Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org
A very revealing article was published this week in the Arcata Eye, a weekly newspaper, in Arcata, Humboldt County, California.
The article, headlined "County’s new voting machines may be flawed", was published on August 8, one day prior to the hearing in Sacramento about the Vote-PAD that was reported yesterday by The BRAD BLOG.
Reports from the hearing indicate that even hearing officials were questioning Bruce McDannold, the Secretary of State's Interim Director of the Office of Voting Systems Technology Assessment, about how he came to some negative conclusions about Vote-PAD; questions he could not answer; questions that, according to eye-witnesses, made him look rather foolish.
Yet, according to the Arcata Eye article, McDannold seems to have been carrying on a vendetta against Vote-PAD for a while. It seems that late last month McDannold spoke about Vote-PAD at the annual conference of state’s clerks and elections officials in San Diego:
County Clerk-Recorder Carolyn Crnich gave a similar account, having heard McDannold speak at the annual conference of state’s clerks and elections officials in San Diego late last month. “I would interpret his words and actions (on Vote-PAD) to be very negative,” she said, adding that the best that can be hoped for now is a conditional state certification of Vote-PAD that would allow it be modified.
It needs to be mentioned that Carolyn Crnich spoke in favor of Vote-PAD and pointed out problems with the testing procedures to the hearing panel in Sacramento. This testimony, on top of the testimony of Vote-PAD President Ellen Theisen, should be enough to prove that McDannold has lost grip on reality.
It is also important to note that an understanding of confidentiality was entered into by all who participated in the testing and evaluation of the Vote-PAD, including Bruce McDannold. When McDannold spoke to the counties in San Diego, he violated the same agreement that he demanded that Vote-PAD maintain.
Why is it that McDannold is overseeing a process that welcomes unreliable, error-prone, insecure electronic voting machines with open arms while it unfairly tests a voting device that is truly accessible to the community it was designed for? What does McDannold gain by his misinforming county election officials based on data gained from unscientific and shoddy testing? I, for one, hope that Vote-PAD seeks redress for the grievances heaped upon the company by McDannold. It's beyond time that the disinformation from the Secretary of State stop.
UPDATE: It has been pointed out in a comment to "'Daily Voting News' For August 10, 2006" that McDannold did not adress the counties as a whole. Any mention of Vote-PAD was done in casual conversation. Of course this does not absolve him of keeping a confidentiality agreement and certainly not of bad-mouthing any voting system that has not yet had any hearing within the state.
In the interest of full disclosure: Ellen Theisen was the founder of VotersUnite and its Executive Director before I took over the helm from her. She resigned from her position upon founding Vote-PAD, Inc. I have no stake in Vote-PAD in any way except as Ellen's friend.