Official Comments from CA Election Clerks on Proposed Test Criteria by SoS Bowen Reveal They Are in a Panic...And Are Clueless About the One Thing That Truly Matters to Voters...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2007, 8:40pm PT  

California's election clerks --- or at least those who are members of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO) --- are freaking out in light of CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen's newly proposed draft criteria for her promised, "first-of-its-kind top-to-bottom review" of all electronic voting systems in the state.

Bowen's most welcome and strictly drawn draft criteria, as we reported last week, are open for public comment through April 6th, after which testing will begin on systems which will lose their certification for 2008 if they do not meet the refreshingly strict standards to be reviewed (finally!).

In a document dated today and obtained by The BRAD BLOG, the CACEO --- who worked very hard, if unsuccessfully, to see Bowen's irresponsible predecessor, the hapless Bruce McPherson, re-elected --- filed their comments on Bowen's test criteria. And they don't like 'em. They don't like 'em one bit.

While we can hardly say we're surprised by that, or that they didn't bother to post the document on their own website yet, we can say that we're surprised that these folks who run elections for a living still seem completely and utterly unaware of the one thing that matters to voters --- and any successful democracy --- the most...

The CACEO's comments are available here [WORD] and we'll let you enjoy a smile or two in
reviewing the 6-page, panicky document in which the elections officials --- who have, until now, had a free ride to do pretty much anything they wanted for so long under McPherson --- finally find their precious Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems hanging directly under the Sword of Damocles...or Bowen, as the case may be.

And though McPherson is gone, he's hardly forgotten, as the CACEO folks pick up with the same horseshit that was rejected by the voters when it came out of McPherson's maw.

Here's an example of the CACEO's echo of McPherson's nonsense, in defending their precious DRE voting systems:

These systems and the administrative structure behind them performed exceptionally well in the November 2006 Election when over 8 million voters statewide successfully cast ballots, which were counted accurately and securely.

Really? Prove it.

Oh, yeah, they do. By referring to the ridiculous report [PDF] that a desperate-to-save-his-legacy McPherson filed on the way out the door on his last day of office. The point of the report, claiming "100% accuracy" in the state's voting systems during the 2006 election, is summarized in the title of his strategically placed press release announcing the report at a government tech website: "California Monitoring Program Reports Votes Cast on Electronic Machines Were Accurately Recorded."

Don't bust a gut while reading this, but the CACEO clerks go on to actually say in their comments on the draft criteria (using McP's nonsense as their evidence) that:

In view of the fact that independent parallel monitoring of all electronic-voting systems used in the 2004 and 2006 elections documented 100% accuracy of results, counties urge state administrators to avoid any significant or systemic changes on the eve of the most complex and crowded election cycle in recent memory.

Seriously...that's what they actually said.

Just a few more before I leave you to the CACEO's caca on your own.

They pull the same deceptive nonsense that Rep. Rush Holt's federal Election Reform legislation (HR811) does in claiming "paper ballots" when they're actually referring to uncounted "paper trails." Sure, they're "verifiable," but they are anything but verified by the voter and, oh yeah, they're not actually ever counted. Here's those crazy clerks again...

All California voting systems already produce paper-based verifiable ballots for every vote cast. Additionally, a sample of these paper-based ballots is randomly selected for auditing against computer-generated vote totals prior to official certification of results. These are the key provisions included in federal legislative proposals currently pending before the U.S. Congress in preparation for the 2008 elections.

Well, with as many concerns as we have about Holt's legislation, we'll add that it is far stricter than what California currently has in place. No matter what the CACEO would like you to believe.

But that then leads us to the biggest point of all: What the CACEO would like you to believe about their electoral system...versus what you can actually find out about it yourself. Something that, incredibly, even now, they don't seem to care anything about.

In their list of "basic tenets of elections" as embarrassingly included in their comments to Bowen on what the the "Scope of Review" ought to be in her testing, they leave out the one most important tenet of all --- underscoring yet again how clueless these folks must be about what the voters actually need in a democracy:

There are several basic tenets of elections that are commonly accepted by election professionals:

  • Accuracy
  • Privacy
  • Reliability
  • Security
  • Accessibility for Voters with Specific Needs
  • Speed of Counting and Results Reporting

Uh...Notice anything missing in that list? We're sure BRAD BLOG readers have guessed it already: Transparency.

Apparently, however, that's not even the "last thing" on the minds of these elections clerks...It's not even in the picture for them!

Until they figure that out, they will remain as clueless and out of touch with the voters as they transparently are, when it comes to understanding the needs of the voters whom they are supposed to be serving.

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