Election Integrity News - May 14, 2007



Click Here To Download Testimony from The House Subcommittee Hearings on Voting System Testing and Certification

In this issue ...

National Stories

Rep. Millender-McDonald Dies of Cancer

It's Time To Outlaw Paperless Electronic Voting in the U.S.

Sequoia WinEDS Does Not Comply With 2002 Voting System Standards

Lost Votes in the 2006 Election: A Look at Extraordinary Undervote Rates on the ES&S iVotronic

Diebold Accuvote TSx DREs Fail Spectacularly

Co-Author of the Voter Fraud and Voter Intimidation Report for the EAC, Calls for End to Censorship

Feinstein and Durbin Seek Response from EAC Regarding Allegations of Altered or Delayed Studies

Testimony on Voting System Testing and Cerification

Brennan Center Calls for Greater Transparency and Accountability of the EAC

News From Around the States

California: Bowen Unveils Details On Top-to-Bottom Review of Voting Systems To Begin Next Week

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Welcomes House Passage of the D.C. House Voting Rights Act

Florida Moves To Paper Ballots!

Florida: Docs Point to E-Voting Bug in Contested Race

Citizen's Group Praises Iowa's First Step Toward Verified Voting

Maryland Passes Paper Ballot Bill: 'A Victory for Democracy'

Maryland: State Election Administrator Deposition Released

Vendors Try an End Run Around New York State Election Law

New York: Microsoft Says Đ We Wonât Escrow

Ohio Audit Says Diebold Vote Database May Have Been Corrupted

Summary of the Collaborative Public Audit of the 2006 General Election in Cuyahoga County Ohio

Virginia Bans New DREs in First Step Toward Verifiable Voting


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Amended HR 811 Reported Out of Committee
by Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA

Congress Takes Important Step Towards Establishing Safeguards on the Use of Electronic Voting Systems

Rep. Rush Holt's Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 has been reported favorably out of the Committee on House Administration and is headed to a floor vote. The bill that came out of committee reflected the work of the Elections Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), which held a series of hearings in March. Many of the concerns that had been raised by election officials, the Republican committee members, academics, and election integrity activists were addressed in the amendment in the form of a substitute that was submitted by Rep. Lofgren.

In the mark-up, two further amendments were passed: an amendment offered by Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), that allows all voters the option of voting on a paper ballot, and an clerical amendment offered by Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-TX).

Responding to concern about the feasibility of widespread changes in voting system technology before the 2008 primaries, the effective date for the new requirements that would be mandated by the bill were changed from January 2008 to a bifurcated deadline. All jurisdictions that used any voting system the produced or required the use of a voter verified paper ballot in 2006 (including thermal reel-to-reel systems and accessible systems that used a paper ballot in any manner) will have until the first election in 2010 to meet new requirements for durability and accessible verification. However, jurisdictions that had no voter verified paper ballots at all in 2006 have until November 2008 to meet all of the requirements.

Significantly, the funding authorization for meeting the new requirements has been increased from $300 million to $1 billion. Additionally a specific ongoing authorization of $100 million annually for the conduct of post-election audits has been added. In the new version of the bill the requirement for the creation of Stat eAudit Boards has been removed and replaced with a requirement that the entity chosen by the State to conduct the audits satisfy the requirements of “independence” set forth in the GAO’s “Government Accounting Standards.”

Addressing a concern about the interaction of some state recount laws and the language of the introduced bill, Section 327 now requires that any pre-certification recount done instead of an audit be done by hand count of the paper ballots. It has been expanded to provide that if the recount is not a 100% count, that at least as many ballots be counted, the selection of those ballots be just as random, the recount be just as publicly observable, and the results be published, all as is required of audits. Additionally, audits must be conducted in the place where the ballots are stored and counted after the election, and in the presence of the ballot custodians.  

The required audit percentages have been clarified to be a minimum and states are allowed to developed alternate audit protocols as long as they are deemed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to be equal to or superior to those established by the bill. Unopposed elections and elections in which the winning candidate receives 80% of the vote are not required to be audited.

The ban on Internet connections has been expanded to include, in addition to devices upon which votes are cast, devices upon which votes are tabulated and ballots are programmed. This  will have the effect of prohibiting the connection of election management systems like Diebold’s GEMS or Sequoia’s WinEDS to he Internet.

The requirement that for disclosure of voting system software to any person has been replaced by a requirement that “election-dedicated voting technology” be released to qualified persons who sign non-disclosure agreements protecting intellectual property rights and trade secrets.

The extension of funding authorization for the Election Assistance Commission has been removed from the bill.

(continued below)

The bill still would require all voting systems to produce or require the use of a durable voter-verified paper ballot must be used or produced for every vote cast and to allow accessible verification of the paper ballot. Paper ballot is vote of record in all recounts and audits, as a check on electronic tallies except in cases where it can be demonstrated that the integrity of the paper ballot has been compromised. However, the amended bill provides that even if paper ballots have been demonstrated to have been compromised in numbers exceeding the margin of victory, “the electronic tally shall not be used as the exclusive basis for determining the official certified vote tally.”

The bill requires routine random manual audits in 3% of the precincts in all Federal elections, and 5% or 10% in very close races, but races in which the winning candidate received 80% of the vote need not be audited.

Increased public oversight and reporting of testing and certification would be required by the bill, including the establishment of an “arms-length” relationship between test labs and vendors, through the creation of an escrow account into the vendors pay test fees and from which the testing laboratories are paid. Permalink

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National Stories

Rep. Millender-McDonald Dies of Cancer
by Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA - April 23, 2007

The chair of the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA) died the morning of cancer at her home in Carson, CA, according to her chief of staff Bandele McQueen. Mrs. Millender-McDonald was serving her seventh term representing a Southern California district that includes Compton, Long Beach and parts of Los Angeles. She was 68.

According to a report in The Hill, House Clerk Lorraine Miller has secured Millender-McDonald's office and is to oversee the office until an election can be held to replace her. Her last vote was on March 23, a day in which she also attended an Elections Subcommittee hearing. She had requested a four- to six-week leave of absence from Speaker Pelosi the following week and Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA) had indicated that he would serve as interim chair of the full committee.

From her official biography:

A recent Washington Times article reported a University of California study citing Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald as one of the five most effective Members of Congress given her ability to reach across the aisle to effectively move bipartisan legislation. As the first African American woman in history to hold the distinguished position of Ranking Member on the powerful Committee on House Administration, she oversees the operation of the House of Representatives; the Library of Congress; the Smithsonian Institute; the National Zoo; and all federal elections.

This position extends the many firsts the Congresswoman has amassed since arriving on the political stage. She was the first African American woman to serve on the Carson City Council; the first to hold the position of Chairwoman for two powerful California State Assembly committees (Insurance; and Revenue & Taxation) in her first term. She was the first African American woman to give the national Democratic response to President Bush’s weekly radio address, and the first to be named Honorary Curator of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. Read the Entire Statement

Pelosi Statement on the Passing of Chairwoman Juanita Millender-McDonald

Statement of Vernon Ehlers, on Passing of Chairwoman Millender-McDonald

It's Time To Outlaw Paperless Electronic Voting in the U.S.
by David L. Dill, VerifiedVoting.org - April 26, 2007

Four years ago, when I began publicly opposing paperless electronic voting, passing a Federal law to require voter-verified paper records (VVPRs) seemed an impossible dream. Rep. Rush Holt introduced such a bill in 2003, and another in 2005, but both bills languished in committee until the clock ran out.

The dream is now achievable, due in part to the unending stream of problems caused by paperless voting machines in recent years. HR 811, the third incarnation of the Holt bill, is a critical measure needed to protect the integrity of our elections, and it now has very good prospects of being enacted. It already has 210 co-sponsors in the House, where only 218 votes are required to pass it.

There are two provisions in HR 811 that are especially vital for restoring trust in American elections: A nationwide requirement for voter-verified paper records, and stringent random manual counts of those records, to make sure they agree with the announced vote totals. The requirements in the Holt bill are superior to those in almost
every state of the country (there are now 22 states with significant amounts of paperless electronic voting, and only 13 states require random audits of VVPRs).

Success is not assured, however. The forces that have blocked previous bills are still active, especially vendors of current poorly performing equipment. Also, various concerns, reasonable and otherwise, have been raised about the bill by other parties. Read the Entire Article

Sequoia WinEDS Does Not Comply With 2002 Voting System Standards
by John Washburn, VoteTrustUSA - April 23, 2007

On Tuesday, March 13, 2006 I was finally able to confirm that WinEDS is routinely shipped with source code and a compiler and the presence of the compiler is required by Sequoia. The source code is the SQL programming in the Transact-SQL language and the compiler of this source code is Enterprise Manager.

During the audit of the Pinellas County, Florida primary election last year, it was discovered the county was using to Enterprise manger to directly manipulate the Microsoft SQL database under the WinEDS application. The question which I could not confirm until yesterday was whether Sequoia REQUIRES the purchase and installation of the SQL compiler, Enterprise Manager, or not. The purchase orders from Waukesha County, Wisconsin confirm Sequoia requires the complete set of Microsoft SQL database administration tools (Eneterprise manager, Query analyser, etc.) be installed as a requirement of WinEDS. In Waukesha county, the WinEDS application runs on the same physical machine as these database adminstratin tools.

This is a violation of 6.4.1(e) or the 2002 Voting System Standards (VSS).

Here is a letter I sent to the county clerk and the staff of the Wisconsin State Elections Board:

WinEDS violates both the 2002 VSS and 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) because the presence of Microsoft Enterprise Manager constitutes a compiler of the SQL programming invoked by WinEDS. The presence of compilers and programming source code is expressly forbidden by both the 2002 and 2005 versions of the national standards. Further, I speculate, none of the SQL programming source code incorporated into the WinEDS application was submitted for software review by the ITA labs.

Here is a comparison of Access 2000, Microsoft SQL Desktop Edition, and SQL Server Enterprise.

The relevant excerpt for MSDE and the SQL programming in a stored procedure is:

Stored procedures exist as permanently compiled objects in MSDE. Precompiling reduces the overhead required for execution. Stored procedures can accept and return data. Stored procedures can also be used to group complex SQL statements. The contents of stored procedures may be hidden from applications.

In Microsoft’s own words MS SQL Server stored procedures, user-defined functions, and triggers are a programming language; Transact-SQL. (Notice particularly the inclusion of IF.. ELSE, WHILE, CONTINUE, BREAK and EXECUTE programming elements). Read the Entire Article

Lost Votes in the 2006 Election: A Look at Extraordinary Undervote Rates on the ES&S iVotronic
by Kitty Garber, Research Director, Florida Fair Elections Center - April 14, 2007

Nearly five months after the 2006 general election, the controversy over the undervotes in the Congressional District 13 race in Sarasota County continues. In recent days, however, an August 15, 2006 letter from ES&S, the maker of the iVotronic voting machines used by Sarasota, has refueled speculation about the cause of the problem and renewed efforts to determine if races in other counties were affected. Even though the iVotronic is the primary voting equipment for only 11 of Florida’s 67 counties, these include the state’s most populous counties in south Florida. Thus, problems with iVotronics have a huge impact on statewide races.

The newly revealed letter, along with evidence of undervote problems from the state’s analysis of overvotes and undervotes, and reports of undervote problems in other counties using the iVotronic, led us to initiate a review of undervote rates in top-of-the-ballot races in the eleven Florida counties that use the iVotronic for precinct voting.


Based on our preliminary examination of the data, we find the following:

Read the Entire Report

Diebold Accuvote TSx DREs Fail Spectacularly
by John Washburn, VoteTrustUSA - April 9, 2007

The Diebold AccuVote TSx, like those used here in Washington County, Wisconsin, were discovered to have a failure rate of between 23% and 38% in Montgomery County, Ohio.

The failure here is very noteworthy because the failure is the failure of the AccuVote TSx to accurately record the ballot within the invisible computer memory. This was not a failure of the poorly designed toilet paper VVPAT printer. This was not a failure within the insecure GEMS server. This was not data corruption created by the unstable Microsoft JET database used by GEMS. This was a failure of the AccuVote TSx DRE to accurately translate the screen touches of the voters (testers) into invisible, electronic ballots stored within the flash memory of the AccuVote TSx.

Here is the source: from the Daytona Daily News of March 20, 2007. The variance in the percentage of failure is whether you count the number of failed machines as 28 (initial count) or only the 14 returned to Diebold Election systems, Inc. for repair.

Of course according the ESI report on the AccuVote TSx on printed page 118 (page 123 of the pdf file), there is a 1 in 4 chance (26% actually) that an invisible ballot stored in the flash memory of the AccuVote TSx DRE will be accurately copied to the removable memory cards. It is the electronic ballots stored on the removable memory cards from which all reports (both local and later from the GEMS server after uploading) will be generated.

I will say it again, for the benefit of the municipal clerks in my county and Ms. Jaszewski, County Clerk of Washington County. I am not opposed to using technology in elections. I am opposed to using unreliable and untested technology in a something as mission critical to the American Republic as an election. One is forced to ask the question: "Is AccuVote a proper name for this error prone product line?"

Co-Author of the Voter Fraud and Voter Intimidation Report for the EAC, Calls for End to Censorship
by Tova Andrea Wang- April 26, 2007

Over the last few weeks, there has been a developing controversy in the press and in the Congress over a report on voter fraud and voter intimidation I co-authored for the Election Assistance Commission (“EAC”). It has been my desire to participate in this discussion and share my experience as a researcher, expert and co-author of the report.

Unfortunately, the EAC has barred me from speaking. Early last week, through my attorney, I sent a letter to the Commission requesting that they release me from this gag order. Despite repeated follow-up, the EAC has failed to respond to this simple request. In the meantime, not only can I not speak to the press or public -- it is unclear under the terms of my contract with the EAC whether I can even answer questions from members of Congress.

My co-author and I submitted our report in July 2006; the EAC finally released its version of the report in December 2006. As numerous press reports indicate, the conclusions that we found in our research and included in our report were revised by the EAC, without explanation or discussion with me, my co-author or the general public. From the beginning of the project to this moment, my co-author and I have been bound in our contracts with the EAC to silence regarding our work, subject to law suits and civil liability if we violate the EAC-imposed gag order. Moreover, from July to December, no member of the EAC Commission or staff contacted me or my co-author to raise any concerns about the substance of our research. Indeed, after I learned that the EAC was revising our report before its public release, I contacted the EAC, and they refused to discuss with me the revisions, or the reasons such revisions were necessary.

Stifling discussion and debate over this report and the critical issues it addresses is contrary to the mission and goals of the EAC and to the goal of ensuring honest and fair elections in this country. Commissioner Hillman stated in her defense of the EAC’s actions that the EAC seeks to “ensure improvements in the administration of federal elections so that all eligible voters will be able to vote and have that vote recorded and counted accurately.” I share this aspiration. But I believe that the best way to achieve that end is not by suppressing or stifling debate and discussion, but by engaging in a thoughtful process of research and dialogue that ultimately arrives at the truth about the problems our voting system currently confronts.

See Also - Statement of Vice-Chair Rosemary E. Rodriguez Regarding Request by Tova Wang

Feinstein and Durbin Seek Response from EAC Regarding Allegations of Altered or Delayed Studies
by Senators Feinstein and Durbin Press Release - April 13, 2007

Request for Information Follows Troubling News Reports of Politically Motivated Actions by EAC

In light of troubling news reports containing allegations that the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) may have altered or delayed the release of reports for political purposes, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) today requested detailed information from the EAC on two recent studies related to voter fraud and voter identification requirements.

Senator Feinstein is Chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee and Senator Durbin is Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

Accurate and detailed information about the realities of voter fraud and the impact of voter identification requirements is needed if we want to create meaningful reforms to federal election practices,” Senator Feinstein said.  “The Election Assistance Commission provides a valuable service by looking into these issues, but we need to make sure that the true findings are being disclosed to the public and Congress.”

The Election Assistance Commission has a responsibility to provide the public with comprehensive, unfiltered information, free from the influence of partisan politics,” said Senator Durbin.  “Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight of the Commission's actions and hold them to the highest standards of integrity and credibility.”

Senator Feinstein has scheduled a Rules Committee oversight hearing on the Election Assistance Committee for Wednesday, June 13. Read the Entire Letter

Testimony on Voting System Testing and Cerification
by David Wagner, Computer Science Division, University of California, Berkeley - May 7, 2007

The following written testimony was submitted for the public hearing of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives on May 7, 2007.


We have seen dramatic changes in election technology over the past decade. This new technology was introduced for laudable reasons and has brought important benefits. However, it has come at a cost.

Many of today’s electronic voting machines have security problems. The ones at greatest risk are the paperless DRE voting machines. These paperless machines are vulnerable to attack: a single person with insider access and some technical knowledge could switch votes, perhaps undetected, and potentially swing an election. With this technology, we cannot be certain that our elections have not been corrupted.

In my research into electronic voting, I have come to the conclusion that the federal certification process is not adequate. The testing labs are failing to weed out insecure and unreliable voting systems. The federal certification process has approved systems that have lost thousands of votes, systems with reliability problems, and systems with serious security vulnerabilities. Over the past four years, independent researchers have discovered security vulnerabilities in voting machines used throughout the country — vulnerabilities that were not detected by state and federal certification processes. Unfortunately, the standards and certification rocess has not kept pace with the advances in election technology over the past decade.

One of the most promising directions may be to reduce our reliance upon software. With today’s paperless voting machines, flaws in the software can potentially cause undetectable errors in the outcome of the election. That places an impossible burden on vendors and testing labs, because it requires perfection: a single overlooked defect can be enough to render the whole system insecure, unreliable, or inaccurate, and experience has proven that it is common for even the most capable experts to overlook flaws and defects in software. It is unreasonable to expect perfection from vendors or testing labs given the complexity of modern election technology. If the system is completely reliant upon software, failures and security flaws are inevitable. Read the Entire Article

Brennan Center Calls for Greater Transparency and Accountability of the EAC
by Brennan Center of New York University - April 17, 2007

Last week, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announced that it will review its internal processes for releasing research and reports to the public and for awarding research contracts, and yesterday it asked its inspector general to review its procedures. We hope that these announcements signal the agency’s willingness to embrace greater transparency and public accountability—qualities that have been lacking from many of its operations to date.

The EAC’s announcements come on the heels of intense pressure from the Brennan Center and other advocates, members of Congress, and the media for the EAC to release two reports on important voting issues that the agency had commissioned from expert consultants with taxpayer dollars: a report on voter identification, and a report on voting fraud and voter intimidation. Despite the fact that both reports were completed by the summer of 2006, the EAC did not release the voter identification report until March 30, 2007, and it has never released the voting fraud and voter intimidation report (the latter report, however, was leaked to the New York Times last week). (The EAC did, however, produce its own report on election crimes based in part on the consultants’ research.) The Brennan Center had requested both reports in October 2006 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but the EAC denied our request and our subsequent appeal. Read the Entire Article

From Around the States

California: Bowen Unveils Details On Top-to-Bottom Review of Voting Systems To Begin Next Week
by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen - May 9, 2007

Secretary of State Debra Bowen today unveiled the project plan that will be used to conduct her promised top-to-bottom review of the voting systems certified for use in California.

California voters are entitled to have their votes counted exactly as they were cast,” said Secretary Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer. “This top-to-bottom review is designed with one goal in mind: to ensure that California’s voters cast their ballots on voting systems that are secure, accurate, reliable, and accessible.”

The Secretary of State is entering into an interagency agreement with the University of California to conduct the review – the first of its kind in the nation – that is scheduled to begin the week of May 14 and conclude in late July. UC will assemble three top-to-bottom review teams, drawing specialists from throughout the university system, as well as from public and private universities and private sector companies throughout the country. Each team will consist of approximately seven people and will conduct a review of documents and studies associated with each voting system, a review of the computer source code each machine relies on, and a red team penetration attack to see if the system’s security can be compromised.

“My goal is to get California to a place where voters, elections officials, candidates, and activists have confidence in the results of every election,” continued Bowen. “This kind of a comprehensive review is essential in getting us to that point. One of three things will happen to each voting system that’s being reviewed. The first possibility is that a system will be found to be secure, accurate, reliable and accessible as it stands, so voters can have confidence when they use it on Election Day. Second, a system may be required to use additional safeguards, such as an expanded post-election audit process. The third possibility is that a voting system can’t be made secure, accurate, reliable and accessible even with additional safeguards, so that system may be decertified, which means it could not be used for any election in 2008.” Read the Entire Press Release

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Welcomes House Passage of the D.C. House Voting Rights Act
by NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund - April 20, 2007

Theodore M. Shaw, LDF Director-Counsel and President, praised the House of Representatives' passage of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007. The vote on Wednesday, April 18th represents an important step toward resolving the long-standing problem of vote denial for D.C. residents. This landmark legislation would permanently provide District of Columbia residents with a meaningful voice in the Congress.

"The House vote was a historic step aimed at addressing a form of disfranchisement that disproportionately affects significant numbers of African Americans," said Ted Shaw, LDF Director-Counsel and President. "This bill will extend the right to vote to D.C. residents who have, for too long, been unable to meaningfully participate in our nation's
political process."

A bipartisan effort, the bill temporarily expands the size of the House of Representatives to 437 members, without jeopardizing seats from other states. It is now in the hands of the Senate to pass the bill and remove one of the most significant legally sanctioned barriers obstructing voter access today.

Throughout its history, LDF has worked to provide greater access to the ballot box. LDF's support of the D.C. House Voting Rights Act comes on the heels of Congress's recent reauthorization of the expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Congress in passing the reauthorization bill reaffirmed its commitment to dismantling barriers that inhibit the vote. The D.C. House Voting Rights Act represents a measured effort to dismantle an unnecessary and unwise barrier that has disenfranchised substantial numbers of otherwise eligible citizens.

Florida Moves To Paper Ballots!
by Florida Voters Coalition - May 3, 2007

Florida Voters Coalition Congratulates Governor Crist and the Florida Legislature for Ending Paperless Voting

In a historic vote, the Florida House today unanimously passed CS/HB 537, already passed in the Senate, that provides almost all voters paper ballots in time for the 2008 Presidential election, and bans paperless DREs outright by 2012. The bill now goes to the Governor where he’s sure to sign it since it’s his initiative.

Counties will have the option to pitch DREs immediately and provide ballot marking devices for voters with disabilities. “FVC urges all 67 counties to convert to uniform paper ballot systems without delay and leave no voter behind voting on failed electronic voting machines,” said FVC Co-Founder, Dan McCrea.

The bill is funded with $27.9 million in HAVA funds and there’s plenty more money in that account should more be needed next year. Counties will get help from the state to purchase optical scan equipment to count the paper ballots; ballot-on-demand equipment to ease paper congestion problems in Early Voting; and ballot marking devices to serve the disabled.

While there was talk earlier in the legislative session about retrofitting printers to failed touchscreen DREs, that talk faded as legislators saw it would be throwing good money after bad. Additionally, they are sure to have understood that currently available “VVPAT” printers would not comply with proposed federal legislation which, if passed, will supersede Florida law. (Federal bill HR 811, sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt, currently has 212 bi-partisan co-sponsors in Congress.) Read the Entire Article

See also Governor Crist Applauds Legislature for Boldly Reforming Florida's Elections

Florida: Docs Point to E-Voting Bug in Contested Race
by Kim Zetter - April 17, 2007

This article was posted at Wired.com and is reposted here with permission of the author.

Symptoms consistent with a known software flaw in a popular electronic voting machine surfaced widely in a controversial election in Sarasota County, Florida, last November, despite county officials' claims that a bug played no role in the election results, according to documents obtained by Wired News.

Activists say the flaw might have contributed to the high number of lost or uncast votes in a now-contested congressional race.

Incident reports from the election reveal Sarasota County poll workers from at least 19 precincts contacted technicians and election officials to report touch-screen sensitivity problems with the I-Votronic voting machine. In those incidents, voters were forced to press the screen harder and repeatedly to register a vote. The complaints mirror the symptoms of a bug that the machine's maker, Election Systems & Software, revealed prior to the election in a warning unheeded by the county.

Additionally, the documents -- obtained through public records requests by Wired News and the Florida Coalition for Fair Elections -- show the problems also appeared on a smaller scale during the primary election in Sarasota County two months earlier. This contradicts statements by Sarasota supervisor of elections Kathy Dent, who told Wired News last month that no such problems happened during the primary, and that she only learned voters were having problems with the touch screens after the November election was over and votes were counted. Read the Entire Article

Citizen's Group Praises Iowa's First Step Toward Verified Voting
by Iowans for Voting Integrity - April 30, 2007

All Iowa Counties Will Eventually Replace Touch Screen Voting Machines

Noting that more work still needs to be done to secure the accuracy of Iowa's elections, a citizens' advocacy group praised legislation passed by the Iowa House of Representatives today. Senate File 369, which passed the Senate in March, cleared the House 52-42 Saturday afternoon. SF 369 brings an end to paperless electronic voting in Iowa, and will eventually make voter-marked paper ballots the universal standard in Iowa elections.

It's a welcome first step toward verified voting in Iowa,” said Iowans for Voting Integrity co-chair Sean Flaherty.

The bill will require that all direct-recording electronic, or “DRE,” voting machines in Iowa offer a voter-verifiable paper record in time for the November 4, 2008 elections. As many as 20% of Iowa's voters cast their votes on DRE machines in the November 2006 elections.

Counties could continue to use the touch screen DRE machines as long as they have a paper trail, but when the machines wear out, counties would have to replace them with optical scan equipment that is compatible with traditional paper ballots. For voters with disabilities, each precinct will eventually have a “ballot-marking device,” which also has a touch screen function, but only to help the voter mark a traditional paper ballot. Unlike a DRE machine, a ballot-marking device does not tabulate the vote. A ballot is inserted into the machine, the voter makes choices using the touch screen, and the machine then ejects the ballot, which can be scanned or counted by hand. 21 counties, including Wapello County, Polk County, and Woodbury County, now use optical scan with a ballot-marking device; eventually all Iowa counties will use this system. Read the Entire Article

Maryland Passes Paper Ballot Bill: 'A Victory for Democracy'
by TrueVoteMD - April 10, 2007

In the closing hours of the 2007 legislative session, a four year effort to require paper ballots for Maryland's voting system passed the House and the Senate unanimously.  The bill, SB 392/HB18, requires a voter-verified paper trail to be implemented in 2010.

"This is a victory for democracy in Maryland. Thousands of voters who worked to make this a reality are celebrating tonight," said Shazia Anwar, Director of TrueVoteMD.org the election watchdog group that spearheaded efforts for a paper ballot. "We crossed a major hurdle tonight, now we have to make sure the bill is fully implemented."

Last week it looked there was no chance a bill would pass in 2007, but consistent citizen pressure -- emails, phone calls and voter visits -- let the Senate leadership know this was an issue of utmost importance to Maryland voters. "We're very pleased elected officials in both Houses decided this was the year to put in place a voter verified paper record that could used independent audits and meaningful recounts" said Anwar.

"TrueVoteMD.org was founded four years ago in order to create elections that voters in Maryland could trust," said Linda Schade, founder of TrueVoteMD. "I'm pleased that we've made significant progress tonight." Read the Entire Article

Maryland: State Election Administrator Deposition Released
by TrueVoteMD - May 4, 2007

Lamone Concedes Voting System Does Not Produce Ballots

Longstanding Maryland Law Requires the Use of Ballots for Recounts

A deposition of State Election Administrator Linda Lamone was made public today by the election watchdog group TrueVoteMD in which Lamone made several significant admissions that help the cause of ongoing litigation brought by six Maryland voters and elected officials against Lamone’s state agency.

Ms. Lamone’s answers to deposition questions, which were also recorded by video camera, conceded that the voting machines do not use or produce ‘ballots’ as required under longstanding Maryland recount law.

For a full review of the entire deposition, click here.

These admissions show that Ms. Lamone will bend over backwards to use these machines, regardless of the fact that they don’t comply with state law or failed to pass independent federal testing for security,” said Ms. Linda Schade, co-founder of TrueVoteMD, and lead plaintiff in the case against the State Board of Elections.

If the Governor doesn’t sign the bill, this concession by Lamone could result in the de-certification of the Diebold voting system in Maryland and a new system could be in place in time for next year’s crucial presidential election,” said Ms. Shazia Anwar, Director, TrueVoteMD.

All major litigation discovery documents are available at the TrueVoteMD website.

Vendors Try an End Run Around New York State Election Law
by Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting - April 28, 2007

Uncertified DREs to be used in Troy School Election on May 15

This article was posted to Bo Lipari's Web log and is reposted here with permission of the author.

In a brazen attempt to get their uncertified DREs used in New York State, Liberty Election Systems and their Dutch partner Nedap made the City School District of Troy New York an offer they couldn’t refuse – use of 10 of their DREs in the upcoming May 15, 2007 School District Election at no cost to the district. Unfortunately, the LibertyVote/Nedap DRE has not completed New York State testing or met any of the State’s regulatory standards, and is not certified for use in the State by the New York State Board of Elections.

The voting machine vendors have been frustrated by their inability to meet New York’s high certification standards and source code escrow requirements. They’ve found a way to get around the testing halt instituted in January by NYS Board of Elections when the New York Times revealed that Ciber, the agency conducting New York’s tests, had lost federal accreditation six months earlier. Liberty Election Systems is preying upon cash strapped school districts, offering them free use of machines and support personnel to run their elections. Of course, Liberty doesn’t mention that their DREs haven’t passed state certification, have documented security vulnerabilities, and will be supported by Dutch technical staff working for Nedap. Read the Entire Article


New York: Microsoft Says Đ We Wonât Escrow
by Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting - April 16, 2007

Software Giant Tells New York - “Forget about it”

This article was posted on Bo Lipari's Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author. 

On Friday, April 13, 2007, the New York State Board of Elections notified vendors hoping to certify voting systems in the state that Microsoft would not comply with the source code escrow requirements of state election law. Microsoft Windows operating systems and applications are used by several DREs, Ballot Marking Devices, and all Election Management Systems (EMS) currently submitted for New York State certification. With Microsoft unwilling to place source code in escrow, voting systems which use Microsoft products are not eligible for certification and use in the state.

New York State Election Law, Section 7-208 states that the voting system vendors "shall place into escrow with the state board of elections a complete copy of all programming, source coding and software employed by the voting machine, system or equipment." Voting system vendors are also required to file a waiver with state and local Boards of Elections "which shall waive all rights of the vendor or manufacturer to assert intellectual property or trade secret rights in any court of competent jurisdiction hearing a challenge to the results of any election.", and must also file "a consent to having and cooperating in the testing of any programming, source coding, firmware, or software, pursuant to an order of any board of elections or court of competent jurisdiction."

The State Board had been holding discussions with Microsoft in order to determine how compliance with State Election Law would be met. The Board also submitted a list of questions to Microsoft about the escrow issue. In these discussions and answers, the software giant indicated that it does not and will not put its source code in escrow accounts, and it does not and will not escrow source code through any third parties or the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In other words, the Redmond behemoth is telling New York State, and any other states that have a high legal bar for escrow and review of software source code, “Forget about it.” Microsoft, which has only recently begun to weigh in on voting system software proprietary claims, is taking the same stance that voting machine vendors have always taken – the public cannot have access to the software we vote on. Read the Entire Article

Ohio Audit Says Diebold Vote Database May Have Been Corrupted
by Kim Zetter, Wired News - April 20, 2007

This article was published at wired.com and is reposted here with permission of the author.

DieboldProblems found in an audit of Diebold tabulation records from an Ohio November 2006 election raise questions about whether the database got corrupted during the tabulation of election results, says a report released today (pdf).

The document, from a team of researchers tasked with auditing the November election in troubled Cuyahoga County, have called for a thorough examination of the database to determine if corruption did occur and the extent to which it may have affected the election results.

Among the report findings:

Vote totals in two separate databases that should have been identical had different totals. Although Diebold explained that this was part of the system design for separate vote tables to get updated at different times during the tabulation process, the team questioned the wisdom of a design that creates non-identical vote totals.

Tables in the database contained elements that were missing date and time stamps that would indicate when information was entered.

Entries that did have date/time stamps showed a January 1, 1970 date. Read the Entire Article

Summary of the Collaborative Public Audit of the 2006 General Election in Cuyahoga County Ohio
by John Washburn, VoteTrustUSA - May 1, 2007

The final report for the audit of the November 7, 2006 election held in Cuyahoga County, Ohio was released on April 17, 2007.  It took five months and some follow up reports are still to be produced. The complete report can be downloaded here.

The 68 page final audit report contains many startling findings including poor chain of custody, improper scanning of absentee ballots, poor data base design, poor security of the election management server, and possible database corruption. But the most stunning finding is found on page 36 of the report.

Additionally, we have no clarity on which table contains the final accurate results.
Stop and think about this.

After five months of diligent work there is no clarity where in the GEMS system one looks to find the final, accurate results of an election. After five months of consulting with computer experts, after months of consulting with Talbot Iredale, the professional engineer from Diebold Election Systems who designed the GEMS system, the auditors have no clarity on what are the final, accurate results for the November election or where to find those number. Read the Entire Article

Virginia Bans New DREs in First Step Toward Verifiable Voting
by Ivy Main, New ERA for Virginia - April 15, 2007

Last week Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed legislation prohibiting local governments from buying new direct record electronic (DRE) election machines starting July 1, 2007.

After that date, localities needing new election machines as their populations grow or their DREs break down are expected to turn to optical scanning machines that read paper ballots. Legislators hope this the gradual phase-in of the new system will ease the financial strain of purchasing new machines, while moving the state in the direction of verifiable voting.

The state’s current DREs do not produce a paper record of individual votes that permits voters to verify that their votes have been properly recorded, and that can be preserved for auditing the machines or recounting close elections. By contrast, precinct-based optical scanners allow voters to verify their votes, and the paper ballots can be preserved as a “paper trail” for audits and recounts. Read the Entire Article

Election Integrity News Editor: Warren Stewart
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