Results of Unprecedented Testing to Be Released Next Week, While Voting Machine Companies Continue in Denial, and CA Clerks Association Says They May Do What They Want Anyway...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2007, 11:24am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Houston...

The results of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's landmark "top-to-bottom" review of electronic voting systems in California are due on August 3rd. (UPDATE: The SoS's Office informs us the report will be released this Friday. Details now posted here.) It'll be the first such official analysis, performed by several teams of testers, in which these voting systems have actually been tested for vulnerabilities and failures by "red team" hack/penetration testers, as well as having the system source codes fully and independently tested.

An article by Steve Harmon published in several CA newspaper this week offers a preview of the battle which may be ahead, including one exceedingly disturbing suggestion that California Election Clerks may be preparing to "ignore Bowen's findings and continue to use their systems" no matter what she may find, and whether or not she decertifies the systems for use.

Yours truly is quoted early in the piece, suggesting that "voting machine companies are quaking in their boots," as Bowen is doing precisely what she was elected to do and is fulfilling her campaign promises through the unprecedented series of tests.

John Gordon of Public Radio's Future Tense program followed up that printed report with his own four-minute audio report in which I'm also interviewed:

Of note in both reports, the voting machine company spokesholes are on the defensive, as expected. But the real battle after Bowen releases her findings may lie with the California Association of Clerks and Election Officers (CACEO), currently led by President Steve Weir, who makes some startling statements in the report...

As is his wont, Diebold's David Bear misleads voters again in the report, by telling Harmon, "You have some who've made allegations that are either unfounded or rely on a scenario not reflective of a true election environment...It's all based on a scenario of a so-called hacker with complete and unlimited access to a system."

Yes, Mr. Bear --- A "so-called hacker with complete and unlimited access to a system" such as the 13-year Monterey County, CA, Registrar of Voters, Tony Anchundo, who is now in jail after having pled guilty to 43 criminal counts. Or heck, even a "trusted" voting machine company insider, like David Bear, for example, who is regularly allowed "complete and unlimited access" to the voting systems.

But it's comments from CACEO's Weir which are the most disconcerting. CACEO is already on record going coo-coo over Bowen's temerity in actually testing the voting systems these Elections Officials rely on, and which, they've been telling us for years, are completely secure.

In Harmon's article, Weir asks "What's the problem the secretary is trying to resolve? Show me where the systems have actually been hacked and where votes have been changed. There's no evidence of it. It's theoretical." The presumption being, we guess, that we should wait until after an election is hacked to do something about it. Nothing like closing the barn door after the horses are long gone. (Just ask Christine Jennings in Florida.)

Weir's statement also misses the point --- one that he surely knows well by now, given all the science that has come out on this over the last several years --- that a proper hack of these systems would, in fact, not leave any evidence behind for him to see. (Just ask Christine Jennings in Florida.)

The most disturbing point from Weir, however, is in the penultimate graf in which he suggests that CACEO may now be modeling their legal tactics after the Bush Administration and their beliefs that the law does not apply to them...

Weir, the head of the state's registrars group, said that clerks could decide to ignore Bowen's findings and continue to use their systems, which are already federally qualified. Such a decision which would almost certainly create a legal standoff.

Dick Cheney would be proud.

We've invited Weir to appear on today's Peter B. Collins show, but we've yet to receive a response. Hopefully we'll hear back soon and we'll be able to ask him about the statements above on the air.

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