Nine voting machines were left unsecured in an office building overnight in northwest Lehi.
"There are hundreds of locations that they go to, it's not unexpected that this would happen," said Utah elections director Mark Thomas. He said there was a case about two years ago when voting machines were left unattended for a few days at the Utah State Capitol after an election.
"There are a lot of moving parts, a lot involved," he said of preparing for Election Day.
Phil Windley, who served as chief information officer for former governor Mike Leavitt, saw the machines loaded on two push carts in the lobby when he left from his Kynetx work office in Thanksgiving Point Business Park on Tuesday.
"This morning, I went to lunch and they were still there," Windley said during a phone interview on Wednesday. "I was surprised."
He photographed the unprotected machines and posted the photo online.
Windley said he later called the Utah County Clerk's office to let them know about the machines left in the lobby. "'We just drop them off; the building is in charge of locking them up,'" he said was the clerk's response.
What could possibly go wrong?!
Well, nothing, according to Scott Hogenson, the either clueless or misleading (or both) Utah County chief deputy clerk-auditor...
[The AK Supreme Court has put a stay on the Superior Court Judge's order. For now. See important update at bottom of article.]
As we've been suggesting in our two previous articles on the issue, the Alaska Division of Election's unprecedented move to supply printed lists of write-in candidates to polling places, purportedly to "assist" voters seeking help, violates state election procedures.
A judge today ruled in favor of the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP), as well as the state Republicans who joined the suit, by issuing a temporary restraining order finding the DoE's practice a "clear violation of Alaska administrative regulation."
We covered the issue over the weekend when it first came up, as letters went back and forth between the ADP, who charged the procedure amounted to "electioneering" inside the polling place, and the DoE, who claimed they were required by state and federal law to provide such assistance to voters.
We covered it again last night, when the DoE responded to our public records request for previous lists of printed write-in candidates by denying the request, since, as DoE Director Gail Fenumiai wrote, "The requested records do not exist."
State Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner agreed that the state's argument "rings hollow", noting, "If it were important 'assistance' for the division to provide voters with lists of write-in candidates, then the division has been asleep at the switch for the past 50 years. The division first developed the need for a write-in candidate list 12 days ago."
The ruling comes as a blow to incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who tossed her hat into the ring as a write-in candidate after her primary loss to the GOP's Joe Miller. Along with Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, a fierce three-way battle has ensued for the open U.S. Senate seat from Alaska. Although it's unclear what leg they have to stand on, the state has said they will appeal Pfiffner's decision ordering the immediate removal of the printed list of "certified" write-in candidates from polling places across the state. The judge also ruled that pollworkers may not mention Murkowski's, or any write-in candidate's name, to voters.
Aaaand here we go again. Our first report of touch-screen vote flipping of the year during early voting. And, for an added twist, this time it's Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry who seems to be getting screwed by the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system in question.
Most such reports of touch-screen vote-flipping or vote-hopping, historically, have been from Democratic voters seeing their votes flip to candidates of other parties, though there have been isolated reports over the years of Republican voters experiencing the very same problem. Indeed, another report has been published today from a voter in Collin County, TX, who says his vote flipped from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White over to the Republican Perry.
The Dallas incident was posted as a YouTube video by programmer Don Relyea and began to go viral early this morning, before being set to "private," presumably by Relyea, at YouTube a few hours ago. So, unfortunately (for now), we're unable to show the video itself, though we watched it several times this morning before it was made unavailable, and have a step-by-step analysis of precisely what is seen in the video, as detailed by an Election Integrity expert who reviewed it a number of times to explain what is actually seen in it.
The removal of the video, seemingly shot via a cell phone camera, may be due to Texas law barring recording equipment of any kind in polling places. Dallas County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbert told The BRAD BLOG that he has now referred the matter to the District Attorney for investigation, not due the purported incident of vote-flipping, but rather due to Relyea's video-taping of the event.
Sherbert's explanation for what is seen in the video, however, downplays the purported problem and does not appear to sync up with what is actually seen in the video supporting Relyea's contention that his attempted vote for Perry was being inappropriately flipped to a number of Green Party candidates on the ES&S iVotronic system...
Over the weekend, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced she would run as a write-in candidate this November after reportedly losing a close GOP primary race to far Rightwing "Tea Party" candidate Joe Miller.
The three-way race, along with Democratic candidate and Mayor of Sitka Scott McAdams, could prove to be a serious challenge for Alaska's historically-dicey optical-scan voting system made by Diebold. Given the shortcomings of the system which otherwise employs the concealed vote-counting of centrally tabulated ballots, the need to hand-review write-in votes this November could present a unique opportunity for citizens of the 49th state to oversee at least some of their own electoral system --- for a welcome change.
Statistical polling analyst Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight blog is now hosted by The New York Times, has been suggesting that Murkowski's seemingly-Quixotic bid, while still a long shot, may actually prove to be "viable" as a write-in campaign. But whether or not Alaska's voting system is up to task may be a different matter, and an additional hurtle for Murkowski to overcome...
Problems with New York's new electronic voting system are being reported across the state today, according to the New York Times. Today's primary elections mark the first statewide use of the new, paper-based optical-scan systems which have been been the cause of much controversy among election officials and Election Integrity advocates over the last several months and years in the Empire State.
New York is the last state in the union to replace their older election system --- much of the state, as well as all of New York City had previously used mechanical lever machines --- with new-fangled, failure-prone, easily-manipulated computerized systems following the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 which was enacted in the wake of the 2000 Presidential Election debacle.
In New York City, where Wall Street Journal reports the problems are "most severe" --- including reports from Mayor Bloomberg on "reports of broken and missing scanners, poor customer service and poll sites opening two to four hours late" --- the new systems are made by ES&S, the nation's largest voting machine company, and one with a storied history of election failures.
The systems used in other parts of the state are largely manufactured by the Canadian firm Dominion Voting, formerly as a partnership with Sequoia Voting Systems. Dominion eventually bought out cash-strapped Sequoia's portion of the NY state deal before buying out Sequoia entirely earlier this year. The purchase of Sequoia, then the nation's third-largest e-voting firm, on the heels of their purchase of Diebold/Premiere just weeks prior, has vaulted Dominion, virtually overnight, to one of the largest e-voting vendors in the U.S..
Some state election officials and Election Integrity advocates alike had long-warned against the implementation of these new systems, going so far as to take the issue to court and to testify to the inability of certifying the accuracy of elections run on the new machines.
According to the Times this morning, some polling places "did not open for more than 90 minutes" in Brooklyn; elsewhere, every ballot scanned "was returning a the 'system error'" message; and across the state, there have been reports of "longer-than-usual delays and troubles with the scanners that are supposed to swallow and tabulate the new, SAT-style ballots"...
This November, after all that we've learned over so many years, twenty percent of the nation will still engage in blind-faith voting on DREs that are 100% unverifiable, with or without a so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT). Elsewhere, the vast majority of Americans will feed paper ballots into easily hacked optical scan systems and then quietly accept the results that the machines spew out without demanding a hand count of the paper ballots.
The corporate media will dutifully publish the reported "results" without so much as mentioning that in most jurisdictions not a single ballot will have been counted by a human being.
With Brad Friedman and Desi Doyen off enjoying some much needed R & R, I thought some levity was in order, courtesy of this hilarious, if somewhat dated, Onion video.
UPDATE FROM BRAD 9/6/10: Now that I'm almost back on the grid, a quick addition here to note that we ran this same video back on February 25, 2008. That it still has resonance and meaning today --- after all that we've learned about the 100% unverifiable nature of such systems --- says a great deal, since we're still foolishly using these things all across the country, as Ernie pointed out. Also related from The Onion, as we ran in November of 2008, there's this: "Sequoia Touch-Screen Elected 44th President".
While barreling westward across the Great Plains yesterday, I received an urgent text message from Bev Harris of the non-partisan election integrity watchdog organization BlackBoxVoting.org. She and Susan Pynchon, an election integrity advocate from Florida Fair Elections Coalition, had traveled to Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee, following reports of massive voter disenfranchisement during the state's August 5th elections.
She and Pynchon have been in the county, on behalf of a number of the candidates affected by the apparent disaster for the last two weeks.
"Wildest election tampering yet in memphis," Harris' detailed text message read. "7 out of eight candidates black in black locations with 70 percent dems but white republican sweep."
"Ten candidates filed lawsuit today," the message continued, as she explained that over the past two weeks she and Pynchon "watched as [election officials] wheeled cartloads of computers out of the building. Thousands and thousands of votes don't add up...poll tapes in trash and much more."
"Even the candidates could not get their own results and were told they were 'not available,'" she wrote. "They certified [the elections] and STILL did not give out results until threatened by a lawyer and even then the results said 'unofficial'. There is hilarious video of repub lawyer shouting 'keep those women away from me!'"...
We were on the road all day long yesterday, after getting the morning's Green News Report. We finally got off the road and back on the grid as the sun was setting here in the Midwest, and as "results" began coming in from some of the five different states (Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont) holding primary elections last night.
It seemed a good moment to ask a question on Twitter about what we'd missed so far. In the bargain, we received some interesting Twitter replies from NBC's Chief White House Correspondent and election results guy Chuck Todd, in regard to counting ballots and the fact that he (and others) were busy reporting "results" to the world, even as not one single ballot had yet to be counted by any human being in all of the United States by that point.
Here's how some of that conversation on Twitter went...
The mystery surrounding a long-questioned and allegedly "fixed" non-partisan 2006 Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) bond election in Pima County, AZ continues to deepen as troubling new details have now emerged. The resolution in this matter --- should it ever come --- could spell trouble for supporters of paper-based optical-scan electronic voting systems, since indications are that if the election was rigged, it was done with insiders via the electronic central tabulating computers.
Late last week another new twist was discovered in the years-long election fraud investigation by Democratic and Libertarian Election Integrity advocates in Tucson. The revelations come to light in what was thought by many to have been a settled election, at last, following a long-sought hand-count of paper ballots carried out last year by the office of AZ's Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard. The AG had announced in April of last year that his criminal investigation hand-count had "affirmed" the original results of the election were correct.
As it turns out, The BRAD BLOG, which has been covering this bizarre matter for years, plays a small role in this latest development, as a promise that Goddard's office made to us last year concerning the "poll tapes" --- remarks which he was asked about during a press conference at the end of the hand count [see the remarks on video below] --- may have now boomeranged on him.
Given that Goddard is now the likely Democratic nominee to face Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in this fall's Gubernatorial race, this revelation couldn't have come at a much worse time for him.
After many years of litigation, Election Integrity advocates have now finally been allowed to review the long sought-after poll tapes in question. What they've discovered is disturbing and, so far, without legitimate explanation.
Out of 368 precincts, 112 poll tapes are completely missing. Moreover, 102 of the "yellow sheets" --- certified precinct reports, signed by poll workers, detailing corresponding summary information, such as numbers of ballots received, cast and spoiled, as helpful for important auditing functions at the precinct level --- are missing as well.
Furthermore, of the poll tape records that are not missing, 50 of them do not match the results as recorded in the final canvas of the election, according to the Election Integrity advocates who have compared them to the original electronic database numbers...
We don't normally do this, but since the entirety of the piece was so tremendously good; and, since it's so rare to see such an on-target OpEd on this topic in any major corporate news outlet; and, since St. Louis is our old hometown; and, since we've met with the MoHonest folks on a number of very pleasant occasions; and, since St. Louis County, the largest in MO, still shamefully uses 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by the oft-failed ES&S outfit in no small part because of this blog and this blogger's father; and, since the City of St. Louis still shamefully uses 100% unverifiable DRE systems made by Diebold; and, since much of the rest of the important "swing state" still shamefully uses similarly 100% unverifiable voting systems; and, since both fake "voting rights advocate" (really, top GOP vote suppression scam artist) Thor Hearne, and Bush's horrific U.S. Election Assistance Commission chair (now, Internet Voting huckster) Paul DeGregorio both live there and don't give a damn that voters in the state use such oft-failed, easily-manipulated, fully-unverfiable voting systems; and, since more people are likely to read the full article here than at the the Post; rather than just linking to the editorial, or quoting a few grafs, we're gonna run it in full below.
Please read it, and consider writing similar for your major newspaper in your hometown (and then watch them not publish it)...
The local Charleston, South Carolina, NBC affiliate, WCBD, was hoodwinked by someone; apparently it was the SC Election Commission. In the following report, WCBD's Larry Collins says that he has checked on the claim that "there is no independent paper back up from [South Carolina's] touch machines." He then goes on to inaccurately report, presumably from information given to him by the state election commission, that "there is a paper trail" on the state's ES&S iVotronic voting systems...
Collins' reporting is patently inaccurate.
The pieces of paper seen hanging in the background behind him are end of the day reports or possibly some "poll tapes," printed out after polls close, showing the purported tallies from each machine or precinct. They are not auditable "paper trail" records of voters' votes, and they are not verified in any way, shape, or form by the voter.
Those printouts can say absolutely anything, as printed, including the actual vote counts, erroneous vote counts due to machine malfunction or misprogramming, or, as seen in the following Fox "News" clip, vote counts that have been purposely manipulated by tampering and/or the inclusion of a virus implanted on one of the voting machines' memory cards...
Diebold Inc., the bank teller-machine maker, was accused of inflating earnings through fraudulent accounting practices from at least 2002 to 2007, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Diebold “regularly manipulated earnings to meet forecasts,” the SEC said in the complaint filed today in federal court in Washington. The agency is seeking an unspecified civil penalty in the case.
The case is U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Diebold Inc., 10cv908, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
Tuesday's election are being called "Super Tuesday" by some in the media hoping to hype the four-state Election Day as a bellwether for the "anti-incumbency fever" predicted by the same media for this November.
But beyond the marquee races in each of the states holding elections tomorrow --- Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Oregon (and Hawaii is currently holding an all-mail special election which ends on Saturday) --- as usual, we'll be keeping our eyes on whether voters are actually able to cast their votes, and whether or not those votes are actually counted and counted accurately.
The mix of states holding elections tomorrow also offer a mix of electoral systems --- from a majority of voters using 100% unverifiable touch-screen machines in use in KY and PA, to a compilation of touch-screen and paper ballot systems run by a company with a disastrous reliability record in AR, to the black hole of all mail-in voting in OR (and in HI).
Remember, whatever happens or gets reported (or doesn't) on Tuesday, it's often the case that concerns about failures in the system don't necessarily become immediately apparent on Election Day itself. Sometimes problems in the system and in the tallies do not begin to emerge until days, weeks, and sometimes even months after Election Day. So whatever we see in the surface reports tomorrow, for good or bad (and, as usual, you can count on various reports of "glitches," "hiccups," "snags," and "snafus" which use those words to marginalize problems, instead of the correct word: "failures") may just be the tip of any electoral icebergs beneath the surface. As usual, eternal vigilance by the citizenry is the hallmark of the ongoing fight for electoral integrity and transparency in these United States.
Here then is a general BRAD BLOG backgrounder on each state heading to the polls, its marquee race or races, the electoral systems used in each, and what you can do to help keep an eye out for any election integrity issues as they could emerge...
As we have long tried to get across to anyone who would listen, the greatest threat to "secure" computerized systems --- such as the electronic voting systems, incredibly, still in use in all 50 states for this year's crucial election cycle --- comes from insiders.
IDG News Service - A Bank of America computer specialist is set to plead guilty to charges that he hacked the bank's automated tellers to dispense cash without recording the activity.
Rodney Reed Caverly, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is scheduled to plead guilty to a computer fraud charge next Tuesday in federal court in Charlotte, according to his lawyer Christopher Fialko, who declined to comment further on the case.
Caverly was charged last week with one count of computer fraud for allegedly writing a malicious program that ran on Bank of America's computers and ATMs, according to court filings.
He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Caverly had worked in Bank of America's IT department where he designed and maintained computer systems, including those used by the ATMs. The alleged scam ran between March 2009 and October 2009.
The gullible are welcome to buy into the Rightwing propaganda that ACORN is somehow stealing elections, despite the complete dearth of any actual evidence that any vote has ever been illegally cast in any election vis a vis an improper registration by an ACORN worker.
But the facts, demonstrated yet again by the BofA story, are much as non-ideological computer scientists and security experts have been trying to warn for years in regard to electronic voting systems: the greatest threat to such systems comes from insiders, such as election officials who can manipulate results simply and directly and in such a way that they are unlikely to ever get caught doing it.
Even the sham 2005 Rightwing-created Baker/Carter National Election Reform Commission --- created almost entirely to put an "official"-appearing imprimatur on the call for disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at polling places --- was forced to admit as much in their final report...