Blogged by Brad on the road...
As The BRAD BLOG reported last week, a Conservative Republican former Texas Supreme Court Justice had been considering an Election Contest after electronic voting machine problems and inexplicable tallies plagued the first-in-the-nation March 7th primary in the Lone Star State.
Steve Smith --- who ran for election to the state Supreme Court, Place 2, in the Republican primary against an opponent backed by both Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry and the Bush family --- will be filing an official Election Contest this afternoon in Travis County District Court, The BRAD BLOG has learned.
Since our previous report, the Smith for Supreme Court campaign has been examining election tallies around the state and report that they continue to find anomolies in virtually every county they look into.
"The more research we do, the more irregularities we find," campaign manager David Rogers told The BRAD BLOG this morning.
The problems are being found on machines made by both Hart InterCivic and Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S) --- the two major Electronic Voting Machine vendors supplying the state of Texas.
Rogers says the campaign plans to file the Contest before 5pm (CT) today. The Contest (to be posted in full here when available) will outline some of the many problems they have found so far including counties "where there were more votes than voters."
They hope the Election Contest may allow, for the first time, a closer examination of both the Hart InterCivic and ES&S electronic voting machines used in Texas elections, as well as elsewhere around the country.
An earlier statement from the campaign had detailed a number of the campaign's initial findings including several mysterious totals in Smith's home county of Tarrant where officials admit some 100,000 votes were incorrectly added to the reported results on Election Night.
Smith had outperformed his statewide average in Tarrant County during the 2004 Election by 13%, but this year, his campaign reports, he underperformed the statewide results by 23%. One other such puzzling number reported previously by Smith's campaign:
Says Rogers, "We are contesting the state as a whole, but looking at specific larger counties where there are problems and a few of the smaller counties where the mistakes were absolutely egregious."
The BRAD BLOG has also previously reported on whistleblower William Singer who had worked at both Hart InterCivic and then as an "Election Programmer" in Tarrant County. Singer had attempted to alert the Texas and Ohio Secretaries of State and Attornies General about concerns, including possible criminal fraud by Hart, ES&S and Tarrant County, as long ago as July of 2004. His letters were all virtually ignored by officials in both states. The Texas Secretary of State was recently forced to shutdown a mandated recount in Tom Green County when it was discovered that recount numbers from the machines differed by some 20% from results reported on Election Night.
Up until now, many critics who have doubted or ignored the many concerns about the hackable hardware and secret software used in Electronic Voting, as expressed for some time by Election Integrity Advocates, have said that it is only Democrats who seem to be concerned about results as tallied on such machines which are now blanketing the country in the wake of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
That flawed law was written and sponsored in large part by Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) and passed in 2002 along with heavy lobbying by Voting Machine Vendor Diebold, Inc. of North Canton, OH and their top lobbyist, Ney's former chief of staff, David DiStefano. HAVA's full impact kicks in by statute for the first time this year. Ney recently stepped down from his chairmanship of the U.S. House Administration Committee after being named in one of the plea bargains by disgraced former Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Smith's election challenge, by a conservative Republican Supreme Court Justice from Texas, may well help to change the tenor of the debate over Electronic Voting, as is becoming apparent in several national mainstream publications of late including USA TODAY who published a front page story finally touching on these matters today.
We are on the road for the bulk of today and this evening, but if one of our friendly Guest Bloggers can update this item with a copy of the full Election Contest as filed by Steve Smith later today --- once we receive it --- we will do so.
UPDATE 3:50pm PT: Campaign managaer David Rogers has contacted us to let us know the campaign has found additional information that they wish to investigate before filing their contest. Due to this new information they will be delaying the filing by 24 hours.
UPDATE 4/1/06: The complete Election Contest filing is now attached here. [PDF] We hope to have a new report on the details/specifics later.