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Articles by John Gideon

   

John Gideon
John Gideon is the Executive Director of VotersUnite and Information Manager for VoteTrustUSA. He is a disabled Viet Nam Vet (Navy) and a retired federal employee. He has been learning about and working on the issues related to voting reform and voting integrity since early in 2003. He maintains the current news links on the VotersUnite! website and compiles the "Daily Voting News", a clipping service of voting news articles for activists, attorneys, elections officials, elected officials, and others who are interested in voting reform issues. He also chooses Top Five Voting News story each week for VoteTrustUSA's weekly newsletter Election Integrity News. His personal knowledge of current events on these issues has become a trusted resource for voting integrity activists across the country.


An Open Letter To The Election Assistance Commission PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org and Information Manager for VoteTrustUSA   
December 23, 2005
Dear Elections Assistance Commission

Today I write to express my disappointment with the non-responsiveness of the commission to the needs of the voters. You do well when it comes to the needs of the voting machine vendors, it seems, but the voters are being ignored.

You say that "the Commission serves as a national clearinghouse and resource for information and review of procedures with respect to the administration of Federal elections". I'm sorry to say that you fail as both a national clearinghouse and as a resource for information.

Let me give you a few examples of the failures. On October 17, 2004 a letter from VotersUnite.Org was given to, you, the commissioners. This letter expressed an idea that VotersUnite.Org had concerning your mandate to be a national clearinghouse and resource. It was VotersUnite.Org's idea that a communications network be established between all state, county, and local elections officials for the purpose of wide promulgation of information about voting system problems, solutions, and other issues that would have wide-spread interest. To this date VotersUnite.Org has never received a response to this letter even though I have personally spoken with your spokesperson about it and another copy of the letter was transmitted to this person for a response. It is, apparently, sitting on some EAC Counsel’s desk for action; or being ignored.

The letter was also given, months later, to members of the Government Accountability Office as testimony prior to their report on your successes and failures since you were formed. I'm sure you have noticed that the clearinghouse idea was mentioned several times in their report. It is hoped that you will not treat the GAO as you have treated the public and ignore their advice.
Read more...
An Open Letter To The Election Assistance Commission PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org and Information Manager for VoteTrustUSA   
December 23, 2005
Dear Elections Assistance Commission

Today I write to express my disappointment with the non-responsiveness of the commission to the needs of the voters. You do well when it comes to the needs of the voting machine vendors, it seems, but the voters are being ignored.

You say that "the Commission serves as a national clearinghouse and resource for information and review of procedures with respect to the administration of Federal elections". I'm sorry to say that you fail as both a national clearinghouse and as a resource for information.

Let me give you a few examples of the failures. On October 17, 2004 a letter from VotersUnite.Org was given to, you, the commissioners. This letter expressed an idea that VotersUnite.Org had concerning your mandate to be a national clearinghouse and resource. It was VotersUnite.Org's idea that a communications network be established between all state, county, and local elections officials for the purpose of wide promulgation of information about voting system problems, solutions, and other issues that would have wide-spread interest. To this date VotersUnite.Org has never received a response to this letter even though I have personally spoken with your spokesperson about it and another copy of the letter was transmitted to this person for a response. It is, apparently, sitting on some EAC Counsel’s desk for action; or being ignored.

The letter was also given, months later, to members of the Government Accountability Office as testimony prior to their report on your successes and failures since you were formed. I'm sure you have noticed that the clearinghouse idea was mentioned several times in their report. It is hoped that you will not treat the GAO as you have treated the public and ignore their advice.
Read more...
New Mexico: TRO Filed Against Counties Purchasing Sequoia AVC Edge Voting Machines PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Information Manager, VoteTrustUSA   
December 21, 2005
19 NM counties agree that Sequoia DREs should not be used by their voters

Attorneys for Patricia Rosas Lopategui, et al. filed a temporary restraining order today asking District Judge Eugenio Mathis for an emergency order blocking the Secretary of State from spending millions of dollars on Sequoia AVC Edge touch screen voting machines for use in Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Santa Fe and 11 other counties. According to their press release VoterAction, the group who is providing support to the attorneys and the plaintiffs in this case, says:
The plaintiffs allege that the machines are not accessible by disabled voters and violate a state law requirement for voter verifiable paper trail printers, necessary for meaningful audits and recounts. Plaintiffs also submitted substantial evidence that the Sequoia touchscreen voting systems are inaccurate and unreliable, having lost thousands of votes and switched countless others in recent elections.
Read more...
More Cronyism, This Time at the Federal Election Commission PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Information Manager, VoteTrustUSA   
December 17, 2005
What's a Few Broken, Ignored Federal Election Laws Between Friends?

Hans von Spakovsky. A German industrialist? A compatriot of artist Hieronymus Bosch? No. He is an attorney who is presently the head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Voting Section. He is a member of the right-wing Federalist Society, and joined other Bush cronies in the Florida recount battle in 2000, and he is President Bush's newest recipient of a crony-nomination.

According to an article in today's Washington Post, von Spakovsky was nominated to the Federal Election Commission on Friday.

The nomination of von Spakovsky, a Republican, has already raised the hackles of some Democrats. According to the Washington Post:
In a letter to Senate Rules Committee Chairman Trent Lott (R-MS), Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) wrote that he is "extremely troubled" by the von Spakovsky nomination. Kennedy contends that von Spakovsky "may be at the heart of the political interference that is undermining the [Justice] Department's enforcement of federal civil laws."
Read more...
Bad News Keeps Rolling In for Diebold PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Information Manager, VoteTrustUSA   
December 13, 2005
On the heels of the filing of a securities fraud law suit today, BlackBoxVoting.Org has announced that a test election was done on a machine in Leon County, Florida today and the Diebold security measures were easily defeated.

In a report of the test and it's results, Jim March of BlackBoxVoting.Org relates: Due to security design issues and contractual non-performance, Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho told Black Box Voting that he will never use Diebold in an election again. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. He will issue a formal announcement to this effect shortly.

Finnish security expert Harri Hursti proved that Diebold lied to Secretaries of State across the nation when Diebold claimed votes could not be changed on the memory card.

A test election was run in Leon County today with a total of eight ballots - six ballots voted "no" on a ballot question as to whether Diebold voting machines can be hacked or not. Two ballots, cast by Dr. Herbert Thomson and by Harri Hursti voted "yes" indicating a belief that the Diebold machines could be hacked.
Read more...
Ohio Protest Against Regressive Voting Law PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Information Manager, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA   
December 10, 2005
In a December 9 media release, Rev. John Edgar of Ohio describes how Jonathan Meier, a 23 year-old divinity student from Columbus is continuing a prayer vigil and hunger strike at the Ohio Statehouse to signal his disgust and distrust with House Bill 3 – the vote reform bill proposed and supported by GOP lawmakers. Early yesterday morning, Meier was joined by Kyle Poorman, a 25 year-old voter organizer from Columbus.
 
When asked about the demonstration, Meier said that the demonstration is his way of highlighting the injustice of House Bill 3. “Most people don’t realize that this legislation, if passed by the senate next week, would make it virtually impossible for homeless folks to vote, would make it virtually impossible for groups to register large numbers of voters, would eliminate oversight of voting machines, and would cancel our right to challenge election results.”
Read more...
Voting Rights Group Files Suit to Challenge NC's Recent Certification of Diebold and Others PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Information Manager, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA   
December 08, 2005
'Rule of Law' Seems to Allude State Elections Board, Former Diebold Official Who Approved Companies Without Required Source Code Escrow

We are on the verge of seeing just how "Immaculate" was the "Immaculate Certification" of Diebold, and other voting systems, in North Carolina.

Just as a reminder, the courts found that Diebold would have to follow state law and provide their source code for inspection just like the rest of the vendors. Diebold then said that they would not comply so they were going to go home and not be a part of the selection process in the state.

Then, the North Carolina State Board of Elections decided that they would treat all of the vendors the same and they decided they would let them all ignore state elections laws. The advisor to the State Board is Keith Long, who until recently was an employee of Diebold. Of course that made Diebold happy and they accepted the invitation to be certified by the state.

Thus, the "Immaculate Certification".
Read more...
North Carolina: "Immaculate Certification'! Diebold Allowed in North Carolina After All! PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Information Manager, VoteTrustUSA   
December 01, 2005
Voting Company Apparently Just Kidding About Pulling Out of State!

Former Diebold Rep, Now on NC Election Advisory Board Certifies Diebold, Despite Apparent Failure to Comply with State Law Requiring Source Code Escrow!

Orginally posted on The Brad Blog.
Surprise! Diebold got certified in North Carolina today. In what the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is calling the "Immaculate Certification" the North Carolina State Board of Elections has decided to certify Diebold. This is the same Diebold that three days ago said that they would have to pull out of consideration in the state because they were not willing to put their buggy software source code from their flawed Voting Machines into escrow claiming they had third-party software that could not be submitted to the state. This is the same Diebold that was apparently making faux claims about their need to pull out of NC due to a court's refusal to allow them exemption from that state law. But what else is new for a company like Diebold?
Read more...
Proprietary Software On Voting Machines? PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Information Manager, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA   
November 05, 2005
This week a panel of three judges in Sarasota County, Florida found that a breathalyzer manufacturer, CMI Inc., must turn over its source code to an expert hired by defendants in drunk driving cases. The expert would only be allowed to inspect the code for bugs and he would be under court orders not to divulge any of the code to the public. The manufacturer of the breathalyzer has refused to allow its source code to be reviewed.

In an article in “News Forge” Bill Scofield, manager of engineering for CMI Inc., the company who makes the subject breathalyzer, is quoted as stating, “It's a trade secret. There is no reason to release the source code because there are other ways to test its effectiveness." However no other means of testing the source code were offered by CMI.
 
So, if it is important that the source code used in breathalyzers should be made available for inspection by experts, why shouldn’t the same be true for voting machine source code?
Read more...
A Short Report on the Oregon Summit PDF Print Email
John Gideon
By John Gideon, Information Manager, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA   
October 05, 2005
David Cobb and John Gideon at National Summit to Save Our ElectionsIt’s been an amazingly uplifting and invigorating weekend in Portland, Oregon. This past weekend the Oregon Voting Rights Coalition provided citizens of the country a venue to share their experiences about their voting advocacy and a chance to teach and learn from others.


Activists came from all over the country to attend this amazing gathering. Bernie Ellis from Tennessee, Karen Renick and Pokey Anderson from Texas, MaryBeth Kuznick from Pennsylvania, and many from California, Missouri, and elsewhere; all joined our Oregon hosts.

Read more...
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