A Look Back at the Most Notable Stories from the Week That Was In Our Continually Crumbling Democracy...
By John Gideon on 12/25/2005, 5:25pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, of VotersUnite and VoteTrustUSA

As an introduction, the "DVN Top 5" is a feature in the weekly voting newsletter of VoteTrustUSA. The December 19 edition can be found here. The selection of what will be the "Top 5" for each week and where it goes on the list is all mine. The fact that you may disagree with my choices is great because it shows that you have been reading the DVN articles that I've posted throughout the week here on The BRAD BLOG!...

#5 The state of Virginia was forced to conduct a recount of the recent election for a new Attorney General. As reported by the Washington Post, the state uses four distinctly different types of voting systems; optical scan, DRE, punch card and lever. No recount can be done on DRE and lever systems and judges decided that no ballots would be re-run through the optical-scan or punch card tabulators, except in 10 precincts. No differences were shown anywhere except those 10 precincts, as reported by the Hampton Roads Pilot, where there were differences in the counts. Did someone wake up and realize that maybe a recount of the other optical-scan precincts in the state were now justified? No!

#4 There was no 'Main Stream Media' reporting of the Temporary Restraining Order filed in New Mexico in the Lopetegui et al v. Vigil-Giron, et al. lawsuit. This TRO asks District Judge Eugenio Mathis for an emergency order blocking the Secretary of State from spending millions of dollars on Sequoia AVC Edge touchscreen voting machines for use in Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Santa Fe and 11 other counties. The plaintiffs allege that the machines are not accessible by disabled voters and violate a state law requirement for voter verifiable paper trail printers, necessary for meaningful audits and recounts. Plaintiffs also submitted substantial evidence that the Sequoia touchscreen voting systems are inaccurate and unreliable, having lost thousands of votes and switched countless others in recent elections. Though this story was not reported by the MSM it was reported by VoteTrustUSA and The BradBlog.

#3 Late in the week it was revealed, by Associated Press that the Secretary of State of California had warned Elections Systems & Software (ES&S) that they needed to fix many problems on their voting systems used in the state, some of which had resulted in problem in elections on November 8. This warning was just made public after it had been made 5 weeks previously. In one case a video tape clearly showed a test where a vote was registered for a candidate other than the one who was voted for. ES&S attempted to explain that this was caused by the voter's long fingernail. As The BradBlog reported, State Senator Debra Bowen has questioned why these problems were not made public when they were first discovered rather than being released by the Associated Press 5 weeks later.

#2 North Carolina has given us the lows and highs of emotion. On Wednesday it was reported by the Associated Press that a trial judge ruled that the State Board of Elections followed the law in choosing the vendors that could sell voting machines in North Carolina, rejecting the arguments of a civil liberties group challenging the decision. On Thursday the agony of defeat became the thrill of victory as Diebold announced that they could not agree to mandates of state election laws and that they were withdrawing from consideration in the state; but they would be willing to assist to change those laws. There are questions about the real motives of Diebold and whether the whole problem was really over the third party software that they use.

#1 In a surprise announcement the state of California announced that they had told Diebold to send some of their code back to the Independent Test Authorities (ITA) for new testing. Failure to do this would mean that their voting machines would not be recertified for use in the state. This announcement gained national exposure by all of the major media outlets. A complete wrap-up of this story was presented by The BradBlog. The real question will be if the ITA will continue to allow the inclusion of 'interpreted' code in the Diebold source codes. This inclusion does not meet the 2002 Voting Systems Standards. The ITA either missed this when they originally inspected the source code and gave Diebold a 2002 qualification or they ignored the 'interpreted' code. Either way it is not supposed to be in the code.