Democrats may want to consider options if Abramoff's and Ney's HAVA, misrepresented as being required so suggests many voting experts, has put non-evidentiary E-Voting equipment in your districts.
one on one consultation http://www.blackboxvoting.org/
by Lynn Landes
The following (425 ppm CO2 and Methane) is why we have to win elections...
Was Confusion Over Global Warming a Con Job?
Some Claim Disinformation Campaign Attempted to Create the Impression Scientists Were Broadly Divided
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2006 - American attitudes about global warming are shifting, according to a new poll by ABC News, Time magazine and Stanford University -- but it has taken years for the public perception of the problem to catch up with the warnings.
... time is running out to combat climate change, adding, "Our future is up to you."
The vast majority of scientists has determined global warming to be a real threat. So why has it taken so long to convince Americans?
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan blames a 15-year misinformation campaign by the oil and coal industries.
"The point of this campaign was not necessarily to persuade the public that global warming isn't happening," Gelbspan said. "It was to persuade the public that there is this state of confusion."
The industry's influence even extends into the White House -- where up until a few months ago a former oil industry lobbyist, Phil Cooney, chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, was one of the president's top environmental advisers, editing scientific reports to make global warming seem less threatening.
A few oil companies, led by BP, have changed their tune and are now aggressively addressing the problem. But some continue to promote the idea there are "uncertainties in the science."
ABC News' Geoff Morrell reported this story for "World News Tonight."
Why are Democrats going along with Abramoff's and Ney's HAVA written for Diebold (and other non-evidentiary E-Voting machine companies)? Remember Paper Ballot evidence was removed on purpose...why?
COMMENT #26 [link]
...EMANUELE LOMBARDI said on 3/23/2006 @ 12:33am PT...
Most of us think that problems of e-voting are only technical (and thus they can be overcome), but e-voting also has a theoretical limitation (that obviously is insuperable).
Paper elections held under proper public monitoring can guarantee fair and square elections. This is possible because humans can verify operations dealing with ballot papers which are visible and tangible objects.
Computer procedures are not verifiable by humans since we are not equipped for verifying operations which occur in the microscopic scale within nanosecond timeframes. Thus, for people who didn't program them, computers act just like black boxes and their operations can truly be verified only by knowing the input and comparing the expected output with the actual output. Unfortunatly, because of vote secrecy, elections have no known input nor any expected output with which to compare electoral results, thus electronic electoral results can't be verified by humans!
Hence electronic voting is not a simple technical evolution of classic paper voting! Electronic electoral result cannot be verified by humans and the people need to have an absolute faith in the accuracy, honesty and security of the whole electoral apparatus (people, software, hardware and networks).
Requiring reliance on such faith is clearly not compatible with Democracy.
E-voting's limitations are theoretical and thus cannot be overcome: electronic results are unverifiable whichever technical solution may be used to implement elections.
Thus for voting we can't use computers and electronic devices. It sounds strange, isn't it? We use them everyday for our financial transactions and, after all, isn't voting a mere transaction by which we simply add 1 to the electoral "balance" of our candidate, just the way we add money to someone's bank balance when we use our credit card? We can't use computer for voting because, even if financial and electoral transactions are similar, their data largely differ in the level of the required secrecy: financial transactions must be secret only to whom is not involved while votes must be secret to everybody.
if you are interested in the topic, please have a look at http://www-electronic-vote.org
COMMENT #58 [link]
...CATHERINE A said on 1/11/2006 @ 3:18pm PT...
Maybe the story needs an "idiot's guide", something like
"US Democracy for Dummies"
1. Make laws that encourage electronic voting
2. Give everyone the impression that the new laws require electronic voting.
3. Tell people the laws are really just to help disabled voters.
4. Avoid laughing. Don't let anyone know that the voting machines can be rigged--and that's why they're such a good idea.
5. Make sure your key staff work for the voting machine companies.
6. Keep the money circling around all your friends, and hide it by keeping it moving or by putting it into non-profits or supposedly non-political PACs that have sincere-sounding names.
7. If anyone complains about fraud just blame voters.
8. Make sure you get all your election officials on your team, and ensure they all stay there by getting moved right up the political ladder (Florida, Ohio, etc.).
9. Find special interests with lots of cash and string them along with tall tales.
10. No matter what take good care of those elections. Make sure the results come out right. Protect your friends who are election officials and protect your friends who supply and "service" the machines.
11. Make sure to ensure the right kind of support in the media. With the help of your powerful friends, see that the "right people" have a nice easy career path and lots of access to your powerful buddies.
12. Have great fun on election day because you know you'll get the "right result" because you've managed everything so well.
13. Pass more laws so that people can't even challenge elections. To be really sneaky, put these laws out to the people--but make sure you control the machines that count the votes. Presto! More "Democracy" USA-style.
14. Praise Democracy and Freedom every chance you get.
15. Just to be sure, set up your own phony "citizens group" for voting issues and make sure your group is the only one that can get a seat on the phony commissions that pretend to study election problems.
16. Try not to think of these things at the last minute, but don't worry--even if it's just a day or two before an important event it won't matter because your media buddies will make sure to put the mike in front of the "real" citizens groups cause they know you'll look after them.
17.Gamble occasionally in places where the casino owners want you to do favors for them. This is another great way to keep plenty of money circling around, especially if you run out of Indian tribes.
18. Just keep the money circulating around and keep saying it's for lots of different, nice-sounding things.
19. Never put all your eggs into one basket. Make sure you have buddies in AccuPoll, too, not just Diebold.
20. Don't use just your own staff, use your friends' staff, too. Better yet, move them around all the time, just like you keep the money circulating around. That way no one can ever keep track of anything.
21.You scratch my back & I'll scratch yours--the true American way.
22. And make sure you've got the right judges in place, of course. This is an insurance policy so that no "awkward" lawsuits go anywhere. Help up the political ladder goes a long way.
23. Practice talking about all these things in a way that seems sincere and committed. Don't laugh at all the dupes--not even in your emails.
24. Be very careful what your friends put into their dumpsters.
25. If things go pear-shaped (e.g. if there were a few problems with 23 & 24) just say you didn't really know any of them very well, actually.
Please forward to your local elections officials:
The following may be useful for all E-Voting euipment
Warning: Black Box Voting has received credible first-hand reports from multiple states that Diebold is making unannounced visits to counties, sometimes when the elections supervisor is out of town. Diebold has prevailed on assistants and managed to gain access to the voting equipment.
Elections employees report to us that their questions to Diebold are not being answered to their satisfaction.
Here is what to look out for, and why this is so important:
1. Program changes: Watch very carefully whether Diebold puts a card into your machine and boots it up. Alert your staff to be on the lookout for this. By inserting one card, either the operating system or the voting software can be altered. Inserting two cards can change both.
Such changes can hide evidence of the kind of security vulnerabilities found by Harri Hursti and Security Innovation Inc. in Emery County, Utah. However, replacing the operating system and programs does not ensure the integrity of your machines, since the security vulnerabilities found appear to be able to survive overwriting both the operating system and the programs.
2. Swapping out equipment or components: We have credible reports that Diebold has swapped motherboards in some machines. We have less firm reports that Diebold has made reference to repartitioning memory and/or other adjustments. Either swapping the motherboard or repartitioning could obscure evidence of programming that shouldn't be there, and/or introduce new vulnerabilities to your system.
3. Swapping or recording serial numbers. The Diebold serial numbers do not appears to be burned into the machine/motherboard itself, but are simply affixed with a plate that can be replaced.
You should, immediately, photograph each of your machines' serial numbers.
Diebold denies that they have sold used equipment. However, a recent response from Deborah Seiler, the former Diebold sales rep who is now Elections Registrar for Solano County, California, gives a perception that someone is not being forthcoming.
Solano County used the Diebold TSx for one election and then rejected the system. Seiler, who took office shortly after Solano rejected the Diebold equipment, has reportedly responded to a public records request for the Solano County TSx documents containing the serial numbers that the documents were given back to Diebold and that Solano County no longer has them.
Diebold's odd explanation in Utah, that there were perhaps Chinese or Asian fonts on touch-screens delivered to Utah, would be consistent with selling machines from California. There were some 800 to 900 TSx machines, apparently, rejected by Solano County.
Black Box Voting encourages all recipients of "new" Diebold TSx machines to log serial numbers immediately, photograph or videotape them, and do so before Diebold arrives to visit your machines if at all possible.
It would be a good idea to take the keys to the voting machine storage facility with you when you are not in the office. Advise your staff not to allow Diebold to access your machines without your presence.
If Diebold comes to visit your machines, you are advised to tape record, videotape, and have several witnesses present to observe exactly what they do.
Better yet, tell them you need a written work order specifying what they will be doing in detail before you authorize it, and stand over them to observe during any access to any part of your system.
Diebold is a private company. As soon as you took delivery on your system, you have the responsibility to be in control of it and observe at all times. You are under no obligation to allow a vendor access (even if your state has mandated that you take these machines).
The upcoming security report, along with the testimony of Wyle Labs at the California Senate Elections Committee hearing last week, provide clear indications as to why preservation of your system AS IT WAS DELIVERED TO YOU should remain "as is."
COMMENT #23 [link]
...CATHERINE A said on 3/22/2006 @ 1:45pm PT...
In many counties they probably cover up the fact that some or many machines had problems. A smooth election is almost always claimed, until enough **** hits the fan and then it's just a "glitch".
How to find out whether there were problems or not, and if so, what the scale of the problems was? (as in actual numbers and descriptions)
County election office insiders? Any other methods?
I am just answering my own question--one could do a Public Records Request for any and all documents from xxx date to xxx date pertaining to reports of problems with voting machines from any of the county's polling places or pre- or post-election, correspondence (or emails or phone logs or other notes) between election office staff or poll workers and vendors or other technicians in relation to any problems, etc.
This could probably be expressed more elegantly.
If such a request were sent to all county and municipal election offices in just one state--or even in a region of a state--the results could be interesting and useful. One could then modify the strategy for other states or regions as appropriate.
BBV has a lot of advice on how to do an effective PRRs. See
(If someone wants to do this for their county or region, and wants specific advice, the BBV one-on-one help area will provide assistance.)
Paper Ballots and Hand Counts ONLY
(no machines, no audits, no absentees, no early voting)
By Lynn Landes (6/23/05)
HISTORY OF VOTING, PLUS Q & A
How did we get to a place where no one knows who is counting our votes, or if our votes are counted at all? It started over one hundred years ago. After the Civil War, two fundamental changes occurred in the voting process that made it far easier to manipulate election results. First, in the 1870's, states began allowing soldiers to vote by absentee. Then in the 1890's states began to use voting machines (lever machines). Today, 20% of all votes are cast early or by absentee and 99.4% of all votes are counted by machines.
Meaningful public participation and effective oversight of the voting process has been eliminated.
Voting should be a 3-step process where ballots are marked, cast, and counted.
For this process to be secure, paper ballots must be privately and manually marked by the voter in a voting booth, publicly cast, and then manually counted by election officials on Election Day only. This should be done in the presence of poll watchers and the press, who must be able to watch the process from beginning to end, uninterrupted. This is sometimes called the Australian Ballot Method. Ninety-five of the world's democracies vote this way - See ForeignCountries.
Conversely, only a few countries use voting machines: Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, India, half of The Netherlands, and half of Belgium. There have been experimental efforts in several countries, but most seem to be rejecting the technology. There are concerns that the U.S.-funded World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could be used to pressure countries into buying voting machines.
Most Americans are unfamiliar with these facts due to our privately-owned and corporate-controlled news media. When faced with the prospect of machine-free hands-on elections, voters have lots of questions and concerns. Here are some of them:
1. Don't some voters need these machines, such as non-English language voters and disabled voters? No. Voters who want a ballot in their own language should be able to order such a ballot in advance of any election. Secondly, voting machines present the same violation of voting rights for disabled voters. And contrary to popular belief, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) does not require election officials to purchase electronic voting machines. Besides, anecdotal evidence suggests that these machines are difficult for the disabled to use. Election officials and voting machine companies admit that it takes the sight-impaired voters ten times longer to use a touchscreen machine than able-bodied voters. However, there is a way for the sight-impaired to vote privately and independently. They can use tactile paper ballot with audio assistance. Tactile ballots are used around the world and in some states such as Rhode Island. Unfortunately, many disabled voters are unaware of these kinds of ballots. That may not be an accident. Two organizations for the blind, The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), are ardent supporters of paperless touchscreen voting machines. They also have received over $1 million dollars from the voting machine industry, according to news reports.
2. Can you conduct Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) using paper ballots? Yes. Britain, Ireland, and Australia have used paper ballots to conduct Instant Run-Off Voting. However, some advocates of IRV are aggressively promoting the idea that voting machines are necessary.
3. Aren't machines faster than a hand count and isn't that important? They should be, but often they're not. Machines breakdown routinely, thereby taking longer to report election results. In Maryland in the 2004 election, 9% of machines observed by a voting rights group, broke down. Essentially, a speedy hand count is based on a sufficient number of poll workers per number of registered voters and the length of the ballot. Canada uses 2 election officials per approximately 500 registered voters. In addition, election officials don't need to depend on volunteers. Citizens can be drafted to work at the polls on Election Day, as is done routinely with jury duty. The right to direct access to a ballot and meaningful public oversight of the process supersedes the perceived convenience of voting machines.
4. What about states that have really long ballots, including initiatives and referendum? Most countries keep their ballots brief. For instance, in America state and local judges could be elected by legislative bodies instead of the voters. But, there are other issues. The initiative/referendum movement is called Direct Democracy. However, it is really an end-run around the legislature. Some activists think this is a good idea, but others disagree. California's ballot has become a nightmare. Clearly, those with the money get their issues on the ballot. And consider this. The initiative/referendum movement allows those who control the voting machines to also control which candidates win and what legislation gets passed.
5. Aren't voting machines more accurate than a hand count? There is no way to know. There is no way to test the accuracy of voting machines during the actual voting process on Election Day. Citizens vote in secret. The machines count those votes in secret. If ballot scanners are used, then election officials can run an audit to check accuracy. But, few states require audits. Even with an audit, election officials decide where and when the audits occur. Public participation and oversight is not meaningful. Any test done prior or after an election cannot ensure that during the election the machine did not manipulate votes, either by accident or design. The accuracy of voting machines is often correlated with the number of overvotes and undervotes it records. One could have nothing to do with the other. There is no way to know the intention of the voter, or if a voting machine is filling in votes that the voter deliberately left blank. Although a lever and touchscreen machine can prevent overvotes, all in all, "The difference between the best performing and worst performing technologies is as much as 2 percent of ballots cast. Surprisingly, paper ballots--the oldest technology--show the best performance." This is the finding of two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) political science professors, Dr. Stephen Ansolabehere and Dr. Charles Stewart III, in a September 25, 2002 study entitled, Voting Technology and Uncounted Votes in the United States.
6. Which is more expensive, voting by machine or paper? For legitimate elections, expense can never be a consideration. That said, paper is cheap and requires no special servicing, storage, or trained personnel, while a single voting machines can cost thousands of dollars and require servicing, storage, and trained personnel. Furthermore, election officials never need to rely on volunteers to staff the polls. Citizens can always be drafted as they are for jury duty, at little or no cost to the tax payer.
7. Shouldn't we allow absentee voting for overseas military at least? No. Again, think in terms of jury duty. There are certain rights and responsibilities of citizenship that require your personal appearance. In addition, the polling place provides the voter protection from intimidation and allows poll watchers the opportunity to detect vote fraud or system failure.
8. If someone wins by a large enough margin, isn't that a sign that the election wasn't rigged? No. It only stands to reason that if someone is going to rig an election, it will be done by a sufficient number of votes to avoid triggering a recount. Otherwise, this could happen: In August of 2002, in Clay county Kansas, Jerry Mayo lost a close race for county commissioner, garnering 48% of the vote, but a hand recount revealed May won by a landslide, earning 76% of the vote.
9. If the voting machines are being used at my polling precinct, is it better to vote by absentee? Most absentee ballots are not counted by hand, but instead scanned by computers. The same corporations (ES&S, Diebold, Sequoia, etc) that dominate the touchscreen market, also control the ballot scanners. In addition, some counties, like King County Washington, have even outsourced the mailing of their absentee ballots to private industry.
10. Can't elections be rigged by stuffing ballot boxes, as well? Yes, but it is a detectable kind of vote fraud, whereas voting by machine, early or absentee is nearly impossible to detect. The problem of stuffed ballot boxes may be more fiction than fact. In his book, The Right To Vote, The Contested History of Democracy in the United States, Alexander Keyssar, of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, writes, "...recent studies have found that claims of widespread corruption were grounded almost entirely in sweeping, highly emotional allegations backed by anecdotes and little systematic investigation or evidence. Paul Kleppner, among others, has concluded that what is most striking is not how many, but how few documented cases of electoral fraud can be found. Most elections appear to have been honestly conducted: ballot-box stuffing, bribery, and intimidation were the exception, not the rule."
11. Doesn't the federal government regulate the voting machine industry? No. There is no federal agency charged with regulatory oversight of the elections industry. There are no restrictions on who can count our votes. Anyone from anywhere can count our votes. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) doesn't even publish a complete list of all the voting technology companies whose business it is to count Americans' votes. see: voting companies info
12. Can a voting machine company be owned by foreigners and run by felons? Yes. Sequoia is the third largest voting machine company in America and is owned by a British-based company, De La Rue. Diebold is the second largest voting machine company in the country. It counts about 35% of all votes in America. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as senior managers and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states. Jeff Dean, Diebold's Senior Vice-President and senior programmer on Diebold's central compiler code, was convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree. Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years. see: fraud & irregularities
13. Isn't that a threat to national security? Yes.
14. What was the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) all about? It established the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to distribute billions of dollars to the states to upgrade their voting systems, but failed to mandate any meaningful standards. http://www.eac.gov/...
15. Doesn't the federal government certify the voting machines? No. The federal government has a loose set of technical guidelines for voting machines that are voluntary and may be actually harmful. The Federal Voting Systems Standards (FVSS) used by the three NASED's approved Independent Test Authorities (ITA) to "certify" companies are outmoded guidelines and voluntary, and not all states have adopted them. According to industry observers, the FVSS guidelines allow one in ten machines to fail. There is no enforcement of these guidelines, such as they are.
16. Who, then, certifies the nation's voting machines? The FEC coordinates with the industry-funded National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), a private non-profit group, to have machines inspected certified by industry-funded private contractors. NASED selects and approves the testing laboratories. Only prototypes of the machines and software are available for a very superficial inspection. The inspection is conducted by three private companies who are not themselves subject to any regulation. Technical Issues & Standards "An unelected person named R. Doug Lewis runs a private non-profit organization called "The Election Center."
Lewis is possibly the most powerful man in the U.S., influencing election procedures and voting systems, yet he is vague about his credentials and no one seems to be quite sure who hired him or how he came to oversee such vast electoral functions. Lewis organized the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS, now heavily funded by voting machine vendors); he also organized the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) and, through them, Lewis told (author Bev) Harris he helps certify the certifiers." "Wyle Laboratories is the most talked-about voting machine certifier, probably because it is the biggest, but in fact, Wyle quit certifying voting machine software in 1996. It does test hardware: Can you drop it off a truck? Does it stand up to rain? Software testing and certification is done by Shawn Southworth. When Ciber quit certifying in 1996, it was taken over by Nichols Research, and Southworth was in charge of testing. Nichols Research stopped doing the testing, and it was taken over by PSInet, where Southworth did the testing. PSInet went under, and testing functions were taken over by Metamore, where Southworth did the testing. Metamore dumped it, and it was taken over by Ci-ber, where Southworth does the testing. Here is a photo of Shawn Southworth:" scoop.co.nz
17. But, wouldn't it take a vast number of people to rig an election? Not with today's technology. One programmer working at either ES&S or Diebold could write code that could manipulate votes across the country. If a voting machine has computer components, it can be rigged or accessed through the firmware, software, wireless, modem, telephone, and simple electricity. Main tabulating computers can be rigged in a similar fashion. Lever voting machine are also easily rigged, although it would be more labor intensive. Still, anyone with the keys to the county warehouse where the machines are stored could rig the machines. Labels can be switched, gears shaved, odometers preset, or printouts preprinted.
18. Can't we detect vote fraud through exit polls? Exit polling is conducted by one organization that is hired by the major news networks and the Associated Press. Since they first started "projecting" election night winners in 1964, the major news networks have never provided any 'hard' evidence that they actually conducted any exit polls, at all. The late authors of the book, VoteScam: The Stealing of America, con-cluded that some of the major news networks, including the polling organization that they hire for election night reporting, have been complicit in vote fraud. see: exit polls
19. If someone wins by a large enough margin, isn't that a sign that the election wasn't rigged? No. It only stands to reason that if someone is going to rig an election, it will be done by a sufficient number of votes to avoid triggering a recount. Otherwise, this could happen: In August of 2002, in Clay county Kansas, Jerry Mayo lost a close race for county commissioner, garnering 48% of the vote, but a hand recount re-vealed May won by a landslide, earning 76% of the vote.
http://www.ecotalk.org/... (page 45)
20. Aren't you just a conspiracy theorist? No. In the words of Greg Palast, "I'm a conspiracy expert." Election officials have outsourced and privatized a uniquely public function. Corporations have gained near total control over the process of voting. Corporations also control the process of reporting exit polls. Both processes are completely non-transparent.
21. Is there any evidence that voting machines have been rigged? Yes. Lots of it. An extensive history of voting machine irregularities can be found in the following:
* Election 2004-Voters Unite.org
* The Conyers Report - Read Excerpts
* Black Box Voting, Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century (Chapter II) by Bev Harris (2003)
* Accuracy, Integrity, and Security in Computerized Vote-Tallying, by Dr. Roy Saltman (1988)
* my own list
22. Has anyone confessed to rigging voting machines? Yes.
* Programmer Built Vote Rigging Prototype at Florida Congressman's Request- Clint Curtis affidavit
* Conyers Report excerpts - how Triad technicians reset computers to cheat a recount of votes
* Cincinnati Bell security supervisors ordered wire-taps installed on county computers before elections in the late 1970s and early 1980s that could have allowed vote totals to be altered, a former Bell employee says in a sworn court document. Leonard Gates, a 23-year Cincinnati Bell employee until he was fired in 1986, claims in a deposition filed Thursday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to have installed the wire-taps. (1989) Pandora's Black Box & http://www.votefraud.org/... (contains case number)
Hart InterCivic Whistleblower Warned of Texas, Ohio E-Voting 'Fraud' Concerns in 2004!
By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog
March 13, 2006
100,000+ Votes Were Errantly Added by Hart Machines in a Single County in Last Tuesday's Primary via Flawed, Paperless 'eSlate' Touch-Screen System!
Former Hart Employee, Tarrant County TX Election Worker Notified State, Legal Authorities in 2004 About Serious Voting Machine Problems, Procedures...All Warnings and Complaints Ignored
Continuing in an exclusive BRAD BLOG series of Voting Machine Vendor and Election Fraud whistleblowers, another insider, from yet another voting machine company, has now come forward to reveal a myriad of known problems inside both the company and in several states and counties with whom they do business.
During last Tuesday's Primary Election in the state of Texas, scores of "computer glitches" -- as voting officials and electronic voting machine vendors like to refer to them -- were revealed occurred across the state. Many of those "glitches" occurred on electronic voting equipment manufactured and supplied to various counties in Texas by the Hart InterCivic company.
One such "glitch" occurred in Texas' Tarrant County, which encompasses Fort Worth. That "glitch" resulted in some 100,000 votes being added to the result totals across the county's paperless Hart-Intercivic "eSlate" touch-screen voting system.
Election Officials in Tarrant claim they didn't look into the problems on Election Night as the problem emerged because, as reported by the Star-Telegram last week, "they were dealing with a new system, new procedures and some new equipment."
The BRAD BLOG can now report, however, that according to a Hart InterCivic company whistleblower -- who also happened to have later worked as an "election programmer" in Tarrant County -- the problems with Hart InterCivic's systems in Tarrant County, Texas and elsewhere are not new at all. Not by a longhorn long shot.
Letters sent by William Singer of Fort Worth, a former Hart InterCivic "technical specialist" and Tarrant County election worker, to state officials back in July of 2004 warned of exactly such problems. The letters, obtained and published here for the first time exclusively by The BRAD BLOG, reveal that serious problems and concerns of possible election system meltdowns were already apparent with the Hart machines in Tarrant County long ago. However, the warning letters were all but ignored by both election officials and even state law enforcement officials.
The "glitch" in last Tuesday's primary, as reported the Star-Telegram, "caused Tarrant County to report as many as 100,000 votes in both primaries that never were cast." After the problem was discovered, they report, "the local turnout [dropped] from a possible record high of about 158,103 voters to about 58,000."
A review of several notarized letters sent by Singer to officials in both Texas and Ohio in 2004 warned of fraudulent activities, buggy software and hardware, dysfunctional testing and development procedures, unsecured working environments and possible criminal behavior by both Hart InterCivic and Election Workers in both states.
Singer -- who eventually resigned from the company and ended up working as an Election Programmer for Tarrant County, where last Tuesday's "glitch" occurred -- wrote of allegations that Hart illegally supplied specially prepared machines for testing to state election officials. Along with doing so, they also withheld a number of known security, programming and hardware flaws during official review and certification of the systems.
TROUBLE IN TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS...
On July 29, 2004 in a letter sent to Texas Secretary of State, Geoffrey S. Conner (complete letter to Conner in WORD format here) after Singer witnessed problems in the March 2004 primary in Texas, he opened his letter by summarizing the main concerns:
Re: Complaint on conduct of election of March 9, 2004, held in Tarrant County, and the associated activities of that office in it's preparation for that election, including inappropriate, unethical, and possibly illegal activities committed by the Office of the Tarrant County Elections Administrator (Robert Parten), and the two election vendors which service Tarrant County, ES&S and Hart Intercivic.
Singer's complete letter to Connor outlines an astonishing litany of remarkably disturbing accusations of improper procedures, concealment of known problems by both Tarrant County and their two vendors (Hart and ES&S), incompetency, unsecured hardware and software development, and much more.
Writes Singer in his letter to the Texas Secretary of State; "What I witnessed at Tarrant County, what I was subjected to, what I was expected to do in order to 'pull off' an election, was far beyond the kind of practices that I believe should be standard and accepted in the election industry and I was baffled by Robert Parten's continued work with these election companies; even after admissions of concealing software problems, inappropriate pressure, hints of backroom deals, and poor support."
Amongst just a few of the many concerns sent to Connor, and apparently ignored by his office, are the following items as described by Singer: (NOTE: The most damning claims that Singer felt would violate his non-disclosure agreement with Hart were not included in his letters):
The audit trail for Hart's election generation software (BOSS) had invalid entries. Hart was aware of this and declined to fix it, and Robert also declined to fix it. I informed him that I had developed a simple, reliable, and effective method to remove the invalid entries (while at Hart), but he still refused to fix the information in the audit database.
The public test was fake. We ran a public test but discovered a series of problems with the election we were setting up, and in the course of resolving those issues had substantially different election databases to be used in the actual election. I had inquired about rerunning the public test, but was told it was unnecessary, troublesome, and pointless. ... There was also no record of adjustments made for each new iteration of the election databases.
The Hart technician that arrived onsite in Tarrant County admitted to being untrained, the company declined my offer to help, and instead allowed their untrained technician to make changes to Tarrant's election computers. The work was done improperly and had to be fixed twice, and was only finally completed because I intervened and corrected several problems so that the county could continue preparing for the next election.
Hart admitted to Tarrant County that votes are sometimes lost when using the disabled voting units
ES&S was pressuring Tarrant County into using unapproved software for election day, and told the staff there that they were also pressuring other jurisdictions to do the same thing. ... Tom Eschberger, a vice-president for ES&S, was the person who actually came onsite and tried to apply this pressure, and also asked what kind of deal they could offer to get Tarrant County to stop using Hart Intercivic's products.