WTF?! 200,000 votes?!
Of course, this is just one of the reasons why we always encourage candidates to not concede on Election Night...
w/ Brad & Desi
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WTF?! 200,000 votes?!
Of course, this is just one of the reasons why we always encourage candidates to not concede on Election Night...
As long ago as October of 2007 we offered an article headlined "How is It That Barbara Dunmore Still Has a Job?" As of tonight, Dunmore, the now-former Riverside County, CA Registrar of Voters, doesn't have one anymore.
We've described Dunmore, over and again throughout the years, as "an unmitigated disaster" and "among the worst Registrars in the nation". And now she's finally been put out of the misery of the voters of Riverside, the first county in the nation to go to 100% touch-screen voting in 2000.
The $30 million bust of an investment into unsecure, oft-failed, easily manipulated, completely unverifiable touch-screen systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems was carried out by her predecessor Mischelle Townsend (who would famously say, on camera nonetheless, "Electronic touch-screen ballots are 100% accurate. We've not seen a single example in which their accuracy can be disputed."), but Dunmore succeeded over the years in doubling-down on Townsend's horrible decisions and consistently anti-voter policies....
[Note: This piece was originally written for and published by Truthout earlier this week, prior to escalated, and often breathless, allegations now being made from the Right of "voter fraud!" and "election theft!" by the Reid campaign in NV. Many of those claims are baseless and evidence-free at this time, though some have roots, at least, in legitimacy. The article which follows offers evidence for the legitimacy of some of their claims. But I will try, if time allows, to post another piece soon, separating important fact from irresponsible and even sometimes silly fiction in many of GOP/Fox/Drudge/Breitbart-fueled allegations in NV. - BF]
Sharron Angle should start filing the lawsuits right now. Then again, so should Harry Reid. However, it might be a bit more difficult politically for the Senate majority leader, given the undeserved support Reid has shown in the past for Nevada's 100 percent unverifiable, error-prone, hackable, illegally-certified, electronic voting systems the state forces all voters to use at the polling place.
Given that the Angle/Reid contest in Nevada is likely to be among the closest - and most closely-watched - races for the US Senate this November 2, both parties would be wise to get to court and file for an order to ensure all of the hard drives, flash memory chips and memory cartridges to be used in their electronic voting machines during both early voting and on Election Day are securely retained for 22 months after the election.
The federal law requiring as much, Retention of Voting Documentation (42 USC. 1974 through 1974e), has, however, never been followed in any state to my knowledge, at least in regard to the sensitive memory cards and hard drives from electronic voting systems. Those devices hold both ballot programming and the way the computers have recorded - accurately or not - the way voters have voted. They might also hold the only evidence of any system malfunction or malfeasance. Nonetheless, officials routinely scrub those materials not long after the polls have closed. Key evidence - perhaps the only actual evidence - of how voters had hoped to vote and of any obstruction to that intent, is thereby lost forever.
The voting machine still used across the Silver State - the horrible, hackable, failure-prone Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen voting machines with VeriVote "paper trail" printer add-on - has a storied history. There is also a recent history of very close elections in Nevada. Consequently, both candidates would be wise to bring on experienced Election Integrity experts to advise them in what can and will go wrong with those voting systems this year.
Unfortunately, while Reid seems to have long been in denial about the unverifiability and outright failure of the systems used in his state, Angle has likely been duped into buying into her own party's propaganda about "voter fraud," when the real problem is election fraud ... or just plain failure. Particularly in Nevada ...
After reports of ES&S touch-screen votes flipping away from Republicans, for a change, over the last several days in North Carolina and in Texas, reports are now coming in from Nevada about similar occurrences on that state's Sequoia touch-screens, just in time to underscore the importance of my story published today at Truthout, "Hacking Harry Reid (or Sharron's Angle)" arguing that one or both of the candidates locked in the Silver State Senate Standoff need to get to a court immediately, even though neither of them are likely to do so.
First, the reports of touch-screen troubles today in NV (which closely mirror the scores of reports in the same state that I detailed exclusively in 2008 as affecting Obama and the Democrats during early voting). This time, however, it's Republican voters charging trouble with touch-screens...
In the summer of 2007 they ran one of the most extraordinary and explosive exposés on the topic we've ever seen. It included absolutely mind-blowing details on ES&S iVotronic touch-screens voting machines (the same ones currently failing in North Carolina and in Texas and being used in about 15 other states this year) and featuring an astonishing segment with seven on-camera employee/whistleblowers from Sequoia Voting Systems charging they were ordered by higher-ups to rig the chads to fail, only in Florida, on the paper ballots their company made for the 2000 election. You can (and should!) watch that remarkable report --- picked up by absolutely nobody in the MSM, incredibly enough --- right here.
This Tuesday, it looks like HDNet's Dan Rather Reports is set to roll another story on hackable e-voting systems. Here's the :30 second teaser for their latest...
The premiere showing will be Tuesday, Oct. 26th @ 8pm and is described this way on HDNet's Dan Rather Report's website:
With all the endless hours (upon hours, upon hours) the network and cable news mainstreamers like Chris Matthews have found to devote to the horse-race and politicking of these elections, you'd think they might be able to find more than just 19 seconds to cover the issue that can be, and so often has been, the deciding factor in so many recent elections. If you'd think that, you'd be wrong. 19 seconds is all Rather got on this weekend's Chris Matthews Show to discuss the topic. [Hat-tip Heather at Crooks & Liars]...
UPDATE 10/27/10: The HDNet folks have responded to pleas to make the episode available for all (even those of us who don't have it on their cable system!). The entire episode is now available here through next Wednesday only! Get it while it's full, free and hot!
For folks with shorter attention spans, or those who need a little more encouragement, Rather blogs about the episode here, and here's a 2.5 minute video clip featuring the great Frank Heindel, patriot Election Integrity advocate of South Carolina, who is (as he notes in comments below), the one alluded to when the description above says "one American's fight against voting machines in his state."
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..
[Read The BRAD BLOG's recent exclusive on the Dominion purchase of Sequoia, and their attempts to cover up the continuing relationship that Sequoia has with a Venezuelan firm tied to President Hugo Chavez.]
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"...
I may have more to say on this later, but short on time at the moment, and since it's an older thread you may not be checking it on your own. So, for now, I'll just point you towards his comment (and mine which follows it) in reply to my recent piece on hacking Pac-Man onto a Sequoia/Dominion AVC Edge touch-screen voting machine.
(Note: I'm setting this item to "No Comments", since I'd rather any comments take place on either the initial thread on the Pac-Man Hack article, or on a future one, should I find the time to do a more thorough follow-up of this situation before dropping off the grid entirely to do some camping in the coming week before arriving back in Los Angeles after Labor Day.)
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...
This is your Sequoia touch-screen voting machine....
This is your Sequoia touch-screen voting machine with Pac-Man hacked onto it without disturbing any of the "tamper-evident" seals supposedly meant to protect it from hackers...
Canadian-based Dominion Voting Systems has quietly announced its second acquisition of a major U.S. voting machine company in as many months and, right out of the gate, they've lied about it. Not an auspicious beginning for the company which may now, virtually overnight, have become the dominant private e-voting machine company in this country.
In our recent breaking coverage detailing the SEC's fraud lawsuits filed against Diebold and a number of their top executives --- including their former Chief Financial Officer who, as we reported exclusively back in 2007, was the top earner from an apparent insider sell-off at the company just days before its stock would plummet from its all-time high on the announcement of spinning off their troubled election division to a "new" company renamed Premier --- we noted that Diebold/Premier's assets had recently been purchased by a small Canadian firm by the name of Dominion Voting. But Dominion hasn't stopped there.
Their purchase of Diebold/Premier's assets was actually made from ES&S, the world's largest voting machine company, who was forced to divest of the assets they'd purchased from Diebold (previously, the second largest voting machine company in the country) for $5 million last year, as part of an anti-trust suit settlement with the DoJ.
In our coverage, we noted the comment of Dominion CEO John Poulos who, in the company's press release [PDF] announcing the Diebold/Premier asset acquisition, stated ominously: "We are extremely pleased to conclude this transaction, which...will allow Dominion to expand its capabilities and operational footprint to every corner of the United States."
Indeed, the DoJ-scuttled ES&S merger with Diebold/Premier had been legally challenged since, among other reasons, the merger of the largest e-voting company with the country's second largest would have given a single company control of at least 70% of all votes cast in the nation.
What we had replaced for length, however, with the ellipses in Poulos' quote above, was this [emphasis added]: "We are extremely pleased to conclude this transaction, which will restore much-needed competition to the American voting systems market and will allow Dominion to expand its capabilities and operational footprint to every corner of the United States."
How much is Poulos actually interested in "restor[ing] much-needed competition" for "the American voting systems market"? Apparently not so much, as according to a company press release [PDF] quietly issued late in the afternoon on Friday, June 4th, Dominion has now also acquired what had previously been the third largest voting machine company in the U.S., Sequoia Voting Systems.
Not surprisingly, that late Friday announcement didn't say anything at all about "competition".
Worse, as The BRAD BLOG has confirmed, the new press release from Dominion simply lied about what the company has and hasn't purchased from Sequoia, a company which had lied themselves, for years, about the real ownership of its proprietary voting systems...
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).
But wait! There's more...
Meanwhile, back in Clay County, Kentucky, where election officials (including the county clerk, a district court judge, and the school superintendent) were arrested last year, and are now on trial, accused of having "fix[ed] elections for decades," a "precinct worker testified...that top election officers in the county taught her how to change people's choices on voting machines to steal votes in the May 2006 primary." The vote stealing was accomplished on ES&S touch-screen electronic voting machines, without the knowledge of legitimate voters, after they'd left the booth thinking they had cast their votes.
The scheme also included Republicans changing their party registration to Democratic in order to serve as Democratic poll judges and officers on Election Day, as has been alleged elsewhere (for example, in Ohio in 2004)...
Incredible. This would be the equivalent of appointing the sitting Vice President of Exxon Mobil to an EPA advisory committee, but Ed Smith has now been appointed to the disastrous U.S. Election Assistance Commission's (EAC's) Technical Guidelines Development Committee as one of their new "Technical and Scientific Experts."
From the EAC's email announcement on Friday (posted in full at end of article):
So Smith went from voting machine company Hart Intercivic to voting machine company Sequoia Voting Systems and is now at voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems, where he is a VP, selling e-voting systems to jurisdictions around the country that receive federal money doled out by the EAC. And now he'll also sit on an advisory board at the EAC helping to advise which one of those companies sees their systems certified for use in U.S. elections by the EAC. Just amazing.
But that's not even half the story of why this is just incredible, and another huge black eye for the EAC. (How many eyes do they have left to blacken at this point?) If you're not a long time reader of The BRAD BLOG reader, and don't recall who this Ed Smith is, read on. It's simply stultifying...
My latest special to the Right-leaning Gouverneur Times of Upstate NY details multiple "urgent" warnings that state and federal officials received over the last year from multiple election advocacy groups concerning the dangers and pitfalls of the state's e-voting pilot program which came crashing down on voters during the recent NY-23 Special Election for the U.S. House.
They were warned, over and over and over again, about the dangers of using uncertified e-voting systems in real live elections, yet, despite the concerns expressed by experts about using real voters "as guinea pigs," it appears officials took no action in response.
I've covered the problems and failures in NY-23's recent Special Election for U.S. House in a number of previous articles here at The BRAD BLOG, detailing some of the early problems with results as they emerged, pointing out that, thanks to Republican precedent in 2006, it now no longer really matters whom the actual voters may have voted for, but arguing that a full manual hand-count of paper ballots would be appropriate nonetheless.
Over the holiday weekend, the good Richard Hayes Phillips --- author of the book Witness to a Crime, in which he painstakingly detailed, ballot by ballot, the scandal which was the Ohio 2004 Presidential Election --- reported on some curious numbers he's now found in that election, over at the right-leaning Gouverneur Times. As luck would have it, Richard is a resident of NY-23 himself, and seems to be finding that both "impossible" and then many more "improbable" tallies were certified, as NY tested its Seqouia/Dominion e-voting systems on live voters, in a real, live election, for the first time earlier this month.
Both of his pieces are worth a quick read over there.
And now, the Gouverneur Times has asked me to put together a bit of a "backgrounder" for them on all of these e-voting nightmares, and how they pertain to NY-23, since it seems that right-wingers, for some odd reason, are somewhat lacking (up until now anyway) in real information on just how dangerously insane our privatized system of e-voting in public elections has become. Too much time spent being fooled by ACORN-conspiracists like Andrew Breitbart and Fox "News," I guess.
My piece for them, "NY-23, Sequoia and the Private Corporate Takeover of Your Once-Public Democracy," as written over the weekend, following the latest in a string of embarrassing "concessions" and "un-concessions" by the Conservative Party's Doug Hoffman, is now their front page lead story if you (or Breitbart) care to give it a look.
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