Election Integrity News - June 26, 2006
This Week's Quotes: “Almost everything that a malicious attacker could attempt could also happen by accident; for every malicious attacker, there may be thousands of people making ordinary careless errors.” Douglas W. Jones, University of Iowa
In this issue ...
News From Around the States
National Coalition for Election Integrity
VoteTrustUSA brought the issue of electronic voting to the attention of Kitty Pilgrim of CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight program. Beginning with a story about the foreign ownership of Sequoia Voting systems, the story has moved into the overall problems of e-voting. The issue is now a regular feature on the Dobbs’ program, titled “Democracy for Sale.” The first six segments of the series are available for download on the VoteTrustUSA website.
We are continuing to provide background information sources and interview subjects as the Lou Dobbs Tonight team explores the lack of effective oversight and regulation of the privatized election “industry.” Lou Dobbs Tonight is aired at 6 pm ET (5 pm CT, 3 pm ET) Monday through Friday. Stay tuned for more coverage. If you would like this important series to continue, please use the feedback form to let the producers know how important this issue is to you.
|Freeman, Craft, McGregor Group, Inc. - New Information about Paul Craft and Kate McGregor
by John Gideon, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA - June 26, 2006
Download this report in PDF Format
Florida Fair Elections Coalition has obtained the employment records for Paul
Craft and Kate McGregor from the Florida Division of Elections (DoE). These
employment records include disturbing information about the lack of credentials
for both Craft and McGregor, two of the three partners in Freeman, Craft, McGregor
Group, Inc., a private consulting firm that is in the powerful position of advising
states (including California, Illinois and Maryland) about the accuracy, security,
certification and purchases of their voting systems.
Freeman, Craft, McGregor Group, Inc. (FCM) is a Florida corporation and was formed March 23, 2006 when the name was changed from Paul Craft, Inc. to Freeman, Craft, McGregor Group, Inc. (The corporate papers were originally filed for Paul Craft, Inc. on October 3, 2005).
Until his resignation from the Florida Division of Elections (DoE), effective November 30, 2005, Paul Craft was Chief of Florida’s Bureau of Voting Systems Certification. He continues to be one of 8 members of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) Voting Systems Board and one of 3 members of the Technical Sub-Committee of that board. He is also a member of the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) for voting system standards for National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST).
We believe it is a conflict of interest for Craft to have a private consulting firm and to remain a member of the NASED Voting Systems Board, which puts its stamp of approval on voting systems, and on the TGDC Committee. (Many states require a system to be NASED approved before those systems can be purchased or used in any
election). Craft is in the position of approving testing by the so-called Independent Testing Authorities (ITAs) which are paid to do the testing of voting systems by the voting system companies themselves. The ITAs have shown on a number of occasions that their first loyalty is to the voting machine vendors.
Craft has been a vocal and ardent supporter of certain voting machine companies, particularly Diebold and ES&S. He appeared to speak on their behalf during the creation of the 2002 Voluntary Voting System Standards. When he was Chief of the Bureau of Voting Systems Certification in Florida, he frequently appeared to act for their benefit, rather than for the public good.
The great irony is that Craft appears to have no real credentials to be providing any technical information to anyone. The one technical designation we are aware of, “Certified Information Systems Auditor,” pertains to information system auditing and is quite different from a technical qualification such as systems engineer. The CISA designation is to electronic voting systems what a librarian is to a library – a librarian may know that all the books in the library are catalogued properly, but that doesn’t mean that he/she knows what information is in the books themselves. The CISA designation involves checking, or auditing, to see if specified procedures are being followed but does not require the expertise to determine if the software itself is accurate or secure. Read the Entire Article
|New Report Shows 17 States at High Risk For Compromised Election Results
by Common Cause Press Release - June23, 2006
Download Common Cause Report
A new report released Thursday by Common Cause concludes that the push to use direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines was misguided, has resulted in serious security and reliability concerns, and should be reversed. The report also assesses states at greatest risk of having elections compromised due to problems with voting machines, presents information on voting systems used by each state and makes recommendations on safeguarding votes to citizens who must use a DRE in November.
"With nearly 40 percent of voters in 37 states expected cast ballots on DRE voting machines in less than five months, Congress needs to stop ignoring the problems and take action to assure that citizens votes are counted as cast," said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. "We need legislation passed that would mandate random manual election audits of voting machines and require voter-verified paper trails, and citizens need to come to the polls knowing how to safeguard their vote."
The report, "Malfunction and Malfeasance: A Report on the Electronic Voting Machine Debacle," finds that 17 states, including critical swing states such as Pennsylvania, are at "high" risk of having election results compromised due to problems with voting machines known as DREs. States designated as high risk because they use DREs with no paper backup are: Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Twenty-three states are at mid-level risk of having election results compromised. Those states use a voter-verified paper trail, but do not conduct manual audits. Eleven states are at "low" risk for a compromised election because they require mandatory audits and use voting systems that have a voter verified paper ballot.
The report also presents information on voting systems used by each state, reviews the political circumstances that led to the popularity of electronic voting machines known as DREs, and details the security and reliability problems posed by DREs. It offers eight recommendations to Congress, states, and citizens on how to safeguard our voting. To read the report and Common Cause's recommendations for addressing the problems, go to: Read the Entire Article
|Are Absentee Ballots Really The Answer?
by Douglas W. Jones, The University of Iowa - June 23, 2006
recently released Common Cause report (Malfunction
and Malfeasance: A Report on the Electronic Voting Machine Debacle) recommends
that voters vote by absentee ballots in order to avoid the use of direct record
electronic machines. All the studies I've seen show that absentee ballot processing
is itself worthy of a similar report. Furthermore, where DRE machines
are used on a one-per-precinct basis but mark-sense ballots are also available
in the precinct (as is common here in my home state of Iowa) the recommendation
should be to vote on paper at the precinct, not to vote by absentee ballot.
In some jurisdictions, all absentee ballots are eyeballed before being scanned. Any ballots that look less than perfectly marked go to the ballot duplication board. Where this board operates out in the open, with the intense public scrutiny its efforts are worthy of, absentee ballots are not a bad choice.
In some jurisdictions, all ballots that scan as blank or that scan as having overvotes are sent to the duplication board. Again, where this board operates out in the open, absentee ballots are not a bad choice.
In some jurisdictions, a random sample of the absentee ballots are machine scanned and then hand counted, and if the machine scan and hand count have unreconcilable differences (there are, after all, genuinely ambiguous marks), either a hand count of all the ballots is required or the machines are recalibrated and the exercise repeated
until the hand and machine counts are in agreement. In such jurisdictions, absentee voting is not a bad choice.
Where these methods are combined, absentee voting is as good as in-precinct voting.
Unfortunately, in some jurisdictions, none of the above are done!
There are too many jurisdictions where the mark-sense scanner is the only and final judge of the markings on the ballot. Empirical data from Florida 2000 and from Arlington Virginia shows that such jurisdictions routinely ignore around 4 percent of all votes cast. My research in Maricopa County Arizona (on the District 20 recount in 2004) illustrates some of the problems that can go unnoticed under these rules.
It is irresponsible to recommend absentee voting in such a jurisdiction!
|Eminent Computer Scientist Criticizes ES&S "Real Time Audit Log"
by Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA- June 21,2006
"The Real time Audit Log places high cognitive burdens on the voter, is extraordinarily error prone for the auditor, and is possibly illegal in states that are strict about voting privacy."
At a recent North Carolina State Board of Election symposium in NewBern, it
was disclosed that ES&S will be making changes to the way the iVotronic
Touchscreen paper voter verified audit trail is printed. Currently the iVotronics
fulfill state requirements for a voter verieid paper record through the use
of a “Real
Time Audit Log" (RTAL), a printout that records every action that the
voter performs but does provide the voter with a summary to review before casting
In his comments to the State Board of Elections David Jefferson (pictured at right) of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who serves on the California Voting System Techology Assessment and Advisory Board, described (RTAL) as a terrible design for a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), that should never have been seriously considered for certification. His full commentary follows.
For the voter, the problem is distraction all during the voting process by a printer that prints a line whenever the voter makes even a tentative voting selection, or changes the selection. At each such point the voter is expected to take attention away from the screen to verify what the printer has printed. But much of this verification effort is unnecessary, since it is only the final selections that the voter really needs to verify, not the tentative ones. Still, voters are unlikely to know this; and if they have been properly counseled that they are supposed to conscientiously verify that what is printed is a true reflection of their intent, then they have no choice but to turn their attention back and forth frequently between the printer and the screen because once a particular race scrolls up out of the print window there is no going back. The proper way to design a VVPAT is to have the printer print nothing at all until a voter is finished making tentative choices, and then to print a summary of all of the tentative choices at once for the voter to verify.
For the auditor the problem with the RTAL is that in order to determine how a voter voted on a particular race, he must read each voter session on the paper audit log *backwards* in order to find the *last* recorded event for each office to know who was finally voted for. Earlier audit lines printed for the same office represent tentative choices the voter changed during the voting process. This RTAL design is certain to lead to a very high audit error rate, as auditors mistakenly record a tentative voter choice instead of the final choice as representing the voter's true intent. The only way to reduce such errors with the RTAL design is to further slow down the already slow audit process. Read the Entire Article
From Around the States
Bill Provides For Voter Verified Paper Records, Mandatory Audits, Source Code Review
bill to require voter verified paper records, mandatory random audits, and other
important election reform measures is headed to the desk of Arizona Governor
Janet Napolitano. The bill, SB
1557, passed the Arizona House unanimously and the Senate 25-3. The Senate
version. The House effort was led by Rep. Ted Downing (D-28, pictured at right),
while the Senate version of the bill was introduced by Sen. Karen Johnson (R-18,
pictured at left).
Sen. Johnson said in the AZ Star that the current tallying process — done strictly by computers — isn't enough to ensure accuracy. "We cannot trust computers; that's the main purpose of this," Johnson said. "You hope everything will be great, but we've already had problems."
The passage of this landmark legislation, described by Maricopa County Election director Karen Osborn as “one of the most significant election reforms bills in decades”, is the culmination of years of efforts from activists and concerned legislators. AZ Audit, Arizona Citizens for Fair Elections, and Arizona Citizens for Election Reform have all focused their efforts on establishing basic election safeguards in the state.
The struggle has often been contentious, most recently in the controversial decision of Pima County to purchase Diebold touchscreen voting machines. Concern about the current unauditable system in Arizona stems from the results of a 2004 Republican legislative primary race in the Phoenix area. One candidate's four-vote victory there triggered an automatic recount, giving a 13-vote victory to another candidate and uncovering nearly 500 additional votes.
In addition to a basic requirement for a voter-verified paper record of every vote, the legislation will verified by the voter, of each vote cast. The bill also requires require hand counted audit of 2% of the precincts. Significant discrepancies between hand and machine counts will require expansion of the hand count. The bill establishes a seven person "Vote Count Verification Committee" that will set the hand count expansion discrepancy margins prior to each election. According to Tom Ryan of Arizona Citizens for Fair Elections, this was a solution to the problem of not having sufficient statistics available to put specific discrepancy margins into law from the start. Each election will provide more statistics and the Committee can base it's margins on all previously obtained data and this body of data will grow with time. Read the Entire Article
Plenty of Finger Pointing After Primary Meltdowns
the wake of problem-plagued
primaries and run-offs in Arkansas, election administration has become a
hot topic in "The Natural State". Secretary of State Charlie Daniels
(pictured at right) has, for the most part, placed the blame squarely on the
vendor, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), that failed miserably in upholding
their $15 million statewide contract.
An Arkansas editorial quoted Daniels, last weekend, “ES&S let Arkansas down,” Daniels told reporters. “They let our election officials down, and they let me down. I am disappointed and frustrated over their poor performance in this state and what I considered to be their shockingly cavalier attitude toward managing this project for the first five months of the implementation.”
Daniels has named a bipartisan ad hoc committee to review the findings of a study focusing on ES&S. The study is being prepared by Glenn Newkirk of InfoSentry. Newkirk had been involved in the state’s RFP and contract negotiations and has a history of advocacy for paperless electronic voting machines and whitewashing reports in various states. His report on Maryland’s voting systems, written specifically to support the position of State Election Director Linda Lamone has been criticized by computer scientists and election integrity activists. Its difficult to imagine anything different from his study of Arkansas’ election administration.
And Daniels is quick to dismiss anyone who questions the reliability of electronic
voting machines, no matter what he has experienced in his state or the credentials
of those involved. When Stanford computer scientist David
Dill's criticism of Glenn Newkirk's Maryland Report was brought to his attention
at a press conference recently, Daniels casually
dismissed Dill as a "conspiracy theorist". Clearly, Daniels is
more concerned about protecting his decision to spend millions of taxpayers
dollars on touchscreen machines than he is in a careful examination of the facts.
The Arkansas Legislature has also authorized their own study of the election problems and Governor Mike Huckabee has said that he would call a special session of the legislature if changes to the state’s election laws are deemed necessary before the General Election in November. Read the Entire Article
California: Ultimate Insult!
Many Riverside County California voters went to the polls on primary election day, June 6, with the plan that they would use their right to request paper ballots instead of voting on the Sequoia Edge Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, touch-screen) voting machines.
Those voters will probably be surprised to learn that the county Registrar of Voters thumbed her nose at them. The paper/absentee ballots they were given, Xerox copies of the ballot on 8 1/2×11 paper, were then punched into the DRE's by election workers later. The same touch-screen systems the voters had wanted to avoid by requesting a paper ballot in the first place. This was all done without their knowledge, without their permission, and without their ability to verify that their ballots were voted as they had voted them.
Moreover, the voters were forced to attach their names and addresses to the ballots! So much for private voting in Riverside! Riverside County voter Art Cassel has written this description of the process used at the polls in the county.
There is a growing trend in this country towards voting by absentee ballot.
Year after year, the percentage of the electorate choosing to vote by this method
increases. In the June 6th, 2006 primary election in Riverside County,
California, the birthplace of electronic voting, 49% of those voting used an
absentee ballot to exercise that right.
There is little question that a large percentage of these voters have selected to do so due to concern about the accuracy of electronic voting. No election passes without the horror stories of machine failures from touchscreen anomalies to machines recording more votes than registered voters using them. Controversy concerning ownership of the companies manufacturing electronic voting machines, as well as persistent reports of unapproved software being used in them adds fuel to the fire.
In addition to an absentee ballot, there is another alternative for those not trusting the touchscreens. Despite being poorly publicized, in Riverside County paper ballots were available to those visiting their polling place. While most questioning the accuracy and accountability of the electronic voting machines probably chose to vote absentee, over 150 registered voters in Riverside County asked for, and received a paper ballot. Read the Entire Article
California: Sequoia Quietly Leading State E-voting
Foreign ownership an issue for rising Oakland company
This article appeared on Inside Bay Area. It is reposted here with permission of the author.
For three years, the nation's two largest suppliers of voting machinery have driven feverishly for sales and shown the symptoms of overextension — missed deliveries, faulty equipment and breach-of-contract lawsuits.
Until recently, the supplier running a close third kept a lower profile than competitors Diebold and Election Systems & Software, though quietly snapping up sales of voting systems on both coasts, all of Nevada and Louisiana, as well as Chicago and Cook County.
With a $13.3 million contract signed Friday by Alameda County, Sequoia Voting Systems arguably became the dominant voting-system maker in California, with more counties than any other.
Outside California, a controversy has sprung up over the foreign ownership of Oakland-based Sequoia.
Politicians in the Windy City and CNN journalist Lou Dobbs suggested recently that the federal government was derelict in not having investigated Sequoia and its acquisition last year by Smartmatic, a Boca Raton, Fla., firm largely owned by Venezuelan businessmen.
After Chicago and Cook County were plagued with delays this spring in tallying a primary, city alderman Edward Burke suggested Sequoia's voting machines were part of a conspiracy by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez to manipulate U.S. elections.
"We may have stumbled across what could be (an) international conspiracy to subvert the electoral process in the United States of America," Burke told reporters. "Tell me a single, solitary reason there is to trace ownership through three shell corporations to the Curacao Islands and its roots to Venezuela, where they have already been involved with the dictator of Venezuela, who Defense Secretary (Donald) Rumsfeld says is an enemy of the United States." Read the Entire Article
Florida Audit Reveals Serious Problems With State's Election Administration
Activists Welcome Audit's Finding But Contend That It Only Scratches the Surface
Download The Auditor General's Report
Auditor General William Monroe has released an operational audit that focused
on the Department of State’s administration of the Federal Help America
Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) during the period July 1, 2004, through February 28,
2006, and selected actions taken through May 23, 2006. Through June 30, 2005,
the Department has been awarded $160 million in HAVA funding on behalf of Florida.
The audit was highly critical of Secretary of State Sue Cobb (pictured at right)
and the State Division of Elections, listing a dozen findings of problems with
the state’s efforts to comply with the Help America Vote Act.
According to the aduit, the Department does not have a procedure in place to evidence for the public record that voting systems being certified had met the requirements of Florida law and does not prohibit the Secretary of State and any examiners from having a financial interest in the examination of and approval of voting equipment.
Further, the audit reveals that the Department does not maintain a current, reliable control listing of voting systems certified and in use by the counties, nor does it have a procedure in place to ensure that voting system information was on file with the Department.
The audit also found that the state incorrectly calculated the required maintenance costs that were included in the State of Florida HAVA Plan and also did not maintain the required level of expenditures for the 2004-05 fiscal year and salary certifications required for employees who worked solely on the HAVA Program were not maintained. The state has not instituted sufficient procedures to ensure that voter education programs are in compliance with Florida law and the state has not always followed Federal requirements with regards to awards to other State agencies.
In a written response to the audit, Secretary of State Sue Cobb tried to excuse her Department saying, "The department has been focused on meeting the January 2006 deadline imposed on all 50 states. This effort has allowed little opportunity for the department’s staff to become familiar with all the nuances of a large federal grant program." Read the Entire Article
Georgians to File Lawsuit Asserting E-Voting Rights Violations
A coalition of Georgia voters announced yesterday that it will file a lawsuit on behalf of all nine million current and future Georgia voters to seek relief from Georgia's existing implementation of electronic voting. Representatives of VoterGA, explained that current statewide voting cannot be verified, audited or recounted. They contend that because no direct physical evidence of voter intent is ever captured by the machines, fraud and errors are now virtually undetectable statewide.
Prior to 2002, about 82% of Georgians used optical scan and punch card equipment to cast ballots that could be verified, audited and recounted. The 2002 statewide E-voting implementation reduced that percentage from 82% to zero. Two years later, Free Congress Foundation rated Georgia as having the worst voting systems and procedures in America. As rationale for the rating, VoterGA founder, Garland Favorito, posed the question: "If voters cannot see their own ballot selections, cannot physically verify that their ballot was ever cast and cannot participate in counting the ballots, how could they be further disenfranchised?"
Mark Sawyer, who is also a member of Defenders of Democracy, explained why Georgia activists decided that a lawsuit was necessary: "We have been fighting to preserve basic audit capabilities since the voting machines were being evaluated and we've met every kind of resistance imaginable".
VoterGA retained Walker Chandler to represent what they believe are the interests of all Georgians. Chandler is a former Libertarian Attorney General candidate who has already won a U.S. Supreme Court decision against the state for unreasonable search and seizure violations of the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
|Polk Co. Iowa Suffers From Ballot Programming Errors
by John Gideon, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA - June 26, 2006
Iowa Candidates Are Realizing They Might Really Have Not Lost
On primary election night, June 6, as the ballots were being tallied in Pottawattamie County, Iowa the County Auditor realized that a candidate for County Recorder who is a longtime incumbent was losing by a wide margin to an opponent who was supposed to have no chance of winning the election. The Auditor stopped the machine tally and called for a hand recount of the absentee ballots that had been counted. Her suspicions were born out when they found that, in fact, the incumbent was leading by a large margin.
A hand recount was then conducted on all paper ballots cast in the county. The results in Pottawattamie County proved that every winner in the county's nine contested races turned out, in retrospect, to be a loser.
The problem was found to be the ballot programming that the county allowed Election Systems and Software (ES&S) to do under their contract with the voting machine vendor. This is the same ballot programming done in a large number of counties in Iowa, and potentially by the same person at ES&S.
Pottawattamie County Deputy Auditor Gary Herman explained that the names of those in multiple candidate races are rotated in each precinct, so that one candidate won't be at the top of the list in all precincts. For example, one candidate's name might be at the top of the list in one precinct, but in the middle or at the bottom of the list in another precinct to avoid voter fraud. The computers that read the ballots after they were completed were not programmed to recognize the different order for precincts. Read the Entire Article
|DOJ vs. New York Lawsuit - A Synopsis
by Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting - June 25, 2006
Does the HAVA tiger have any teeth?
This article appeared on Bo Lipari's Weblog. It is reposted here with permission of the author.
On March 1, 2006 the US Department of Justice (DOJ) sued New York State for non-compliance with the Help America Vote Act. New York has famously made little progress on HAVA plans, often referred to as “dead last in the nation”. In truth, there are other states not much further along. But due to New York’s well deserved reputation, the DOJ lawsuit was seen as something of a test case as to how far the Federal government was prepared to go to enforce HAVA.
The key question was - would the DOJ enforce full replacement of lever machines by September 2006? Any attempt to get a completely new voting system up and running in the remaining few months would certainly result in electoral chaos and an Election Day train wreck. But two letters from the DOJ to Connecticut, another lever machine state (one here, another here), and a published opinion by the Election Advisory Committee (EAC) signaled that the Feds interpreted HAVA to mean no lever machines, no ifs, ands, or buts. Concern that the DOJ had strict enforcement in mind was reinforced when it quickly filed a motion for a preliminary injunction requesting the Court take immediate action. Read the Entire Article
|Washington HAVA Complaint Against Certification Of Sequoia Edge I and II with Audio Box 5.0
by John Gideon, VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA - June 25, 2006
The following is an example of a HAVA complaint that has been filed with
the Washington Secretary of State. Washington state laws mentioned in the complaint
are different from other states laws. This is meant as an example only. While
all states are required by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to provide a complaint
process the states may have differing rules on how to regulate the process.
Section 402 of HAVA gives specific mandates on how the process must be handled
by the state and voters. All complaints must be sworn to, signed, and notarized
prior to sending to the state. The complainant also has the right to a hearing
on the complaint if they so choose.
HAVA SECTION 301 COMPLAINT
I. PERSONAL INFORMATION
A. Summary of Complaint - I allege that the Sequoia AVC Edge I and Edge II voting system (N-1-07-22-22-001) as certified by the Secretary of State of Washington on April 10, 2006 fails to comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), Section 301(a)(1)(B) and 301(a)(3). I ask that this system be decertified or conditionally certified so that it cannot be used as a voting system to meet the accessibility mandates of HAVA.
B. This complaint is made pursuant to Section 402(a)(2) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), P.L. 1070252 and Washington Administrative Code, Chapter 434-263. Briefly, these sections say, " Any person who believes that there is a violation of any provision of Title III, including a violation which has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur, by any state or local election official may file a complaint with the secretary under this chapter." Also, pursuant to Section 402(a)(2) I request that a public hearing, on the record, be conducted on this matter.
C. Legal Authority Governing Voting System Certification – The Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates in Section 301(a)(1)(B)(i) and (ii) that each voting system used in an election for Federal office shall meet the following requirements: In general - the voting system (including any lever voting system, optical scanning voting system, or direct recording electronic system) shall—
(i) permit the voter to verify (in a private and independent manner) the votes selected by the voter on the ballot before the ballot is cast and counted;
(ii) provide the voter with the opportunity (in a private and independent manner) to change the ballot or correct any error before the ballot is cast and counted (including the opportunity to correct the error through the issuance of a replacement ballot if the voter was otherwise unable to change the ballot or correct any error) Read the Entire Article
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