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A commenter over at DU asked which states used the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system found vulnerable to an undetectable countywide vote-flipping virus which can be implanted by a single person, as we reported this morning.
Based on our quick review of a county-by-county database of voting systems, sorted by state, as made available by Common Cause (EXCEL spreadsheet downloadable here) just prior to the November 2006 elections, it looks like the answer is 16 states in total.
Since the EAC refuses, as our report detailed, to do their job in notifying Elections Officials about this incredibly serious vulnerability, it looks like it's up to you to notify your state's Secretary of State and/or county Election Officials! Details on the vulnerability and mitigating steps that may be taken are detailed in this brief report at VotersUnite.org as written by a computer scientist and voting system expert well familiar with the newly discovered flaw. Please refer your voting officials to both our original article, and that scientific report for more details at the following URLs:
The states which use the ES&S iVotronic affected (with firmware versions either 8 or 9, with or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail") are as follows:
If we've missed any, or any of the states above do not use the system in at least one county, please let us know and we'll amend the list.
The BRAD BLOG and You - Doing the EAC's job for them. But without the $15 million budget (or the incomprehensible incompetence).
Boy, I really hope this is wrong. Or that something changes it. Otherwise, I see nobody amongst the current crop of Dems that I could perceive of supporting. Again.
Exceptions would be a big "perhaps, we'll see much much later" in either John Edwards or Wes Clark. But man would it be a shame for both America and the World --- whether you'd support him or not --- if Gore chose not to run again. Again.
UPDATE: Melinda Henneberger says it ain't so:
"Absolutely nothing new,'' Gore spokesman Michael Feldman said of the report. "He's been saying the same thing for six years - that he's not running but has not completely ruled it out - and depending on where he is, it's reported differently.''
(Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG reader KestrelBrightEyes)
RELATED-ISH UPDATE: Btw, on the Republican side, I might suggest one of the dark horses that Democrats should be most concerned about is Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. His recent appearance on The Daily Show may give you an idea why. That is, if he can make it through the hard right phony "conservative" hurdles of the primary process.
Beyond this interview, I don't know much about him, so I welcome reader feedback --- particularly from Arkansans and others with an inside angle on him.
UPDATE RELATED TO THE PREVIOUS RELATED-ISH UPDATE: E.J. Dionne has a similar thought at nearly the same moment. Calls Huckabee "the brightest star among Republican presidential dark horses" and "the Republican to watch."
Yes, we're as tired of writing about it as you likely are of reading about it. But as run-off elections proceed (Arkansas's is tomorrow), touch-screen votes are still flipping from one candidate to the other on ES&S's touch-screen machines during early voting. (ES&S made the touch-screen machines in FL-13, btw.)
Heber Springs, Arkansas, mayoral run-off candidate Jackie McPherson began to suspect problems when both his mother-in-law and her mom told him their attempted vote for him flipped over to McPherson's opponent during early voting. He went to the Cleburne County Clerk's office to test the problem for himself --- in front of the County Clerk, who at first told him it was not possible --- and then they were both able to watch the vote flip about 20 times in a row.
McPherson says the head of the local Elections Commission then told him "the election would have to go on," and that he "would have to get a court order to review the machines and the problem that obviously exists."
Key grafs fom McPherson's description of his vote-flipping adventure at the County Clerk's office are below. The Sun-Times full coverage is here...
And the beat goes on...
The New York Times' Ian Urbina (this time with Christopher Drew) continues to stay on point with his Electoral Failures coverage at the Grey Lady. Unlike Urbina's last report, this time he wasn't undermined by the Times headline writers. (Does anyone with a hard copy of the paper know what page this was reported on, btw?)
To his additional credit, he didn't use the word "glitch" even once. Thank you, Ian. Here are a few highlights from his piece in today's paper...
Tens of thousands of voters, scattered across more than 25 states, encountered serious problems at the polls, including failures in sophisticated new voting machines and confusion over new identification rules, according to interviews with election experts and officials.
Wow. Who could have predicted that?!
And there's more...Of course, the "experts" (word used very cautiously!) are beginning to notice that things on Nov. 7th were worse than they had originally understood. "Voting problems may actually have been wider than initially estimated, with many malfunctions simply overlooked," reports the Times.
So how bad were they? How about 60,000 missing votes in Florida, bad. 20,000 voters who couldn't vote in Colorado, bad. Or in Arkansas, where "election officials tallied votes three times in one county, and each time the number of ballots cast changed by more than 30,000," bad.
And then there's the erstwhile election "expert" Doug Chapin of Electionline.org whose "expert" opinion ensures his presence in just about any mainstream media coverage of these matters. Mr. Chapin continues, on schedule, working all sides of the street in Urbina's piece. It's a tricky juggling act for this "expert" --- mustn't offend the Voting Machine Companies or the Elections Officials who pay his bills, or even, to a lesser extent, the Election Integrity advocates who might just call him a phony if he's not careful --- but, as John Gideon pointed out in yesterday's DVN, even Chapin's having a difficult time avoiding the obvious:
And the award for "Understatment of the Year" goes to...
UPDATE 9:01pm PT: Reader Adele writes to tell us that Urbina's article was on "page 30 of 36 pages in the National section" of today's paper.
Orlando Sentinel's coverage on Friday began with these incredible words [emphasis ours]:
"Not as foolproof as hoped"?!
Just who exactly are the fools they're referring to there?
Electronic voting machines made by ES&S, the largest supplier of voting systems in the country, failed across the country on Election Day. We're beginning to see more and more of the results of the failures from those machines --- as "foolproof," apparently, as the Titanic was "unsinkable."
An unprecedented 83% voter turnout has been reported from ES&S iVotronic paperless touch-screen systems in Benton County, Arkansas, after the Election Commission reviewed it's balloting when it was found that tabulated votes were being dropped from the system as new votes were being entered into it on Tuesday night.
The results: More votes than citizens in several areas of Benton County and an overall turnout described as "eye-popping" by a University of Arkansas political science professor who pointed to Idaho's 63% turnout as having made news for a midterm election record. Idaho's got nothing on Benton County, apparently.
Four different Florida counties are reporting enormous undervote rates on the same type of ES&S iVotronic paperless touch-screen systems in at least one key U.S. House race and in their election for State Attorney General.
And in one small town, ES&S voting machines are reporting zero votes for a mayoral candidate who swears that, yes, he really did vote for himself!
In Arkansas, the Morning News reported on Friday...
We didn't much report on these incidents back in 2004 because they seemed anectodal at the time and couldn't be independently confirmed. After two years now of thousands of such reports from '04 --- almost always showing votes hopping to Republican candidates only --- and still the Voting Machine Companies and Elections Officials saying "it never happened," it seems appropriate to report a few of these incidencts as we hear of them before Election Day, during Early Voting, so folks can look into them.
Here are three different reports over the last day or two of touch-screen votes flipping from Democrats or Libertarians over to Republicans.
A friend of our family’s went last Friday to early vote in Maplewood at Sunnen Park. He voted for Claire McCaskill, but each time he, the election worker, and the election supervisor pressed the screen for Claire, the screen said he had voted for Jim Talent.
I sent this info along to a friend that works in Claire’s campaign. I have the name and number of the guy this happened to if you are interested.
PLEASE BRING A VIDEO CAMERA WHEN YOU GO TO VOTE THIS YEAR SO THESE INCIDENTS CAN BE DOCUMENTED! Spread the word...Thank you.
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
Readers of The BRAD BLOG know that the state of Arkansas had a "Train Wreck" in their primary election and that much of the blame was laid at the feet of their voting machine vendor Elections Systems and Software. Now the Associated Press and The Arkansas Democrat Gazette both report that an independent study has been done at the request of the state and the study agrees with what The BRAD BLOG has said all along.
According to the Associated Press article:
"ES&S was too busy running helter-skelter between Little Rock and Omaha," one county official said in a survey. "The result was a woeful lack of communication with the counties."
Another election official wrote, "This was the most disorganized bunch ever to run an election in Arkansas. They were untruthful in their responses. Their performance left the burden of this election on us and greatly increased the cost."
and they go on to report:
The report said several county officials questioned whether ES&S would be able to provide the resources necessary for the general election given the delays with providing staff for the primary.
ES&S has the largest slice of the voting machine business in the country. They found it impossible to support a string of state primaries held over a 5 to 6 week time span. How are they ever going to be able to handle a general election where all 50 states vote at the same time?
Deputy Secretary of State Janet Harris said Thursday that Desha, Garland, Jefferson, Lonoke, Phillips, Pope, Pulaski and Searcy counties had told her office they won't use the electronic voting equipment on Tuesday. The equipment is required under federal law.
Pulaski County Elections Director Susan Inman said that county decided not to use the machines after reviewing the programming code from voting machine vendor Election Systems & Software and discovering errors.
"In its entirety, it was wrong," Inman said.
Congratulations to the State of Arkansas for putting voters and the integrity of their votes over the a horrendously flawed federal statute (HAVA) rammed through Congress by a soon-to-be-indicted criminal.
If it wasn't the disasters that AR has faced so far this year in ES&S's disastrous administration of elections in that state, perhaps it was the morality tale that played out on ES&S equipment in Pottawattamie County, Iowa last Tuesday that pushed them over the edge. Either way, glad to see it. We hope the other 45 states where ES&S runs elections (or, more aptly, ruins elections) will take note.
For a bit more background on the ES&S disasters in Arkansas, see this:
ES&S MELTDOWN: Arkansas Remains an Utter Disaster...
ES&S MELTDOWN: ARKANSAS PRIMARY A DISGRACE, DISASTER!
or search BRAD BLOG for "Arkansas".
(Hat tip to Doug K.)
How bad is the ES&S meltdown in Arkansas? Really bad...
Of course, we ran a series on things as they were falling apart before, during and after their recent primaries. (See this story for a quick primer). Apparently, things have gotten no better out there.
Then ponder that ES&S has so far failed in about 10 states. These are just the primaries. With low turnout. On separate days. How do you suppose things will go for a general election. With large turnout. When ES&S has to service all 46 of their states at the same time?
This quote, from today's article on the mess they're still in, says it all:
Now where have we heard that before?
Guest Blogged by John Gideon, with Brad Friedman
Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) has finally shown us why they should not be in the elections business. The disgraceful primary election in Arkansas yesterday is a prime example. It was, and continues to be, an utter disaster today. The day after.
Brad and I both have been overwhelmed all day with the number of reports coming in on the complete failures by ES&S in the state yesterday. So much so, that it's difficult to even know where to begin. Thus, tonight's late report --- with general details and enough links to set you on your way to inform yourself about what the hell is going on here.
In our best (if fruitless) attempt at brevity, however...
Another Primary Election Day. Another E-Voting Mess. This time in Arkansas.
Mind you, this comes on the heels of earlier announcements that several major counties in Arkansas would be forced to use paper ballots instead of electronic machines after ES&S failed to deliver ballots and programming on time for the start of elections (something like the 10th state in which this has happened with ES&S so far this year, as regular BRAD BLOG readers know. But shhh...don't tell anyone!)
On Monday, the day before the election, at least one county election director in Arkansas pleaded with voters to choose paper on Election Day. "Grab a paper ballot, vote it and put it in the ballot box. It will go smoother," Benton County's election coordinator told voters on Monday.
Well, now it looks like ES&S has failed even further (we're shocked, shocked!) as tabulators in some counties failed to work at all, so ballots can't be counted until tomorrow at the earliest. And now the AR Secretary of State wants some answers about all of it.
Yes, the wheels are wobbling on the locomotives. The vendors --- ES&S, Diebold, and the rest --- attempt to keep a stiff upper lip as they both fail to perform, yet continue collecting tax-payer dollars from the county election coffers. Meanwhile some elections officials have just turned a blind-eye to what is happening while they continue to make excuses for their vendors: The private corporate American Electronic Voting Machine behemoths that are being paid to take over America's Public Electoral system.
And the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) which was put in place by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), theoretically, to keep all of this from occurring? Well, all they do is raise their hands and shrug and tell anyone who asks, that they don't do voting systems certification so they just don't know anything. The Sergeant Schultz Defense, perhaps?
From the Pine Bluff Commercial...
The Jefferson County Election Commission voted unanimously Monday afternoon to instead use the county's old lever machines. The panel had previously voted to use the new Electrical Systems and Software (ES&S) iVotronic Touch Screen Voting System, but Commission Chairman Trey Ashcraft said several ES&S "failures" forced a change in plans.
"With early voting beginning (Monday) May 8, ES&S hasn't provided us with many essential and critical tools necessary for us to conduct the election to the standards set by law and to our own high standards," Ashcraft said.
As you'll see below, in the flurry of today's breaking Primary Day news we had originally reported the above as having occurred in Jefferson County, Texas, as opposed to Jefferson County, Arkansas. The information following, concerning the problems in Jefferson County, TX, are still accurate, however, in regards to what happened in that Texas county, which also mirrors the problems as reported above in Jefferson County, Arkansas. Nonetheless, the original headline for the story, referring to Texas, was inaccurate. It should have said Arkansas, and we've now made that correction. The BRAD BLOG regrets the error.
As regular readers know, The BRAD BLOG has been extensively covering the E-Voting meltdown issues, with a particular eye towards the failure of ES&S, America's largest E-Voting vendor.
Texas, in particular, has been a mess of late. See our previous coverage of the ES&S meltdown in the state where the Secretary of State has instructed to create "emergency paper ballots", purchase storage containers for them, and extra staff to manually hand-count them.
Jefferson County specifically had previously tried to withhold payment from their vendor, ES&S, after enormous failures by the company during the county's March 7th primary. Reportedly, however, they were strong-armed by ES&S and told they would not program machines and ballots at all for the upcoming runoffs if payment was withheld.
We are hearing quite a few reports of similarly thuggish behavior, threats and tactics from ES&S and hope to have more details in a future report.
Unfortunately, States and Counties have sold off their public responsibility to carry out accurate and transparent elections to private corporations to whom they are now entirely beholden. On one side, there are the failing private Voting Machine Vendors, and on the other side, the U.S. Dept. of Justice threatening to sue when states and counties don't comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which kicks in this year.
Of course, as we've reported previously, it's the voters who are paying the real price for their democracy vanquished.
By John Gideon Executive Director VotersUnite.Org and Information Manager VoteTrustUSA.Org
When asked by a reporter, "Which is harder to manage, your two children or ES&S?" Marion County, Indiana Clerk Doris Ann Sadler told the Indianapolis Star this week, "Oh, ES&S, definitely. My children are really very easy. In fact, at times I think my children would have done a better job with the voting machines. And they're (ages) 7 and 4."
The Electronic Voting Machine Vendor locomotive is still running away down the track at an alarming speed. However, this week some states and county election officials seem to be beginning to notice and are now sending out signals that they intend to either stop the train or � barring that --- at least ensure that companies such as Election Systems and Software (ES&S) do not profit too much from their arrogance, ineptitude and now epidemic failures.
Legal complaints against the company were filed this week in West Virginia and Indiana to add to the one previously under way in Oregon. Threats have been heard from Texas, Arkansas, Ohio and elsewhere. Election officials have been forced to change voting procedures in many states and counties to accommodate for ES&S' growing array of failures.
Meanwhile no one seems to be talking about the people who will be most affected by this train wreck; the voters�
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