get access. Computers in Iran and China were also attempting to get in.
Read more at The BRAD BLOG:
Iranian, Chinese Computers Also Discovered to Have Been Hacking D.C. Internet Voting System
[Note: Brad Friedman, proprietor of The BRAD BLOG, is one of the founders of Velvet Revolution.]
Cross-posted from The BRAD BLOG
Note: Brad Friedman, proprietor of The BRAD BLOG, is a co-founder of Velvet Revolution.
Incredible. This would be the equivalent of appointing the sitting Vice President of Exxon Mobil to an EPA advisory committee, but Ed Smith has now been appointed to the disastrous U.S. Election Assistance Commission's (EAC's) Technical Guidelines Development Committee as one of their new "Technical and Scientific Experts."
From the EAC's email announcement on Friday (posted in full at end of article):
So Smith went from voting machine company Hart Intercivic to voting machine company Sequoia Voting Systems and is now at voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems, where he is a VP, selling e-voting systems to jurisdictions around the country that receive federal money doled out by the EAC. And now he'll also sit on an advisory board at the EAC helping to advise which one of those companies sees their systems certified for use in U.S. elections by the EAC. Just amazing.
But that's not even half the story of why this is just incredible, and another huge black eye for the EAC. (How many eyes do they have left to blacken at this point?) If you're not a long time reader of The BRAD BLOG reader, and don't recall who this Ed Smith is, read on. It's simply stultifying...
Smith is the guy who, after years of paying a crackpot contractor named Mike Gibbons to do this and that for Sequoia with loads of federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) tax-payer cash, assigned him to do an "independent" analysis of Sequoia's touch-screen machines after they failed in NJ's 2008 Super Tuesday election. That was just after Smith had sent a letter threatening two Princeton computer scientists with legal action "to stop any infringement of our intellectual properties, including any non-compliant analysis," if they performed the actually independent analysis of the machines as they were tasked by NJ election officials to do. (Addtional outrage/irony shortly thereafter uncovered by The BRAD BLOG: Sequoia didn't even own the Intellectual Property rights to the machines in question. Rather, the IP rights were, and are still to our knowledge, owned by Smartmatic, a Venezuelan firm tied to Hugo Chavez. Sequoia lied to both federal investigators and state election officials about that relationship.)
After The BRAD BLOG exposed who Smith's friend Mike Gibbons actually was -- a Sequoia insider, as well as a drunk and a philanderer with an obnoxious Facebook page seeking a "well endowed blonde nymphomaniac," only to change the page after we'd outed him to feature a photo of him and George Bush Sr. and a professed love of Jesus Christ instead -- Gibbons was fired. (He would be found dead a few months later, the actual cause of which we've never been able to ascertain.)
Smith was severely reprimanded at Sequoia for the embarrassing incident, and has now been rewarded by moving on to Dominion, which is in partnership with his old friends at Sequoia to supply the new, failed e-voting systems recently deployed, disasterously, for the first time in last November's election -- the one where the results of the NY-23 Special Election for U.S. House will now forever be in question. The Sequoia/Dominion contract to supply faulty, secret vote counting machines to NY-23 is worth some $20 million federal tax-payer dollars.
And now Smith's been been named to advise the EAC, the actual federal body tasked with overseeing, testing, and approving voting systems for federal approval -- the very body that is supposed to oversee the very scams that Smith attempts to pull off with his worthless, broken, easily hacked, often-failed, computerized secret vote-counting systems. And, in the case of the NY systems, they're being used even though they are neither federally nor state certified yet.
This isn't just the Fox in the Hen House. This is the Fox who has already devoured every Hen in the House, in the Hen House. With feathers in his mouth and a sub-machine gun in his hands.
The EAC is an absolute disgrace, and should long ago have been disbanded for one failure after another -- including the approval of virtually every e-voting system in use today, virtually every one of which has failed spectacularly, even as the EAC has refused to decertify any of them. Enough is enough.
The complete Friday press release from the EAC, announcing Smith's appointment, and others, follows in full below...
For Immediate Release
December 11, 2009
New Technical and Scientific Experts Appointed to EAC's Technical Guidelines Development Committee
WASHINGTON- The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today announced the appointment of four new technical and scientific experts to its Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), which is charged under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) with assisting EAC in developing federal voluntary voting system guidelines that are used to test and certify voting systems.
The following new members were appointed jointly by EAC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):
Steven M. Bellovin, professor of computer science at Columbia University. Dr. Bellovin's research focuses on networks and security. Before joining the Columbia faculty in 2005, he spent many years at Bell Labs and AT&T Labs Research, where he was an AT&T Fellow. He holds a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master's and doctorate in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Diane Cordry Golden, program coordinator for the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs. Dr. Cordry Golden has 30 years' experience providing training and technical assistance on disability policy implementation and assistive/accessible technology service delivery to government and nonprofit organizations at the local, state and national level. She has a doctorate in special education administration with an emphasis in disability policy, a master's degree in audiology, and a bachelor's degree in speech-language pathology.
Douglas W. Jones, associate professor of computer science at University of Iowa. Mr. Jones served on the Iowa Board of Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting Systems for 10 years, where he helped examine and approve voting systems before they were sold to the state's county governments. He testified at the U.S. Civil Rights Commission hearings in Tallahassee, Fla., on January 11, 2001, and was involved in reviewing the federal 2002 Voting System Standards.
Edwin B. Smith, III, vice president of compliance and certification at Dominion Voting Systems. Before joining Dominion Voting Systems, Mr. Smith was vice president of manufacturing, compliance, quality and certification at Sequoia Voting Systems. He also served as the operations manager at Hart InterCivic and the senior director of operations at K*TEC Electronics. He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science in engineering technology from Texas A&M.
"We welcome this distinguished group of experts to the committee," said EAC Commissioner Donetta Davidson, the designated federal official of the TGDC. "We've just concluded our first two-day meeting with our new members, and it was filled with spirited, thoughtful and productive exchanges. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and knowledgeable group of professionals working with us on federal voting system guidelines."
HAVA established the TGDC to support the EAC by providing recommendations on voluntary standards and guidelines related to voting equipment and technologies. The TGDC's first task was to draft the third iteration of federal voting system standards, known as the voluntary voting system guidelines, which EAC issued in December 2005. The TGDC continues to work on future iterations and revisions to the guidelines for consideration by the EAC Standards Board and Board of Advisors, and for ultimate consideration and adoption by EAC.
HAVA requires that members of the TGDC be made up of representatives from the American National Standards Institute, the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Architectural and Transportation Barrier Compliance Board (commonly referred to as the Access Board), the EAC Standards Board and the EAC Board of Advisors.
These organizations nominate new members to serve on the TGDC. Recent appointments include Access Board member Phillip Jenkins, senior software engineer of the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center; NASED member Ann McGeehan, director of the elections division, State of Texas Office of the Secretary of State; and EAC Standards Board member Donald Palmer, director of elections, Florida Department of State.
Other members of the committee include Ron Gardner, director of field services, National Federation of the Blind; Linda Lamone, administrator of elections, Maryland State Board of Elections; Paul Miller, voting systems manager, State of Washington, Office of the Secretary of State; Helen Purcell, county recorder, Maricopa County, Arizona; Russ Ragsdale, city and county clerk, City and County of Broomfield, Colorado; and David Wagner, associate professor, EECS Department, University of California-Berkeley. Patrick Gallagher, director of NIST, chairs the committee.
For information on TGDC resolutions, meeting minutes and related information, visit vote.nist.gov. Information about EAC's voting system testing and certification process, including the federal 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, is available at www.eac.gov.
The EAC is an independent commission created by the Help America Vote Act. The EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment. It is also charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form. The three EAC commissioners are Gineen Beach, chair; Gracia Hillman, vice chair; and Donetta Davidson. There is one vacancy on the commission.
There's a lively discussion in the comments thread over at The BRAD BLOG. You're invited to join in with your comments.
Notorious electronic voting company Diebold, which has been hiding its election division under the name Premier Election Solutions, has bilked California taxpayers out of over $100 million dollars for its failed, faulty electronic voting machines.
Velvet Revolution this week launches a new campaign: Diebold: Return Our Money!
You can find us at DieboldReturnOurMoney.com.
California officials recently revealed that ALL of Diebold/Premier's voting systems violate federal certifications guidelines! These systems illegally do some or all of the following:
Yet Diebold falsely claimed to meet all federal voting system standards. Accordingly, we demand that:
1) DIEBOLD: RETURN OUR MONEY!: Diebold/Premier has accepted well over $100 million in county, state and federal taxpayer funds for services which the company knew it could not perform. With California's devastating budget shortfall of $ 45.5 billion dollars, we demand the return of these funds from Diebold. The purchase price for hardware, software licenses, and maintenance fees should be returned to the State within 90 days. If Diebold's announced sale to Election Systems and Software becomes final, California must be fully reimbursed instead from ES&S.
2) SOS DEBRA BOWEN: DECERTIFY DIEBOLD!: Diebold/Premier products, currently used in 20 California counties, violate federal voting system standards and must be immediately and permanently decertified by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
3) AG JERRY BROWN: PROSECUTE DIEBOLD!: California's Attorney General Jerry Brown must immediately launch a comprehensive criminal investigation into Diebold/Premier's knowing use and sale of faulty election systems that have undermined our elections. Further, unless Diebold/Premier, within 90 days, refunds to California all monies paid for its fraudulent software and equipment, we call on the State of California to file suit against Diebold/Premier seeking the return of funds for breach of contract and fraud.
Visit the campaign page at DieboldReturnOurMoney.com to send a quick email to Diebold (c/o than the appropriately-named company representative Chris Riggall), SoS Bowen and AG Brown. Over 400 emails have already been sent in the first 48 hours of this campaign.
As you may have heard, Diebold has recently been purchased by ES&S, its larger competitor. This purchase adds to the myriad problems with electronic voting yet another: one company's near monopoly on the industry. With the purchase of Diebold, ES&S will control approximately 85% of the nation's votes. An antitrust suit has been filed by another e-voting vendor, Hart Intercivic, and election watchdog BlackBoxVoting.org has filed a letter of complaint with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
Velvet Revolution's demands for a refund of CA's money paid to Diebold, whether it comes from the Diebold Corporation or from ES&S.
Help us build momentum by supporting this campaign.
Tell your friends about it!
Join us on Facebook! (Become a fan of Velvet Revolution and DieboldReturnOurMoney.)
Follow us on our brand new Twitter feed at vr_tweet.
Donate to Velvet Revolution!
VR is joined in the Diebold: Return Our Money! campaign by these fine organizations:
After Downing Street
Black Box Voting.org
Citizens for Legitimate Government
Election Defense Alliance
The Free Press
Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution
Progressive Democrats of America
Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles
Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains
Protect California Ballots
SavElections Monterey County
SAVE R VOTE
Other California groups or national groups operating in CA are invited to join by sending us an email.
A new report [pdf, 13 pages] issued by California's Secretary of State and submitted to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission describes how "a serious software programming error in GEMS version 1.18.19 caused the loss of 197 tallied ballots in the November 4, 2008, General Election. The report also describes several deficiencies in the audit trail logs in GEMS version 1.18.19."
The report also says that Premier/Diebold was aware of the problems for at least four years but did nothing to warn its customers -- over 1,000 counties across the nation -- about it.
Further, the software error causes votes to be lost, and the number of votes lost "greatly exceeds the maximum allowable error rate established by HAVA [Help America Vote Act]."
As reported by Computer World, "defects in the software version violate voting system standards established in 1990 and would have made the systems ineligible for use in an election had they been detected."
So in other words, any and all elections that used Premier/Diebold software, all of which occurred after the 1990 voting system standards were established, were run on illegal software.
According to Wired, Kim Alexander of the non-profit California Voter Foundation said that Premier/Diebold's admission "confirmed one of my worst fears. The audit logs have been the top selling point for vendors hawking paperless voting systems. They and the jurisdictions that have used paperless voting machines have repeatedly pointed to the audit logs as the primary security mechanism and 'fail-safe' for any glitch that might occur on machines. To discover that the fail-safe itself is unreliable eliminates one of the key selling points for electronic voting security."
Justin Bales, who is the general service manager for Premier/Diebold's western region, when asked if the company has taken any steps to correct the problem in their GEMS software, said, "No, not yet."
Added Bales, "... but now we're taking a serious look at that."
Gee, ya think? It's only an error that existed for years through countless elections in states all over America. And only now Premier/Diebold is going to take a "serious look" at the problem?
Premier/Diebold also followed a familiar script used by all the voting systems vendors when equipment or software problems are found; blame the customers! Premier/Diebold's representative tried to say that this problem is partly the fault of election officials who should have somehow known how to correct this software error despite the company having never told anyone of the problem or provided instructions on how to fix it.
According to our colleagues at The BRAD BLOG, Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich said that she was "offended" by this attempt to shift blame. "If you [Premier/Diebold] are saying that your system needs to be checked every damn time you turn it on, then I agree with you."
Premier/Diebold continues to hack away at our republic, seemingly determined to make sure America's elections, one of the two pillars on which our entire democratic republic stands (the other being the Constitution) remain unsecure, inaccurate, unverifiable, and even criminal.
Why? Why does Premier/Diebold hate democracy? Why do they want the terr'rists to win?
Please excuse the snark, but we're angry about this. We've been yelling and shouting for years that Premier/Diebold's software is in violation of federal law, and for years we've been begging the "powers that be" to stop this bunch of crooks from having anything to do with American elections. And for our efforts, we've been either ignored or called conspiracy theorists, sore losers, lunatics, or worse.
On a personal note, your humble blogger committed a crime in 2004 when I stole and exposed legal documents from the office of Diebold's California attorneys, documents that provided smoking gun proof that the corporation had been using illegal and uncertified software in the state, that they had been actively lying to the Secretary of State, the taxpayers, and the voters about the use of this software, and that they were working to cover up this crime and prevent it from ever coming to light.
I was convicted of a felony for my theft, was nearly bankrupted, and I remain on probation to this day. And Diebold? A civil suit was filed against them and they settled out of court, admitted no wrong-doing, and paid a $2.6 million dollar fine. That might sound like a hefty penalty, but in 2003, their total revenue was about $100 million, and in 2004, the company cleared over $80 million. Diebold's 2004 revenue from only one of California's many counties, Alameda, was $12.7 million. So that $2.6 million fine was hardly an appropriate punishment.
And worst of all, their equipment is still being used in California and around the nation.
So it's been a proven fact and known for years that this company is corrupt, crooked, and criminal, that they're bunch of anti-democracy hoodlums, liars, and crooks.
And yet they are still running elections in America. In fact, according to Wired, which reported on information gathered at VerifiedVoting.org, Premier/Diebold's criminally inept GEMS software "is used to tabulate votes cast on every Premier/Diebold touch-screen or optical-scan machine, and is used in more than 1,400 election districts in 31 states. Maryland and Georgia use Premier/Diebold systems exclusively, therefore the GEMS software counts every vote statewide."
So once again we express the hope that finally, once and for all, California and all other states that do business with Premier/Diebold will cease and desist from doing so. Further, a criminal investigation into the company's behavior should be taken up immediately by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
Is that too much to ask?
According to a study by the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey (CCES), which the New York Times describes as "a consortium of more than 150 university researchers, led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who specialize in voting issues," approximately four to five million eligible voters (about 2% - 3% of all voters) didn't cast a ballot in the November, 2008 election because of registration problems or because they didn't receive their absentee ballot in time (or they never received it at all). This is the same number, roughly, of those who encountered the same problems in the 2000 election.
The report, which was presented to the Senate Rules Committee today (webcast of today's hearing is available), highlights the problems with registration that about six to eight million Americans encountered when they tried to register to vote for the November election.
According to the Times, Senator Charles E. Schumer, (D) New York, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said "It's clear that the high turnout on Nov. 4 of last year simply masked persistent problems that still need to be fixed. Had the election been close, these problems would have received a lot more attention because they could have made the difference in which candidate won."
Schumer also said that the number of people prevented from voting in 2008 exceeded the popular-vote margin in the previous two presidential elections.
Said Stephen Ansolabehere, a professor of political science at Harvard and the lead author of the study, "Registration issues were for 2008 what machine problems were for the 2000 election."
In a separate report from the National Campaign for Fair Elections of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Jonah Goldman, director of the organization, said their election protection hot line handled more than 240,000 calls from voters during the 2008 election cycle, with more than one-third of the problems being voter registration issues. Voter registration issues were the largest single source of problems for voters, Goldman said.
Those testifying at today's hearing, in addition to Prof. Ansolabehere and Jonah Goldman, were Curtis Gans, Director Center for the Study of the American Electorate, Nathaniel Persily, Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia Law School, Chris Nelson, South Dakota Secretary of State, and Kristen Clarke of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Here are some of Sen. Schumer's quotes from today's hearing.
"If voting is the heart of democracy, registering Americans is the life-blood of our republic. ... What the butterfly ballots and hanging chads were in 2000 is what voter registration problems are today."
"Hidden from [sic] the excitement of this past election was the fact the millions of voters, through no fault of their own, were shut out of this process due to deeply rooted problems that need to be fixed."
"As many as seven million eligible and registered voters were denied the right to vote, whether it was a photo ID requirement, list purges, no match/no vote comparisons, or simply because they moved..."
"As many as 9 million additional people were prevented from registering due to deadlines and change-of-residency requirements."
"Put together, you get massive disenfranchisement, and this is undemocratic, and unacceptable."
A webcast of the entire hearing can be viewed here.
by Mitch Trachtenberg of the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has released a remarkable 13-page report [PDF] of her office's investigation into how the Diebold/Premier GEMS software silently dropped all votes contained on 197 ballots from Humboldt County, California's November 2008 general election.
The report shows that this version of GEMS not only deleted a batch of ballots without any request by --- or alert to --- the elections staff, but also failed to note the deletion in the system's audit log. The report also points to other startling deficiencies with Diebold/Premier's software: "Key audit trail logs in GEMS version 1.18.19 do not record important operator interventions such as deletion of decks of ballots, assign inaccurate date and time stamps to events that are recorded, and can be deleted by the operator."
That's right. The Diebold/Premier vote tabulation system in question, not only fails to record all events accurately, and sometimes at all, it also allows for anyone with access to the system, to completely delete audit logs, covering the tracks of any tampering that may have occurred, at any time, on the system.
Any of these flaws, the report concludes, "appears to violate the 1990 Voting System Standards to an extent that would have warranted failure of the GEMS version 1.18.19 system had they been detected and reported by the [federal] Independent Testing Authority [ITA] that tested the system."...
Cross-posted from Velvet Revolution.us
Two weeks ago, we made a major push to oppose Mark Gitenstein to head the DOJ's Office of Legal Policy. We did a post on VR, sent out a press release to the national wires, personally contacted Gitenstein to ask him to withdraw his name, created and placed a web ad on BradBlog, and coordinated with Public Citizen, another org opposed to Gitenstein. Our opposition was based on Gitenstein's lobbying and legal work for the Chamber of Commerce which was one of Karl Rove's main tools for corrupting elections nationwide.
Well, we succeeded. Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that it was withdrawing Gitenstein from the job. According to the Washington Post, this was a big win since Gitenstein looked like a shoe-in because of his previous work for Joe Biden.
"The widely expected nomination of Mark Gitenstein, a longtime aide to Vice President Biden, for the job of assistant attorney general for legal policy, the point office for judicial selections, is not happening.
The choice of Gitenstein, a highly regarded Washington lawyer and longtime chief Democratic counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Biden formerly chaired, had been considered a done deal, what with his Biden connection and many friends in the legal community.
But liberal opposition, including a campaign against him by Public Citizen, was sharply critical of his legal work for a number of business clients and most especially for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That forced the White House to reconsider the nomination, Roll Call reported Wednesday.
That opposition overcame strong support for Gitenstein from other liberals and also from influential Obama campaign insiders, a source told us yesterday. There are other lawyers who might like the job, including George Washington University law professor Spencer Overton, a leading Democrat and big-time bundler of contributions for the Obama campaign."
This turn of events now has Spencer Overton as the top contender for the job. Mr. Overton has been a friend of the election integrity movement for years after he, as a member of the Baker-Carter Commission on election reform, led the opposition to that report and actually wrote a dissenting report. Mr. Overton is another terrific, black Harvard grad law professor at George Washington University. He has been a vociferous opponent of voter photo ID laws and voter suppression.
A copy of the original VR post is below.
2/10/09: VR Opposes Any Nomination Of Mark Gitenstein To the DOJ Office of Legal Policy
Obama's potential nominee to head The Department of Justice's Office of Legal Policy, Mark Gitenstein, worked as a lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce between 2000 and 2008, helping his law firm earn more than $6 million in fees, according to federal lobbying records. Obama has set forth strict rules against lobbyists working for him and so Mr. Gitenstein will have to get a waiver. VR Is vehemently opposed to this appointment because of the obvious conflict of interest under which Mr. Gitenstein will labor and because of his work for the Chamber, an organization has been engaged in pervasive illegal and corrupt activity regarding elections nationwide at the behest of big business and Karl Rove.
Gitenstein, a partner at the Mayer Brown law firm in Washington, was a longtime senior aide to Vice President Joe Biden. And he has a good civil rights record. In recent years, however, he also has served as counsel to the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform, which pushed for changes in federal litigation rules and adding business-friendly judges to state courts.
Many of the same front groups which joined the Chamber ILR legal reform 'coalition' were involved in the organization's turn to full-blown rightwing partisanship and were responsible for putting George Bush into office and keeping him there.
The litigation by Ohio Attorney Cliff Arnebeck regarding the manipulation of the 2004 election in Ohio uncovered evidence that long time Bush IT expert Mike Connell created front groups for the Chamber (on behalf of Karl Rove?) in an ongoing pattern of corrupt activity to defraud elections. Mr. Arnebeck was able to tie the Chamber to Connell's activities because Arnebeck had sued the Chamber earlier for creating front groups that illegally funneled and laundered money to attack Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Resnick.
Mississippi Judge Oliver Diaz wrote to us recently to complain about being targeted by the Bush DOJ in a political prosecution directed by Karl Rove. He wrote, "election fraud is a major concern to me... In my last election, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce funneled about $1 million to defeat me. This is part of a strategy to stack out courts with conservative shills for big business. They have refused to disclose their donor list."
So now, Obama wants to have Mark Gitenstein, who lobbied for the one of the most partisan, corrupt and opaque organizations in the country, decide what judges are to be put on the federal bench. The same Chamber that coordinated attacks on Democrats nationwide for suing Big Tobacco, such as Don Siegelman. What kind of ethics and integrity can Mr. Gitenstein have lobbying for such an organization? We urge everyone to contact their Senators to express disapproval for this possible nomination.
Note: Mr. Gitenstein also lobbied for AT&T, collaborator of FISA.
Just wanted to call attention to a report from John Gideon of VotersUnite.org. His organization's experience in trying to get an answer to a very simple and straightforward question illustrates how the idea of the EAC working for we, the People, and not for their corporate and political masters, is at best a joke, and at worst part of the continued threat to our elections, and thus a threat to our republic.
I won't go into detail in this post; John Gideon explains it all better than I ever could. But John's report on the infuriating and exasperating circle-jerk of emails he received from the EAC is a must-read for anyone concerned about how our government, and the EAC, have failed and continue to fail the voters of this country.
Bev Harris, founder of Black Box Voting, one of the nation's leading election integrity watchdog groups, and our colleague Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG, weigh in on a draft of a new bill from Congressman Rush Holt, (D) New Jersey, tentatively called the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2009."
The discussion draft of the bill can be read here [pdf, 62 pages].
Bev Harris writes that the so-called "new" Holt bill is "basically exactly the same as the old Holt Bill, and every bit as much a danger to our liberty as the other Holt Bill. In fact, clause for clause, it's pretty much the same."
She continues: "Now, one wonders, in a new administration and with new political realities, why would one put forth a bill that supports secret vote counting?"
"The new Holt Bill, just like the old one, seeks to further centralize power and to further institutionalize the concept of counting our votes in secret. It is a danger to our right to self-government," writes Harris.
Brad Friedman has done some analysis of the proposed bill, and he finds much to be concerned about. In general, he finds that "while the bill offers some improvements over previous versions, the major flaws still inherent in the legislation -- as it's currently drafted -- will fail to ensure the security, accuracy, and transparency that American democracy requires and deserves."
One the one hand, the bill would require "the use of an individual, durable, voter-verified, paper ballot" for every vote. And that's a good thing. But in it's current form, the bill would also allow those ballots to be "marked through the use of a nontabulating ballot marking device or system." That's a problem.
Ballot marking devices, or BMDs, are touchscreen computers on which a voter makes his/her selections, and then the ballot is printed out. They are dangerous devices on which to run an election. For one thing, they are know to sometimes flip votes. See this report for Brad Friedman's own personal experience with a BMD in June of 2008, and how it mismarked his ballot.
"Further," writes Friedman, "concerns about computer-printed ballots was illustrated by several academic studies. One, from Caltech/MIT described how some 80% of voters do not take the time to verify the accuracy of computer printed records or ballots. Another, even more disturbing, from Rice University in the Summer of 2007, found that, among those few who do bother to review the computerized summary of their selections at the end of the voting process, two-thirds of them don't notice at all when the computer has flipped a selection from one candidate to another, or changed a vote on a ballot initiative."
The very important issue of transparency, a vital component to clean and verifiable elections, receives no boost in this draft bill. Friedman reports that in this bill, "corporate trade secrets, fully protected, take precedence, apparently, before you, the voter. Not good for a public voting system, designed for, and paid for by, the public, who deserve no less than 100% transparency for any system used to carry out public elections, the very heart of our democracy."
Friedman does find some good things in this draft, including a requirement that "federal voting system test labs must disclose test results, good or bad, and make them 'available promptly to election officials and the public' after testing is completed."
More details on his analysis can be read on his blog post.
The New Vision (which bills itself as "Uganda's leading website") is reporting under the headline "Election thieves to be imprisoned" that the Ugandan Electoral Commission is advocating several reforms to Uganda's election laws, and a number of them are excellent ideas which the United States would do well to emulate.
Among these reforms are:
Heavy fines for electoral offenders. "Politicians found guilty of cheating in elections will be sent to prison for up to two years or made to pay heavy fines if a new proposal by the Electoral Commission (EC) becomes a law." [snip] "The opposition coalition also wants the electoral law to be amended so that the EC is given power to disqualify candidates involved in rigging or other election malpractices for at least seven years."
Sounds like a great idea! And in America, we'd also like to extend that law to any and all election officials and even private citizens who are convicted of violating election laws. This would include issuing disinformation about voting or registration, illegal purges of the voter rolls, and ignoring state laws regarding the certification of election results.
Period of declaration of results should be increased from 48 hours to a week. Apparently, under current Ugandan law the results from each precinct are required to be certified and turned in within 48 hours. The Commission wants to extend that time limit to one week. "Though opposition parties oppose the proposal, the commission says it is difficult to secure securing [sic] the results from all returning officers within 48 hours."
It seems that Uganda understands what many American election officials and even many American voters don't -- that the accuracy of the results and the importance of counting every vote are more important than speed. Waiting a few days or even a few weeks for election results is well worth it if the extra time will lead to correct, every-vote-counted-and-counted-accurately results.
American politicians and election officials could learn some lessons from Uganda!
The Mississippi State Senate has made an unusual move; they've pulled legislation that they passed on January 15 requiring that voters show a photo ID before being allowed to vote, stripped all amendments out of it, and passed the new legislation.
The previous version had an amendment that allowed voters age 65 an older to vote without showing a photo ID. Governor Haley Barbour had pressed for the removal of that exemption. He got his wish.
The new version, sans exemption for voters 65 and older, passed in the Senate, but the state's House version, while making ID mandatory for voting, still has the exemption for people age 65 and older, and allows non-photo versions of identification, such as utility bills, bank statements, and paychecks.
The fate of the law is now unclear.
Velvet Revolution would like to see the House version become law in Mississippi. Requiring voters to have some form of identification is acceptable if non-photo ID is included, and the House version does that.
However, Governor Haley Barbour (R) may well refuse to sign the bill if it contains any exemption from the photo ID requirement. Said Barbour in his 2009 State of the State address, "As to Voter ID, it is past time we catch up with our sister states and with business, medical, financial and the rest of the government world by requiring a picture ID to vote."
Delbert Hosemann, the Republican secretary of state, is also a strong proponent of photo ID requirements for voters. He would most likely urge Barbour to veto any bill that did not require all voters to show photo ID.
As always, the Republicans claim that photo ID requirements are necessary to prevent voter fraud. Yet, as reported by the Jackson Free Press, "When asked for evidence that the additional regulation is needed, Republican supporters typically refer to cases of fraud involving absentee voting -- which does not require ID now, nor would under a voter ID requirement. 'They've never been able to offer a solid case where an ID requirement would have been useful because preventing fraud is not their goal,' NAACP President Derrick Johnson told the Jackson Free Press last month. 'This is all about disenfranchising voters, not cleaning up voting.'"
Mr. Johnson is correct. Velvet Revolution continues to insist that photo ID requirements for voting are sinister methods of disenfranchising the elderly, minority, and low-income voters, people who very often vote for Democratic candidates. We believe it's no surprise that those who are in favor of photo ID requirements are almost invariably Republicans.
This week two editorials, one in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the other in the Norman Transcript from Norman, Oklahoma, call for rejecting voter photo ID laws.
Lori Sturdevant, writing in the Star Tribune in response to Minnesota Republican legislators who recently renewed their call for voter photo ID laws in the North Star state, says such legislation is a solution "in search of a problem."
She quotes Coleman campaign attorney Joe Friedberg, who said, "There aren't any allegations that I'm aware of of fraud or bad faith by voters. Nobody accuses anybody of it." Sturdevant points out that the "finding puts a heavy burden on the Republican legislators" because "without clear evidence of a problem, it's difficult to justify an additional barrier to voting..."
"That requirement [that a voter show a state-issued photo ID at the polls] would fall hardest on the estimated 135,000 Minnesotans who are eligible to vote, but lack a driver's license or other government-issued photo ID card."
Sturdevant concludes with the following: "If anything, the Coleman-Franken recount has shown that the simpler Minnesota can make its voting procedures, the better."
Well put, Ms. Sturdevant.
Over in Norman, Oklahoma, an unsigned editorial in the Norman Transcript is headlined "Extend voter times but leave ID rule out." They point out that Oklahoma's Governor Brad Henry has said he's in favor of adding some additional early voting days, but that the state's Republican legislators have said "any change in election reform would have to include a proposal requiring voters identification at the polls." House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, told the Oklahoman, "We're going to be pushing voter ID very heavily."
I'll let the last three paragraphs of this fine editorial speak for itself:
"That's a sure fire way to disenfranchise and turn away potential voters. Believe it or not, some individuals do not carry photo identification. The poor who rely on public transportation or the elderly who no longer drive may just give up on casting their ballot.
"The cases of non-registered voters casting ballots are rare. The election's integrity is more often challenged at the registration process or through folks who vote twice -- once by mail or in-person absentee -- and then again on election day.
"Oklahoma's professional election system is one of the nation's best. States look to Oklahoma for leadership on how to run elections. Let's not try to fix what's not broken."
The fight against disenfranchising voter photo ID laws will continue in many parts of the country, including Minnesota and Oklahoma. But it's refreshing to see editorials using clear and fact-based arguments against these democracy-hating voter photo ID laws.
From Tom Courbat of Save R Vote we have learned that EI activist Art Cassel has filed a formal complaint with the California Secretary of State regarding Riverside County Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore's certification of the 2008 election results even though thousands of votes are still uncounted.
According to an article in The Desert Sun, "County Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore told the county Board of Supervisors in an e-mail last week she would not be done counting until the end of January, which will be more than eight weeks after she certified the election was final."
The article points out that Dunmore did inform the Secretary of State's office that although she had certified the county's election results, she was not finished counting all the ballots. In response, Nicole Winger, a spokeswoman for the Sec. of State's office said, "Of course, notifying the Secretary of State's Office that one is out of compliance does not make one compliant."
Says Cassel, "The registrar's office has a simple job: Count the votes and comply with state law. If something did go wrong [with the count] who would know it? It's pointless. If they're doing it to fill the requirement, what is the purpose of the requirement if the ability for a candidate to challenge the election is gone? It seems like a colossal waste of the taxpayers' money."
Courbat of Save R Vote wrote in an email to supporters that, "It has been confirmed that Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore certified the November 4, 2008 election results on December 2, 2008, with full knowledge that thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of paper trails from electronic votes remained to be tallied."
Courbat continued, "It is now known that the 100% manual tally of the electronic votes [which is required by law] cast in the November 4, 2008 election is still not completed, a full 10 weeks after the election. And it has been discovered that instead of counting the votes in clear public view as required by law, the ongoing counting process has been taking place in a staff area generally out of the line of citizen's sight."
This secret out-of-the-public's-view counting of ballots is yet another violation of California's election law by ROV Dunmore.
Courbat claims that Dunmore "has commonly complied with State Election Code and regulations on a selective basis, including refusals in the past to post election results at each precinct."
Failures of county election officials to follow election procedures in a number of CA counties are at the core of Velvet Revolution's request to SoS Bowen's office to investigate the vote count on Proposition 8, the ballot measure that amended California's Constitution to eliminate marriage equality. This new information from Riverside County is a glaring example of why that investigation must take place.
Last year, we reported that Save R Vote joined with a retired Riverside County district attorney in an audit of the office of the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. The results of that audit are due in early March, and hopefully these recent developments will be included in the final report.
That's a good question. I'd reckon it's a safe bet that most people who repeatedly violated the law in the course of doing their jobs would be fired PDQ. But not, apparently, if you're a crooked registrar of voters in Riverside County.
UPDATED Dec. 19: According to the Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Gov. Strickland has indicated he will veto SB 380. Thus, VR's call to action on this matter -- contacting the governor's office and urging him to veto the bill -- is now a suggestion that you contact the governor and thank him for vetoing SB 380. Contact information is below. Thanks for all you do.
This week, in a lame duck session of the 127th Ohio General Assembly, Senate Bill 380, a so-called "election reform" bill, passed along partisan lines. With the Republican dominance over the Ohio legislature in its final days, the party that we believe is conducting a "War on Democracy" is trying to make it harder for Buckeye State residents to vote.
Regardless of the overheated rhetoric about almost completely non-existent "voter fraud" -- see this post for information on a study by the League of Women Voters of Ohio which found only four fraudulent ballots in Ohio out of over nine million votes cast in two elections -- and the GOP's insistence that registration fraud is equivalent to voter fraud (memo to the GOP: the two are not the same thing), this bill's sole purpose is to suppress voters. Among other problems, the bill would make it more difficult for absentee voters to vote, and it would lead to more rejections of absentee ballots for non-substantive reasons like minor variations between the information on a voter's registration form and the information in the Ohio Board of Motor Vehicles database.
Ohio Attorney Cliff Arnebeck, currently litigating the groundbreaking lawsuit regarding alleged manipulation of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio (King Lincoln v. Blackwell, summarized on the Strike Force blog here and detailed on Velvet Revolution's dedicated website, RoveCybergate.com), offered testimony in opposition to the bill, as did Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.
In an interview with VR, Arnebeck said, "The bill passed the House over the eloquent opposition of Democrat Dan Stewart, ranking member on the elections committee, again on partisan lines."
Arnebeck continued: "The Ohio Republican Party is not giving up its Jim Crow strategy of suppressing black voters and college voters. This is in spite of their new Republican chairman's statement that the Republican Party has lost a generation of voters."
Editorials in the Columbus Dispatch, the Akron Beacon Journal, the Toledo Blade, and bloggers at the Buckeye State Blog (who called SB 380 the "Disenfranchise College Kids Because They Vote for D's Act") and Progress Ohio, among others, joined Ohio election officials in stating their opposition to the bill.
But the GOP pushed it through anyway. Because making it easier for voters to actually, you know, vote is never a good thing to Republicans unless they're certain those voters will vote Republican.
Now that the bill has passed the General Assembly, the calls to kill the bill have turned to calls for Governor Ted Strickland to veto it. Added to those voices is a letter (reproduced in full below) from a diverse group of national and Ohio reform advocates, including Common Cause Ohio, the Fair Elections Legal Network, the Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections, the Secretary of State's Voting Rights Institute (VRI) Advisory Council, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, People for the American Way, and the NAACP National Voter Fund calling for the bill to be vetoed.
As of yet, there's been no sign from Strickland's office as to what he'll do with this badly flawed and disenfranchising bill.
We urge all residents of Ohio, Election Integrity activists and organizations, and other interested groups and individuals to contact Ohio Governor Strickland and respectfully urge him to veto SB 380. Contact information can be found on this page, and an email form is here.
Following are excerpts from Mr. Arnebeck's and Sec. of State Brunner's testimony in opposition to this bill.
From Cliff Arnebeck [pdf, one page]:
I share with the sponsor of this bill a concern about election fraud in the state of Ohio and a sense of urgency in regard to addressing such fraud. However, I differ with the sponsor in regard to the kind of election fraud we face and how we should address it. Therefore, I urge you not to recommend this bill for passage by the Ohio House of Representatives.
Contrary to the unfounded concerns over fraud by voters addressed in SB 380, the real problem of fraud in our elections, that has been well documented from 2000 through 2006, needs to be addressed. The evidence has a national scope, and therefore will require the cooperation of public officials, particularly our law enforcement officers -- federal, state and local -- and citizens around the country to confront it.
Because Ohio was at the center of both the state prong of the concerted attack upon judicial integrity and constitutional government in 2000, and the federal prong in the 2004 Ohio stolen election, our state is well positioned to lead in providing the public interest response. Failing to respond to this real threat is not a prudent option for many reasons. If we fail to hold these perpetrators of election fraud accountable, they will: 1) obstruct our restoration of the rule of law, 2) continue to plot new election frauds and 3) under the cloak of civility, have a better chance of succeeding again.
SB 380 is a bill that does more than make mere corrections or tweaks. It makes sweeping changes to very complex issues, and addresses these multi-layered issues in a piecemeal way. It is clear from the comments of the bipartisan participants at the Ohio Elections Summit and the volume of opposition and interested party testimony on this bill thus far, that these purported legislative tweaks are highly controversial and, in their current and anticipated forms, will result in more litigation that will cost Ohio taxpayers money.
... SB 380 is premature and problematic. Senate Bill 380 attempts to direct the Secretary of State to operate the Statewide Voter Registration Database in a way the database was not designed to perform. Unfortunately, this bill includes overly-broad and simplified language that could be construed as violating federal law.
SB 380 would make significant changes to how absentee ballot identification envelopes are handled. These changes will lead to a significant increase in the number of absentee ballot requests and absentee ballots cast that are rejected for purely technical reasons. Furthermore, these changes will not enhance efforts to prevent voter fraud. Boards of Elections already have the tools they need to determine the eligibility of ballot requests and ballots cast.
SB 380 changes the form for the absentee ballot ID envelope from substantial compliance to mandatory compliance. The bill also mandates complete compliance with the form on the part of the voter. Under this change, a voter must provide all the information on the envelope and that information must be an identical match with board of elections records. As a result, there is a strong probability of many more absentee ballots being rejected for technical, rather than substantive, reasons.
Currently, observers are allowed during early voting and on Election Day. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that observers must be allowed anytime and anywhere in-person voting is taking place.
One provision in SB 380 redefines "during the casting of ballots" to include any time a person "votes" an absentee voter's ballot in-person. Article XVII, §1 of the Ohio Constitution defines the dates on which elections shall be held. Absentee ballots are not "cast" until they are "counted", and no ballot is counted until Election Day. SB 380 redefines when the casting of ballots occurs and thereby, redefines when the election takes place. SB 380's redefinition of the timing of elections is likely an unconstitutional provision that will lead to costly litigation.
The proposed changes in SB 380 are not minor corrections of purportedly ambiguous laws. SB 380's provisions impact a great many other issues and sections of Ohio's elections laws. The bill has the potential to negatively impact the entire elections process.
As the chief election officer of the state, the concerns raised in SB 380 weigh heavy in light of our successful elections cycle. I respectfully request that any election legislation be introduced after careful thought and deliberations so that we may offer comprehensive, bipartisan solutions to any issues that we may find.
Cliff Arnebeck, the Ohio attorney currently litigating the groundbreaking suit regarding alleged manipulation of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, has written a letter to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen expressing concerns regarding the proposition 8 vote count. Arnebeck's voice echoes Velvet Revolution's call for an investigation of the vote on Prop 8, which amended California's state constitution to eliminate marriage equality.
Arnebeck raises questions about the Prop 8 vote count based on discrepancies between exit polls -- which are used worldwide to flag suspicious election results -- and official vote totals, such as detailed here at the Velvet Revolution Election Protection Strike Force. The California portion of the National Exit Poll initially showed Prop 8 being defeated; then the poll results were adjusted to match election night vote tallies and showed Prop 8 passing.
Arnebeck writes, "Based on information we have received, it appears that this year's California Proposition 8 election reflects such an exit poll discrepancy. The issue presented in Proposition 8 is part of the national culture war that Mr. Rove and his associates seek to perpetuate. Therefore, we want you to know of our interest in this election and our interest in cooperating with you in any review you may conduct in this matter." The full text of Arnebeck's letter is reprinted below and also available in .pdf form below.
Arnebeck informs Bowen in his letter that he intends to subpoena the "underlying exit poll data for Proposition 8 election. This is a part of our effort to assist the new generation of honest law enforcement authorities, of which you are such a prominent part, for the purpose of further documenting and terminating the pattern of corrupt activity in which Mr. Rove and his associates have heretofore engaged."
The Ohio lawsuit, King Lincoln v. Blackwell, in which Velvet Revolution is involved, is summarized on the Strike Force blog here and detailed on Velvet Revolution's dedicated website, RoveCybergate.com. The suit intends to show that "IT guru" Mike Connell manipulated the vote totals in the 2004 presidential election in Ohio via a scheme that involved rerouting election data through computer servers he controlled in Tennessee. See also Rove Is A Common Criminal.
Read the full text of attorney Cliff Arnebeck's letter to Secretary of State Debra Bowen Cal Prop 8 letter.pdf(.pdf) or 'below the fold.' Velvet Revolution has not yet been told whether or not Bowen's office will investigate the Prop 8 vote count. Our call for an investigation is based on a variety of indications of problems with the vote count resulting in complete absence of a basis for voter confidence in the announced results of this discriminatory ballot measure.
Here's your chance to offer helpful thoughts, advice and concerns to the federal commission tasked with overseeing U.S. election administration, testing and certification of voting machines and (theoretically) serving as a national "clearinghouse" for problems with such machines.
High-ranking sources within both the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and Obama transition team have indicated to The BRAD BLOG that changes are likely afoot for the executive branch commission as the new administration begins to take control of it. Now is likely a very good moment for you to speak up to them about it.
From an EAC press release just issued today...
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Chair Rosemary E. Rodriguez invites the public to submit written testimony for the EAC's December 8th public meeting, which includes a panel discussion about the 2008 Election Day Survey and voting system performance. The meeting agenda is available at www.eac.gov.
"Public interest in voting system performance has not waned since the November election, which is why I think it is important to include this topic in the December public meeting," said Chair Rodriguez. "I would like to invite the public to provide written testimony on this topic or any others on the meeting agenda, and will direct EAC staff to post all testimony received at www.eac.gov.
Written testimony for the public meeting should be submitted by e-mail to HAVAinfo@eac.gov. Deadline for receiving testimony is Monday, December 8, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. To ensure your e-mail is directed appropriately, please include "December 8 public meeting testimony" in the subject line. For further assistance, contact the EAC toll-free at 1-866-747-1471.
Just before Thanksgiving, we covered the announcement that Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the Ohio RICO lawsuit King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell, had filed a document hold request with the Georgia Secretary of State in advance of the December 2nd run-off election between incumbent U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) and his opponent, Jim Martin (D).
You can find background on the King Lincoln case here on The BRAD BLOG, as well as on this site here and here, but in brief, Ohio voters filed a lawsuit alleging voting rights violations and election irregularities in the 2004 Presidential election in the Buckeye State.
Arnebeck is alleging a racketeering scheme to "to corrupt elections in the United States over the course of this decade." According to the letter [pdf] he sent to Karen Handel, GA's secretary of state, Mr. Arnebeck is now also looking into election shenanigans in Georgia during the 2002 election as part of that conspiracy. (That election saw former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman unseated in highly suspicious electoral circumstances. Extensive coverage of Don Siegelman's torment and imprisonment can be found here on The BRAD BLOG.)
We had a chance to have a quick chat over the phone with Mr. Arnebeck.
VRWhy have you filed a document hold request in Georgia? After all, this case is about Ohio, isn't it?
Mr. ArnebeckUnder our state racketeering statute, we do have the ability to reach out where the activity occurs in other states as part of the enterprise over which Ohio has jurisdiction. We can reach out and address it in the larger context.
VRWhat methods do you believe Karl Rove has used to cover up the alleged election theft in Ohio and in Georgia?
Mr. ArnebeckRove is a common criminal, and his technique is to suppress the targeted classes of voters, defame the Democratic candidate, and then tamper with the votes, preferably using electronic voting machines. He creates the appearance that the defamatory attack worked and reversed the pre-election polling, and then he attacks the exit polling as being not accurate.
VRHow could Rove get away with stealing the 2004 Presidential election?
Mr. ArnebeckIn that case, Rove used the Iraq War as cover. He could paint people as unpatriotic for daring to question the integrity of the wartime commander in chief. I believe Rove destroyed emails that would have revealed his role in extending that war.
VRBesides using these methods on the public, do you think Rove also tried to play the press or people in the government using the same techniques?
Mr. ArnebeckHe probably pitched the FBI, the press, and others with the same line, which he could do quite effectively from his policy position in the White House.
VRDo you think these election fraud schemes have any particular impact on the American South?
Mr. ArnebeckIn the case of the South, it's a particularly heinous approach because he's attacking the very concept of the South as having any tradition of honor, because he's suggesting that the defamatory attack is effective and people are persuaded by it.
VRAny special thoughts regarding the 2002 Senate race between the then-incumbent Max Cleland and Saxby Chambliss, and Chambliss' ad showing a picture of then-Sen. Cleland next to pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein?
Mr. ArnebeckIn the case of Max Cleland, Rove suggests people are persuaded by it [the attack ad] even though it's obviously a very phony attack. It's really a defamation of the South and its tradition of honor.
The full text of our letter to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen follows this press release:
Election Watchdog Group to CA Secretary of State:
Investigate Proposition 8 Vote Count
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 25, 2008, California
On behalf of the people of California, Velvet Revolution ("VR") has called on California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to order an immediate investigation into the accuracy of the vote count on Prop 8, the ballot measure to amend the state's Constitution to repeal marriage equality.
VR believes an investigation is warranted due to witnessed failures in election auditing procedures, complaints from voters and election monitors, equipment failures, and more, including:
Exit poll discrepancy. The exit poll conducted by Edison/Mitofsky produced initial results indicating defeat of Prop 8. Edison/Mitofsky later "adjusted" the exit polls to match the announced vote count, thus destroying their usefulness in flagging possible election irregularities. However, the Election Defense Alliance made screen captures of the initial exit poll results, documenting a predicted defeat of Prop 8.
Premature 'calling' of the election. Prop 8 was announced to have passed when, according to the Secretary of State's official website, an estimated three to four million votes remained uncounted. The margin of passage for Prop 8 was reported to be approximately 435,000 votes. As of this date, many votes still have not been counted!
Extremely high stakes. The passage of Prop 8 creates a dangerous precedent of subjecting the rights of a minority to a popular vote. Quite frankly, that is unconstitutional and un-American. Because of this, we believe that the California Secretary of State has an even greater responsibility than usual to ensure that the election results are accurate.
VR believes there are enough indications of potential problems with the Prop 8 vote count to warrant a thorough statewide investigation by the Secretary of State, and we request that such an investigation begin at once. This investigation should be transparent, auditable, and performed in a manner that can be independently overseen, so the voters of California can be assured that the announced election results are accurate. Voters should not have to simply trust that the reported election results are correct.
Should the investigation reveal that the election results on Prop 8 or any other contest or ballot initiative were incorrect, swift and decisive action must be taken to make the true outcome official.
The people of California deserve no less.
Full text of Velvet Revolution's 11/24/08 letter to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen:
Cross-posted at The BRAD BLOG.
The lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the civil RICO lawsuit King Lincoln v. Blackwell in Ohio has served a document hold request to Georgia Sec. of State Karen Handel in advance of the December 2nd run-off election between incumbent U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) and his opponent, Jim Martin (D).
Today's letter from attorney Cliff Arnebeck (posted in full at the end of this article) requests "any records of official investigation of the reported use of uncertified patches by Diebold in two Democratic Georgia counties in 2002, reported by former Diebold consultant Chris Hood."
It also requests "protocols, inspection and audit procedures that have been prescribed to protect against other introductions of uncertified patches into federal elections in Georgia."
And, in an effort to preempt any planned improprieties in the upcoming Georgia run-off election between incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) and his opponent, Jim Martin (D) -- particularly given the 2002 history of Diebold-run Senate elections featuring Chambliss -- Arnebeck also requests Handel's "confirmation that all ... records for the runoff election will be retained for the federally prescribed 22 month period."
That last request, echoing a call for same made recently by The BRAD BLOG, comes at a moment when the stakes for the Georgia election could hardly be higher. The 22-month retention of memory cards and hard drives from electronic voting systems is frequently ignored by election officials, despite the federal statute requiring all materials from elections be securely stored for that full period. Unfortunately, memory cards and hard drives are routinely erased and re-used, despite the federal law.
In Georgia, that has been a peach of a problem for those concerned with election integrity...
When a government runs our elections on electronic voting systems that are known to be faulty, error prone, and easily manipulated, systems that repeatedly fail to record and report election results correctly, the public has good reason to be skeptical of the announced results.
If you're unfamiliar with these issues, please see these examples of voting machine problems:
This skepticism is alive regarding Proposition 8, the California initiative revoking marriage equality that was announced to have passed in the November 4 election. We support the lawsuits challenging Prop 8 on legal grounds. We simultaneously call for Secretary of State Debra Bowen to initiate an investigation into the results of the Proposition 8 election, based on concerns raised by voters, election monitors and election integrity advocates.
In order for Bowen to investigate problems that may have affected the outcome of Proposition 8 or other election results, her office must receive Election Complaint Forms from California registered voters as soon as possible, as final election returns are to be submitted by December 9th and the results will be certified on December 13th.
Problems voting or problems with any other part of the election process are cause for complaint, including registration difficulties, peculiar instructions from elections staff including pollworkers, machine breakdowns, voter intimidation, and lack of required disability access. If you experienced or witnessed issues that may have affected the proper casting or tabulating of votes, we strongly encourage you to file a complaint. Similar complaints may be combined in a joint investigation by Bowen's office. The more personally-witnessed and well-documented complaints we can get to her, the better.
We ask that anyone who has bona fide information relevant to such an investigation send it to Debra Bowen's office by Monday, November 24, 2008 if at all possible, so that an investigation can be launched immediately. Please use the official complaint form, which is available for download in several languages, and follow the outlined procedure. See below for more information about filing complaints. If you cannot submit your complaint by Monday, November 24, please turn it in as soon after that date as possible.
Of course, we also encourage people to submit complaints to their local and state elections officials about any election irregularities they can document, regardless of where they occur or which campaign or issue they may affect. We the People demand accountability in our elections systems and a true basis for confidence in the election results.
Last week, Velvet Revolution called on Californians to monitor the post-election "canvass" procedures at their local elections offices. Dozens of you responded and have been hard at work documenting election irregularities. We thank you for your hard and important work and encourage you to file complaints as well, if you have observed improper procedures or other questionable activities.
Velvet Right today announced a $100K reward for information leading to arrest and conviction for election fraud related to Proposition 8. VR's tipline for election fraud whistleblowers can be reached at 1-888-VOTE-TIP.
HOW TO SUBMIT AN ELECTION COMPLAINT FORM:
Velvet Revolution announces today the posting of a $100,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction for election fraud affecting the outcome of California's Proposition 8.
Proposition 8, the ballot measure that amends California's constitution to deny marriage equality rights to Californians, is currently undergoing legal challenge in the California State Supreme Court, which ruled earlier this year that denying marriage equality was unconstitutional. Same-sex marriages began being performed in June but have been halted since the November 4 election, due to the apparent passage of Proposition 8.
Velvet Revolution has taken leadership in questioning the validity of the vote, today calling for complaints to be filed with the Secretary of State's office regarding incidents related to the accuracy of the election. VR has also trained and dispatched volunteer election monitors in counties around the state to observe the post-elections procedures. The state relies on these procedures to prove the accuracy of election results, as California's votes are tragically still counted by faulty, error-prone, and easily manipulated electronic voting and vote tabulation systems.
In addition to the new reward being offered in the Proposition 8 race, Velvet Revolution is also offering rewards related to Mike Connell's election manipulations, the break-ins at ACORN's offices in Massachusetts and Washington state, and the 2002 Georgia Senate race in which Saxby Chambliss prevailed. Chambliss is currently fighting to retain that Senate seat in a runoff election to be held December 2.
Velvet Revolution's tipline for election fraud whistleblowers can be reached at 1-888-VOTE-TIP.
br> br>Link Below to Flyer: Please Print and Circulate at Saturday's Protests!
The Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) Community and its supporters nationwide are mourning and organizing in the wake of last week's announced 52-48% passage of Proposition 8, which eliminates the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. But an accurate count of the votes may not yet have occurred, according to early indications.
The integrity of an election takes time to investigate, and it's far too early to draw conclusions. However, consider the following:
Around the world, exit polls are used to determine the need for investigation of elections. In the U.S., the National Exit Poll (NEP, also known as Edison/Mitofsky) now adjusts results to match vote counts before issuing its final polling numbers. Election Defense Alliance downloaded NEP numbers from the internet on election night, however, before poll results were changed to match the official vote count.
This is the exit poll from early in the evening of election night. There were 2,168 respondents, and they break down as follows (a "yes" vote is a vote against same-sex marriage):
Yes on Prop 8, 48%
No on Prop 8, 52%
Yes on Prop 8, 48%
No on Prop 8, 52%
This is the exit poll from later in the evening. There were 2,240 respondents -- 72 more respondents than in the earlier poll -- and they break down in a very different way:
Yes on Prop 8, 53%
No on Prop 8, 47%
Yes on Prop 8, 52%
No on Prop 8, 48%
This discrepancy should be ringing alarm bells. Something doesn't add up.
Because exit polls adjusted to match election results are of limited usefulness, this year independent exit polls were conducted in several states by a group including Ken Warren of the Warren Poll, Jonathan Simon of Election Defense Alliance, and Steve Freeman of Election Integrity. This team is still analyzing results of their exit polls, but Simon told Velvet Revolution that their California exit polls, some of which were conducted by Judy Alter and Protect California Ballots, tend to corroborate the findings of the above exit poll that show a defeat of Prop. 8.
What is proven by discrepancies between exit poll results and official vote counts? That an investigation must be conducted to determine whether the vote count is accurate.
Further indications of problems with the vote count are already coming in from multiple sources, including incident reports from voters and election observers. Among these are indications that disenfranchisement targeting communities likely to have a high proportion of 'no' votes on Proposition 8 led to huge numbers of provisional ballots being cast. Because each provisional ballot must be individually determined to be qualified before counting, hundreds of thousands throughout the state remain uncounted to date.
Hundreds of thousands of vote-by-mail ballots also remain uncounted (see above link). When the initial counting is complete, it is certainly possible that the results of Proposition 8 will be reversed. But we can't sit around waiting to find out.
Right now, in election offices in every county, procedures that affect the election results are underway. While the votes are tabulated by computers that have been shown again and again to be riggable and hackable, to drop votes, flip votes, break down and all in all produce untrustworthy election results, some of the election processes can and must be observed by the public. These include:
Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG hosting NINE hours of election night radio coverage!
Also streaming online!
Velvet Revolution's Brad Friedman will be hosting/cohostingt "Special Election Night Marathon Coverage" from 3p-12am PT (6pm-3am ET) on the NovaM Radio Network, w/ Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes, Peter B. Collins, the rest of the NovaM family & experts around the country. They'll be covering both the horse race and the track conditions like no one else! Ask your local station to carry it! Stream it live, call in @ 800-989-1480 & spread the word!
Velvet Revolution has acquired a leaked a copy of the official Obama Campaign Election Observer Manual for the State of Ohio.
The manual is 53 pages long. The information contained therein is quite detailed, and is an indication that the campaign has a reasonably good understanding of the threats to election security posed by electronic voting machines, the vital importance of security procedures for the machines and the chain-of-custody for paper ballots, why provisional ballots should be given to a voter only as an absolute last resort, and the importance of post-election procedures for the voting machines and the ballots, both used and unused.
We'd like to post the entire pdf for your perusal, but our source has asked us to only post excerpts, not the entire document.
The manual has practical tips like "dress comfortably in business casual attire," "wear comfortable shoes," "bring your cell phone and charger," and "bring treats for the pollworkers like donuts."
But more importantly, there is vital information about election security.
This is an excellent idea. Please visit TrueVote.us to urge the National Election Pool -- ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press -- to archive and release the unadjusted exit polls for the upcoming election.
In the past few election cycles, news organizations have refused to release the raw, unadjusted exit poll numbers. Instead, they have adjusted the exit poll numbers to reflect the announced election results. In 2004, the Washington Post reported that, "After the survey [exit poll] is completed and the votes are counted, the exit poll results are adjusted to reflect the actual vote..."
And this year will be no exception. Variety reports that "network execs" will "make adjustments for skewed sampling of respondents as they leave the polling booth."
It's important to verify the announced election results to the greatest degree possible. It's not easy, because our elections are, in fact, unverifiable. We can't verify the vote counts on the unverifiable touchscreen voting machines or the equally unverifiable ballot scanning machines, but there are methods to get at least some degree of verification, and exit polls are an important part of that effort. But if "network execs" and others in the corporate-controlled media adjust the exit poll numbers to reflect announced election results, the exit polls become useless.
Please take action by urging the media to report the unadjusted exit polls for the 2008 election.
From the TrueVote.us press release:
Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International will again conduct all exit polling in 2008 for the National Election Pool, comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Exit polls will involve polling more than 100,000 actual voters, remove sources of polling error and can be extremely accurate. In 2004 John Kerry was showing a 7 point lead in the unadjusted exit polls, but then on election night the computers were down for several hours and when they came back on-line a flip had occurred and Bush now narrowly led. This was not because of a change in the actual polling but because the exit polls had been "adjusted," i.e. "corrected" so as to conform to the vote count assuming that count was correct. Investigations into the election in Ohio later raised serious doubts about the accuracy of the actual vote.
Voters should be provided with the unadjusted exit polls and if adjustments are made to the final polls they should be explained publicly. Major media outlets are urged to archive all of the interim exit poll results to allow independent analysis later. Election integrity advocates must push for greater transparency since large-sample exit polls can and should be used be used to audit vote totals.
When the U.S. government audits the vote in a foreign country, the tool of choice is always a large-sample exit poll, which will identify problems in the vote totals. Yet, in the United States, even with the documented problems we have had in voting , our own government does not use the best tool available.
News and political divisions of the major networks must plan to archive all of the preliminary exit poll results since the overall survey will quickly be adjusted by the vendor to match the published vote totals, and will thus no longer be useful as an audit of the integrity of the vote totals.
Cross-posted at The BRAD BLOG.
The Republican IT guru, recently described as a "high tech Forrest Gump" for his proclivity to be "at the scene" of so many troubling elections since 2000, and even at the heart of the "lost" White House email scandal, has been ordered by a federal judge to appear for an under-oath deposition next Monday in Ohio.
The BRAD BLOG has learned that Mike Connell, the Republican IT guru whose company, GovTech Solutions, created Ohio's 2004 election results computer network appeared in federal court today, as compelled, and has been ordered to appear for his deposition on Monday, November 3, just 24 hours before Election Day 2008.
Today's court order came after a contentious hearing, at which Connell was present. The hearing was part of a long-standing voting rights violations lawsuit, King Lincoln v. Blackwell, as previously covered by The BRAD BLOG and by Velvet Revolution's Election Protection Strike Force here and here.
Though Connell's attorneys have fought to quash the subpoena, recently issued after the judge lifted a stay on the case several weeks ago, , it looks like his options to avoid testimony, or at least jail for avoiding it, may have come to an end. The attorneys in the case have said that Connell's testimony may well lead to the subpoenaing and under-oath questioning of Karl Rove, who, they say, would be unable to use Executive Privilege as an excuse to avoid such a subpoena in a civil RICO case...
For more details on Connell, and his role in the '04 election, and within the GOP, see the video clip at right from John Ennis' recently-released documentary Free For All.
The issues in the King Lincoln v. Blackwell suit are complex, but in a nutshell, some Ohio voters filed a lawsuit alleging voting rights violations and election irregularities in the 2004 Presidential election in the Buckeye State. Taking the sworn deposition of Connell, the man who set up the computers for reporting election results, and re-routing them through his company's own Tennessee servers late on the night of the '04 election, has been a high priority for Election Integrity advocates and attorneys in Ohio.
While this story is still breaking and developing, from what we've been able to learn so far, sources tell us that Monday's depo will have a time limit of two hours. Any information gathered regarding trade secrets related to Connell's company, GovTech Solutions, will be under seal, as per the judge's order today.
Also under seal will be any and all information gathered about allegations that Connell has been the victim of witness intimidation by Karl Rove and/or Rove's associates. As reported by The BRAD BLOG last Summer, plaintiff's lead attorney in the case, Clifford A. Arnebeck, had sent an email to Attorney General Michael Mukasey on July 24, 2008, stating in part:
In related news, our friends at RAW STORY have an article today headlined "Documents reveal how Ohio routed 2004 voting data through company that hosted external Bush Administration email accounts." That company was SmarTech, Inc., and the architecture for the 2004 election results reporting system in Ohio has been at the heart of this case.
As reported by RAW's Larisa Alexandrovna today:
Newly obtained computer schematics provide further detail of how electronic voting data was routed during the 2004 election from Ohio's Secretary of State's office through a partisan Tennessee web hosting company. ... The flow chart shows how voting information was transferred from Ohio to SmarTech Inc., a Chattanooga Tennessee IT company known for its close association with the Republican Party, before the 2004 election results were displayed online.See her story for more, including the schematics for both the '04 and '06 web servers in Ohio. Of course, we'll continue to update this story as the case proceeds...
In Indiana, pro-democracy and voting rights organizations are urging citizens to "call for backup" at 1-866-OUR-VOTE before accepting a provisional ballot for Tuesday's election.
We'd like to see this effort expanded to all 50 states.
Provisional ballots are given to voters when poll workers aren't sure that the person is eligible to vote, the idea being that something like a clerical error shouldn't prevent a voter from voting.
After the provisional ballot is cast, the voter is obliged to jump through some hoops to prove the validity of his/her registration. The requirements for this vary from state to state, county to county. The requirements can be onerous, and they are yet another disenfranchising barricade voters have to scale.
And more often than not, provisional ballots don't get counted. A study by the nonpartisan Pew Center found that only 36 percent of the provisional ballots were counted in the 2004 general election.
To get a provisional ballot counted in Indiana, a voter has 10 days to get to the county courthouse with proof of valid registration. Many provisional ballot voters don't bother. And of course, less than 48 hours after the election the press will announce that the election results are settled (even if the results are questionable, the press will still claim it's all over), and provisional ballots, even if "counted" three or five or ten days later won't have any effect on the election results, not only for the White House, but for all down-ticket races.
According to WIBC FM, Julia Vaughn of Common Cause Indiana claims poll workers are too quick to offer provisional ballots at the first sign of a glitch. She wants voters to resist that option, either by signing an affidavit called a "certificate of error," or by calling the national voter-rights hotline 1-866-OUR-VOTE to try to solve the problem.
And this should be the case all over America.
If they try to give you a provisional ballot on Tuesday, politely resist. Short of getting thrown out of the polling place, continue to ask for and politely insist on a regular ballot. If they still won't give you a regular ballot, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and try to get some "back up." For all the information you need about voting in Indiana, please visit Verify The Vote Indiana.
Only accept a provisional ballot as an absolute last option. And then as soon as you possibly can, jump through whatever bureaucratic hoops they want you to jump through to get your ballot counted.
And after that, join Velvet Revolution and other voting rights groups and fight for fair, clean, verifiable elections. Fight against intimidation and disenfranchisement. Fight against flawed, easily hacked, error-prone electronic voting machines.
'Cause right after this Tuesday, we need to start getting ready for 2010.
There is good news today out of Colorado. Our colleagues at The BRAD BLOG have reported that Karen Long, an Adams County clerk, "has finally done the right thing for the voters by removing a touch-screen voting machine from service, and quarantining it, after it was discovered to be flipping votes from one candidate to another. The failed machine in this case was a Diebold Accu-Vote, a frequent flipper."
Previously, we've called for vote flipping voting machines to be pulled from service and impounded for inspection, as has now been done by Ms. Long in Colorado. Maybe she read our press release?
Velvet Revolution ("VR"), a non-profit dedicated to fair, honest, accurate, and transparent elections today called for elections officials in all states to immediately impound any voting machine that has flipped votes from one candidate to another. It has been widely reported in the media over the past week of early voting that Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines made by ES&S, Diebold, Sequoia and Hart InterCivic have been flipping votes, predominantly from Democratic candidates to Republican candidates, but in some reported cases, just the opposite.
These vote flips were first reported in West Virginia, and the elections official there quickly ordered the recalibration of some machines, but video has shown that recalibration does not correct the problem and the flips continue.
Vote flipping has also now reported to have occurred in Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Nevada, Colorado, Georgia and elsewhere.
"Machines that flip votes should never be recalibrated," said election integrity expert Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG and co-founder of Velvet Revolution. "Accessing these election-ready machines in this way, when they are most vulnerable to malicious software and manipulation, is wholly inappropriate. It is outrageous that election officials have ordered such action. Instead, failing machines must be immediately removed from service, impounded for later inspection, and voters should be given paper ballots to assure their vote may be counted accurately."
VR also demands that the legal teams associated with the candidates step up and take immediate legal action to quarantine these faulty voting machines. The Obama campaign has made much of the fact that it has thousands of lawyers on the ground to ensure that this election is fair and everyone's vote is counted. "Unfortunately, these lawyers -- the lawyers for McCain and the lawyers for the DNC and RNC -- are AWOL and asleep at the wheel," said Friedman. ""We insist that they keep their promise to the voters by demanding that these machines be taken out of service immediately. We should not have to wait until after the election for a candidate to sue because voters were not allowed to properly register their votes."
Source: Velvet Revolution
Our friends at VideoTheVote.org are doing great work videoing votes being flipped and taking video testimony from voters who've had their votes flipped before their very eyes. They need volunteers to help with their "video the vote" efforts, so please join them and help make this election clean.
And one more thing before we get to the videos: Please remember to use a paper ballot if at all possible. Some states and counties won't allow you to use a paper ballot, but in others, you won't get a paper ballot unless you ask for one. Ask. If at all possible, use a paper ballot! Only if there is no other choice should you use these crappy, badly made, poorly designed, easily hacked, frequently inaccurate, totally unverifiable, democracy killing, privately-owned-and-controlled touchscreen voting machines.
Now, check out this video of a voting machine not working correctly in West Virginia. According to Ian Inaba of VideoTheVote.org, "West Virginia officials and others across the nation have said these are isolated incidents and easily fixed, but our video shows otherwise. In the video, a WV poll worker shows our crew how he "recalibrates" a broken machine -- only the machine stays broken after his "fix."
Now watch this October 23 video testimony from a WV voter who saw her vote flip before her eyes.So what do you do if you see your vote being flipped on these horrible machines? Here's your answer.
Thirteen election integrity experts and activists discuss the e-voting challenges and solutions for 2008.
"Where nothing can go wrong... go wrong... go wrong..."
So went the tagline for "Westworld," the chilling 1973 thriller about a resort where the androids go off the rails. Fiction? Hardly. In 2008, we have our own version of an electronic frontier fraught with machine failure.
It's called the U.S. electoral system, a decentralized mess where often partisan local officials manage the voter registration rolls and have the power to purchase any voting system they please, often with no real oversight or meaningful security testing procedures.
We assembled a panel of leading election integrity (EI) experts and asked their advice on myriad aspects of the e-voting problem. Their recommendations are wide-ranging and should hopefully serve as a wake-up call, since candidates' political futures, not to mention the future of the U.S. and the entire planet, could be decided on error-prone and worse, easily tamperable electronic voting systems.
The question put to each of the experts was, "How can candidates best protect themselves from potential electronic voting problems and manipulation?"
Early voting has begun. We strongly recommend using paper ballots whenever possible. Many states allow the use of paper ballots, but you have to ask for one. Ask.
But in some states and counties, voters are required to use the electronic voting machines. And there are a growing number of reports about electronic voting machines flipping some votes from one candidate to another.
So if you're voting on an electronic voting machine and you see your votes being flipped (or if the machine malfunctions in any other way), what should you do?
And also, please keep in mind that not seeing flipped votes does not indicate that votes are recorded correctly, as they can be flipped invisibly. That's just one reason why we strongly recommend using paper ballots whenever possible.
Happy voting. And may your vote be counted and counted accurately.
Our friend and colleague, Brad Friedman of The BRADBLOG, was on Fox News on Sunday, October 19. The video is below, and it's a lot of fun to watch him help the Wall Street Journal's John Fund understand that there is a difference between registration fraud and voter fraud, something Mr. Fund, along with pretty much everyone else in the mainstream media, has been unable to grasp.
For more details, please take a moment to read Brad's write-up of his visit to the so-called "fair and balanced" news network.
Two ACORN offices, one in Boston and the other in Burien, Washington (south of Seattle) have been attacked and ransacked. In Burien, the office was vandalized and computers were stolen. In Boston, the burglar alarm was torn from the wall, along with internet and phone lines. Computers and coins from a vending machine were stolen.
Police have taken photos and fingerprints and are investigating.
Velvet Revolution is offering $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for break-ins at the ACORN offices in Dorchester, MA and Burien, WA. If you have any information about these crimes, please contact Chris Leonard or Mimi Ramos of ACORN at (617) 436-7100.
In an ACORN press release, Mimi Ramos, Head Organizer of ACORN's Massachusetts office, said "Voter suppression is their goal, but we will not allow the actions of political hacks and zealots to intimidate us or keep us from exercising our most fundamental right -- the right to vote."
According to CBS News, "a representative from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now said he did not know if the break-in was politically motivated, but called the timing 'suspicious.'"
As reported by McClatchy:
Attorneys for the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now were notifying the FBI and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division of the incidents, said Brian Kettenring, a Florida-based spokesman for the group.
Kettenring said that a senior ACORN staffer in Cleveland, after appearing on television this week, got an e-mail that said she "is going to have her life ended."
A female staffer in Providence, R.I., got a threatening call from someone who said words to the effect of "We know you get off work at 9," then uttered racial epithets, he said.
Kettenring said that ACORN had received growing amounts of hate mail in recent weeks, but "the campaign debate sort of tipped it over to a scary point, where raising allegations of voter fraud went from a cynical campaign ploy to really inciting racial violence."
Since McCain's remarks, ACORN's 87 offices across the country have received hundreds of hostile e-mails, many of them containing racial slurs, Kettenring said. "We believe that these are specifically McCain supporters" sending the messages, he said.
The e-mail to the Cleveland employee was traced to a Facebook Web page in the name of a Baltimore man. It featured a photo of a McCain-Palin sign.
We fear that the attacks and death threats against ACORN are not over yet. We believe that the "red meat" the GOP ticket is throwing to their supports, including lies and distortions about ACORN and the work they do, will incite further criminal acts and possibly violence.
McCain, during the October 15, 2008 presidential debate, said that ACORN is "on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, and maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."
Palin has said ACORN engages in "voter fraud" (which is a lie) and that "we can't allow leftist groups like ACORN to steal this election." She told a right wing radio host that ACORN is responsible for the "unconscionable situation we are facing now with voter fraud."
Velvet Revolution believes John McCain, Sarah Palin, the GOP, and certain individuals in the media share partial responsibility for the criminal acts, death threats, and racist comments leveled at ACORN. The lies, distortions, and attacks on ACORN by the McCain/Palin campaign and the GOP are reprehensible.
We join Mr. Kettenring of ACORN in calling for McCain and Palin "to tamp down the fringe elements in [their] party."
Lately, right on schedule and as predicted, the GOP has been getting very aggressive in promoting their lies about "voter fraud." To hear Republicans tell it, there are hordes of illegal immigrants and unregistered voters who are getting ready to cast illegal ballots, and this will cause the election to be ruined and the United States to crumble. The wingers claim these evil un-American monsters are being led by the even more evil ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).
First, some facts: please watch this video (5.5 mins) from Brave New Films...
The fact is that while a few people hired by ACORN have been charged with registration fraud, there is so little actual voter fraud that it's almost completely fictional. Just one example: A recent study [pdf 6 pages] of the 2002 and 2004 elections in Ohio (sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing) found that in those two elections about nine million votes were cast. And after interviewing all 88 Ohio County Boards of Election, the study found the following number of attempts at fraudulent voting:
Yup, that's it. Four. Four attempts at fraudulent voting out of nine million ballots cast.
We won't go into too many details about the false charges the right wing is making against ACORN and about the exceptionally rare incidences of voter fraud, but you can read more details here and here. And you can read ACORN's view on the situation here.
But in the meantime, we're asking you to push back on these lies and false accusations by hitting the right wing noise machine where it lives. We're asking you to donate to progressive election reform organizations every time you hear these lies about "voter fraud." Result: the louder their noise, the greater our pushback.
Donate to ACORN. Or to VotersUnite.org, or VoterAction.org, or BlackBoxVoting.org, or the Palast Investigative Fund, or VelvetRevolution.us (the parent organization of this blog), or to our colleagues at The BRAD BLOG, or to the Election Defense Alliance. Or to another pro-democracy group.
Or what the hell, send a few bucks to each!
And you can push back in other ways. One of the most effective things you can do to battle these lies and smears is to write a letter to the editor of your newspaper. You can find all the information you need to debunk the lies at these two links.
Your donations and your letters will send the message of "Your lies won't help you!" to the right wingers who are desperately trying to suppress voters because they know they can't win the election on the issues.
And of course, this November you can really hit the wingers hard. Get out and VOTE!
Click here to find out how else you can work for election integrity.
Thanks for all you do.
A tip of the hat to Dale at Republican Dirty Tricks
In a powerful explosion of the ongoing right-wing myth of voter fraud, a study sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing found that in the 2002 and 2004 elections, there were nine million votes cast in the Buckeye State. After interviewing all 88 county Boards of Election, the study found that there were only four instances of ineligible people trying to cast a vote.
Four votes. Out of nine million.
That translates to 0.0000444% of the vote.
So much for the rightwing myth of rampant voter fraud.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, in reporting on the study, notes that "Four days before the 2004 election, former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson warmed up Republicans for President Bush's visit to Nationwide Arena by warning the crowd of 20,000 that people had registered to vote as 'Dick Tracy' and 'Mary Poppins.'"
These right-wingers, with their cries of "voter fraud!" are full of... something. Exactly what it is shouldn't be mentioned in polite company, but here's a hint; it's something people have to scrape off their shoes after walking through a barnyard.
From a statement put out by ACORN in Nevada:
For the past 10 months, any time ACORN has identified a potentially fraudulent application, we turn that application in to election officials separately and offer to provide election officials with the information they would need to pursue an investigation or prosecution of the individual.Watch the video and spread it around. Contact the media. Try to get the truth out about ACORN, voter registration, and the rightwing's efforts to win the election by suppressing and disenfrachisng voters.
Election officials routinely ignored this information and failed to act.
Spread the word...
Standing for Voters, a project of Velvet Revolution, is proud to announce that Presidential candidates Cynthia McKinney (Green Party) and Ralph Nader (Independent), along with candidates for U.S. Congress, state elected offices, city councils, and other candidates from all parts of America have taken the Standing for Voters pledge.
A candidate who takes the pledge promises not to conceed before all votes are counted and to "officially challenge the results of the election as provided by law if the combination of election conditions, incident reports, and announced election results calls into question the reliability of the official vote count."
There's also a growning list of organizations that have endorsed Standing for Voters' efforts. Groups wishing to learn more or to endorse Standing For Voters are invited to email info@standingforvoters.
We hope you'll ask your candidates to join the growing list of those who have taken the Standing for Voters pledge.
We've previously blogged about SFV here. Since then, the project has continued to grow with more candidates taking the pledge.
From the SFV website:
As a candidate, you want voters to know what you stand for. We the People want you to Stand for Voters!
After the election, you'll be declared the winner. Or the loser. But should you, or the public, trust the election results? And, if you don't, or the electorate doesn't, what can you do about it? This election, let's make sure democracy is the winner!
Current conditions in the U.S. election system have shattered the basis for confidence in results:
In many situations, ONLY candidates can initiate election challenges. Be prepared to take this action if necessary, because your election isn't just about you. Every election is about We the People. And We the People Need your help.The list of candidates who have taken the pledge continues to grow. You can learn how to ask your candidate to take the Standing for Voters pledge.
Please take action today.
In a strong step toward transparent and verifiable elections in Riverside County, California, Tom Courbat and election integrity group SAVE R VOTE will join with Grover Trask, a retired Riverside County district attorney and partner at the law firm Best Best & Krieger, in an audit of the office of the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to order the audit. The report will be due on March 1, 2009, but Mr. Trask and Mr. Courbat say they will move quickly to identify any immediate problems before the November election. Said Mr. Trask, "We plan to have boots on the ground, we're going to go in, we're going look at the election department, we're going to work with SAVE R VOTE, with their observations and input."
There was some dissent with the choice of Mr. Trask for the audit. Art Cassel, also an election integrity activist, objected to the appointment of Trask, saying, "BB&K [the law firm where Mr. Trask is employed] does a million dollars in business a year with the county. Grover Trask is a long-time apologist for the county. He's a charming man, and he was able to convince SAVE R VOTE. But the very arguments he used are the very reasons I condemn this."
Tom Courbat, in an exclusive interview with Velvet Revolution's Election Protection Strike Force, said, "I greatly respect Art Cassel. He has been around the block many times, and his concerns are warranted. His issuing the warning puts the Board of Supervisors and Trask on notice that they will be very closely watched and that many of the local activists don't trust him [Mr. Trask]. I think it is great that he [Mr. Cassel] testified as he did."
Courbat said that the audit would include "a team of forensic outside auditors -- and not employees of BB&K -- along with independent private investigators and former FBI agents."
He also said that skipping the usual county process of a formal Request for Proposals gives the investigators the opportunity "to audit the pre-election procedures and recommend changes to implement before November 4th, and then to audit the election live, in real time."
"I am confident we will be given full access to all phases [of the investigation], and we have that in writing signed by Trask and myself, and with the added assurance by the Board of Supervisors and the CEO that any concerns I bring to them will be addressed right away."
Last week, the Montana state GOP tried to disenfranchise 6,000 Montana voters in six Democratic-leaning counties based solely on the fact that the voters had filed change of address forms with the U.S. Postal Service within the last 18 months.
Now the Montana GOP has announced that, in the face of a lawsuit filed by the state Democratic Party, they are withdrawing the challenges and would be issuing no more.
The GOP voter disenfranchisment effort was widely condemned by many, including Montana's Republican lieutenant governor John Bohlinger. In an editorial in the Montana Standard, Mr. Bohlinger writes, in part:
"[T]he executive director of the Republican Party crossed the line when he attempted to remove 6,000 voters from the rolls in Montana. These voters are law-abiding citizens and are legally registered. Some are veterans. Others are active servicemen, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan or about to be deployed there.
"As a Republican, I was ashamed to hear of this. But as a Marine, I was outraged. Why would the Republican Party, which always claims to care greatly about our troops, do this?
"It appears that Republican operatives looked to gain an advantage by purging as many voters as possible from counties that lean Democrat[ic]. The director of the Republican Party issued a blanket challenge to validly registered voters based on false criteria, trying to persuade election clerks that a mere change of mailing address is grounds for automatic cancellation of voter registration."
Mr. Bohlinger goes on to call the GOP effort "blatantly deceptive."
As we wrote above, the Montana GOP has backed down in the face of a lawsuit filed by the state Democratic Party.
And this brings us back to an issue we covered last week, along with a "call to action," regarding the illegal systematic purges of the voter rolls in 19 states.
In that blog post, we urged everyone to contact the Obama campaign and the DNC and urge them to use some of the money voters have donated to them, along with some of their clout, to fight these illegal voter purges.
What happened in Montana is proof that if those who are aggrevied by these disenfranchisement efforts, and the political party they belong to, will fight these crimes, the crimes can be stopped.
Once again, we urge you to contact the DNC and the Obama campaign and press them to take action against illegal purges of the voter rolls. For more information, talking points and contact info, see our previous blog on this here.
To summarize, on October 7, 2008, the Nevada State Police raided the Las Vegas office of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and seized records state officials claim show proof that ACORN is turning in fraudulent voter registration applications.
In fact, ACORN is required by law to turn in all applications for registration, even those that they suspect are fraudulent. But they flag for election officials those applications which appear to be fraudulent.
ACORN does not try to get fraudulent registration applications accepted by the states in which they work. They merely follow the law and turn in all applications, and to repeat, they flag those applications that are suspicious.
From a statement put out by ACORN in Nevada:
For the past 10 months, any time ACORN has identified a potentially fraudulent application, we turn that application in to election officials separately and offer to provide election officials with the information they would need to pursue an investigation or prosecution of the individual.
Election officials routinely ignored this information and failed to act.
But despite ACORN's determination to follow the law and despite the fact that they flagged all suspicious registrations for Nevada election officials, the Nevada State Police raided the ACORN office in Las Vegas. No arrests were made.
Bob Walsh, a spokesman for Nevada's Secretary of State Ross Miller (D), justified the raid by stating:
"I'm certainly not suggesting that ACORN is that nefarious, but at the same time just because they handed over 50 [suspicious registration applications] to you doesn't mean there aren't 150 others out there."
A brilliant statement, Mr. Walsh. Just freakin' brilliant.
So I guess if you live in Nevada and you witness a crime, you'd better not tell the cops about it, because Mr. Walsh and the Secretary of State's office will no doubt immediately launch an investigation of you. 'Cause if you know about and report one crime, "it doesn't mean there aren't 150 other [crimes] out there."
Read The BRAD BLOG's complete coverage.
Our colleagues at The BRAD BLOG have recently blogged about a CBS Evening News report on illegal voter purges going on in at least 19 states, including key battleground states. Scores of thousands of voters have been purged from the rolls.
Watch the report for yourself:
As explained by CBS News, these secret voter purges are illegal. A report by the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice explains that under the National Voter Registration Act, it's illegal to conduct systematic voter purges within 90 days of a federal election.
The pertinent part of the law [pdf, 80 Kb] reads as follows:
§ 1973gg-6. Requirements with respect to administration of voter registration
(2) (A) A State shall complete, not later than 90 days prior to the date of a primary or general election for Federal office, any program the purpose of which is to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.
Yet despite this law, on the books since the 1990s, many states are conducting these illegal, massive purges of the voter rolls.
From the AP: "Since the last federal election in 2006 ... more than 2 million Democrats [have been added] to voter rolls in the 28 states that register voters according to party affiliation. The Republicans have lost nearly 344,000 thousand voters in the same states."
This means that these illegal voter purges disenfranchise registered Democrats at a much higher rate than those voters who are registered as Republicans.
So you'd think that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Obama campaign would be all over this, fighting to stop these illegal purges. And you'd be wrong. Both organizations seem to be in deep denial about this problem (along with countless other election integrity problems). The only election protection activity they're taking is to promise they'll have lawyers "on the ground" all over the country on election day to help with problems.
But by then it will be too late. The voter purges will be done and hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of voters will be disenfranchised and denied their right to vote, or they'll be forced to cast a provisional ballot (and in the 2004 election, only two-thirds of provisional ballots were counted).
So here's where you come in.
Call, snail mail, and email the DNC and the Obama campaign. Repeatedly. Demand action. Demand they take steps and spend some money to stop these illegal voter purges.
The DNC and the Obama campaign are asking for the money and support of voters. So let's insist they in turn support the voters by using some of the money they are given and the power they have to end these illegal voter purges.
Following are possible talking points to use when contacting the DNC and the Obama campaign.
Here is contact information for the Obama campaign:
To reach the Campaign Headquarters by phone, please call: (866) 675-2008. Press 6 to speak to a live person.
You can contact them by mail at:
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680
Please note that "Obama for America" will only accept #10 envelopes. All other mail will be returned to sender.
And here is the page to email the DNC:
Please note: In the dropdown menu, use category of "Election Reform" and/or "Voter Protection"
Contact them more than once. Keep contacting them. And please send this page to everyone you know and ask them to take action. We must demand the DNC and Obama campaign use their money, power, and influence to force election officials in all 50 states to obey the law!
Only if we make enough noise about this and pester them enough will there be any chance of getting the DNC and Obama campaign to take notice and do something about it now, before election day. Before it's too late.
Please spread the word, and thank you for helping to clean up our elections and protect our republic.
I, Cynthia McKinney, pledge to use my candidacy, whenever feasible, to advance the preservation of democracy. I will officially challenge the results of the election as provided by law if the combination of election conditions, incident reports and announced election results calls into question the reliability of the official vote count. I will wait until all valid votes are counted and all serious challenges resolved before declaring victory or conceding defeat. I will involve my campaign volunteers in actions to enhance the accuracy and verifiability of the election in which I am a candidate. I will speak out publicly during the pre-election period about the importance of fair, accurate and transparent elections and about this pledge. I will designate a liaison between my campaign and "Standing For Voters" so that "Standing For Voters" can alert me to any red flags they are aware of regarding my election.
Standing For Voters, a project of Velvet Revolution,
is actively seeking pledges -- and more robust Super Pledges, such as that taken by McKinney -- from candidates for office, regardless of party affiliation or what public office they seek.
Standing For Voters asks voters to call on candidates to take the pledge. Visit the site for a list of candidates who have pledged to date, along with tips about how to approach candidates with requests to pledge not to concede early, and to challenge elections where necessary. Standing For Voters is currently forming a task force to continue pursuit of pledges from presidential candidates and candidates in other key races. Email to volunteer.
Candidates ask voters to stand for us. Now, we're asking candidates to Stand For Voters!
Elections belong to the voters, not to the candidates! This year, let's make democracy the winner!
We have just learned from Rachel Sterne of the great worldwide citizen journalism site, GroundReport.com, that, through the "Video Your Vote" project sponsored by YouTube, they are looking for people in states other than California and New York to video their vote this Election Day, in exchange for a free, brand new Flip camera.
If you're interested please immediately contact Rachel by email with the following information:
2. Email address
3. Phone #
Immediate response would be greatly appreciated.
Find the registration deadline for your state at VotersUnite.org.
Note: It is illegal for election offices to purge voters from the list within 90 days of the election, yet at least 19 states are ignoring the law. More info at The BRAD BLOG.
Velvet Revolution is working with a coalition of organizations, including Election Defense Alliance and Election Integrity, to create a statistical foundation to support the case for a recount in close elections.
This is a vital part of Velvet Revolution's efforts to secure our elections. Every citizen has not only the right to vote, but the right to have all our votes counted and counted accurately. The Election Verification Exit Poll project can help verify whether or not this has happened.
We are proud to be working with recognized experts in polling and election integrity. Dr. Ken Warren, professor at St. Louis University and president of The Warren Poll, Dr. Steven F. Freeman, author of Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? and Resident Scholar and Affiliated Faculty of Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jonathan Simon of Election Defense Alliance have developed a polling methodology to detect vote manipulation. This methodology was tested at twenty precincts in Pennsylvania in 2006 and at seven precincts in the Kentucky primary in 2008. The Kentucky results have been written up in a June 30, 2008 paper, "The Election Integrity Election Verification Exit Poll: Report on the Kentucky Pilot Project" by Dr. Freeman.
The objective is to conduct an Election Verification Exit Poll at 20-30 locations each in Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania (and possibly other states). These results will be rapidly analyzed to be available for election challenges as necessary.
Details of the plan can be read here [pdf, 104 Kb].
We are at a critical stage in this important effort. The conditions exist for manipulation of the election. It is vital that every vote be counted and counted accurately. The future of our republic is at stake. The importance of election integrity cannot be stressed enough, and the Election Verification Polls are an important part of this effort.
You can help. Please visit this page of the Election Defense Alliance to sign up. You'll be given all the information and instructions you need to help with this historic citizen's election integrity project.
And if you can't sign up to help, you can support this project financially. Please donate to help us fund this important election protection campaign.
American soldiers have the job of protecting our nation. American citizens have the job of protecting our democracy. Thank you for all you do.
Mike Connell, known to many as the Republican IT "guru," has been subpoenaed by the plaintiffs in the Ohio lawsuit King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell. Connell has moved to quash the subpoena.
For details and background on this case, see our previous coverage here and here, but in a nutshell, some Ohio voters filed a lawsuit about the 2004 election. They want to take the deposition of Mike Connell, the man who set up the computers for counting the votes in Ohio.
There has been a stay on the case for some time, and lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Cliff Arnebeck, filed a motion earlier in September [PDF, 6 pages] to lift the stay. Eventually the defendant, current Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, concurred with Arnebeck that the stay should be lifted. The motion [PDF, 2 pages] was granted on September 19, and reads as follows:
On motion of the plaintiffs and agreement of the defendant Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, the stay in this matter is lifted for the sole purpose of permitting the plaintiffs to take the deposition of Michael Connell and any other witnesses whose testimony, in the judgment of these parties, may be warranted based upon the deposition of Michael Connell.
Those "other witnesses" are likely to include many of those named in Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips' declaration [PDF, 6 pages] filed with the court filed on September 2. And eventually, if testimony from Connell and other witnesses warrants it -- and we believe it will -- Karl Rove himself will be subpoened. It is worth noting that there is no executive priviledge for civil cases, and thus the president has no power to order Rove to not comply with a subpoena related to this case.
In the meantime, the legal dance begins anew with Connell and his attorneys filing a motion [PDF, 11 pages] to quash the subpoena. They claim that due to confidentiality agreements with Connell's clients, he should not be compelled to sit for a deposition. That argument is questionable because the plaintiffs are only interested in public documents and the architecture of the 2004 election computer system created for Ohio; there is no basis for avoiding a subpoena by arguing that state or federal government work is confidential and therefore warrants immunity from subpoena.
In addition, in litigation witnesses frequently have to divulge confidential information, and a witness cannot hide behind confidentiality to cover up alleged criminal activity.
A judge can order testimony to be held in camera (kept secret and not made public) in cases where proprietary information or issues of national security are involved. This leaves little reason for Connell's motion to quash to be granted.
Further, Connell made some rather explosive statements to cyber-security expert Stephen Spoonamore, who is serving as an expert witness for the plaintiffs. According to a sworn declaration filed with the court, Spoonamore said Connell "clearly agrees that the electronic voting systems in the US are not secure."
Even more importantly, Spoonamore states in his declaration that "Mr. Connell is a devout Catholic. He has admitted to me that in his zeal to 'save the unborn' he may have helped others who have compromised elections. He was clearly uncomfortable when I asked directly about Ohio 2004." [emphasis added]
These and other statements Connell made to Mr. Spoonamore is a very strong indication that Connell's testimony should be compelled and his motion to quash denied.
This legal battle continues, and likely will be drawn out for a very long time. But hopefully, whatever information Mr. Connell has on the details of what happened in Ohio regarding the 2004 election will come to light well before November. The accuracy and fairness of the upcoming election, and thus of our republic, may well depend on it.
Check back here frequently for updates and news as they occur.
Velvet Revolution joins with the MICAH Project and America in Solidarity in calling for October 1, 2008 to be 'National Guarantee Your Vote Day.'
Check with your local or state election officials to make sure that you are still registered to vote. Here's a link to help you.
This November, let's have the VOTERS decide who takes office from the White House down to your local municipal elections. Let's not let the results be decided by electronic voting machines, dirty tricks, or voter suppression and disenfranchisement.
Once again, you can find out how to check your registration status here. Do it today, before you forget, before it's too late!
Other organizations partnering in the 'National Guarantee Your Vote Day':
First United Methodist Church of Tacoma
Washington State Labor Council
NAACP-Tacoma -Pierce County Chapter
Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia
Mercer Island (WA) Presbyterian Church
St. Leo's (Tacoma, WA) Social Justice Committee
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Equal Rights Washington
Center for Creative Journalism-Columbus, Ohio
Washington Public Campaigns
There have been some interesting and potentially shocking developments in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell lawsuit currently pending in Ohio. Some of these developments we can report to you, some are still off-the-record. Events are happening by the day and almost by the hour, so check back frequently for further information and updates.
We've previously covered the King-Lincoln v. Blackwell suit in some detail here, but in brief, some Ohio voters filed a lawsuit about the 2004 election. They want to take the deposition of Mike Connell, a Republican IT "guru" who set up the computers for counting the votes in Ohio.
There has been a stay on the case for some time, and the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Cliff Arnebeck, has filed a motion requesting a lifting of the stay so that he can depose Mike Connell under oath and ask him about his 20 years of work for the Bush family and for many, many Republican politicians and causes, and specifically his computer/IT work for Ken Blackwell in Ohio 2004.
In his motion to lift the stay, Arnebeck writes [PDF, 6 pages], "The public has a need and right to know, before the next presidential election, that the top Republican IT expert shares a concern about the vulnerability of electronic voting systems to fraudulent manipulation, and that this is not just 'conspiracy theory.'"
Arnebeck's reference to Connell sharing "a concern" about electronic voting is based on cyber security expert Stephen Spoonamore's conversations with Connell. Mr. Spoonamore is serving as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in this case. (In August of this year, we covered a recently-released 2006 interview with Mr. Spoonamore in which he discusses his views on electronic voting and the impossibility of securing an election run on these machines.)
We previously blogged about Republican party ramping up their voter disenfranchisment efforts in the run-up to the November election, including an attempt by the GOP governor and secretary of state of Mississippi to "bury" at the bottom of the ballot the special election for Trent Lott's old senate seat. Here is an update on the matter, also cross-posted at The BRAD BLOG.
Three recent stories have come to light about the Republican Party's latest and sometimes illegal efforts at voter disenfranchisement. Unfortunately, these three stories are only the very tip of an enormous iceberg.
Before we go into details, please, if you're registered to vote, check on the status of your registration NOW, before you get turned away from the polls this November. You can check your registration status here with our friends at VotersUnite.org. This is even more important if you are African American, Hispanic/Latino, elderly, low income, or a college student; statistically and historically, Americans in those categories are disenfranchised in greater numbers than any other segment of the American populace. PLEASE check on the status of your registration. This bears repeating: Check your registration status here.
And of course, if you're not registered to vote, what in the hell are you waiting for??
First, Michigan: We've learned from the Michigan Messenger that James Carabelli, the Republican Party commissioner for Macomb County, is "planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP's effort to challenge some voters on Election Day."
Carabelli, as quoted in the Michigan Messenger article, says, "We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses."
But J. Gerald Hebert, a former voting rights litigator for the U.S. Justice Department and currently the Executive Director and Director of Litigation for Campaign Legal Center, says, "You can't challenge people without a factual basis for doing so. I don't think a foreclosure notice is sufficient basis for a challenge, because people often remain in their homes after foreclosure begins and sometimes are able to negotiate and refinance."
Based on the past efforts of the Republican Party to disenfranchise African American voters, it should come as no surprise that they are using home foreclosure lists in this effort. According to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, "[t]he foreclosure rate in Detroit is one of the highest in the nation, and 62 percent of the sub-prime loans have been made to African American residents."
On August 25, Randy Wertz, the registrar of Montgomery County (home to Virginia Tech University) sent out a press release regarding the proper procedure for college students in Virginia who have registered or are planning to register to vote.
The press release reads in part:
"The Code of Virginia states that a student must declare a legal residence in order to register. A legal residence can be either a student's permanent address from home or their current college residence. By making Montgomery County your permanent residence, you have declared your independence from your parents and can no longer be claimed as a dependent on their income tax filings -- check with your tax professional. If you have a scholarship attached to your former residence, you could lose this funding. And, if you change your registration to Montgomery County, Virginia Code requires you to change your driver's license and car registration to your present address within 30 days."
Sujatha Jahagirdar, program director for the Student Public Interest Research Group's nonpartisan New Voters Project, said, "For a county registrar to issue what really are in our experience unsubstantiated warnings for a particular demographic is alarming. It's upsetting that this is coming up in Virginia. But it's even more upsetting that the ability of young people to vote is questioned in many other states too."
Is it possible that Montgomery County is trying to suppress and disenfranchise voters, especially college students who are, at least in this election cycle, largely supporting the Democratic presidential candidate?
From a press release by Emily Levy, Project Coordinator for StandingForVoters.org
Current conditions in the U.S. election system have shattered the basis for confidence in election results, according to StandingForVoters.org, whose website launched today. Standing For Voters, a project of VelvetRevolution.us, calls upon candidates for any public office to prepare now to demand recounts, file lawsuits, or take other actions necessary should election processes or results raise suspicion. The site calls on candidates to take the "Standing For Voters Pledge."
"Candidates ask voters to stand up for them by donating money, volunteering, and through their votes. Now it's time for candidates to commit to Standing For Voters," says project coordinator Emily Levy. In some states, only candidates have standing to request a recount. "In recent elections, we've seen candidates shy away from challenging even obviously incorrect election results supposedly because they don't want to be called 'sore losers.' Signing the Standing For Voters Pledge is a clear way to tell voters that you care that all votes are counted and counted accurately and that you will do everything in your power to ensure that the elections are held to the highest standards. Even if you don't win your election, you can champion the cause of democracy."
Signers of the Pledge -- and the more robust "Super Pledge" -- are provided with an emblem to post on their campaign websites, announcing, "I am Standing For Voters. I took the (Super) Pledge." "It's not exactly the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval," says Levy, "because we offer the emblem to candidates based on their word. But any candidate who puts the emblem on their website should expect their supporters to hold them to their commitment."
In a strongly worded editorial from the August 10, 2008, New York Times, Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut's Secretary of State, criticized Secretary for Veteran's Affairs James B. Peake for issuing a directive "that bans nonpartisan voter registration drives at federally financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans. As a result, too many of our most patriotic American citizens -- our injured and ill military veterans -- may not be able to vote this November."
In an interview from October, 2006, that has only now seen the light of day, Stephen Spoonamore, one of the world's leading experts in cyber crime and a self-described "life-long Republican" destroys Diebold's already non-existent credibility.
Spoonamore lays it out for anyone to see and understand. If you care about America and it's survival as a democratic republic, you'll watch this interview.
The interviews are on YouTube and are being carried by a new site created by Velvet Revolution, RoveCyberGate.com.
Read below the fold for details and background.
In another disappointment to any American who hopes for verifiable elections, the House of Representatives voted down a bill that would have provided funding to states and local governments that want to have paper ballots available for voters this November.
HR-5803, a boiled down version of HR-5036 (called the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008, which failed to pass in the House in April of this year) went down in flames with 57% of the House voting yes; a two-thirds margin (66%) was needed to pass the bill.
The bill would have paid "grants to participating States and units of local government which will administer the regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held in November 2008 for carrying out a program to make backup paper ballots available in the case of the failure of a voting system or voting equipment in the election or some other emergency situation, and for other purposes."
Sadly, the roll call vote indicates that clean, verifiable elections are still a heavily politicized and partisan issue. All the Democratic House members voted "yea." They were joined by only 20 Republicans. All other GOP House reps voted against paper ballots.
That thumping sound you hear is coming from Springfield, Illinois; Abraham Lincoln is flopping around in his grave.
John Gideon, co-executive director of VotersUnite.org, said federal legislation to provide paper ballots "[I]s just not going to happen. Not only do the Republicans not want it, but the House and Senate leadership does not seem to be on our side."
Avi Rubin, Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University (seen here discussing e-voting on Lou Dobbs Tonight) said, "It's a real missed opportunity. I just hope we won't be sorry in November."
I think we will indeed be sorry in November. Very, very sorry.
At a press conference this morning in Columbus, Ohio, Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case of King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell, announced that he is filing a motion to "lift the stay in the case [and] proceed with targeted discovery in order to help protect the integrity of the 2008 election."
Arnebeck will also "be providing copies of document hold notices to the U.S .Chamber Institute for Legal Reform and the U.S. Justice Department for Karl Rove emails from the White House."
This case has the potential to put some of the most powerful people in the country in jail, according to Arnebeck, as he was joined by a well-respected, life-long Republican computer security expert who charged that the red flags seen during Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election would have been cause for "a fraud investigation in a bank, but it doesn't when it comes to our vote."
"This entire system is being programmed in secret by programmers who have no oversight by anybody," the expert charged, as Arnebeck detailed allegations of complicity by a number of powerful GOP operatives and companies who had unique access both to the election results as reported in 2004, as well as to U.S. House and Senate computer networks even today.
The presser was attended by some of the corporate-controlled media, including the head of the Ohio AP bureau, the Columbus Dispatch, and IndyMedia. Listening in by phone were ABC News, our friends from RAW STORY, and me, your humble blogger. I recorded the presser, so I have no links for the quotes in this post, but I transcribed them word-for-word and can vouch for their accuracy.
One of the more delightful and interesting quotes comes from Arnebeck, concerning what he expects to discover as the stay is lifted: "[W]e anticipate Mr. Rove will be identified as having engaged in a corrupt, ongoing pattern of corrupt activities specifically affecting the situation here in Ohio"...
According to an article in ARS Technica, a study of more than 21,000 polling stations in France found discrepancies at 30% of the polling stations that use electronic voting machines, as opposed to only 5% of polling stations that use hand marked paper ballots.
"Discrepancies," for the purposes of this study, means a difference between the numbers in the electoral registers, which voters sign after voting, and the numbers regarding total vote counts from the voting machines and paper ballots.
The study took more than a year to complete and was conducted by Ms. Chantal Enguehard, a member of the Laboratory of Computer Science, Nantes Atlantique. It's purpose, according to Ethical Citizen, a transparent voting advocacy group that partially funded the research, was "to determine whether it was possible to observe quantitatively alterations or improvements to the functioning of polling stations equipped with computers to vote. The first results, announced at the press conference, confirm this hypothesis and show the need to develop for the future tools that will enable independent evaluators to measure the quality and reliability of elections."
Electronic voting was brought to France in 2004. There has always been strong French opposition to these machines, especially from elderly voters. This may be rooted in France's "long and cherished tradition of paper ballots and ballot box transparency -- literally, the ballot boxes are see-through, and anyone can monitor them during an election to ensure that there's no funny business."
See the photo of a French ballot box below...
In a victory for democracy and clean, transparent elections, a judge in New Jersey has reversed her previous ruling and will allow computer experts from Princeton University to publicize the results of tests being conducted on electronic voting machines manufactured by Sequoia.
In Judge Linda Feinberg's original ruling, she ordered the results of the tests kept secret, claiming that releasing the results would compromise Sequoia's trade secrets. (However, as we learned from a news story broken by The BRAD BLOG, Sequoia, according to Sequoia CEO Jack Blaine, has no claim over the intellectual property rights for Sequoia's voting machines.)
The American Civil Liberties Union convinced the judge that questions about the reliability of voting machine components is a matter of great concern to citizens and that the test results should be made public.
Penny Venetis, a professor at Rutgers Law Clinic, said, "This is a historic moment. This is the first time a court has recognized the public's right to examine voting computers."
Read on to learn about more problems with Sequoia's voting system components...
Although there has been very scant coverage of this in the corporate controlled media, you may have heard that on June 9, 2008, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) read aloud 35 Articles of Impeachment against George W. Bush on the floor of the House of Representatives. Video and analysis from The BRAD BLOG here.
We are very proud to report that Election Protection Strike Force, along with Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG (co-founder, with Justice Through Music, of Velvet Revolution), provided, at the request of Rep. Kucinich's staff, research and information regarding impeachable offenses related to the corruption of American elections and violations of election laws. The material we provided was used in Article XXVIII, Tampering With Free And Fair Elections, Corruption Of The Administration Of Justice, and Article XXIX, Conspiracy To Violate The Voting Rights Act Of 1965.
To support and thank Rep. Kucinich, as well as co-signers Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), we urge you to sign this petition supporting the effort to hold Pres. Bush accountable for High Crimes and Misdemeanors and urging the House of Representatives to commence impeachment hearings.
For more details, read on...
According to a study by Public Campaign, Arizona's "Clean Elections" law has lead to campaign financing that "more accurately represent[s] the diversity of the state than the private system does." Donors "are more diverse racially and ethnically, as well as economically and geographically," and are "more widely spread out among neighborhoods where people tend to have lower- to mid-level incomes."
Arizona's system is not complicated. "Candidates who wish to take part in the system must raise a set number of $5 contributions from Arizona residents. They then qualify to receive a public grant to run their campaigns. Once they accept this grant, they must abide by strict spending limits and can no longer raise any private money for their campaign."
Yes, the donations are just $5, which means that almost ANYONE in almost ANY economic situation can fund a participating candidate on an equal footing with just about anyone else.
That sounds like DEMOCRACY to us!
The study has turned up some very interesting results. Read on for some details of what the study proves and what YOU can do to bring public campaign financing to your state...
VR affiliate Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has come out against President Bush's nomination of Donald McGahn to the Federal Election Commission.
According to CREW, Mr. McGahn is not the right choice for FEC Commissioner because:
Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has a program called Vote in Honor of a Veteran. According to the Secretary of State's website, the program is designed "to recognize the service of our brave veterans and provide encouragement to our citizens to vote through the Vote In Honor Of A Veteran program."
The program enables you to get a "Vote In Honor Of A Veteran" pin which you can wear on election day, and there is a message board where you can post a tribute to the individual veteran in who's honor you are voting.
Read on for more information...
This year's state Senate session ended without a final vote on HJR 48.
I'll let Missourians for Fair Elections tell the story, but here's a quote:
In a victory for all voters, Missouri lawmakers ended this year’s legislative session without a final vote on legislation that could have prevented up to 240,000 Missourians from voting. The proposed change would have altered Missouri’s constitution, allowing for strict citizenship and government-issued photo ID requirements that would make Missouri one of the toughest states in the country for eligible, law-abiding citizens to register to vote or cast a ballot.
Again, congratulations to all of Missouri, and thanks to all Missouri residents who contacted their state senators and helped defeat this anti-democracy amendment.
Please ask your state senators to take active steps to defeat HJR 48, the proposed constitutional amendment that could disenfranchise up to 240,000 registered Missouri voters who do not currently have a state-issued photo ID.
This is an URGENT action item, please take action TODAY! Urge your Missouri state senator to defeat HJR 48.
Missouri residents, go HERE to find your state senator using your zip code and the "Legislator Lookup" window on the left side of the page.
For talking points and details from the Brennan Center for Justice, click below...
Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) are cosponsors of the bill.
Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) are cosponsors of the bill.
Despite Justices' admission that "partisan considerations may have played a significant role in the decision to enact" the Indiana law (Justice Stevens) and that the law targets "voters who are poor and old" (Justice Souter), the majority votes to uphold Indiana's draconian polling place photo ID restrictions.
Once again, Keystone Staters were forced to cast their votes on non-transparent, unreliable and often inaccessible electronic voting machines, machines that produce results that cannot be proven to have any relationship whatsoever to the votes actually cast by voters.
While it's not possible to know how Pennsylvania as a whole voted today, nor whether any individual vote was counted as cast--and it never will be known--it is possible to know that eligible voters were denied the right to cast a ballot, that machines malfunctioned, that election laws were broken.
For details on that, we refer you to Velvet Revolution co-founder Brad Friedman's coverage over at The BRAD BLOG: Pennsylvania Primary: E-Voting, Registration, Polling Place Problem Report Wire and background information in Monday's blog post: The Pennsylvania Primary: Democracy of the Gods: Tuesday's Election Will be 'Unrecountable, Unverifiable, and Unauditable'...
For more analysis, check out Voice of the Voters on Wednesday night, April 23. This weekly election reform radio show hails from Pennsylvania, and host Mary Ann Gould has a great line-up of guests for this week. Listen online! or if you're in the greater Philadelphia area, tune in to 1360 a.m. This week's special 90-minute show begins at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
After New Jersey's February presidential primary election, 60 Sequoia Advantage DRE (also called touch-screen) voting machines were found to have voter turnout totals that did not match the totals on the machines' memory tapes. And in Ohio's March presidential primary, the Diebold (AKA Premier) GEMS central tabulator in Butler County failed to record the votes from one of the memory cards fed into it, despite reporting that data from all memory cards had been successfully uploaded. This Ohio discrepancy has only recently come to light as Butler County elections chose to disclose the problem.
As Ellen Theisen writes in a special dispatch to The BRAD BLOG,
The “maximum acceptable error rate” of one in 500,000 ballot positions (choices on a ballot) is an error rate of 0.0002%. But the error rate for the Advantage machine [in New Jersey] was 0.12%....
That error rate is more than 600 times as high (or 60,000%) as the maximum error rate allowable under by federal law.
...[T]he error rate on the Butler County GEMS server was between 400 and 900 times as high (40,000% to 90,000%) as the rate allowed by federal law.
Now that these facts are known, using New Jersey’s version of the Sequoia Advantage e-voting machines or Butler County’s version of the Diebold AccuVote/GEMS system (v.1-18-24.0) in the November 2008 election would be a violation of federal law. [emphasis in original]
Note: Both the Sequoia and the Diebold machines highlighted in this story are slated for use in next Tuesday's very important Pennsylvania primary election, which will be in violation of Federal law.
Read the full story at The BRAD BLOG!
The Velvet Revolution Election Protection Strike Force encourages you to seek creative ways of getting the message about about the struggle for election justice. Email us with photos or your story of what you're doing in your community to bring truly democratic elections to the United States.
The Grand Lake Theater not only uses its marquee to spread important messages to the Oakland community but also hosts events such as the recent screening of Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections Check out upcoming screenings of David Earnhardt's great new film including events in CT, AZ, MA, NM, OH, PA, OR and WA. We encourage you to host a screening to educate your community and bring in new volunteers for your local election integrity efforts.
Ohio's primary election is coming up on Tuesday March 4. Voters will use a variety of technology including riggable, hackable DRE (direct record electronic, also called touch screen) machines that keep the actual vote secret from the voter.
When a voter votes on such a machine and everything apparently goes smoothly, there is no way to know that the vote was counted as cast. However, when a voter's vote appears to jump from one candidate or issue to another, when the machine fails to respond, or when vote on the paper tape shows the vote to be incorrect, the voter will know there's a problem. "If the voting machine you use behaves in an illegal manner, it should be treated as part of a crime scene. The theft of your vote is a crime by the voting machine and its vendors against YOU. Treat it as such," says Paddy Shaffer, Director of the OEJC.
The OEJC encourages voters and pollworkers who are aware of these types of problems with voting machines to report the problems to law enforcement. "These machines should not be returned to local election officials but rather quarantined by independent investigative authorities," says Shaffer.
Voters are also encouraged to report problems through the new mobile blogging community, Utterz. With utterz, voters can blog the machine problems immediately from their cell phone with audio, video, images, and text. Utterz provides a phone number for people to call in and "speak" a blog entry, which appears as an audio file. Voters are asked to tag their entry "Ohio Voter Mugging 2008" and to identify the scene of the crime.
The full press release follows.
"Last week, under pressure from federal authorities, Waller County officials added three temporary polling places for early voting, ditching plans to open only one voting site in advance of the March 4 primary," according to the article.
The Burnt Orange Report gives some background to voting rights struggles on the campus:
"There has been a long history of dispute over what the students feel is disenfranchisement. There was a lot of outrage in 2006, when students felt they were unfairly denied the right to vote when their registrations somehow did not get processed."
Photo by Ken Basart. View more of his photos of yesterday's march.
And here's a two and a half minute video of the march, as posted at Burnt Orange Report:
2/10: Obama Camp Sends 'Urgent Request for Assistance' to Louisiana SoS as Voters Find Party Registration Switched: Cites 'Widespread Reports' of Problems During Today's Primary, as Registration Issues in State After State Begin to Emerge.
2/6: Say What? - Party Official Kept Uncounted Ballox Boxes at Home Overnight as 200 Vote Margin Currently Seen in New Mexico's Democratic Caucus: 17,000 Voters Forced to Vote on Provisional Ballots After Being Dropped from Registration Rolls 'Maintained' by SoS and Voting Machine Company, ES&S.
2/8: Privatization of New Mexico Voting Rolls May Have Played Major Role in Super Tuesday's Democratic Caucus Mess: Contracts with Unaccountable Private Vendors Like ES&S in NM and Elsewhere, Continue Taking Costly Toll on American Democracy.
2/5: Problems (and Confusion) at L.A. County Polls Today: Independent Voters Have Trouble Voting, and Having Their Vote Counted, in the Open Democratic Primary.
2/6: More Details on 'Double Bubble Trouble' in Los Angeles County
2/7: Filling in the Ovals on LA County's Super Tuesday 'Double Bubble' Debacle: Confusion Reigns, Legal Challenges Loom as Hundreds of Thousands Votes May Not be Counted Due to Maddeningly Confusing Ballot Design, Procedures.
2/5: Voters Face Long Lines in Georgia as Photo ID Laws and Diebold's Crashing E-Pollbook System Slow Process: Wait Times Up to Two and a Half or More in Metro Atlanta, While New E-Registration Computers Cause Delays.
2/5: NJ Governor Delayed Casting Vote as Voting Machines Inoperable in Hoboken: One Unverifiable Touch-Screen Machine Finally Fixed, No Provisional Ballots Available at Polling Place, Voters Turned Away.
The campaign of Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul today filed a challenge of the Louisiana Republican Caucus, according to a press release on the candidate's website.
That would make three election contests already in this presidential year that is not yet a month old. Paul's filing follows two challenges to the New Hampshire primary, one by Democrat Dennis Kucinich and one by Republican candidate (in N.H. only) Albert Howard.
According to the Paul campaign,
The Louisiana State GOP changed the rules at the eleventh hour to allow other candidates to file more delegates, even though there were plenty of delegates to compose full slates in each congressional district. At the time of the original January 10 deadline, Ron Paul had the largest number of delegates pledged to him. The party then changed the rules to give other candidates until January 12 to file more delegates.
In addition, due to mistakes by the Louisiana GOP, hundreds of voters were forced to file provisional ballots, including nearly 500 that could change the outcome of the election.
Filing the contest within the 72-hour window keeps the door open to challenge the results "if it appears that delegates were improperly selected," according to the campaign.
Malfunctioning voting machines plagued Horry County, which contains the cities of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, according to poll workers. Workers said the machines have been down since polls opened at 7 a.m., and they are not reading activation cards.
Workers were handing out paper ballots, but at least one precinct has run out --- it had only 23 on hand. Poll workers said the county has about 100 precincts, and all of them are affected.
Compared this to the corporate media coverage of the discrepancies in New Hampshire primary results in the U.S. (if you can find it). Note: this video is a few days old but still noteworthy.
Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced the Caging Prohibition Act of 2008. Voter caging is a practice by which mail is sent to a registered voter’s address and, if the mail is returned as “undeliverable” or if it is delivered and the voter does not respond, his or her registration is challenged in order to suppress voter turnout. This may occur even if the voter has simply moved across a college campus or to another location on a miltary base, or simply does not respond to what one might assume is junk mail. It is estimated that the practice has resulted in tens of thousands of voters - often soldiers, college students and low-income families - being purged from the rolls.
“During the 2004 Election, challengers monitored every single one of Detroit’s 254 polling stations,” Conyers said. “With a Michigan lawmaker advocating “suppress the Detroit vote,” it was obvious why the challengers were at every polling place – to create a tense and hostile environment for those eligible voters who simply wished to participate in our democracy by casting a ballot.”
The bill was cosponsored by Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA), John Barrow (D-GA), and John Yarmuth (D-KY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Steven Cohen (D-TN), and Keith Ellison (D-MN). It seeks to make voter caging illegal with the following provisions:
Excerpted from The BRAD BLOG's special coverage
--LATEST OUT OF NH: Disparities being found during hand-counts of ballots, in many wards, many candidates. Diebold op-scan memory cards unaccounted for at the moment, Secretary of State (SoS) doesn't track them after elections, doesn't track error reports during elections. LHS Associates [the private company that is the sole Diebold vendor, programmer, operator and service provider in NH and most of the other New England states] handles all of it instead, according to reports on the ground. Public records request reveals hundreds of ballots in one area scanned as blank due to incorrect ink used on ballots, and other problems on LHS problem report forms.
--Numbers are now being posted from both the Democratic and Republican hand-counts in the NH Primary Election contest. So far, only wards in Manchester (Hillsborough County) have been hand-counted, and disparities between the original counts from the Diebold optical-scan machine and the hand inspections seem to be occurring in many wards, and for many candidates.
--The BRAD BLOG has reported within the past few days machine problems during the election in a number of towns. In fact, of the first four towns we called that used the Diebold machines, all four reported machine failures of one type or another.
--The sensitive memory cards containing the programming and tabulation from the Diebold optical-scanners are apparently "missing in action" for the moment. Those cards, as viewers of HBO's Hacking Democracy know by now, may be used to hack an election, such that only a proper hand-count of the paper ballots afterwards will reveal the hack. (See the video of that hack for yourself right here. The same exact machine being hacked in that film was used across the state to count 80% of the ballots in NH in last week's primary.)
And yet, says Bonifaz who spent time today speaking with New Hampshire Secretary of State, Assistant Secretary of State and Deputy Attorney General, nobody seems to have any idea where those cards are and what has become of them.
Full article at The BRAD BLOG
A press release issued by New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner on January 11 confirms online reports that a recount of last Tuesday's presidential primary will be conducted. "Secretary of State Gardner announced that the recounts will start Wednesday, January 16, 2008."
According to a statement by Howard, seen at right, "My real concern is the controversial Diebold Electronic Scanning machines. They were used for 81% of the vote counting in New Hampshire. For the security of a free State we must keep our election process clean, open and fair. This is why I as well as many others supporting this effort feel it is necessary to challenge the discrepancy between the hand counted votes and the Machine counted votes. I believe it is better to take action now in the first primary than later."
Both Howard, whose presidential run is limited to the state of New Hampshire, and Democrat Dennis Kucinich have requested official 'recount' of the New Hampshire presidential primary for reasons of election integrity, and not because either challenges the number of votes he himself received.
The online edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, home town paper of Representative Dennis Kucinich, quoted the campaign's press release: "Ever since the 2000 election -- and even before -- the American people have been losing faith in the belief that their votes were actually counted," and "This recount isn't about who won 39% of 36% or even 1%. It's about establishing whether 100% of the voters had 100% of their votes counted exactly the way they cast them. This is not about my candidacy or any other individual candidacy. It is about the integrity of the election process." According to the newspaper's website, Kucinich named "VelvetRevolution.us, The Brad Blog and Progressive Democrats of America" as sources for his information regarding the New Hampshire primary results.
From a Kucinich for President press release just out...
Kucinich asks for New Hampshire recount in the interest of election integrity
DETROIT, MI – Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, the most outspoken advocate in the Presidential field and in Congress for election integrity, paper-ballot elections, and campaign finance reform, has sent a letter to the New Hampshire Secretary of State asking for a recount of Tuesday’s election because of “unexplained disparities between hand-counted ballots and machine-counted ballots.”
He added, “Ever since the 2000 election – and even before – the American people have been losing faith in the belief that their votes were actually counted. This recount isn’t about who won 39% of 36% or even 1%. It’s about establishing whether 100% of the voters had 100% of their votes counted exactly the way they cast them.”
Kucinich, who drew about 1.4% of the New Hampshire Democratic primary vote, wrote, “This is not about my candidacy or any other individual candidacy. It is about the integrity of the election process.” No other Democratic candidate, he noted, has stepped forward to question or pursue the claims being made.
“New Hampshire is in the unique position to address – and, if so determined, rectify – these issues before they escalate into a massive, nationwide suspicion of the process by which Americans elect their President. Based on the controversies surrounding the Presidential elections in 2004 and 2000, New Hampshire is in a prime position to investigate possible irregularities and to issue findings for the benefit of the entire nation,” Kucinich wrote in his letter.
“Without an official recount, the voters of New Hampshire and the rest of the nation will never know whether there are flaws in our electoral system that need to be identified and addressed at this relatively early point in the Presidential nominating process,” said Kucinich
Until then, a few thoughts on the announcement, a concern about recounts in New Hampshire from an Election Integrity advocate on the ground in the state, and one set of eyebrow-raising new numbers...
More... at The BRAD BLOG
Other Pre-Election Numbers, For Republicans and Rest of Dems, Nearly Dead on the Money...
Democratic Presidential Candidates: Step Up and Show Us What You're Made Of!
Velvet Revolution co-founder Brad Friedman reports at The BRAD BLOG that there's reason to look very closely at New Hampshire Democratic Primary results.
We're not sure why, given the numbers we're looking at, Obama conceded so soon. His quick concession does not offer Democrats any assurance whatsoever that he understands the issues of election integrity we cover here at Velvet Revolution.
Brad writes, "While I have no evidence at this time --- let me repeat, no evidence at this time --- of chicanery, what we do know is that chicanery, with this particular voting system, is not particularly difficult."
Democrats absolutely need a nominee this year who they know will challenge any fishy election results and stick with that challenge as long as it takes. Now is the moment for every Democratic presidential candidate to step forward and show the voters your stuff. Velvet Revolution calls upon all Democratic Presidential candidates to:
Next, the Republicans need to show the exact same respect for the voters, and demand transparency, from top to bottom in the system. As ever, this is not about Right or Left, but about Right and Wrong. Every candidate, in every party, needs to begin standing up for the voters if they expect us to stand up for them.
Again, the full story, with updates, can be found at The BRAD BLOG.
Three years ago, we launched our Divestiture for Democracy Campaign against the major vote machine manufacturers demanding, among other things, paper ballots, open source code, transparent audits and independent oversight. Not a single one of the companies complied and so we did what promised--we exposed the problems with their products, we helped initiate lawsuits against some of them, we sent tens of thousands of petitions and letters protesting their conduct, we urged states and counties to boycott and sue the companies, and we worked behind the scenes to convince officials to investigate the companies. This methodical campaign, which our members and affiliates helped with, has had dramatic results. For example, Diebold’s stock dropped over 30% and its CEO Wally O’dell was fired after one of our lawsuits was filed against the company for stock fraud and now it is being investigated by the SEC. States across the country are banning and decertifying the machines and suing the companies for fraud and breach of contract. And finally, the mass media is reporting on this “train wreck.”
Some good news out of Texas recently and a tip off to all those press people who ignored our previous scoops about problems with our elections. Bush’s hometown newspaper, the Lonestar Iconoclast, recently did a nice story about our investigation of Bush loyalist Mike Connell and how he was tapped by George Bush Sr. in 1986 to embed the GOP takeover of the government into the country’s IT network.
Connell is a computer genius who Daddy Bush introduced to Karl Rove and Jeb Bush way before Dubya took the White House. Connell created the first GOP website, controlled the election computers in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, launched www.georgebush.com, and has been involved in virtually every election scandal the past decade – NH phone jamming, Swift Boat Veterans Against Kerry, false phone and direct mail scripting, WH email scandal, US Attorney scandal, and others. His companies control the majority of GOP IT work, and the scary thing is that his company GovTech Solutions is now behind the firewall of key committees in Congress, including Judiciary, Intelligence, Ways and Means, and Administration.
We have been investigating Connell and his companies for many months using whistleblowers to provide us with hard incriminating evidence against him and his associates. More will be coming out in the near future. When you see a dirty trick during this election, even one against a Republican, be aware that the odds are that one of Connell’s companies is involved in some way. We are going to expose this attack on democracy front and center so Connell and his ilk are persona non grata. We will be launching a campaign shortly demanding that candidates pledge not to use Connell’s companies or the tactics they have been engaging in over the past decade.
Please note that VR has an election protection hotline to report instances of fraud and theft in the 2008 elections, starting with today’s caucus in Iowa. Please spread it far and wide, 1-800-VOTETIP.
Last election, the election reform community was virtually alone in warning of a “train wreck” from the use of electronic voting machines, and we were right with thousands of reports of problems nationwide. Well, this year the mainstream media is finally taking notice due in large part to the recent reports out of California, Ohio and Colorado that most of the e-voting machines are unsecure and ripe for rip-offs. CNN today calls e-voting a “failure”, http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5504, USA Today warns that millions have been wrongfully purged from voter rolls, http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5503, and the Associated Press reports that our election system is broken, http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5502.
But e-voting is only part of the problem – another part involves the use of illegal practices by the GOP/RNC as outlined in the book, How to Rig an Election, Confessions of a Republican Operative, due out on January 8th. The author reports that the GOP has an entire playbook of dirty tricks run by black ops staffers at the RNC and operatives at DCI Group. These include illegal phone jamming, false phone scripting, false direct mailers, slush funds, shell companies, co-mingling of soft and hard monies, vote caging and intimidation of voters. For example, in South Carolina, cards falsely attributed to the Romney campaign were sent to Republicans to taint his campaign. In Kansas, the Chairman of the Kansas GOP recently bragged about how many voters the GOP had already caged. And today, the Swift Boat Veterans were exposed as at it again with their war chest of lies.
So be diligent and keep an eye out for all this illegal and unethical conduct by the haters of democracy. Please let us know when you see something.