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Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) received this letter [PDF] well over a week ago from Oakland County, MI, concerning ES&S precinct-based optical-scan systems that "yielded different results each time" the "same ballots were run through the same machines"...
This problem, discovered during pre-election "Logic & Accuracy" testing of the systems, would hardly be the first time that ES&S has failed to deliver on maintenance contracts, adversely affecting voters and election results in the bargain. We saw many similar problems during the 2006 primary election cycle. These precinct-based scanners are used throughout the nation, as ES&S is the nation's largest distributor of voting systems in the U.S.
The EAC received this letter a week ago, and we're trying to learn when it was finally posted to their website. But, more importantly, as they have a mandate via the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 to serve as a "clearinghouse" for such voting system problems, has the EAC sent a warning about this issue to any other jurisdictions where the same equipment or company is used?
From an emailer in Florida...
And we continue to hear from other sources that the bottleneck in Florida is at check-in with the state's new, computerized voter registration system, not with the new paper ballot op-scan system which is used after a voter votes. (Though there have been reported problems with the state's new Diebold print-on-demand system for printing ballots for voters to fill out as well.)
Rachel Maddow correctly noted (see video below) that these waits in FL, GA, and elsewhere, amount to a "poll tax." She's right.
As I noted last week, we have just one early voting location in all of Los Angeles --- the largest voting jurisdiction in the country, larger than 41 states combined --- and at this point, I have no idea if I'll be able to vote myself if the lines are too long tomorrow, since I have to go on air LIVE, hell or highwater at 3pm PT to anchor the NovaM Radio Network's "Special Election Night Coverage."
Here's what the lines looked like this weekend at L.A.'s only early voting location, a 40-minute drive from where I live (photo: Margery Epstein)...
Election day is tomorrow
Well, here we are. Tomorrow is the day we have been building toward. Today much of the news is articles of reassurance from election officials across the nation. They say they are ready. Tomorrow we will see just how ready they are. Our main reporting tomorrow will be on voting machine problems and long lines due to voting machine and voter registration data base problems. No matter how much officials assure their voters that they are ready machines still fail to work, polls open late, votes are flipped, polls run out of paper ballots, e-poll books fail, machines are allotted unfairly, and lines will be long. Wednesday and the rest of the week we will hear about the tabulation and reporting problems. Lost votes from tabulators that were not designed or built to handle the number of votes they are expected to count; ballot printing and programming errors that result in hundreds of lost votes. These and more have been the stories of the past. Can we expect any better for the rest of this week? I hope so but I’m not holding my breath....
[Ed Note: Please "Reddit" this one up, as Republicans have been trying to down rate it over there!]
A devastating article on Sunday destroys the GOP's claims of "voter fraud" as a member of McCain's own (amusingly named) "Honest and Open Election Committee" has admitted that Republicans are unable to cite a single "documented instance of voting fraud that resulted from a phony registration form."
The admission underscores our bold and knowing assertion of same, back in the early days of this year's fake GOP ACORN "scandal", when such assertions weren't popular, as noted for history both here at The BRAD BLOG and at the UK's Guardian.
The fact-based comments were made despite the once-honorable Republican nominee's dangerously specious claims during the final Presidential debate, that the ginned-up "crisis" was "one of the greatest frauds in voter history" and was "maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."
Looks like someone in his own campaign failed to get the memo. But it's not about facts, it's about fears, even ones that they themselves have created. As we've come to learn, that's more than good enough for the U.S. Supreme Court at least, and certainly for those attempting to keep you from being able to cast your legal vote...
2 days until Election Day.
I recommend that everyone watch the video that is our ‘Feature’ article this morning. This is what our election officials think of the voters? How can this woman compare standing on line to vote with standing on line for an I-Pod or baseball tickets? Amazing!
Lines for early voters in Georgia were reported to be 8 to 10 hours long last week. Lines in other states were hours long with thousands of voters standing in those lines. And now election officials across the nation are warning that lines will be long on Tuesday. What do the long lines do? They serve to turn voters away from voting.
How many of those voters who stood on line during early voting or who will be standing on line on Tuesday will lose wages from jobs they are not working at so they can vote? Is this not a type of poll-tax? Is it not voter suppression and disenfranchisement?
Our nation cannot allow this to be the norm. Investigations need to be held to find what are the causes of the bottle-necks and what can be done about them. If federal law needs to written and passed then that must happen so never again do voters have to stand on line for hours and hours so their voices can be heard. It is amazing that voters feel so strongly about exercising the franchise of voting that they would be willing to suffer as they have but they should never have to make that choice again....
-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG
Why corporate mainstream journalists have a need to identify everyone as either "liberal" or "conservative" is beyond me. But setting that aside, of far more import is the substantive information in Washington Independent journalist Jonathon E. Kaplan's report today featuring lead Obama attorney Bob Baeur's attempt to defend against my fervent critique of the campaign's woefully inadequate and dangerously misguided efforts in dealing with the massive voting machine problems occurring around the country since early voting began (and, of course, well before even that)...
[Note 11/3/08: An updated version of the article, now posted here, scales by on the "liberal" thing, after I sent a gentle complaint to Kaplan.]
The article does nothing to assuage my concerns about the Dems' self-proclaimed "behind the scenes" efforts on these matters. Bauer was still unable to offer a shred of evidence that the campaign or the DNC has taken such concerns about the use of wholly unverifiable voting systems --- and worse, allowing and actually encouraging election officials to access those machines during the election, at the time they are most vulnerable to tampering, for "recalibration" --- with the gravity the issue deserves.
Incredibly (though no longer surprisingly), the Democrats persist with their tortured logic that taking action on problems with voting machines will somehow depress the electorate, before quickly changing the subject to concerns about Republican chicanery on the front-end voter suppression stuff.
As an Election Integrity advocate recently noted rather eloquently, the front-end voter suppression issues and the back-end voting machine failures are two sides of the same coin. You can't worry about one without worrying about the other. The Dems, unfortunately, are still worried about only one side of the coin, as Kaplan's report demonstrates all too clearly (yet again) today...
Guest blogged by DES
Late last week, a federal court spanked Colorado's Republican Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, ordering him to restore tens of thousands of registered voters to the state's voting rolls and allow them to vote, requiring that officials count those ballots, and --- perhaps most importantly --- placing the onus on elections officials to justify the removal of voters from the rolls, rather than forcing the voters to prove they are who they say they are...
Jesus. This is what/who voters in Philadelphia are being forced to deal with, as per our Pennsylvania coverage this week (here and here), concerning the fight by the NAACP and a local Election Reform coalition to get paper ballots for citizens, so that they can be sure to cast a vote, from a Democratically-controlled state hell bent on fighting that.
Since she says in the video we should take care to spell her name right, the woman responsible for running elections in Philadelphia is Marge Tartaglione (D) and, as the video suggests, she's a horror. And not only for her indefensible statements against the distribution of paper ballots to the effect of "long lines are not a problem...Long lines are no justification for any thing but waiting...people wait in long lines overnight for baseball tickets...people wait in line all night for a new Ipod." Though I'm not aware of any 80 year olds who do either of those things, or anybody who does that in the middle of a word day, and I'm fairly sure anybody who does do that, does so by their own choice, not because they are forced to do so in hopes of exercising their right to cast a vote.
The video --- by citizen journalists Danielle Ivory and Lagan Sebert (more details and context here) --- is well-worth the 4:43 minutes of your life it'll take to view it. Good luck, Philly! Looks like you're gonna need it! Again...
3 days until Election Day.
Just a comment to those who want to dismiss ‘vote-flipping’ as voter error. All kinds of people go to the polls to vote. They are highly educated and high-school dropouts. Rich and poor. They have long fingernails and nails bitten to the quick. They have thin fingers and wide fingers. They are going to softly touch the screen or touch it hard. Vendors and election officials tend to blame vote-flipping on the voters. They touched the screen too hard; drug their finger; had long fingernails; or their fingers touched too large an area. So, is it the voters fault? NO! It is the vendors who designed, built and sold these machines that don’t work for all voters and it is the election officials who bought those machines.
A large majority of the ‘vote-flipping’ has been on older ES&S iVotronic DREs; those machines that were featured on last year’s Dan Rather Reports. The cheaply built, poorly tested touch screens that were used as components on those systems should have been scrapped long ago. It’s not the voters fault and this constant pointing of fingers is wrong. The vendors need to remember that when they point a finger at the voters they have three fingers pointing back at the real culprit, themselves; and it makes no difference what those fingers look like, they are the fingers of blame....
3 days until Election Day.
Amongst all of the stories of failures, lawsuits, voter purges and voter suppression there is an occasional story that begs to be read and passed on to others so they will read it. This morning’s featured article is one of those. Imagine wanting to exercise your right to vote so strongly that you are willing to travel from Bangalore, India to New York City just to step into the voting booth and pull the lever. It’s a story worth the read....
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