READER COMMENTS ON
"Audit Finds Dems Would Have Won if all Votes Had Been Recorded in Sarasota's FL-13 U.S. House Race"
(21 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 2:05 pm PT...
Great news! Perhaps this case, when it is fully investigated and laid out before the public in a court room, will help expose and unravel the whole corrupt electronic voting system in this country. We can only hope...
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 3:07 pm PT...
I have been in Sarasota for the last two weeks and have been inside the efforts to find out what happened. I have discussed the issues with both Prof. Alec Yasisac and with David Drury. I think both are being unfairly characterized in the stories played up here in Bradblog. I have complete confidence in Prof. Yasinsac's integrity, and that he will do a thorough, professional job in his important part of the investigation. And I believe that Mr. Drury, while a supporter of paperless voting systems, nonetheless will preside over a good faith investigation to try to figure out exactly what happened, and will let the chips fall where they may.
I respectfully suggest we let them do their jobs without premature judgement of their performance.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 3:55 pm PT...
As long as they conduct their investigation in a verfiable and transparant fashion.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
Jeannie Dean from District 13
said on 11/22/2006 @ 3:57 pm PT...
Are you kidding me? I have also been inside these efforts and I can tell you from what I've witnessed (and have on film) this whole process is a joke. Security seals snapping off of ballot boxes, Dent's belligerent and defensive posturing, the Florida State's CLEAR conflict of interest that has gone unchecked since Katherine Harris declared Bush the winner in 2000 even though she was the leading member of his election campaign?
How can you write such things~how can you have any faith in these same officials to fix a problem they won't even acknowledge? The very people who still insist there was no malfunction? What~did they buy you lunch as they proffessed their "good faith" or was that discussed on the back 9?
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 4:41 pm PT...
What I said is that I have confidence in Prof. Yasinsac, and also Mr. Drury. I cannot say anything about Ms. Dent or Secretary Cobb (neither of whom I have met), or any others.
Yes, of course Florida has election problems. I do not minimize them. I am just suggesting that we refrain from prejudging two specific critical people before they even begin this investigation and audit that they are charged with.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 5:29 pm PT...
What could be more critical to voter confidence and fairness than impartial examination and testing of paperless electronic voting? Nothing, but do we get it? NO!Mr Yasinsac supported GW Bush in 2000, and recently campaigned for Republican Tom Gallagher,i read today.I have to ask, is this the best "expert" to determine why there was such an abnormally high number of machine errors in Sarasota. Two "experts" who are supporters of paperless voting systems can by no stretch of the imagination, be called fair and impartial.Obvious conflict of interest, IMHO
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 5:35 pm PT...
Sorry David, but the individuals you are supporting have at least a perceived, and probably real, vested interest in the outcome of this investigation and lack credibility with too many people from the start. That is NOT the way to begin an impartial investigation, no matter how much you, whoever you are, feel we should "let them do their jobs without premature judgement". Does it not occur to you that ANY conclusion they might come to in support of the accuracy of the voting machines (even if they were somehow accurate, something that would seem impossible to prove) will lack credibility with an unjustifiably large percentage of the electorate and leave the true outcome of this race in question and the declared winner with a truly tainted victory. Obviously, that doesn't matter to the power structure in Florida. Does it matter to you?
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 5:44 pm PT...
And how could anyone defend paperless electronic voting? What are the benefits? What is the debate and argument for supporters of this type of voting system?
How do you count votes that the machine fails to record?
If i bought a computer that failed thousands of times, i'd take it back and get a refund.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 6:26 pm PT...
Perhaps it will help to explain why I have confidence in Prof. Yasinsac.
Before he was publicly identified as having been selected by Florida for the investigation, he called me and several other prominent computer scientists known for election integrity work to ask them to join his team. In my case and others' the suggestion did not work out, for reasons of distance and other obligations and conflicts. But he is still in negotiation with one at least one highly visible scientist known for important work in voting system integrity, and if this person joins the team I think no one will is liikely to question the integrity of the process. If it does not work out, it will not be for lack of trying on Prof. Yasinsac's part. Some things in the statement of work (SOW) and nondisclosure agreement (NDA) are not in his control.
I have made several suggestions to Prof. Yasinsac based on my experience with the kind of task he is facing, and he has quickly accepted them. As far as I can see so far, he is doing things about the same way I would do them, within the limits of the charter he has been given.
Why was Prof. Yasinsac appointed? I don't really know, but my experience is that state officials, when faced with an important appointment like this, get recommendations from people they know and trust, with a strong bias toward people within their own state and in physical proximity to the responsible officials. Prof. Yasinsac, being a security expert located at Florida State in Tallahasee, is a natural choice.
Election integrity is not a partisan issue. My reading of Prof. Yasinsac is that, like all of us, he has his political opinions; but like the other prominent scientists working on election integrity, he cares absolutely about the fundamental integrity of the election process, and does not let his political opinions influence his technical findings and judgements. That is what we need.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 8:44 pm PT...
I hope you are right. Forgive my skepticism, but Jeb Bush could have hired any number of non-partisan experts to review the voting machines performance. The fact that he didn't will only taint the investigation further.
What is the benefit of voting this way? Do you really believe you can verify a vote without paper?
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 11/22/2006 @ 9:36 pm PT...
There are not a lot of experts to choose from if you wish to confine yourself to Floridians located near Tallahassee. And I don't think I know any totally nonpartisan experts--just people who try put aside their partisan opinions for the sake of a more important purpose.
And I agree with you that there are no current paperless voting technologies that are verifiable in any reasonable sense.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 11/23/2006 @ 12:18 am PT...
You can count on Brad to raise only issues that are pertinent and sound, or to print a correction in the rare cases a mistake is made.
If the established organization, "People For The American Way" say that Drury is responsible for approving the "illegal distribution" of uncertified voting machines to the state of Florida, that must surely make you uncomfortable.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 11/23/2006 @ 12:38 pm PT...
Just so everyone is aware, David Jefferson, is a Livermore National Laboratories computer scientist who worked on CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's team of technology experts (the ones that created the notable UC Berkley study confirming the original Hurst Hack flaw in Diebold op-scan and touch-screen systems, and finding 16 more vulnerabilities to boot.)
Though McPherson didn't act on the recommendations in the UC Berkley report (enough for my tastes, anyway) it wasn't for Jefferson's lack of trying.
He is, in fact, one of the good guys on that McPherson team and a highly respective scientist in this particular field.
While he and I don't always necessarily see eye-to-eye on everything, I have the utmost respect for him and his insight into all of these matters.
So his opinions and information posted here is both appreciated, and well-worth reading and considering.
Hope that helps give everyone some perspective.
And, btw, he's been brutally critical of our current state of electoral affairs and the lack of security and standards on electronic voting systems.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 11/23/2006 @ 5:03 pm PT...
... Brad said on 11/23/2006 @ 12:38 pm PT...
Just so everyone is aware, David Jefferson, is a Livermore National Laboratories computer scientist who worked on CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's team of technology experts
So... he failed? That's your recommendation? Sorry, it doesn't matter if the deck was stacked and he had little chance of success but "because he meant well"... doesn't seem to mean much in the current environment.
... David Jefferson said on 11/22/2006
If it does not work out, it will not be for lack of trying on Prof. Yasinsac's part.
So... in the end... if Yasinsac's failed to convince the voters of his impartiality the resulting continuation of the Florida meltdown will be ok because he's supposed to have tried really hard?...
Some things in the statement of work (SOW) and nondisclosure agreement (NDA) are not in his control.
So running our democracy is still a "proprietary trade secret"? And any investigator must sign on to that concept before being allowed to "investigate"?
Yeah... right. So when the machines are thrown into the water do we get to tie this "audit team" to them?
So... you will be saying that the above was somewhat unfair, right?
But please pay attention... because it's been unfair all along and doesn't seem likely to change now.
Only the victims of the unfairness were the American public... and the perpetrators were the ones whom they trusted to watch over them.
And if you want to introduce fairness into the process you can't start out by having a group essentially responsible for investigating itself.
The governor of Florida screwed this one... whether he screwed up or screwed the voters deliberately won't matter in the end, will it?
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 11/23/2006 @ 5:39 pm PT...
Observe and verify!
If the scientists work is transparent and can be studied to verify it's accuracy (unlike the black box voting machines) then I'd be happy to stand back and let him do his work.
It's just like the whole voting process: it should involve representatives of each of the political parties which have candidates in the races, so they can keep each other on their toes.
You just have to watch out for false flag (fake) representaties like Teresa LaPore who was a Republican registered as a Democrat in order to ruin the 2004 presidential election ballot in Florida. They called her "Madame Butterfly".
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 11/23/2006 @ 6:24 pm PT...
... MarkH said on 11/23/2006
Observe and verify!
If the scientists work is transparent and can be studied to verify it's accuracy...
You have missed the point entirely... the public will not be allowed to observe and verify.
To quote David Jefferson:
Some things in the statement of work (SOW) and nondisclosure agreement (NDA) are not in his control.
The investigation itself will become a proprietary trade secret.
Trade secrets are fine... for trade.
And buying democracy is an honored American tradition, if not a particularly honorable one.
But who is trading in our democracy... in secret?
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 11/24/2006 @ 8:20 am PT...
Johns Hopkins Prof. Avi Rubin, one of the best known computer scientist voting integrity advocates in the U.S. has posted in his blog a reply to Paul Krugman's NYTimes column today in which Krugman repeats the PFAW attack on Prof. Yasinsac.
Prof. Rubin knows Prof. Yasinsac very well, and defends his integrity completely. See
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 11/24/2006 @ 10:44 am PT...
Zapkitty, I'll bite on your flame request.
You seem to like to distort what people say in a whimsical manner. Brad said that David Jefferson has tried hard to work for scientific election reform in California. That is true. He can't just make things happen as you seem to think he should be able to. Also, Yasinsac is trying to find other objective experts (whom people on bradblog would, without a doubt, accept). That is commendable and hopefully one of the experts he has contacted will agree to assist.
Scientific work (like that of David Jefferson, David Wagner and Matt Bishop with the CA VSTAAB) is frequently requested and then either not acted upon or acted upon only incompletely; we can do only so much past showing hard evidence of failures and needed reforms.
Also, the "investigation itself" will not become a trade secret. It wouldn't be much of an investigation if it did. The SOW and NDA are presented to experts and then they make a determination if they can really do the investigation that is needed given the terms. The SAIT group (which includeds Yasinsac) would not have accepted the work if the terms said no results would be released or if the SOW was inadequate given the work they felt needed to be done to pinpoint the source of error. Likely the data, methods and results will be released to the fullest extent possible with some stuff redacted (after a good fight about what should be redacted, I hope). Given the amount of attention on FL-13, any investigation that is not above-the-board will not be accepted by the press, public and the partisan and non-partisan people on the ground.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 11/24/2006 @ 7:56 pm PT...
David Jefferson said...
Prof. Rubin knows Prof. Yasinsac very well, and defends his integrity completely.
And this is the same Rubin fellow who also thinks you and Ed Felten are on the audit team?...
You keep missing the point. Impartiality is not a state granted by integrity. Impartiality is a state given by having no interest in the outcome, or the ramifications of the outcome, no matter what that outcome may be. Needless to say impartiality is somewhat difficult to come by in the real world
All that integrity can give you is the ability to act as if you were impartial.
And that ability to act impartially can only be judged by other people based on either a demonstrated ability to have acted impartially in the past or, barring that, on an ability to convince people that you can act impartially in the future.
This appearance of impartiality can work until either verified by impartial actions or gainsaid by partisan actions. But Yasinsac does not carry even the appearance of impartiality... even though you and Rubin personally think he should.
And why should people trust Yasinsac in a land where the old political maxim of "avoiding even the appearance of impropriety" seems to have given way before the current political maxim of "sure I was found standing over the body with a smoking gun in my hand but nobody saw me shoot.... so I'll just go back to work now."
(Yes, I'm aware that congresscritters etc. have been able to walk away from such dire situations in the past... but they didn't publicly boast about their immunity. Times have changed and many of the formally small-fry bureaucrats of the Secretaries Of State and their subordinates seem to be the worst of the lot in that regard.)
So... after the countless lies and sellouts by officials in regards to the spread of e-voting it will take a lot more than a reputation for integrity to make people trust the impartiality of an admitted partisan.
You need the appearance of impartiality to give the people reason to trust the audit. And there is no appearance of impartialty.
Sure we have your testimony... and the e-voting machines have overran CA. We have the testimony of Rubin... and Maryland has fallen to the corporate marching morons. (And apparently he's not on the audit team but thinks you and Ed Felten are?)
Sure, it's unfair to hold you responsible for CA when you're not even an elected official... but if you couldn't stop the machines then why should we just take your word that somebody with known partisan affiliations in the matter can act, or will be allowed to act, against the corporations if need be?
And Ed Felten has not been heard from...
All these names flying around seem to be for the purpose of generating the appearance of impariality... but none of the names are actually on the audit team.
(... that I know of)
Having Rubin or Felten actually on the audit team would, of course, greatly improve the appearance of impartiality, but we have no evidence of such... we only have Yasinsac and his team, with Yasinsac drawing the lightning.
Perhaps you could have been an asset for the appearance of impartiality by actually being on the team... but you're not on the team either.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 11/24/2006 @ 8:42 pm PT...
... joe said...
You seem to like to distort what people say in a whimsical manner.
Hmmm... if I feed the blog comment thread through an old-style wahwah w/ pedal...
Brad said that David Jefferson has tried hard to work for scientific election reform in California. That is true. He can't just make things happen as you seem to think he should be able to.
But if I don't think he should have been able to?
What if I just wanted to point out that his standing now could easily be viewed as that of a tame running dog of a state electoral system that has run amok over the prostrate bodies of its voters?
And that one such running dog talking about the integrity of another possible running cog across the continent was not likely to give said second runny cog even the aroma of impartiality?
(Hmmm... no time now to do the whole imperial marxist riff that deserves... maybe I'll subcontract that to Pat Flannery )
Likely the data, methods and results will be released to the fullest extent possible with some stuff redacted (after a good fight about what should be redacted, I hope)
Oh.... you mean like this?
(Above referenced documents bundled and mirrored here for convenience:) http://republicofnekoslo...d_Maryland_090203.tar.gz
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
Jeannie Dean from District 13
said on 11/25/2006 @ 12:09 pm PT...