Election Integrity News - June 6, 2006
This Week's Quotes: "Keep in mind, this is not a vulnerability. It's only a vulnerability to those who would commit a felony - tampering with an election." Diebold spokesman David Bear
"The way I see it is, the citizens' vote is their most prized possession and I've got to watch over it. It's time for the state and Diebold to admit something is wrong and fix it." Bruce Funk, Emery County, Utah Clerk
"Bruce Funk is the only person who has tried to protect the
voters. No one else flagged this flaw that has resulted in alerts being
issued in several states. He is being removed from office for embarrassing
Diebold." David Dill, Professor of Computer Sceince, Stanford
University, founder, VerifiedVoting.org
In this issue ...
News From Around the States
|USAToday: Spate of Lawsuits Target e-Voting
by Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY - June 4, 2006
Electronic voting machines, adopted widely after the disputed Florida ballot count in the 2000 presidential election, are under legal attack as primary election season heats up.
Lawsuits have been filed in at least six states, the most recent last week in Colorado, to block the purchase or use of computerized machines.
Voter Action, a non-partisan advocacy group, led the challenge filed Thursday against the state of Colorado and nine counties, as well as similar lawsuits in California and Arizona this spring and New Mexico last year. Court actions by others targeted the devices in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Most of the suits argue that the machines are vulnerable to software tampering, don't keep an easily recountable printed record and may miscount, switch or not record votes and even add phantom votes.
In California, one of eight states holding primaries Tuesday, a lawsuit in March led several counties to switch to printed ballots counted with optical scanners, a competing technology. Six of the eight states will have some electronic balloting, which records votes by touch screens. Texas and Illinois had some problems using electronic voting machines during their March primaries. Read the Entire Article at USAToday
|Localities Look to Used Equipment to Meet Voting Machine Demand
by M. Mindy Moretti, electionline.org - June 2, 2006
Experts, activists concerned over growing practice
This article appeared in the electionline.org Newsletter. It is reposted here with permission of the author.
We drive used cars, we wear used clothes, we lounge on used furniture and some work on used computers. Now, in an effort to meet supply demands and deadlines, some voting machine vendors and elections officials are making arrangements that would have voters cast ballots on used or borrowed voting machines.
But unlike that comfy, funky pair of used jeans purchased at the local Goodwill that look good and feel great, some believe purchasing or borrowing previously used machines threatens the very fabric of elections because of inherent problems with the machines.
Although the practice of buying, selling – and, in some instances loaning – used equipment is not widespread, the deadlines and requirements of the Help America Vote Act have spurred an expansion of the practice.
Earlier this year officials in Lake County, Ohio were trying to sell Sequoia machines that the locality purchased but Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell (R) did not certify.
After failing to meet HAVA deadlines and using lever machines in the May 16 primary, Bucks County, Pa. is facing the loss of nearly $1 million in federal funds to purchase new equipment, forcing the county to consider purchasing used Danaher machines. Read the Entire Article
From Around the States
California: Humboldt County
Announces Transparency Project
Humboldt County, California registrar of voters Carolyn Crnich has approached TrueBallot, Inc. with an unprecedented request: to make publicly available scanned images of all ballots cast in the upcoming June 6, 2006 primary election. The registrar's interest in the project resulted from a recommendation by her Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections, which works with the county clerk to promote accurate, security and public confidence in elections. The goal of making ballot images publicly available is to allow the public to independently verify official vote totals and to detect any discrepancies that results from machine errors or fraud.
Rob Richie, Executive Director of Fair Vote, The Center for Voting and Democracy
commented "we see this proposal as extremely important, and, indeed,
The project promises several significant short- and long-term benefits. In the short-term, the project would establish a new level of transparency for public elections that would allow any member of the public to independently audit the election. It would enable the public to detect any discrepancies between the official totals and the scanned images if errors or fraud occurred. This would boost public confidence in or justify suspicion about the election process. The project would also create a set of data vastly richer than typical precinct-level results. This data would allow researchers and campaign strategists to study voter-level relationships between voting behavior in different races, and it would allow detailed study of voter errors, the usability of the voting system, and the accuracy of the read-heads on the county’s Diebold optical scan voting equipment. Read the Entire Article
California: Measure To Improve
Election Audit Process Clears Senate
Senator Debra Bowen's Measure Clears Full Senate Over the Objection of Secretary of State
Closing a loophole in California’s election auditing procedures is the goal of SB 1235 by Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach, pictured at right), the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee, which cleared the full Senate today on a bipartisan 38-0 vote over the opposition of California’s Secretary of State.
"Forty percent of Californians vote by absentee ballot and thousands of
others take advantage of in-person early voting opportunities before every election,
so the fact that some counties don’t include nearly half of the ballots
cast in any given election in the auditing process undermines the integrity
of the audit and the election itself," said Bowen. "The 1% manual
audit is designed to ensure the electronic voting machines and the ballot counters
tallied the results correctly, but there’s absolutely no way to conduct
a meaningful audit if you’re only looking at half, or in some cases, fewer
than half, of the votes."
Under California law, elections officials are required to conduct a public manual tally of the ballots cast in at least 1% of the precincts to check the accuracy of the votes tabulated by the electronic or mechanical voting systems. The law also requires the precincts subject to the audit to be randomly selected by elections officials, but it doesn’t define "random".
SB 1235 (Bowen) improves the election auditing procedures in two significant ways. First, it requires elections officials to include absentee, provisional, and all other ballots that are cast before Election Day or at satellite voting centers in the 1% audit. Second, it ensures the precincts subject to the manual audit requirement will truly be randomly selected by requiring elections officials to use either a random number generator to select the precincts to be manually counted or any other method set forth in regulations the Secretary of State would be required to adopt. Read the Entire Article
Group Cites Deficiencies in Security, Reliability, and Verifiability in Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S and Hart Computerized Voting Systems
Download the Complaint (PDF format)
"The Secretary of State's Office has failed to issue rules setting minimum standards for security of these systems. The election rules permit the DRE manufacturers to simply tell the State that their machines are secure," said Paul Hultin, an attorney with Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP. "Worse, the Secretary is not following the law. No certification reports required by law have been prepared even though these systems have been certified for months and counties are preparing to use these dubious systems in the upcoming election," stated Hultin. Read the Entire Article
to Attorney General with all Exhibits
Cover Letter to Attorney General
A complaint filed today with Florida ’s attorney general challenges the shipment of uncertified voting machines to Volusia, Putnam, Polk, and Glades counties, a felony under Florida law. Florida Fair Elections Coalition (FFEC), the Volusia-based election watchdog group that brought the complaint, has asked the attorney general to initiate an investigation of the actions of both the state officials who gave permission for the delivery of the equipment and those of Diebold Election Systems, Inc., the supplier of the machines.
FFEC’s action came in response to the recent discovery by Volusia elections’ staff that the voting machines delivered by Diebold were not certified by the state as called for in the county’s contract with the vendor and as required by state law. According to Volusia Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall, a member of her staff, Laurie White, discovered the problem during routine acceptance testing. When McFall confronted the vendor about the issue, the company produced a letter signed by David Drury, chief of the Bureau of Voting Systems Certification, giving it permission to ship the uncertified Model D, Accu-Vote TSx (touch-screen) voting machines to its customers in Florida .
It is an embarrassment to Diebold and to the division [of elections],” McFall told a reporter from the Daytona Beach News Journal. “I am happy my department caught this.” Officials in the other three counties—Polk, Putnam, and Glades—learned of the problem from newspaper reporters after the discovery in Volusia. A fifth county, Leon , had been scheduled to receive the machines on or about May 30. That delivery has now been postponed because of the publicity surrounding the uncertified equipment.
It is a third-degree felony for a supplier to provide an uncertified voting system, component or upgrade to a local governing body or supervisor of elections. Florida law also requires the supplier to sign a sworn statement attesting to the certification of any equipment provided. A Diebold representative did, in fact, sign an "Affidavit of Certification" for the uncertified equipment. Read the Entire Article
State Board of Elections Responds to Calls for Independent Testing of Diebold Machines By Hiring a Diebold Apologist Rather then a Security Expert to Conduct Tests - TrueVoteMD Calls Review a "Whitewash in the making"
Over the past five months, a Finnish security expert Hari Hursti has tested Diebold voting systems used in many states. He found serious security vulnerabilities both in the software, PCMCIA cards that record votes and in the procedures surrounding the voting machines. One of these vulnerabilities was detected by a Maryland security assessment two years ago, but Diebold never fixed the vulnerability. The newest attack is so serious that experts are afraid to talk about its details publicly.
As these security vulnerabilities became known Governor Robert Ehrlich expressed his view that he no longer trusted the machines. Candidates and citizens called for independent testing of the machines and John Hopkins Computer Expert Avi Rubin challenged the State Board of Elections to find computer scientists who would verify that the system is secure.
In response to this widespread pressure from citizens, voting security experts and political leaders, including TrueVoteMD, The Maryland State Board of Elections recently hired Freeman, Craft and McGregor Group Inc., to do an assessment of Diebold’s voting system security. However the selection of this Florida firm to do the analysis has itself raised questions.
Paul Craft is a partner in Freeman, Craft and McGregor. "We did some research into Paul Craft’s firm and have serious concerns as to their qualifications as security experts. There has been a lot of criticism of Mr. Craft in regards to the weakening of security procedures during the time he was assisting NASED in creating voting system standards in 2005," said Alex Zeese of TrueVoteMD.org. "We have some of the best computer experts in the country right here in Maryland who have been very critical of the Diebold machines. The SBE should have had these well-qualified critics test the machines in order to restore confidence of voters and political leaders. The selection of this group is a whitewash in the making. With this firm conducting the test the outcome is predictable." Read the Entire Article
|Election Bills Signed in Minnesota
by Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA - June2, 2006
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has signed election reform bills that will strenthen the state's mandatory manual audit and create an election advisory working group. Citizens for Election Integrity - Minnesota (CEIMN) was involved in crafting both bills.
The audit provisions are found in Section 2 of HF3832/SF 3299 introduced in the Minnesoata House by Rep. Bill Hilty (DFL-08A, pictured at left) and in the Senate by Senator John Hottinger (DFL-23, pictured at right). The post "election security review", or audit provision requires each of Minnesota's 87 counties to manually audit 2 - 4 precincts, based on population. Votes caste for Governor, US Senate and US House will be audited. This represents about 5% of the roughly 4100 precincts. The law includes atrigger mechanism requiring an expanded audit if the manual audit reveals a difference greater than one half of one percent (0.5%) between the hand count and the electronic tallies. If further audits reveal another 0.5% discrepancy, a statewide manual audit would result.
CEIMN haslaunched an audit observing initiative to recruit teams of 3 observers per county, to be trained to observe the audit in a nonpartisan manner. Two recent secretaries of state, Joan Growe and Arlen Erdahl have agreed to serve on the audit observing advisory board.
An omnibus election bill also introduced by Hilty and Hottinger, SF2743/HF3110, includes the establishment of a voting machines working group that will be cochaired by CEIMN and the Minnesota Disability Law Center. Theworking group has been tasked to: "investigate and recommend to the legislature requirements for additional options for voting equipment that complies with the requirements of section 301 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to provide private and independent voting for individuals with disabilities." The working group will be comprised of one representative from the Secretary of State's office, election officials, representatives from the disability community, non partisan groups and political parties.
|New Mexico: Candidate for Secretary of State Says Fraud May be Used in Election
by Gideon Elliot, New MexicoMatters.com - June 5, 2006
"Those truly concerned about the integrity of our democratic process know it depends foremost on the integrity of those we choose to run our elections."
This article appeared on NewMexicoMatters.com. It is reposted here with permission of the author.
Last week, Jeff Jones reported in a series of copyrighted stories for the Albuquerque Journal that according to Bernalillo County Clerk and Candidate for Secretary of State (SOS), Mary Herrera (pictured at right), as many as 60,000 out of the 225,000 voter identification cards already mailed out to voters in her county by the Secretary of State's office will arrive at wrong addresses, and that "well over 100,000 of the cards could be mailed to the wrong address statewide."
To put Herrera's numbers in perspective, during the 2002 primaries the unopposed Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, Rebecca Vigil-Giron, received 35,791 votes in Bernalillo County and 137,907 statewide, while in the Republican Primary for SOS, Sharon Clahchischilliage (also unopposed), received 77,789 statewide and 27,082 in Bernalillo County.
Herrera believes the 60,000 voter id cards with incorrect information cards could impact the results of Tuesday's election, telling Jones that anybody who "wants to commit it (fraud), they can open up that card (envelope)."
So how is it that so many voter id cards could be mailed out with incorrect information on them? According to Jeff Jones' Wednesday May 31, 2006, article, "Voter ID Arrives With Errors", Secretary of State "Vigil-Giron blamed the incorrect cards on voter information provided by the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office" since it is at the Clerk's office that all voter registration forms are processed. And processing voter registration forms is no small feat.
In 2004, the Bernalillo County Clerk's office had backlog of over 3,000 voter registration forms to process three weeks before Election Day, well after the deadline for voter registration-- so many that I believe Herrera ended up hiring temps to come in and enter the voter registration forms. One point here on databases that I learned - the data has to be entered into a computer by somebody at some point in the process. This is important to keep in mind because just think how many times you accidentally transpose letters or numbers when typing. Easy right? Well, just imagine a stack of 50 sitting on your desk. The chances are that you'll make a mistake entering all that info into a database too. Read the Entire Article
|Pennsylvania: Coalition Calls For Improvement as Voting Machine Problems Are Reported In Primaries
by VotePA - June 1, 2006
VotePA announced today that
is joining forces with other groups of concerned citizens, including People
For the American Way Foundation, the Black
Political Empowerment Project, and the League
of Young Voters to urge Allegheny County to adopt a safe and verifiable
system of elections so that the integrity of the vote can become evident to
all citizens. The current security model used by the county is unworkable and
leaves us with little basis for trusting our election results.
Reports of problems with voting machines used in the May 16th primary elections have been flowing in to VotePA’s offices from across the Commonwealth. More than two weeks after the polls closed, VotePA volunteers continue to receive and compile reports from observers and voters in many counties.
In Allegheny County, approximately ten percent of ES&S iVotronic machines failed. In many cases the machines suffered battery failure, and poll workers had difficulty reaching the County’s assistance lines, which were tied up for hours with calls from poll workers. In at least one Pittsburgh precinct, the zero report made when the machines were turned on did not list several candidates. A floating technician arrived hours after the polls opened and citizens had voted on the machine, to inform the Judge of Elections that he would use a "secret code" to cause the machine to print out a tape showing the vote count at zero. Similar incidents were reported in other Allegheny County precincts, in Centre County, and other areas using the iVotronic system.
Additional problems discovered by members of VotePA and other groups included discrepancies between the number of voters signing the poll book and the number of ballots cast, and the operation of several versions of iVotronic machines and software when only one version of each was certified for legal use in Pennsylvania by Secretary of State Pedro Cortés. Read the Entire Article
|Utah: Diebold's Reassurances Are Not Enough
by Salt Lake Tribune - June 3, 2006
The more they tell us not to worry, the more we should worry.
This editorial appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune.
"The corporate attitude is basically that the system is only vulnerable to people who are crooked. That is like saying that you need not lock your doors, take your car keys or call your children in after dark unless you are paranoid enough to think that there are any would-be criminals out there."
Experts are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the Diebold Elections Systems machines and the opening they reportedly present to any semi-skilled hacker with a little spare time and a charge account at Radio Shack.
Pennsylvania and California have ordered fixes. Wisconsin is having second thoughts. The Maryland Assembly voted to ban the machines, only to have their Senate kill the bill.
But in Utah, where we are spending $27 million to adopt the touch-screen voting system statewide, the only official to express any concern is now an ex-official. Those still running our elections, all the way up to Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, insist that none of us need worry our pretty little heads about it and the June 27 primaries should go off without a hitch.
Frankly, it would be a lot more comforting if our officials were eager to be seen as solving the problem instead of denying that there is one. Because, according to some very heavily credentialed experts, there is one. Read the Entire Editorial at The Salt Lake Tribune
Election Integrity News Editor: Warren Stewart
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