Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

New Yorkers, SAVE YOUR LEVERS! (It’s NOT too late!)

Posted in voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 21, 2008

From Andi Novick:


Dear friends,
 
Thanks to all of you who have followed thru with letters to the SBoE.  We must be having some success because a pat response was prepared in order to respond to all of you, in which the SBoE erroneously stated that HAVA required we get rid of our levers. That’s not true. It is deeply disturbing that those entrusted with protecting the integrity of our elections and complying with the law don’t know how to read the law.
 
Section 301of HAVA sets forth 5 requirements that each voting system has to meet. NY has met all of them now that we have ballot marking devices (BMDs) in place. Indeed our own SBoE Commissioner Kellner testified in 2004 that: “Our lever machines satisfy all but one of [HAVA’S] standards, that there be at least one machine at each poll site that is ‘accessible for individuals with disabilities.   http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_andi_nov_080315_open_letter_to_ny_ci.htm
The accessibility standard has now been complied with. You will see a ballot marking device in every poll site when you go to the polls next month.
 
Maybe the SBoE needs to hire Pat Lamana of the Dutchess Peace Coalition, who is not an attorney but is able to read and understand English. Here’s what she wrote back to the SBoE:
 
Please allow me to differ.  HAVA does “not” require us to give up our lever machines as long as we make provisions for individuals with disabilities, which we have already done.  We are free to use lever machines, or the good old-fashioned hand-written, hand-counted ballots which are surprisingly efficient and the most reliable form of voting.  And it’s worth using the simplest, cheapest form of technology, if that’s what will preserve our democracy!  

Thank you,
Pat Lamanna

 

 
In a nutshell-  HAVA DOES NOT BAN LEVERS.  NY is hiding behind their unconstitutional legislation.
Let me tell you what’s really going on.  Let’s say your child’s school tells her she needs a calculator.  There is a perfectly good calculator at home, but she goes out and spends $500 on a new one.  You object to your money being wasted. Her defense is, the school said we had to buy this one.  The school didn’t say that and the calculator you have at home works well (although old, its proven highly reliable). What would a responsible parent do? Tell her she can keep the calculator, even though it immediately showed itself to be unreliable (miscalculating arbitrarily) or do you tell her to return it and use the one at home.
 
NYS took about $221 million dollars under HAVA of which roughly $48 million was to replace the levers. The State knows the levers are secure and the computers aren’t, but either doesn’t want to give back the $48 million or can’t read. HAVA says, if you take the money and don’t replace the levers, give back the portion of the money that was to replace the levers.  Now what would a responsible State do? 
 
It’s our money (all taxpayer dollars). Tell the State to give it back before they kill our democracy and cost us far more money -see yesterday’s Times Herald reporting that Ulster residents’ taxes will rise 4-5% just for the 2009 elections- for the privilege of voting on unreliable new voting machines-
http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081020/NEWS/810200315/-1/NEWS.
       
Write back to the SBoE now-  info@elections.state.ny.us  — Keep the pressure on.
Let them know you’re paying attention and you know they’re wrong. Tell them to give back the $48 million and keep our levers now while we are still fortunate to have the only secure voting system left in the United States. Don’t permit the forfeiture of your sovereignty because of your government’s incompetent or unconstitutional behavior. Public elections require public observability-essential for our democracy to survive.  How dare they impose secret vote counting on us.  This is the time to be outraged and constructive.  If you remain passive, you’ll be left with your outrage and your servitude.
 
And if our efforts fail to persuade the State- well that’s why we’re bringing the lawsuit to have the court declare NYS’s (not HAVA’s mind you) requirement that we replace the levers, unconstitutional.
 
– SIGN THIS PETITION –http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/save_ny_levers
 
Your name will be listed shortly after you sign, so we know if you didn’t care enough to take a few minutes to prevent your disenfranchisement. Just kidding, but seriously if you don’t care, who will? Pass this on widely.
 
thanks,
 
Re-Media Election Transparency Coalition
http://re-mediaetc.blogspot.com/
 
This is all of our responsibility. Please take the time to send copies of your letters to your:
—  local election commissioners – http://www.elections.state.ny.us/CountyBoards.html ,
 —  state representatives – www.congress.org for email addresses,
—  local media – www.congress.org – for media click on # 8 “media guide.” 
 
Let’s see if we can’t get them to respond to our letters too–Get the word out now while there’s time

CountTheBallots (CTB) Calls for ‘Citizen Audits’ on Election Day, Warns of Widespread Fraud

Posted in voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 21, 2008

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ — CountTheBallots (CTB), a Philadelphia-based voting rights group, is calling on voters nationwide to conduct ‘Citizen Audits’ at their polls on Election Day.  The purpose of a ‘citizen audit’ is to verify election results, document complaints, and demonstrate how to run a transparent election. 
The group warns that election results can be easily manipulated nationwide by the handful of corporations who control the software programs that count most votes.  Two companies, ES&S and Diebold, will count 80% of all votes.

Private companies have also been contracted by election officials in several states to maintain voter registration rolls.  The group points to the massive purging of the voters rolls in several states, as another cause for serious concern.

“Elections in America have been computerized, privatized, and outsourced to a handful of private companies,” says Lynn Landes, one of the group’s founders.  “Our voting system is virtually invisible.  It’s a behind-closed-doors affair, a breeding ground for election fraud. A citizen audit is not a substitute for a fair and transparent election.  But, right now, it’s the only game in town.”

Landes adds that the U.S. Justice Department has taken a hands-off approach to computerized election fraud.  Similarly, the news media’s exit poll, The National Election Poll (NEP), is not a reliable check against election fraud, as its management has been accused in the past of manipulating exit poll data to match official election results.

Computer fraud isn’t the group’s only concern.  In addition, 50% of voters will be voting early or by absentee ballot.  The voters in Oregon do not even go to the polls.

“Early and absentee voting gives unscrupulous election officials plenty of time to tamper with the votes, regardless of whether those votes are paper ballots or electronic tallies,” says Landes.  “We need to give poll watchers something to watch on Election Day.  Otherwise, all bets are off as to who gets to vote and whose votes get counted,” says Landes.

CountTheBallots.org supports a return to paper ballots and hand counts at the polls on Election Day.  They are opposed tovoting machines, ballot scanners, central counting facilities, early voting, and unrestricted absentee voting.
In past elections, there have been citizen groups in several states that have conducted similar audits.  CountTheBallots.org is encouraging an expansion of that movement, asking voters across the country and from all political parties to participate.
 
How do voters conduct a Citizen Audit?  It’s simple, says Landes.  All that is needed is a box with a slot on top, some pencils, information sheets, audit forms, and a report form.  A “how to” kit and all the necessary forms can be downloaded from their website. 

http://www.CountTheBallots.org
 
CONTACT: 
Lynn Landes, founder
www.CountTheBallots.org
lynnlandes@earthlink.net
215-629-3553

State-by-State Election Update

Posted in voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 21, 2008

From John Gideon:

15 days until Election Day.

Election officials in Jacksonville Florida must not have done the required Logic and Accuracy testing on all of their optical scan machines to be used in early voting. Nearly half of the optical scan machines in use in the city failed because they indicated the ballot was too long. This is clearly an error that should have been 
discovered in pre-election Logic and Accuracy testing. The problem is also being reported in other counties in the state and is being attributed to the machines purchased by the state.

Voters in Houston Texas were faced with long lines for the first day of early voting. Long-lines in some voting sites caused by failures of the computers used to check-in the voters. There were also some reports of voters who voted straight-party Democrat only to find that their Presidential selection was given to the Republican.

Featured – FL: Jacksonville – Early Voting off to Rough Start
http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/breaking/news-article.aspx?storyid=121489&catid=17

Featured – FL: Leon County – Ballots not being recorded at two Leon County polling places
http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20081020/BREAKINGNEWS/81020024

Featured – TX: Houston – Voters turn out in force for historic campaign
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/hotstories/6068201.html

Featured – WV: Ireland Says No Major Problems With Early Voting
http://www.wvmetronews.com/index.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=26987

National: Snopes confirms danger of Straight Ticket Voting (STV)
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Snopes-warns-of-dangers-of-by-Joan-Brunwasser-081020-116.html

National: Are voting machines reliable? DVICE looks at every type — in every state
http://dvice.com/archives/2008/10/are_voting_mach.php

National: Obama Assembles U.S.’s `Largest Law Firm’ to Monitor Election
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=a.hk4HvCkpiE&refer=home

National: Heavy Voter Turn Out Nationwide Could Cause Delays at Polls
http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5&docID=news-000002976666

National: YouTube, PBS urge Americans to record voting problems
http://nbbusinessjournal.canadaeast.com/journal/article/453547

National: Class voting hacks prompt call for better audits. University exercise illustrates the potential for electronic vote tampering
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27205654/

National: Eight Years After Bush v. Gore, Why is There Still So Much Election Litigation and What Does This Mean for Voter Confidence in the Electoral Process?
http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20081020_hasen.html

National: CountTheBallots (CTB) Calls for ‘Citizen Audits’ on Election Day – Warns of Widespread Fraud
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/counttheballots-ctb-calls-citizen-audits/story.aspx?guid={6213A17F-0BA6-4A58-A3D1-A9573EAA1A47}&dist=hppr

National: Protect Your Vote – Carry This Number
http://sanfrancisco.about.com/b/2008/10/20/protect-your-vote-carry-this-number.htm

AL: Bulging voter lists invite election fraud
http://www.al.com/opinion/press-register/editorials.ssf?/base/opinion/1224494160274420.xml&coll=3

AZ: Arizona expects less wait at polls. Early balloting, more sites aim to reduce winding lines
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2008/10/20/20081020azvote1020.html

AZ: Pima County – Help AZ Candidate Restore US Election Integrity
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0810/S00288.htm

CA: County registrars are scrambling to keep up with new voter rolls. In some California counties, officials are doubling up on polling machines, ballots and workers, and even hiring people to direct traffic.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-vote20-2008oct20,0,7589384.story

CO: Colorado will be under watchful eyes of media, monitors on Election Day
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/oct/20/state-will-be-under-watchful-eyes-of-media/

FL: Long lines, a few glitches mark start of early voting in South Florida
http://www.miamiherald.com/979/story/733312.html

FL: Duval County – Machine Problems Plague 1st Day Of Early Voting Metro Counties See Brisk Turnout, No Problems
http://www.news4jax.com/news/17760842/detail.html

FL: Miami-Dade County – Early voting draws lines at some Dade polling places
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/broward/breaking-news/story/733312.html

FL: Past voting gaffes put Palm Beach County in spotlight
http://www.tampabay.com/news/article862247.ece

FL: Pasco County – Early Voting Turnout Higher Than Expected
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/oct/20/early-voting-turnout-higher-expected/

GA: Ga. secretary of state faces slew of voter issues
http://www.fortmilltimes.com/124/story/329984.html

IL: Early voting in DuPage exceeds expectations
http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=244076

MD: Md. US attorney creates election fraud task force
http://www.mddailyrecord.com/article.cfm?id=8858&type=UTTM

NJ: NJ Judge Allows Release of Princeton Report Critical of Sequoia Voting Systems Sequoia Counters With a Strongly Worded Response That Does Not Answer The Critical Question: Do Their Machines Count Votes Accurately?
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6527

NJ: Editorial: Our election systems still beset by flaws
http://packetonline.com/articles/2008/10/20/the_princeton_packet/opinions/doc48fd0157b6044428005400.txt

NV: Washoe County – Early voters line up to cast their election ballots
http://www.rgj.com/article/20081019/NEWS/810190350/1321/NEWS

NY: State finds some county election boards unprepared Schuyler among 18 county offices across state checked by officials
http://www.stargazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081020/NEWS0110/810200301

NY: Ulster County – Kingston, Ulster towns get nailed in voting upgrade. County passes on cost of 2009 election
http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081020/NEWS/810200315/-1/NEWS

PA: Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Outraged at Partisan Lawsuit Attempting to Undermine Voter Confidence
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/pennsylvania-secretary-commonwealth-outraged-partisan/story.aspx?guid={AA1B4F2A-3174-4C4D-996D-CB0C444E55F6}&dist=hppr

PA: Allegheny County says voting machines ready
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_594256.html

SC: League questions voting machines
http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1954210/

TX: Big Texas turnout on first day of early voting
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D93UFFFG0.html

TX: Denton County voters urged to use paper ballots
http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/wfaa/latestnews/stories/wfaa081020_wz_paperballots.12d6c23f6.html

TX: Galveston – Voting Rights Watch: Post-Ike displacement could cause voting problems for Galveston
http://southernstudies.org/facingsouth/2008/10/voting-rights-watch-post-ike.asp

UT: Study: Utah vote devices unreliable
http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_10765686

VA: Local precincts bracing for flood of voters. Registrar officials have had to get more voting equipment and poll workers to handle the crowds.
http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-local_registration_1020oct20,0,6267498.story

WV: Paperless Electronic Voting Machines Flipping Votes from Obama to McCain in West Virginia
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Paperless-Electronic-Votin-by-Kevin-Zeese-081020-346.html

**Articles and commentary included in “Daily Voting News” may not all 
reflect the opinions of VotersUnite.Org or its allied organizations. 
The articles are all included for the information of the subscribers 
of “Daily Voting News” though we realize that the subscribers may not 
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Snopes confirms it: NO STRAIGHT TICKET VOTING

Posted in voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 20, 2008
Snopes confirms danger of Straight Ticket Voting (STV)
By Joan Brunwasser
Snopes confirms danger of Straight Ticket Voting (STV)      
Most of us have run across Snopes in its 13-year history.  It has become the most well-known website to investigate urban legends, rumors, and myths.  On numerous occasions, I have been saved from passing on unsubstantiated claims by a timely look at Snopes.  

This weekend, I got an email from my brother, John.  He was passing along something that he had received from a friend.  It was Snopes’ validation of citizens’ concerns about STV – Straight Ticket Voting.

Having sounded the alarm for years about the perils of electronic voting, I was thrilled that such a well-respected source chose to deal with even one aspect of this subject. As far as I know, this is Snopes’ first foray into election issues.

Before I overreacted, though, I wanted to check out the specifics included in the Snopes report.  I sent the link around to various people in the election integrity movement and got a clear consensus that, while Snopes’ article was a great attention-grabber, the VotersUnite! article by Ellen Theisen is superior, offering more detail and is ultimately more useful.

I spoke with Ellen this morning.  She pointed out that votes get lost in every election, for a variety of reasons, including straight ticket voting.  It is impossible to know exactly which ones, where, or even how many are lost or changed.  Just today, an article in the Houston Chronicle tells of early voters who voted a Democratic STV and saw their presidential vote flip to John McCain.  

Ellen has talked to numerous election officials across the country.  She was struck by how many of them weren’t quite sure themselves of their particular state’s rules regarding STV.  So, here are three ways for a potential mix-up:

The officials may not provide the correct information to the voter, the voter might not execute the vote properly (either because of not understanding what was said or because of confusion over the use of the voting apparatus) or the programmer might have goofed it up.   Also, the way STV works in one state may be completely different than the way it works in the state right next door. Because of these reasons, Ellen sees STV as “one more layer of opportunity for an electronic miscount”.  Even if you familiarize yourself with all the ins and outs of your state’s requirements, there is still too much risk of something going wrong if you vote STV.

Ten second take-away
Ellen went to a tremendous amount of trouble to gather the information for the fifteen states that use STV.  It is provided at the VotersUnite! website.  Nevertheless, her advice would be:  avoid using STV.  Vote for each and every race individually, even if it takes a little longer.  This is a clear case of more convenient not being better.  Avoid Straight Ticket Voting!

Who’s affected
Here are the fifteen states that offer STV (sometimes known as SPV, straight party voting).  Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.  If you add up the population in those states, you’re at around 90 million.  So, we’re talking about tens of millions of voters including those from four of the ten most populous states.  It is quite likely that all of us have contacts in at least one of the fifteen states.  Since early voting has already started, it’s critical to get this information out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Millions of votes could be at stake.

 

 

 

 


Of course, if you were to say that this should be the job of the Election Assistance Commission, you would be 100% correct.  The EAC was created by the Help America Vote Act in 2002, to be a national clearinghouse for election information.  They have fallen far short of the mark up until now; it is unlikely that they will suddenly drop everything to sound the alarm about this.    On the other hand, this is a perfect opportunity for us to step in.          

In making this information widely known and urging people to avoid STV, we can make a difference!

~~
Many thanks to Ellen Theisen for her help!

Authors Bio: Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which exists for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. We aim to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Electronic (computerized) voting systems are simply antithetical to democratic principles.

CER set up a lending library to achieve the widespread distribution of the DVD Invisible Ballots: A temptation for electronic vote fraud. Within eighteen months, the project had distributed over 3200 copies across the country and beyond. CER now concentrates on group showings, OpEd pieces, articles, reviews, interviews, discussion sessions, networking, conferences, anything that promotes awareness of this critical problem. Joan has been Election Integrity Editor for OpEdNews since December, 2005.