Counties are still making decisions on their voting systems of the future. Wayne Co Pennsylvania has opted for central-count optical scan machines provided by ES&S and AutoMark for accessibility. This decision was forced on the county when Advance Voting Solutions could not get their DRE system through testing and EAC certification. Meanwhile officials in Cuyahoga Co Ohio have decided to lease a central-count optical scan system, including 15 op-scan machines, from ES&S. There is no mention, yet, as to what the county will do for accessibility....
Turnout at Broward County, Florida's precinct D001 was excellent in last Tuesday's primary election, according to the "unofficial results" posted on this county webpage.
With 1,028 ballots cast, and 930 registered voters at the precincts, voters having turned out, the turnout was an impressive 110.54%!
The BRAD BLOG called the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office to find out if there was any explanation for these numbers. We spoke with Patricia McCallister, an assistant to Supervisor Dr. Brenda C. Snipes...
Florida’s primary is essentially over. There will still be some ballots to be counted, but the last election on the state’s DREs is complete. There were some reports of problems scattered around the state. Election officials and the media were pretty successful in minimizing the reports. However, there was one small graf in one article that jumped out at me. The county clerk in Volusia County had announced that they were going to have to recount one early voting precinct because the Diebold Optical-Scan used in that precinct had not counted 4 ballots. They are doing this, according to the report, because Diebold/Premier had sent counties in Florida an advisory that the machines used in those counties may stop with a ballot partially fed through. Those ballots are not being counted when this happens. My first reaction was, “How many other states/counties that use the Diebold AccuVote OS v. 1.94w have gotten this advisory?” This is the same system used in New Hampshire and many other Northeast jurisdictions as well as various counties across the nation. Why don’t vendors of these machines recall them when there is a problem like this? Who should be responsible to ensure the word is put out that there is a problem and ensure the problem is solved? ...
After virtually ignoring the issue for some six straight years, our hometown newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, has run a two-part, 2,800-word "series" on concerns about voting machines, right on schedule, just in time to do absolutely no good at all before next week's upcoming Tsunami Tuesday election in the state. Waytago, LATimes!
The series reports absolutely nothing that has not already been reported over the last several years here at The BRAD BLOG, which is why the LATimes folks makes the big bucks and we don't.
They do, however, include an important point at the very end of the second article, in quoting from one of the country's most notable long-time voting machine apologists, Kimball Brace...
Liberty voting systems is not able to take NO! for an answer. Liberty is the company that sold hundreds of thousands of Euros' worth of voting machines to Ireland only so those machines could be found to be insecure and to have them stored since delivery in warehouses across the country; and the company whose voting machines have been banned in its home country of Holland. Last week the New York State Board of Elections chose not to allow the use of any DRE voting machines for persons with disabilities, thus leaving Liberty with nowhere to sell its machines. Yesterday Liberty decided to ignore the decision and turn to the courts, so it filed a temporary restraining order in an attempt to get the courts to change the decision made by the state. Last night the court found against the company and refused to issue an immediate restraining order. A further proceeding will now take place on Thursday. The utter gall of this company that sells voting machines that can’t be used in its home country and that are gathering dust in Ireland is amazing.
There will be a report, in this space, on the Florida primary tomorrow....
Diebold (which now calls itself Premier Election Systems) quietly released a "Product Advisory Notice" last Friday to the state of Florida, concerning an explained malfunction in the paper-based optical-scan voting machine used across the state. While reports of problems on those systems, and others, began surfacing throughout the day today across the Sunshine State.
The Diebold advisory warns that "No Error Message is Displayed when Ballot Fails to Feed Completely Through AccuVote-OS."
The AccuVote-OS is Diebold's precinct-based optical-scan ballot counter. The advisory is said to apply to "AccuVote-OS with Version 1.94w firmware" --- the same system which was used in New Hampshire earlier this month, and the one on which ballots were found to have gone uncounted or miscounted in virtually all of the precincts counted during Dennis Kucinich's election contest in that state.
Diebold's AccuVote-OS with v1.94w firmware is the identical system seen being hacked in HBO's Hacking Democracy after code found to be in violation of federal Voting System Guidelines was discovered on the system, and exploited to flip a mock paper ballot election without detection in late 2005.
Last November, The BRAD BLOG offered an investigative report on Diebold memory card failures discovered in Florida, and other states, about which both Diebold and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) --- mandated by law as a clearing house for such issues --- refused to notify jurisdictions that use the same system about the problem.
Though it was too late to check by the time we obtained a copy of the advisory, we are aware of no such notice having been sent to either New Hampshire nor any of the many other jurisdictions around the country which use the same, fatally flawed hardware and software...
Count Rush Limbaugh among the voters confused by Palm Beach County’s touch-screen machines.
On his syndicated talk show this afternoon, Limbaugh said he was trying to vote in today’s primary when the screen seemed to freeze or “stick” on the list of presidential candidates.
“I hit ‘Next’ and it didn’t go there,” said Limbaugh, who lives in Palm Beach and often recounts the county’s electoral foibles on his show.
Then he hit the “Back” button and “got my candidate page again with the vote already recorded there. So I said ‘hmmmmm, I wonder if this is going to count twice.”
So he unclicked his favored candidate, clicked that candidate again and hit “Next” a second time - and it worked.
“I don’t know if I voted twice,” he said. “Probably not.”
For the record, although Florida's Republican governor and legislature have voted to finally trash the touch-screens and move to all paper ballot elections, today's Primary still uses the old touch-screens in many counties. Elsewhere, problems are occurring --- yet again --- with the paper-based Diebold op-scan systems in the Sunshine State. The same machines used in New Hampshire, and the same ones seen being hacked in HBO's Hacking Democracy, are reportedly failing in several locations there. More on that soon.
With "friends" like Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos, Democrats may not need Republicans to help them lose this year. Once again, the namesake of the largest supposedly-Progressive blogsite in the world misleads his readers, confuses issues of Election Integrity with unmade allegations of "conspiracy theories," and otherwise makes all-new extraordinary claims which are wholly unsupported by any evidence, extraordinary or otherwise.
The damage he and his minions are personally causing to the fight for verified, transparent elections is becoming greater than we can possibly describe. But we'll try...
Disclosure: Though we appear in the film, and Earnhardt advertises it here at The BRAD BLOG, we do not make money on the sale of the film. BuzzFlash, however, does, if you purchase it through BuzzFlash's sales link, which we recommend you do, in case you've yet to see this seminal film. They and Earnhardt deserve the support.
We hope you'll read the interview, as well.
We've got a small, if friendly, nit to pick with both Earnhardt and BuzzFlash's Mark Karlin in regard to one section of the interview in which they discuss the notion of ballots being printed out by machine, as opposed to marked by hand by the voter.
Machine-printed ballots can never be verified, after an election, as actually reflecting the voters' intent, and thus --- except for cases of disabled voters who wish to vote on such devices, as necessary, in order to vote privately and independently --- there is no legitimate reason to use such voting machines. Ever. That is, of course, if such machines even work at all. When they don't, voters can't even cast their votes.
The quick, scientific-study-based bullet points on why such machine printed ballots or "paper trails" can never be known to reflect voter intent follow below for those who'd like to know...
Leave your Open Thread thoughts on tonight's State of the Union Speech in comments below...
POST-SOTU UPDATE: The Republicanists at Fox "News" just can't help themselves, even for the State of the Union...
UPDATE 8:10pm PT: Following the (supposedly) "centrist" response to the SOTU, offered up by the scared-to-death Democratic "leadership", in the person of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius, a real response to Bush's SOTU was sent out by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). The short response follows below in full, and serves to remind us what reality looks like...
In a surprise announcement late this afternoon ES&S has announced it has purchased all of the assets of AutoMark Technical Systems. This announcement means that ES&S will now manufacture and market the ballot marking devices. According to their press release this acquisition will now allow ES&S to “enhance the product as part of the company’s suite of end-to-end, fully integrated voting solutions.” In other words, they can now use inexpensive parts made in Asian sweatshops and sell the machines more expensively. Not explained in this release is what this sale will do to Diebold/Premier’s plan to market AutoMark machines.
The ACLU has now filed a motion with the courts in Ohio to stop Cuyahoga Co from using any central-count optical scan system as the primary system to count ballots in the March primary.
Those stories, and the other notable voting news today, all linked below...
Republican New Hampshire primary candidate Albert Howard, whose election contest hand count is currently ongoing in Concord, once again demonstrates how to call for a legitimate and reconcilable "recount."
He has just sent us a copy of the following letter, which was hand delivered to NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner earlier today [emphasis in original]...
January 28, 2008
Secretary of State
State of New Hampshire
Dept. of State
107 N. Main St. Rm 204
Concord, NH 03301
Re: COUNTERS’ TALLY SHEETS
Dear Mr. Gardner:
I respectfully request a slight change in the recount procedure.
The people who are counting the votes are entering the results on individual ward and town tally sheets. They are all using pens with red ink. They then sign and walk the tally sheets to the front of the room where they are handed to a state employee.
The state employee says she checks for discrepancies before manually transposing the figures from the local tally sheets to a County-wide tally sheet, using the same red ink used by the counters. The state employee then enters the figures from her County-wide tally sheet into her computerized master recount file (an excel spreadsheet). Only then does the state employee make and hand me a copy of the counter’s tally sheet.
I wish to receive a copy of the tally sheet for each ward and town, before it is handed to the state employee. It is simply too easy for anyone to alter a figure(s) on a counters’ tally sheet in order to narrow or eliminate a discrepancy. Such evil could never be uncovered short of yet another statewide recount.
Please know that I have no reason to suspect anyone of such mischief. My purpose is merely to tighten up the procedure, in favor of the candidate, and to eliminate any temptation to commit such wrongdoing.
Very truly yours,
Albert B. Howard
Please note: We will be on the road for much of the rest of the day today, as we head from Santa Cruz back down to Los Angeles. We'll try to get caught up with things by tonight, as the SOTU rolls.
Thus we don't have time, for the moment, to give full background to the above story in this article. But plenty is already available, particularly in regard to concerns about chain of custody, and other sloppy "recount" procedures, from previous BRAD BLOG coverage.
Last night Fox 'News' aired a special hosted by Bret Baier, George W. Bush: Fighting to the Finish, that was an impressive piece of propaganda even by Fox's lofty standards. In order to make watching it a bit more palatable, I've made a couple of mashups addressing different aspects of the hour long program.
The first video covers the "unprecedented access" Fox 'News' was given to Bush. As Baier writes over at foxnews.com:
I’ve really enjoyed working on this program. For starters, the footage you will see in this hour is historic and fascinating. We were given access to the president at his ranch in Texas, in the Oval Office during meetings, aboard Air Force One during his historic trip to the Mideast and in the White House residence that is rarely seen.
In the second mashup I've edited together many of Bret Baier's questions and transitional comments in order to highlight the extent of the propaganda. Hopefully you will find it as interesting as Baier finds his own work:
I think, as someone who covers the White House everyday, it’s extremely interesting — and is definitely worth watching.
A third mashup covering some of the remarkable content will follow tonight or tomorrow morning.
UPDATE: Third Mashup Below
Victory, The PDB, Osama, Bush's Joyousness and more...