October 11, 2006
Interview with Dan Wallach

Dan Wallach is a computer science professor at Rice University who has become a leading expert on electronic voting machines and their flaws. With the recent news about more serious vulnerabilities in Diebold machines and open questions about eSlate machines, I wanted to ask him some questions about what we know about these things, and what we should do about them. I think you'll be very interested in what he has to say.

Here's the interview:

Link for the MP3 file is here. There's more information about the Webb County case he references here (PDF). Let me know what you think.

UPDATE: I have been asked about getting a transcription of this interview. I am working on finding someone to do that (I don't have the time to do it myself, unfortunately). If you can assist, please leave a comment or drop me a note to kuff - at - offthekuff - dot - com. Thanks.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 11, 2006 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack
Comments

This is the best interview I've ever heard about electronic voting. This should be transcribed and made widely available.

It's the kind of discussion that anyone who's going to write legislation regulating electronic voting should read.

Posted by: kid oakland on October 11, 2006 9:23 AM

Great interview. Way more informative than 99.9% of the stuff out there on so-called news networks and sources.

Needs wide play. Very wide play.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on October 11, 2006 9:35 AM

Thanks, guys. I am working on getting a transcription. May take a couple of days, but I will get one as soon as I can.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on October 11, 2006 9:42 AM

http://electiondefensealliance.org/independent_exit_polls

URGENT CALL FOR INDEPENDENT EXIT POLLS
(WITH CORRECTED URL)

Friends,

This project is all-important. I am affiliated with the EDA, whose people are first-rate.

Please help us raise the necessary funds.

Mark Crispin Miller

..........

http://electiondefensealliance.org/independent_exit_polls

Essential to Preserving Our Democracy

EXIT POLLING 2006: The EDA Plan And How You Can Help.

•Exit polls, whether in the Ukraine or the United States, are the most powerful tool available for detecting vote fraud and theft — which is why the campaign to discredit them has been so determined.

•Ensuring the integrity of Election 2006 will depend upon reliable exit polls: polling data that are independent of media control. Media-controlled exit polls are, obviously, rendered useless when they are “adjusted” to conform to announced vote results, as happened in 2004.

•This is why Election Defense Alliance (EDA) has made independent exit polls (IEPs) its top priority. We are working with a nationally recognized polling firm to conduct polling in critical competitive federal races.

•The cost of these polls is $400,000–a very favorable price offered to EDA by this respected polling firm. For a more detailed discussion of the role and history of Exit Polls, click here: http://electiondefensealliance.org/edaexitpollplan . Additional extensive reading on the 2004 Exit Poll scandal is collected for your reference here:http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/exit_polls .

PLEASE HELP NOW. EDA needs your immediate support in funding this critical endeavor. Millions of American voters will thank you.

http://electiondefensealliance.org/independent_exit_polls

…………………………

http://markcrispinmiller.blogspot.com/2006/10/urgent-call-for-independent-exit-polls.html

Steps to take before, and on, Election Day

As far as the next election is concerned, there's little we can do, as some 80% of the vote will be electronically cast or counted on Nov. 7. So it's necessary that we take these other steps:

A) Support the independent exit polls planned by the Election Defense Alliance, at http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/.

B) Tell people that they must vote on Election Day, so that the national turnout is as high as possible. This will make another theft that much more difficult to spin.

C) Tell people that it's very likely that the GOP will "win" despite its vast unpopularity, so that they (the people) won't become demoralized by their apparent defeat.

D) Urge everyone to monitor the process in his/her own locale as carefully as possible. Get visuals, as w/ a video camera. Take careful note of any monkey business.

E) If you spot improprieties, or have a problem at the polls, be sure to call 1-866-OUR-VOTE, and contact the EDA (address above), and tell them everything. Keep a written record of your experience.

F) Get ready, psychologically, to stand with others in defiance of Bush/Cheney's latest "victory."

MCM

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on October 11, 2006 8:56 PM

from:

Mark Crispin Miller
http://www.washingtonspectator.com/printArticle.cfm

snip

Chance, accident, imperial over-reaching and/or popular resistance can thwart the best-laid plans. If that should happen, though, the (Republican) party has a plan to fix the problem; and the press's eerie silence on the danger of election fraud could help that strategy succeed.

If the GOP should lose the House or Senate, its troops will mount a noisy propaganda drive accusing their opponents of election fraud. This is no mere speculation, according to a well-placed party operative who lately told talk radio host Thom Hartmann, off the record, that the game will be to shriek indignantly that those dark-hearted Democrats have fixed the race. We will hear endlessly of Democratic "voter fraud" through phantom ballots, rigged machines, intimidation tactics, and all the other tricks whereby the Bush regime has come to power.

The regime will, in short, deploy the ultimate Swift Boat maneuver to turn around as many races as they need so as to nullify the will of the electorate.

Of course, the Democrats themselves have a rich history of election fraud, but there's no evidence of much, if any, since Bush came upon the scene; and yet with very few exceptions, they have doggedly refused to speak about the growing danger of such fraud, so that the GOP--the very perpetrators of that fraud--will be the first to make an issue of it. The press too has ignored the issue, other than to bleat, from time to time, that such malfeasance has been common "on both sides." Thus this besieged democracy appears now to have no defenders but ourselves.

But we can do that vital work if we will only face what's happening and spread the word, and stand united not as party members, or as liberals, moderates and conservatives, but as Americans.

snip

Films

Hacking Democracy, premieres on HBO on November 2, 2006.

http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/hackingdemocracy/index.html
Help America Vote on Paper, available on DVD

http://www.eon3.net/pages/main.html
Stealing America: Vote by Vote, available on DVD
http://stealingamerica.org

.......

And, Republicans have already falsely blamed American Voters with "Voter Fraud" in order to exonerate themselves and to require more ID (which Republicans are disastrous at protecting) which disenfranchises Democratic Voters--the elderly, poor and minorities. They hid the real research which proved Republicans wrong again in order to deflect blame and reduce Democratic voters.

via:
http://markcrispinmiller.blogspot.com/2006/10/eac-learns-that-theres-no-voter-fraud.html
from:
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20061011/1a_lede11.art.htm

Report skeptical of fraud at polls

Little evidence found despite pending bills

By Richard Wolf
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - At a time when many states are instituting new requirements for voter registration and identification, a preliminary report to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has found little evidence of the type of polling-place fraud those measures seek to stop.

USA TODAY obtained the report from the commission four months after it was delivered by two consultants hired to write it. The commission has not distributed it publicly.

At least 11 states have approved new rules for independent voter-registration drives or requirements that voters produce specific forms of photo ID at polling places. Several of those laws have been blocked in court, most recently in Arizona last week. The House of Representatives last month approved a photo-ID law, now pending in the Senate.

The bipartisan report by two consultants to the election commission casts doubt on the problem those laws are intended to address. "There is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling-place fraud, or at least much less than is claimed, including voter impersonation, 'dead' voters, non-citizen voting and felon voters," the report says.

..........

from:
http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/8/44498.html
(From BBV):

Love this quote from Avi Rubin, about what we should do when we dump all these security-defective voting machines:

I recommended to them [state officials] that they give these thirty, forty thousand machines that they have to the schools, attach a mouse and a keyboard, they're Windows machines, let the kids use them, said Avi Rubin, who votes in Maryland. Or give them to a country whose government we want to control.

Penetrating the Voting Vortex

snip

When Black Box Voting has gotten the records in the past, typically the records do not support the results. They don't match; they show all kinds of anomalies, she said.

A bevy of recent problems in 2006 primaries support Harris' concerns:

--In Pottawattamie County, Iowa, the June primary election results of nine races were reversed when a hand count of ballots tabulated by an ES & S manufactured optical scanner revealed that all the winners were, in fact, losers.

--100,000 extra votes appeared on a HartIntercivic paperless Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) machine in a March primary race in Tarrant County, Texas, earlier this year despite the fact that there were only 58,000 registered voters.

..........

For the 2006 election:

from: Election Defense Alliance
http://electiondefensealliance.org/book/export/html/260

Election Day Rapid Response

Election Defense Alliance has a coordinated, six-part plan for citizen direct action to defend the vote in the November midterm elections. The tactical components of the EDRR plan are:

1. Election Monitoring. Teams of trained citizen observors will monitor polls and central counting centers to document and report violations of election law, including illegal obstruction of the public's right to observe the count, failure to publicly post precinct results, and violations of election security provisions, including voting machine use procedures required as conditions of certification. Monitoring volunteers, contact Tom Courbat

2. Pre-Emptive Legal Intervention. Election monitoring teams will be accompanied by lawyers with pre-prepared court orders to enforce compliance with election laws, including public right to observe the count, public posting of precinct results, and strict adherence to election security protocols which if breached, render the voting machines out of compliance and the election results suspect and unverifiable. Legal volunteers, contact Dan Ashby

3. Exit Polling. Citizen-commissioned exit polls can provide an independent check on the validity of reported election results. The most competitive House, Senate, and statewide contests are where the threat of covert election fraud is predictably the greatest. The cost of covering the most crucial races that will determine the composition of Congress, is about $400,000--a substantial but achievable sum considering the stakes. Please go to the Independent Exit Poll donation page and send your contribution immediately. Arrangements must be made within days.

http://electiondefensealliance.org/independent_exit_polls

4. Election Data Analysis. EDA will manage an election-day data analysis operation that compares historical voting data, voter opinion tracking polls, and citizen-commissioned exit polling data, to the officially reported election results from selected, highly competitive House, Senate, and statewide races. The official election results will be processed through a battery of multiple analytic computer programs for rapid, real-time flagging of suspect patterns suggesting fraudulent manipulation of the official vote totals. Findings will be communicated via conventional press releases as well as the EDRR communications network of websites, Internet radio, and community access television networks. Data Analysis volunteers: Contact Bruce O'Dell

5. Communications. Throughout election day and night, activity at polls and election counting centers will be thoroughly documented by teams of correspondents recording and uploading live video, audio, photo, and text reports via wireless communication devices (e.g., video-enabled cellphones) to EDA and other E I web portals, bypassing the corporate newsmedia to bring breaking news of voter suppression, obstruction, security breaches, and indications of electronic vote theft direct to the public, while it is happening. To participate in shaping net-mediated communication tactics, contact Kim Grant.

Conventional press release and publicity methods will complement Net distribution. We need experienced publicists and newswriters. To help with print and radio promotion, contact [email protected]

6. Demonstrations. Public demonstrations will be organized at central counting locations, commencing at the close of polls and continuing throughout election night and beyond, demanding verified proof of reported election results. The demonstrations will be covered live via web portals and public radio and TV networks, interspersed with updates from the Election Data Analysis project reporting suspect election totals and directing increased protest turnout to those locations.
If you have experience organizing public demonstrations, or contacts with groups who do, please send message to [email protected]

The above tactics in isolation are limited or useless, but in combination, they are powerful. Many other local, regional and national groups have independently developed similar or complementary plans to those listed above. These efforts will have greatest effect if they are coordinated and focused to direct mass public attention to election obstruction and electronic fraud as it is happening.

The more volunteers and donated funds we have, the greater our chance of arresting electronic fraud and voter suppression.

We need: Organizers, publicists, fundraisers, programmers, webmasters, video and radio correspondents, writers and graphic artists, event managers, MONEY, and hundreds of citizen patriots to volunteer for election day monitoring, communications, and demonstrations.

http://electiondefensealliance.org/independent_exit_polls

Send inquiries and offers of assistance to [email protected] and check the "Take Action" and "Projects" links and the EDRR Working Group forum on this website for forthcoming directions and updates.

......................

For Democracy's future, thanks to two great Texas Congresswomen:

http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/1954/44399.html

Now we're getting somewhere --
Congressional hand counted paper ballots bill introduced in U.S. Congress

Bev Harris
Board Administrator Posted on Sunday, October 15, 2006 - 05:00 pm:

Here is the text of the bill, courtesy of Paul Lehto:

Paper Ballot Act of 2006 (Introduced in House)
HR 6200 IH

109th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 6200

To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those ballots by hand, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 27, 2006

Mr. KUCINICH (for himself, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. CLAY, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. FILNER, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Ms. KAPTUR, Ms. LEE, Mr.MCDERMOTT, Ms. MCKINNEY, Mrs. MALONEY, Ms. SOLIS, Ms. WATERS, and Ms. WOOLSEY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on House Administration, and in addition to the Committee on Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL
To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those ballots by hand, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Paper Ballot Act of 2006'.

SEC. 2. REQUIRING USE OF HAND-COUNTED PAPER BALLOTS IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

Section 301(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

`(7) SPECIAL RULES FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS- Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, in the case of a regularly scheduled general election for the electors of President and Vice President (beginning with the election in November 2008), the following rules shall apply:

`(A) The State shall conduct the election using only paper ballots.

`(B) The State shall ensure that the number of ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location which are placed inside a single box or similar container does not exceed 500.

`(C) The ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location shall be counted by hand by election officials at the precinct, and a representative of each political party with a candidate on the ballot, as well as any interested member of the public, may observe the officials as they count the ballots. The previous sentence shall not apply with respect to provisional ballots cast under section 302 a).'.

SEC. 3. MOVING OBSERVATION OF WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY TO ELECTION DAY DURING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEARS.

Section 6103(a) of title 5, United States Code, is amended--

(1) by inserting `the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in 2008 and every fourth year thereafter, and' after `Washington's Birthday,'; and

(2) by inserting `in any other year' after `February'.

......

Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on October 22, 2006 12:25 PM

I would prefer that Dan Wallach assign his graduate students the task of "Prove Our Democracy" rather than "be evil."

His "don't rock the boat" message and his timeline of 2008 OR 2010 for doing something effective seem slow and wanting.

His disclosure of regional centers is big news (to me) and should be dealt with. Why would votes need to stop over somewhere else on their way from precinct counting (which should be publicly displayed) to central tabulating? I did not know. Please follow up on this one.

However, his recommendations for this election seem good, though incomplete.

quoting:

"DW: The big procedure is all about custody of the machines and custody of the memory cards. The present procedures are different from county to county, and there isn't a focus on this notion of dual chain of custody. You never want any voting machine or any memory card held in the custody of one person. Ever. That's the first procedural change.

The second thing I would do is get rid of modems entirely. Right now in Harris County, what they do is the results go from the individual precincts to a handful of these regional centers, where they collect them together, and then they communicate them back to election central. And while they don't use the Internet, they're still using some kind of telecommunications system, which means you have some sort of modem system."

All of that seems good to correct. But, wireless problems, prior custody issues, more...

One can imagine that it is open enough for E-Voting companies to blame voters and election workers while voters blame E-Voting companies (see below).

..............

The following is wonderful...especially the apology part.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102606L.shtml
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bruce_o__061025_pull_the_plug_on_e_v.htm

Part I | Pull the Plug on E-Voting

By Bruce O'Dell
OpEd News
Wednesday 25 October 2006

The FBI is investigating the "possible theft" of the Diebold touch screen voting software in Maryland. Excuse me ... but I fail to see what all the fuss is about. I certainly don't condone theft; it's just that I don't understand why anyone would bother with stealing the Diebold source code - or why anyone would take the time to read it.

Don't get me wrong: I've spent twenty five years in the financial services industry helping to protect billions of dollars of other people's money. I designed internet security services as an employee of American Express to protect the online financial identities of hundreds of thousands of people, and recently spent a year at one of the twenty largest companies in America as chief architect of a project to replace the foundation of all their internal and external security systems. I understand risks from thieves and embezzlers - I've designed financial audit and control systems. In the world I work in, there's no room for excuses.

Source Code Is Irrelevant

I'll let you in on a dirty little secret of the computing profession: in the real world, there's simply no way to ensure that any program alleged to be written by Programmer Bob on June 24th bears any relationship whatsoever to what actually runs on computer "X" thousands of miles away on November 7th. Even if Programmer Bob's corporate public relations and sales reps swear up and down that it must be so.

When it comes to security, source code is irrelevant. The actual behavior of a computer at point of use is the only thing that matters. Yet many of my IT colleagues continue to believe that it is somehow possible to look at a vendor's source code and determine what a particular voting computer will actually do in a precinct or county election office during an election. This seems to be the rationale behind "open source voting": if I can see the program is benevolent, then must be safe to use. Sounds plausible. But in reality any computer academic or professional practitioner who tells you that anyone on earth can determine whether a vote tabulation system is secure and accurate simply by looking at a source code document ... is either ill-informed or lying.

Consider Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. As a critically-important widely-used program nevertheless riddled with bugs and security holes, this is a particularly apt comparison to voting software. Even if I could obtain a copy of the current Windows XP source code and read its millions of lines of text in its entirety with perfect comprehension, the act of reading the program text tells me precisely nothing at all about the integrity and security of any of the hundreds of millions of computers running Windows XP all around the world.

Think about it. Some surveys indicate 70% or more of Windows PCs are infested with viruses, spyware or, worst of all, rootkits. Rootkits hijack precisely those portions of the operating system that are used to detect the presence of malicious software and in so doing so become effectively undetectable. Can looking at the source code version of Windows XP tell me whether your particular PC is echoing all your keystrokes to a server owner by the Russian mob while you're innocently doing your online banking?

Software Is Inherently Untrustworthy ...

How do so many of my colleagues get such a fundamental issue so wrong? Although computer technology can seem endlessly complex, the fundamental issues are simple enough.

Computer program "source code" is just a text document. It's written using a word processor in a highly specialized dialect that is a shorthand mishmash of English words and math symbols. In order to get a computer to do my bidding, I first edit and save a text file, then run other programs (called "compilers" or "interpreters") to convert my human-readable text into the binary electrical impulses that a computer can understand and execute.

Here's where it becomes one twisty hall of mirrors. All means of verifying the version and features of any program as it is running in a computer require use of other software, the version and features of which in turn are verified by use of other software, the version and features of which in turn is verified by other software ... and so on. Software alone can't vouch for software. It is a very well-known maxim in my profession that the only way to truly know what is running in a computer at any given time is to present all the inputs, record all the outputs, and verify that the two match up as expected.

All computer systems which process high-value transactions include audit mechanisms that monitor the advertised features of the system to enable an independent means of detecting flawed or fraudulent program logic ... uh, everywhere that is except for voting systems, which arguably process the most important transactions of all. Go figure.

I'm so tired of hearing e-voting compared to using an Automated Teller Machine. Voting could not be more different than using an ATM. ATMs ask for not one but two forms of identification - a bank card and a PIN. Whereas the act of voting is private and anonymous. "Private, anonymous banking" is just another way to say "robbery in progress" - as in sawing open the ATM and taking its cash. ATMs exchange transaction and audit records with multiple counterparties and offer the user a receipt. Some but not all e-Voting systems may create or scan a paper vote record, but the voter surely can't keep it, or votes could be coerced or sold. e-Voting machines and ATMs are truly "apples and bicycles".

When it comes to electronic voting, we can't use any of the techniques we apply to securing electronic financial transactions all of which are predicated on the strong proofs of identity and exchange of transaction data with multiple counterparties that are rightfully banned in voting systems. Voting systems are national security systems demanding a much higher standard of protection than mere financial systems.

... Yet the Behavior of Voting Software Is Allowed to Go Unaudited

Many voting systems provide only an internal electronic audit trail of electronic vote tallies. What foolishness to allow programs to vouch for programs in such a way; as if it is somehow impossible to make two programs lie consistently!

Rep. Rush Holt's HR 550 legislation and its supporters in the academic computer science community are trying to salvage computerized voting by requiring that e-Voting touch-screen equipment always produce a "voter-verified paper audit trail" (VVPAT). This is a kind of receipt which in theory could be audited sometime after an election if the official results were contested. Setting aside the chain of custody problem - as soon as paper leaves the room, it is potentially compromised - when it comes to observing voters actually verifying their paper audit trail, the results are startling.

A 2005 study by the Caltech-MIT Voting Project concluded the following: " no errors were reported in our post-survey data ... and over 60 percent of participants indicated that they were not sure if the paper trail contained errors." That's right: in test elections full of deliberately engineered VVPAT errors - including swapped votes and even missing races - no one reported a VVPAT error while voting, a majority were unsure wtether there were any errors or not, and almost a third of the participants continued to insist that there no errors at all even after they were told otherwise by those who switched the votes!

But even that subset of touch screen voting systems with some kind of voter-verified paper trail, and optical scan systems that could in theory be audited ... in practice, are not. Certainly not by the standards of the financial services industry.

HR 550 was regarded as something of a revolutionary breakthrough in voting accountability simply by requiring a random audit of 2% of precincts after the fact. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley financial accountability law passed in the wake of the Enron scandal in 2002, the board of directors of any public company foolish enough to apply the same standard of auditability to their own books now have personal criminal liability for their decisions and so would face prison time for approving such a threadbare scheme.

But apparently when it comes to elections, no standard of protection is too lax.

Voting by Computer Considered Harmful

There was a remarkable article published by the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility in 2001, citing work by the Caltech-MIT Voting Project:

... our best efforts applying computer technology have decreased the accuracy of elections, to the point where the true outcomes of many races are unknowable. Many technologists and technology enthusiasts will read the above words and refuse to believe them. 'There must be some other explanation,' they will say. 'Nothing has been proven,' they will say. 'Future technology will be better,' they will say. But there is no other plausible explanation: new technology may have reduced the cost of elections, and certainly has increased counting speed, but the above results show no statistically significant progress in elections accuracy over people counting paper ballots, one at a time, by hand.

Let me recap: voting by computer may be inherently untrustworthy and in practice poorly crafted, overpriced, prone to breakdowns and wide open to subversion - but at least it's less accurate than counting by hand.

Here's an indictment of the IT profession, and a fine irony: the degree of independent hand-auditing of paper ballot records sufficient to verify the corresponding computerized vote tallies is comparable to the effort required to more accurately count all the ballots by hand in the first place, dispensing with the machines. But until that day arrives, the programs that the voting vendors actually distribute - as opposed to the software they may say they distribute - will continue to determine who takes power after the votes are tallied.

........

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102706O.shtml

Part II: Pull the Plug on E-Voting

By Bruce O'Dell
OpEdNews
Thursday 26 October 2006

Here's an indictment of the IT profession, and a fine irony: the degree of independent hand-auditing of paper ballot records sufficient to verify the corresponding computerized vote tallies is comparable to the effort required to more accurately count all the ballots by hand in the first place, dispensing with the machines. But until that day arrives, the programs that the voting vendors actually distribute - as opposed to the software they may say they distribute - will continue to determine who takes power after the votes are tallied.

How does Diebold or ES&S software wind up in my precinct?

Consider that while there are a relative handful of programmers at companies like Diebold or ES&S, there are hundreds of thousands of voting machines out in the field. After a programmer writes a piece of software, compiles it into binary form, and tests it well enough to say it's done and working properly, many additional people - dozens to hundreds of them, in fact - get involved in the long chain of events to get that software out to the polling station and election office, ready to be used.

This highly complex process includes the programmers who write the "application programs" that display ballots and counts votes electronically; the testers who install a copy of the application program as provided by the programmer, to run it for themselves to verify that the specified inputs correspond to the specified outputs; and the software deployment specialists who take a copy as provided by the tester to distribute to their customers (once they're told by management it's good enough to be used by the public).

Deployment specialists package the software so that it can be cloned thousands of times to be installed by vendor field representatives or election administrators on the vast number of precinct machines and central tabulators out in the field.

Vote counting application programs don't just run themselves: there's a vast array of supporting software modules, such as operating systems - rock-solid, dependable products like Windows; device drivers - software that hooks up to input-output devices such as wireless network cards and telephone modems (you did know that voting equipment can be accessed remotely) and firmware - the software that all other software depends on to interact with the physical world. Thousands upon thousands of software modules and hardware components from vendors all over the world all playing some supporting role in vote tallying.

If all this sounds complicated, well, it is. It's awesomely difficult to get this just right even within the relatively safe confines of a private network inside a bank. While Diebold, ES&S and other vendors certainly pay lip service to accepted professional standards of best practice for system development, testing and deployment, there are abundant indications that each link in the end-to-end software process has been compromised.

Software developers and other insiders pose the greatest risk

Above and beyond the well-documented criminal records of some of the key programmers who wrote a large portion of our current voting systems (just start at http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/1954/17305.html?1138394704 and go from there), there's ample room for insider misconduct in any organization. My profession has largely failed to adequately inform the public that the most severe security risks in any organization are from insiders. Quoting from Dan Verton's book "Identity Thieves:"' as excerpted at CSO Magazine Online:

The modern American bank has recognized the security risks associated with the new electronic frontier and, as a result, has deployed all the state-of-the-art electronic security devices that one would expect to find in a security conscious enterprise - firewalls, intrusion detection devices, password management systems, and powerful encryption technologies. Yet banks and financial institutions continue to lose millions of dollars every year to trusted insiders who understand where the weaknesses are in the system. In fact, insiders accounted for approximately 70%, or $2.4 billion, of the $3.4 billion that banks lost as a result of both internal and external fraud and hacker incidents in 2004."

Electoral systems grant regulatory power over a $12 trillion economy and access to the world's largest checkbook: the federal procurement budget. By the Willy Sutton rule, voting systems are truly "where the money's at".

Constant, ruthless and highly sophisticated attempts by insiders to subvert voting software should be assumed as a given. And yet a representative from Diebold can still say - with a straight face, and without being laughed out of the room: 'For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software,' he said. 'I don't believe these evil elections people exist.' (New York Times, 5/12/2006)

Testing can't prove software is safe

The second link in the chain - testing - is no better. When it comes to computerized voting systems, internal and field software testers as well as external "certification labs" are one astonishingly lackadaisical and inattentive bunch, judging by the vast array of bugs in the public record (as tallied at
http://www.votersunite.org/info/messupsbyvendor.asp and many other places). As a consultant to financial institutions I'd be fired - and then likely sued for gross professional misconduct - if I did my job so poorly and so publicly.

To be fair, of course, although bug reports show voting software testing is mind-bogglingly lax, all any software testing process can do is find problems that testers know to look for and report honestly. There are countless billions of internal states within all but the simplest of programs. Both practically and theoretically, it is impossible through testing to determine that any computer system has no flaws - much less, to rule out the existence of secret backdoor functions to be triggered on a future date. (This is no science fiction; see http://www.bbvdocs.org/reports/BBVreportIIunredacted.pdf ).

Software distribution: a shell game with an invisible pea

It will come as no surprise that the third link from programmer to voter, field deployment, is also wide open to covert manipulation. As soon as the programmer is done typing, software becomes invisible - it lives on as magnetic and electrical impulses on silicon chips, disk drives, memory cards, and CD-ROMs. Specialized software called a "configuration management system" is then used to control which of the many versions of which of the thousands of software components are sent to which device in the field.

This is not a magic process ordained by saints and administered by angels.

Voting software is software distributed through use of software, vouched for by other software, that itself vouches for other software. Surely nothing can possibly go wrong with such a system, even though the highly complex logistics of installing thousands of software modules on tens of thousands of precinct devices and country central tabulators is under the full control of ordinary people fully susceptible to blackmail, greed, or the pursuit of their own ideological agendas.

Did I mention this is done entirely outside public view?

To make things even more interesting, sometimes a lot of voting software is changed all at once with distribution of a brand new version with many new features, while other times, just a few software modules are updated (often called a "patch"). Patches occur especially frequently to poorly-written software; just ask any PC user who pays attention to the pitter-patter of incoming Microsoft security updates. The level of scrutiny that a patch receives is even less than the ordinary lax standard applied to voting software. That there were last-minute patches to voting software in Georgia and Minnesota immediately before the elections of 2002 is indisputable. That may have had nothing at all to do with the surprising outcomes of two US Senate races a few days later... but we can never know for sure.

Pre-Election Slumber Party

Sure, just one vendor insider with access to just one of the master copies of one of the software version or patch distributions can compromise thousands of devices long, before the equipment ever reaches the voter. But you'll be comforted even further to know that even after the devices are readied for an upcoming election, local election officials have a surprising degree of cozy hands-on access to voting equipment. In fact, all over the country -most notoriously in California Congressional District 50 this year - voting machines are commonly brought home by poll workers for "storage" prior to the election. Voting equipment vendors allege that their equipment has tamper-proof seals, while in reality, it takes only minutes using household tools to gain sufficient access to voting equipment to permanently and in practice undetectably alter the software....

snip

An apology on behalf of the information technology profession

Here's the truth, and the truth hurts: my profession has enabled the development and deployment of voting systems which are obviously and patently unfit for use.

In fact, the whole system of computerized voting in America is so far removed from standard best practices for information technology that I can only conclude that - far from being the product of accidental defects or stupid sloppiness - the vast array of security vulnerabilities found in every type of electronic voting equipment that has ever been independently examined can quite plausibly be seen as deliberate features introduced to subvert the voting process itself.

And so I can only say: I apologize on behalf of my profession, to the American people. You have been so ill-served by those of us who bear the unique responsibility of ensuring that the computer systems upon which our civilization is now almost totally dependent operate in the public interest.

But even knowing what we do know, many of my IT colleagues continue to try to salvage some application of computer technology to voting. To them I say - just look at what we have done in the name of automation. We led the public into this predicament and we owe it to them to help lead the way out. We have an ethical duty to honestly advise the public when most appropriate choice is not to use computers.

Pull the Plug!

So let it be computer professionals who finally help he public to pull the plug on electronic voting.

The most urgent ethical duty facing the American information technology profession is for once to see past our technocentric arrogance and acknowledge that from a whole-systems perspective, computerized voting is surely one of the great blunders in the history of technology. Let us lend our full support to replacing computers as quickly as possible with the worst way of tallying votes - except, of course, for all the others: citizen-run elections using the most appropriate and secure vote tallying technology of all, hand counted paper ballots. While it may take a while to get there, let's start now. This is the least we can do to be worthy of all those who laid down their lives to win and defense our right to vote, the foundation of our freedom.

Don't throw good money after bad: ban computer technology in voting. Put ballots back on paper for everyone, using the VotePAD device for the visually impaired. My profession has talented user interface designers who can craft a paper ballot to meet the needs of the people who fill it out and count it - rather than dumbing it down to accommodate the pitiful limitations of an optical scan program, or making a paper ballot look like a 19th century newspaper to skimp on printing costs. Get serious about security for early and absentee ballots; treat them at least as well as if they were bearer bonds; their true value is, of course, priceless.

Let citizens take control of the election process to cast paper ballots by hand, and count them on election night in the polling place, in public. In the final analysis, we ourselves are the only people we can trust - or should ever trust - to safeguard the Republic.

We, the people, have the inalienable right to run our own elections. Pull the plug.

...............

We really must try to be effective this election.

Even Peggy Noonan is now for Democrats assuming office.

Election day voting, rather than early voting is required for Democrats to have the biggest possible numbers for all polling efforts that will occur on election day:

from: Election Defense Alliance

http://electiondefensealliance.org/book/export/html/260

Election Day Rapid Response

Election Defense Alliance has a coordinated, six-part plan for citizen direct action to defend the vote in the November midterm elections. The tactical components of the EDRR plan are:

1. Election Monitoring.

2. Pre-Emptive Legal Intervention.

3. Exit Polling.

http://electiondefensealliance.org/independent_exit_polls

4. Election Data Analysis.

5. Communications.

[email protected]

6. Demonstrations.

[email protected]

The above tactics in isolation are limited or useless, but in combination, they are powerful. Many other local, regional and national groups have independently developed similar or complementary plans to those listed above. These efforts will have greatest effect if they are coordinated and focused to direct mass public attention to election obstruction and electronic fraud as it is happening.

The more volunteers and donated funds we have, the greater our chance of arresting electronic fraud and voter suppression.

We need: Organizers, publicists, fundraisers, programmers, webmasters, video and radio correspondents, writers and graphic artists, event managers, MONEY, and hundreds of citizen patriots to volunteer for election day monitoring, communications, and demonstrations.

http://electiondefensealliance.org/independent_exit_polls

Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on October 28, 2006 3:46 PM

Before votes go to an unneccessary and suspicious middle "regional center" rather than directly from precinct counting (which should be publicly displayed) to central tabulating, pass along to candidates and others the following:

November 5, 2006 at 13:32:02

Action Alert! Help Needed to Report Precinct Tallies When Polls Close

http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_sally_ca_061105_action_alert_21__help_.htm
by sally castleman
http://www.opednews.com

Help Needed to Report Precinct Tallies When Polls Close

Sally Castleman

Pollworkers and monitors who will be working inside the polls when they close -- or will be outside if the totals are posted -- are needed to capture the precinct tallies for use in an exciting new real-time analysis project.

Election Defense Alliance has developed a ground-breaking real-time data analysis capability for election night. Using a series of mathematical and statistical computer models, they will run baseline data (historical election data, demographic and pre-election poll data) against precinct poll tape totals, independent exit poll data, official returns, and any other relevant data we can obtain, in order to flag suspect patterns and anomolous outcome. In real-time! And we will report any significant findings back to the public immediately via website feeds, press releases, and radio interviews.

One goal of providing such rapid analysis is to prevent some premature claims to victory or premature concessions. As well, the results of the analyses may influence citizen actions.

The capture of the original precinct vote totals will be a critical piece of the election analysis; it will act as a check against any subsequent manipulation of vote totals in the county central tabulators.

Those at the polls at closing time are asked to copy the data and enter it into an online form as soon as possible so that those figures will be used in the real-time analysis of "official" outcomes. There is a simple form and accompanying instructions at http://www.electiondefense.net/. People are advised to print out a copy of the form, take it with them to the polls to fill in, and then copy from that form as soon as they get to a computer and can enter the data onto an online form at that site.

Imagine: a simple, universal data collection form with fields for the most important races across the country, that citizens anywhere can fill in, enter into a webform, and have the data uploaded to a national collection website for real-time analysis all within an hour of closing of the polls!

This is a first-of-a-kind project with terribly exciting ramifications. It is hoped that activists everywhere will take this simple additional step to the important work they will already be contributing and contribute essential data to this powerful program.

Questions can be directed to Sally Castleman [email protected] or Dan Ashby (510) 233-2144 [email protected]

Sally Castleman is an activist "from way back" and has been actively working on issues of election integrity (EI) since before the '04 election. She is one of the 3 co-founders of Election Defense Alliance, an organization established to foster coordination, communication and resource sharing among the many grassroots EI groups nation-wide.

..........

http://www.electiondefense.net/form/

Collecting Machine Results from the Polling Place

Nov. 7, 2006, General Election

The form below may be printed out and used to copy down information about the closing of the polls at a polling place.

One cross-check for election integrity is to copy this information and later compare it to to the published results from the canvass.

If possible, arrive before the closing of the polls, watch the polls close and watch the printing of the results from the voting machines.

If the pollworkers are not going to post the results, see if you can copy the results anyway, or get a copy, or have the pollworkers read them to you.

Also, see if you can read the exception log, and copy down any interesting information in it, e.g. if the vendor or County staff had to fix a machine, etc.

If you arrive after the polls are closed or are copying the results from several precincts, just copy the results posted outside the precinct. Keep the copy you have made, make sure to time and date it, and also submit the information at:
http://electiondefense.net/form
Even if the results are not posted, submit this form anyway. We want to know how well the Elections Code is being followed.

.........

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on November 6, 2006 1:32 PM

A followup:

Press Release at
http://electiondefensealliance.org/major_miscount_of_vote_in_2006_election

Major Miscount of Vote in 2006 Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Major Miscount of Vote in 2006 Election:
Reported Results Skewed Toward Republicans by 4 percent, 3 million votes

Election Defense Alliance Calls for Investigation

BOSTON, MA - November 16, 2006
CONTACT: Jonathan Simon 617.538.6012

Election Defense Alliance, a national election integrity organization, issued an urgent call for further investigation into the 2006 election results and a moratorium on deployment of all electronic election equipment, after analysis of national exit polling data indicated a major undercount of Democratic votes and an overcount of Republican votes in U.S. House and Senate races across the country. "These findings raise urgent questions about the electoral machinery and vote counting systems used in the United States," according to Sally Castleman, National Chair of EDA. This is a national indictment of the vote counting process in the United States!

As in 2004, the exit polling data and the reported election results don't add up. "But this time there is an objective yardstick in the methodology which establishes the validity of the Exit Poll and challenges the accuracy of the election returns," said Jonathan Simon, co-founder of Election Defense Alliance. The Exit Poll findings are detailed in a paper published today on the EDA website.

The 2006 Edison-Mitofsky Exit Poll was commissioned by a consortium of major news organizations. Its conclusions were based on the responses of a very large sample, of more than 10,000 voters nationwide*, and posted at 7:07 p.m. Election Night, on the CNN website. That Exit Poll showed Democratic House candidates had out-polled Republicans by 55.0 percent to 43.5 percent -- an 11.5 percent margin -- in the total vote for the U.S. House, sometimes referred to as the "generic" vote.

By contrast, the election results showed Democratic House candidates won 52.7 percent of the vote to 45.1 percent for Republican candidates, producing a 7.6 percent margin in the total vote for the U.S. House -- 3.9 percent less than the Edison-Mitofsky poll. This discrepancy, far beyond the poll's +/- 1 percent margin of error, has less than a one in 10,000 likelihood of occurring by chance.

By Wednesday afternoon the Edison-Mitofsky poll had been adjusted, by a process known as "forcing," to match the reported vote totals for the election. This forcing process is done to supply data for future demographic analysis, the main purpose of the Exit Poll. It involved re-weighting every response so that the sum of those responses matched the reported election results. The final result, posted at 1:00 p.m. November 8, showed the adjusted Democratic vote at 52.6 percent and the Republican vote at 45.0 percent, a 7.6 percent margin exactly mirroring the reported vote totals.

The forcing process in this instance reveals a great deal. The political party affiliation of the respondents in the original 7:07 p.m. election night Exit Poll closely reflected the 2004 Bush-Kerry election margin. After the forcing process, 49-percent of respondents reported voting for Republican George W. Bush in 2004, while only 43-percent reported voting for Democrat John Kerry. This 6-percent gap is more than twice the size of the actual 2004 Bush margin of 2.8 percent, and a clear distortion of the 2006 electorate. There is a significant over-sampling of Republican voters in the adjusted 2006 Exit Poll. It simply does not reflect the actual turnout on Election Day 2006.

EDA's Simon says, "It required some incredible distortions of the demographic data within the poll to bring about the match with reported vote totals. It not only makes the adjusted Exit Poll inaccurate, it also reveals the corresponding inaccuracy of the reported election returns which it was forced to equal. The Democratic margin of victory in U.S. House races was substantially larger than indicated by the election returns."

"Many will fall into the trap of using this adjusted poll to justify inaccurate official vote counts, and vice versa," adds Bruce O'Dell, EDA's Data Analysis Coordinator, "but that's just arguing in circles. The adjusted exit poll is a statistical illusion. The weighted but unadjusted 7 pm exit poll, which sampled the correct proportion of Kerry and Bush voters and also indicated a much larger Democratic margin, got it right." O'Dell and Simon's paper, detailing their analysis of the exit polls and related data, is now posted on the EDA website.

Election Defense Alliance continues to work with other election integrity groups around the country to analyze the results of specific House and Senate races. That data and any evidence of election fraud, malicious attacks on election systems, or other malfunctions that may shed more light on the discrepancy between exit polls and election results will be reported on EDA's website.

This controversy comes amid growing public concern about the security and accuracy of electronic voting machines, used to count approximately 80 percent of the votes cast in the 2006 election. The Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy, in a September 2006 study, was the latest respected institution to expose significant flaws in the design and software of one of the most popular electronic touch-screen voting machines, the AccuVote-TS, manufactured by Diebold, Inc. The Princeton report described the machine as "vulnerable to a number of extremely serious attacks that undermine the accuracy and credibility of the vote counts it produces." These particular machines were used to count an estimated 10 percent of votes on Election Day 2006.

A separate "Security Assessment of the Diebold Optical Scan Voting Terminal," released by the University of Connecticut VoTeR Center and Department of Computer Science and Engineering last month, concluded that Diebold's Accuvote-OS machines, optical scanners which tabulate votes cast on paper ballots, are also vulnerable to "a devastating array of attacks." Accuvote-OS machines are even more widely used than the AccuVote-TS.

Similar vulnerabilities affect other voting equipment manufacturers, as revealed last summer in a study by the Brennan Center at New York University which noted all of America's computerized voting systems "have significant security and reliability vulnerabilities, which pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state, and local elections."

The most prudent response to this controversy is a moratorium on the further implementation of computerized voting systems. EDA's O'Dell cautioned, "It is so abundantly clear that these machines are not secure, there's no justification for blind confidence in the election system given such dramatic indications of problems with the official vote tally." And EDA's Simon summarized, "There has been a rush by some to celebrate 2006 as a fair election, but a Democratic victory does not equate with a fair election. It's wishful thinking at best to believe that the danger of massive election rigging is somehow past."

EDA continues to call for a moratorium on the deployment of electronic voting machines in U.S. elections; passage of H.R. 6200, which would require hand-counted paper ballots for presidential elections beginning in 2008; and adoption of the Universal Precinct Sample (UPS) handcount sampling protocol for verification of federal elections as long as electronic election equipment remains in use.

The Exit Poll analysis is a part of Election Defense Alliance's six-point strategy to defend the accuracy and transparency of the 2006 elections. In addition to extensive analysis of polling data, EDA has been engaged in independent exit polling, election monitoring, legal interventions, and documentation of election irregularities.

*The sample was a national sample of all voters who voted in House races. It was drawn just like the 2004 sample of the presidential popular vote. That is, precincts were chosen to yield a representative (once stratified) sample of all voters wherever they lived/voted--including early and absentee voters and voters in districts where House candidates ran unopposed but were listed on the ballot and therefore could receive votes. As such, the national sample EDA worked with is exactly comparable to the total aggregate vote for the House that we derived from reported vote totals and from close estimates in cases of the few unopposed candidates where 2006 figures were unavailable but prior elections could be used as proxy. It is a very large sampling of the national total, with a correspondingly small (+/-1%) MOE. There were four individual districts sampled for reasons known only to Edison/Mitofsky

ABOUT ELECTION DEFENSE ALLIANCE
The purpose of EDA is to develop a comprehensive national strategy for the election integrity movement, in order to regain public control of the voting process in the United States. Its goal is to insure that the election process is transparent, secure, verifiable, and worthy of the public trust. EDA fosters coordination, resource-sharing, and cohesive strategic planning for a nationwide grassroots network of citizen election integrity advocates.

Jonathan Simon, Co-founder, Election Defense Alliance. He is an attorney who prior work as a polling analyst with Peter D. Hart Research Associates helped persuade him of the importance of an exit poll-based election "alarm system." 617.538.6012

Bruce O'Dell is head of the Election Defense Alliance Data Analysis Team. His expertise is in the design of large-scale secure computer and auditing systems for major financial institutions. 612.309.1330

Sally Castleman, Co-founder and National Chairperson, Election Defense Alliance. She lends her skills in conceptualizing, designing, implementing and managing programs as well as her experience as a strategist. She has a long career in grassroots political activism. [email protected] 781.454.8700
....................

http://electiondefensealliance.org/landslide_denied_exit_polls_vs_vote_count_2006

Landslide Denied: Exit Polls vs. Vote Count 2006

Under-sampling of Democrats in the House Exit Poll
and the Corruption of the Official Vote Count

Jonathan Simon, JD, and Bruce O'Dell1
Election Defense Alliance

Introduction: Pre-Election Concern, Election Day Relief, Alarming Reality

There was an unprecedented level of concern approaching the 2006 Election ("E2006") about the vulnerability of the vote counting process to manipulation. With e-voting having proliferated nationwide, and with incidents occurring with regularity through 2005 and 2006, the alarm spread from computer experts to the media and the public at large. It would be fair to say that America approached E2006 with held breath.

For many observers, the results on Election Day permitted a great sigh of relief--not because control of Congress shifted from Republicans to Democrats, but because it appeared that the public will had been translated more or less accurately into electoral results, not thwarted as some had feared. There was a relieved rush to conclude that the vote counting process had been fair and that the concerns of election integrity proponents had been overblown.

Unfortunately the evidence forces us to a very different and disturbing conclusion: there was gross vote count manipulation and it had a great impact on the results of E2006, significantly decreasing the magnitude of what would have been, accurately tabulated, a landslide of epic proportions. Because virtually all of this manipulation appears to have been computer-based, and therefore invisible to the legions of at-the-poll observers, the public was informed of "isolated incidents and glitches" but remains unaware of the far greater story: The electoral machinery and vote counting systems of the United States did not honestly and accurately translate the public will and certainly can not be counted on to do so in the future.

The Evidentiary Basis

Our analysis of the distortions introduced into the E2006 vote count relies heavily on the official exit polls once again undertaken by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International ("Edison/Mitofsky") on behalf of a consortium of major media outlets known as the National Election Pool (NEP). In presenting exit poll-based evidence of vote count corruption, we are all too aware of the campaign that has long been waged to discredit the reliability of exit polls as a measure of voter intent. Our analysis is not, however, based on a broad assumption of exit poll reliability. We maintain only that the national exit poll for E2006 contains within it a specific question that serves as an intrinsic and objective yardstick by which the validity of the poll's sample can be established, from which our conclusions flow directly.

For the purposes of this analysis our primary attention is directed to the exit poll in which respondents were asked for whom they cast their vote for the House of Representatives. 2 Although only a few House races were polled as individual races, an additional nationwide sample of more than 10,000 voters was drawn,3 the results representing the aggregate vote for the House in E2006. The sample was weighted according to a variety of demographics and had a margin of error of +/- 1%.

When we compare the results of this national exit poll with the total vote count for all House races we find that once again, as in the 2004 Election ("E2004"), there is a very significant exit poll-vote count discrepancy. The exit poll indicates a Democratic victory margin nearly 4%, or 3 million votes, greater than the margin actually recorded by the vote counting machinery. This is far outside the margin of error of the poll and has less than a one in 10,000 likelihood of occurring as a matter of chance.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

1 Jonathan Simon, JD (http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/jonathan_simon) is Co-founder of Election
Defense Alliance. Bruce O'Dell (http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/bruce_odell) is EDA Data
Analysis Coordinator.
2 Edison/Mitofsky exit polls for the Senate races, which also present alarming discrepancies, will be treated
in a separate paper.
3 The sample size was roughly equal to that used to measure the national popular vote in presidential
elections. At-precinct interviews were supplemented by phone interviews where needed to sample early
and absentee voters.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Did The 2006 Exit Poll Oversample Democrats?
An Intrinsic Yardstick Answers This Question

In E2004 the only nontrivial argument against the validity of the exit polls--other than the mere assumption that the vote counts must be correct--turned out to be the hypothesis, never supported by evidence, that Republicans had been more reluctant to respond and that therefore Democrats were "oversampled."4 And now, in E2006, the claim has once again been made that the Exit Polls were "off" because Democrats were oversampled. Indeed this claim is by now accepted with something of a "so what else is new?" shrug. The 2006 Exit Poll, however, contains an intrinsic yardstick that directly refutes this familiar claim.

Because the NEP envisions the post-election purpose of its exit polls as being limited to facilitating academic dissection of the election's dynamics and demographics (e.g., "How did the 18-25 age group vote?" or "How did voters especially concerned with the economy vote?"), the NEP methodology calls for "adjusting" its exit polls to congruence with the actual vote percentages after the polls close and actual returns become available. Exit polls are "adjusted" on the ironclad assumption that the vote counts are valid. This becomes the supreme truth, relative to which all else is measured, and therefore it is assumed that polls that match these vote counts will present the most accurate information about the demographics and voting patterns of the electorate.

Logic tells us that if such an adjusted poll yields obviously inaccurate and distorted information about the demographics and voting patterns of the electorate, then the vote count it was forced to match is itself invalid--and quantifiably so.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

4 See for example David Bauder, AP, in a November 8 article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/
content/article/2006/11/08/AR2006110800403.html . Oddly enough, ?oversampling? of Democrats has
become a chronic condition of exit polls since the proliferation of e-voting, no matter how diligently the
nonpartisan collection of experts at the peak of their profession strives to prevent it.

5 Any informed discussion of exit polling must distinguish among three separate categories of data: 1)
"Raw" data, which comprises the actual responses to the questionnaires simply tallied up (this data is never
publicly released and, in any case, makes no claim to accurately represent the electorate and can not be
usefully compared with vote counts); 2) "Weighted" data, which has been weighted or stratified on the
basis of several demographic and voting pattern variables to reflect the electorate as accurately as the
pollsters can manage with the extensive information they possess; and 3) "Forced" or "adjusted" data, in
which the pollster overrides all previous weighting in order to make the "Who did you vote for?" result in a
given race match the vote count for that race, however it distorts the demographics of the sample (that's
why they call it "forcing").

6 The 7:07 p.m. exit poll, as posted on CNN.com, reported a 10,207 sample size and, in accordance with
NEP methodology, the raw data had been weighted to closely match the demographics of the electorate.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

The E2006 exit poll itself contains a "background" question which serves as an intrinsic measuring stick to allow us to put this claim to a very objective test. Respondents were asked for whom they voted in the 2004 presidential election.

Because this very telling intrinsic yardstick was included in the 2006 Exit Poll, it provides an objective basis to assess whether Democratic and Republican voters actually were sampled and weighted in correct proportions. In fact it reveals that Democrats won by a 4% greater margin than indicated by the actual vote count.

In the 2004 election, Bush's margin was 2.8%. The 2006 exit poll results as of 7:07 p.m. on Election Night recorded a comparable 2% margin among respondents asked for whom they had voted in 2004, 45% Kerry to 47% Bush. This is a very strong indicator that the exit poll, on the evening of November 7th, accurately reflected the official 2006 outcome as a whole. The 2006 national vote for the House, as captured by this weighted but unadjusted Election Night exit poll, was 55.0% Democratic and 43.5% Republican, an 11.5% Democratic margin.

By 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8th, the final adjusted exit poll reported the overall vote for the House was 52.6% Democratic and 45.0% Republican. This was a 7.6% margin that matched the overnight preliminary 2006 election results tally, but was 3.9% smaller than that recorded by the 7:07 p.m. Election Night poll.

Yet for the same question--"For whom did you vote in the 2004 presidential election?"--the final, adjusted exit poll showed a margin of 43% Kerry to 49% Bush. This 6% margin in favor of Bush was a dramatic distortion of the 2.8% margin actually recorded in E2004.7

In the process of adjustment (or "forced weighting") to make the poll results equal or mirror the reported vote results, the sample had to be distorted, by giving less weight to the respondents who said they had voted for a Democratic candidate and more weight to the respondents who said they had voted Republican.

In order to match the results of the official tally, the 2006 exit poll adjustment was so extensive that it finally depicted an electorate that voted for Bush over Kerry by a 6% margin in 2004: very clearly an undersampling of Democrats and an oversampling of Republicans.8

See Appendix 1 for detailed tabular presentation of the above data.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

7 While we present the reported 2.8% Bush margin in 2004 at face value, it will not escape notice that the
distortions in vote tabulation that we establish in the current paper were also alleged in 2004, were
evidenced by the 2004 exit polls, and were demonstrably achievable given the electronic voting systems
deployed at that time. We note that, if upon retrospective evaluation the unadjusted 2004 exit polls were as
accurate as the 2006 exit polls have proven to be, and their 2.5% margin for Kerry in 2004 is taken as the
appropriate baseline, a correctly weighted sample in 2006 would have included even more Kerry voters and
even fewer Bush voters than Edison/Mitofsky?s 7:07 p.m. poll, with a substantial consequent up-tick in the
Democratic margin.

8 The distortion is introduced because every "I voted for the Democrat for the House" questionnaire is
given a decreased weight necessary to bring the total Democratic vote down to the official reported
percentage, and every "I voted for the Republican" questionnaire is given an increased weight needed to
bring the total Republican vote up to the official reported percentage. That weighting also affects equally
the response to every question on the questionnaire, including of course the "Who did you vote for in the
presidential election of 2004?? question. That is how the results for that question went from 47%-45%
Bush in the weighted but unadjusted poll to 49%-43% Bush in the adjusted poll posted the next day.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

What Really Happened On November 7th?

If the final and official exit poll numbers so grossly oversampled Republicans and undersampled Democrats in order to force a match of the overall numbers to the aggregate House vote tally reported on November 8th, then we must conclude that the valid exit poll was the unadjusted exit poll -- from 7PM the previous evening -- that gave us very nearly the correct proportions of Kerry and Bush voters.

That unadjusted poll indicated that the Democrats' 2006 total House vote margin was 11.5%, or nearly 4% greater than the 7.6% reported vote count margin.9 This represents nearly a three million vote discrepancy between the validated exit poll results and the reported vote tally for the US House of Representatives. What could account for such a dramatic difference?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

9 The 11.5% Democratic margin indicated in the unadjusted exit poll early on Election Night also was
consistent with the average of the major ?Generic House? public opinion polls conducted immediately prior
to the election. In fact, the 11.5% margin was substantially smaller than predicted by all but two ?outlier?
polls. nal_ballot-22.html.... It is worth noting that virtually all of the pre-election polls shift, in the month before the election, to a "likelyvoter cutoff model" (LCVM) that excludes entirely any voters not highly likely (on the basis of a battery of screening questions) to cast ballots; that is, it excludes entirely voters with a 25% or even 50% likelihood of
voting. Since these are disproportionately transients and first-time voters, the less educated and affluent, it
is also a correspondingly Democratic constituency that is disproportionately excluded. Ideally these voters
should be down-weighted to their estimated probability of voting, but that probability is not 0%. By
excluding them entirely, these pre-election polls build in a pro-Republican bias of about 2-5%. Dr. Steven
Freeman, visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Organizational Dynamics, has
examined this phenomenon in great detail. Of course, one of the reasons for the recent shift to the LVCM--
a methodology that pollsters will generally admit is distorted but which they maintain nonetheless ?gets it
right?--is that pollsters are not paid for methodological purity, they are paid to get it right. The reality is
that distorted vote counts and a distorted but ?successful? pre-election polling methodology are
corroborating and validating each other, with only the exit polls (drawn from actual voters) seeming out of
step.

10 Consequently even the unadjusted exit poll, which fit the contours of the 2004 electorate, very likely
undersampled the Democrats voting in E2006. Indeed, once the on-going analysis fully quantifies the
extent of the Democrats' turnout victory, it will be time to recalculate upward the extent of the vote
miscount in 2006. Our estimates, impounding the several exacerbating factors we have noted, put the likely
Democratic victory margin in the total House vote at more than 20% (61% - 38%).

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Differential turnout?

While it could be argued that a sample with a 6% Bush > Kerry voter margin might be valid because Republicans turned out in droves and routed the Democrats in the E2006 turnout battle, there are a plethora of measures, including individual precinct tallies, that indicate the obvious: the Democrats clearly won the Get-Out-The-Vote battle; in fact many Republican voters stayed home, dismayed and turned-off by the late-breaking run of scandals, bad news, and missteps.10

The Democrats clearly won the turnout battle and yet the only way that the adjusted exit poll could be valid is to postulate a disproportionately Republican electorate that favored Bush by 6% rather than 2.8% in 2004, clearly a contradiction.

Vote count discrepancy?

If the weighted but unadjusted Election Night exit poll is valid as indicated, then it must be the reported vote tally which is inaccurate.11 Although this is, to put it mildly, an unwelcome finding, it is unfortunately consonant with analyses we are currently performing of the many specific incidents of vote-switching and mistabulation reported in 2006, and with a host of other evidence and analysis that has emerged about electronic voting technology as deployed in the United States.

We have argued that there is a remarkable degree of consensus among computer scientists,12 security professionals,13 government agencies,14 and independent analysts15 that U.S. electronic vote tallying technology is vulnerable to unintentional programming errors16 and to deliberate manipulation--certainly by foul-play-minded insiders at voting equipment vendors, but also by other individuals with access to voting equipment hardware or software.17

We have a system of "faith-based" voting where we are simply asked to trust the integrity of the count produced by the machines that tally our votes, with little if any effective checks and balances. In the context of yet another election replete with reported problems with vote tallying,18 the continuing mismatch between the preferences expressed by voters as captured in national exit polls, and the official vote tally as reported to the public is extremely disturbing.

Conclusion

While the reported results of the 2006 election were certainly well-received by the Democratic party and were ballpark-consistent with public expectations, the unadjusted 2006 exit poll data indicates that what has been cast as a typical midterm setback for a president in his second term was something rather more remarkable -- a landslide repudiation of historic proportions.

We believe that the degree of statistical distortion now required to force exit polls to match the official tally is the clearest possible warning that the ever-growing catalog of reported vulnerabilities in America's electronic vote counting systems are not only possible to exploit, they are actually being exploited.

Any system so clearly at risk of interference and gross manipulation can not and should not be trusted to tally the votes in any future elections.
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11 It will no doubt be objected that if such substantial manipulation of the vote counts is possible, why
would it stop short of bringing about a general electoral victory? While we would like to credit the
heightened scrutiny engendered by the untiring efforts of election integrity groups, an awakening media,
and a more informed and vigilant public, an alternative, more chilling, explanation has been suggested?
simply that the mechanics of manipulation (software modules, primarily) had to be deployed before latebreaking
pre-election developments greatly expanded the gap that such manipulation would have been
calibrated to cover.
12 For instance http://www.acm.org/usacm/weblog/index.php?cat=6
13 See the credentials of the interdisciplinary Brennan Center Task Force membership at
http://brennancenter.org/dynamic/subpages/download_file_36343.pdf
14 http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05956.pdf
15 See http://www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVtsxstudy.pdf, http://www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVtsxstudysupp.pdf, and http://www.blackboxvoting.org/BBVreport.pdf
16 Credible reports of voting equipment malfunctions are all too common; one good starting point is
http://www.votersunite.org/info/messupsbyvendor.asp
17 For example http://brennancenter.org/programs/downloads/SecurityFull7-3Reduced.pdf
18 Election 2006 incidents at http://www.votersunite.org/electionproblems.asp

..........................................

and finally:

http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/ExitPollData

2006 Exit Poll Data Screenshot Captures

Once again, as in 2004, the national media and Edison-Mitofsky have colluded in election deception.

On this page we present screenshot captures of the network consortium exit poll results for the 2006 Midterm Elections -- showing you the original, authentic 7:07 p.m. exit poll on Election Night, compared to the "forced" exit poll issued the following day at 1:00 p.m., heavily adjusted to conform to the "official" electronic election returns.

The 7:07 p.m. exit poll figures on 11/07 showed an 11.5% electoral margin between Democratic and Republican votes for the U.S. House.
View them by opening this file: http://electiondefensealliance.org/files/HOUSE_EP_7PM_1107.pdf

The 1:00 p.m. exit poll figures released Wednesday, 11/08 show an apparent but "adjusted" (falsified) 7.6% percent spread -- understating the scale of the Democratic sweep by 34%.
View those figures by opening this file: http://electiondefensealliance.org/files/HOUSE_EP_1PM_1108.pdf

The full explanation how and why this was done, and how we know that the original exit poll figures of 11/07 are the true reflection of this election, is published in this press release and in this full-length report.

Here is an excerpt from the Press Release:

The 2006 Edison-Mitofsky Exit Poll was commissioned by a consortium of major news organizations. Its conclusions were based on the responses of a very large sample of more than 10,000 voters nationwide*, and posted at 7:07 p.m. Election Night on the CNN website. That Exit Poll showed Democratic House candidates had out-polled Republicans by 55.0 percent to 43.5 percent -- an 11.5 percent margin -- in the total vote for the U.S. House, sometimes referred to as the "generic" vote.

By contrast, the election results showed Democratic House candidates won 52.7 percent of the vote to 45.1 percent for Republican candidates, producing a 7.6 percent margin in the total vote for the U.S. House -- 3.9 percent less than the Edison-Mitofsky poll. This discrepancy, far beyond the poll's +/- 1 percent margin of error, has less than a one in 10,000 likelihood of occurring by chance.

By Wednesday afternoon the Edison-Mitofsky poll had been adjusted, by a process known as "forcing," to match the reported vote totals for the election. This forcing process is done to supply data for future demographic analysis, the main purpose of the Exit Poll. It involved re-weighting every response so that the sum of those responses matched the reported election results. The final result, posted at 1:00 p.m. November 8, showed the adjusted Democratic vote at 52.6 percent and the Republican vote at 45.0 percent, a 7.6 percent margin exactly mirroring the reported vote totals.

The forcing process in this instance reveals a great deal. The political party affiliation of the respondents in the original 7:07 p.m. election night Exit Poll closely reflected the 2004 Bush-Kerry election margin. After the forcing process, 49-percent of respondents reported voting for Republican George W. Bush in 2004, while only 43-percent reported voting for Democrat John Kerry. This 6-percent gap is more than twice the size of the actual 2004 Bush margin of 2.8 percent, and a clear distortion of the 2006 electorate.

There is a significant over-sampling of Republican voters in the adjusted 2006 Exit Poll. It simply does not reflect the actual turnout on Election Day 2006.

Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on November 20, 2006 12:46 PM