June 05, 2004

US Citizens Revolting Against Paperless Voting

There has been much horror, insult and pain:
Mega-Mogadishu, Niger cake, Plame, Abu Ghraib,
Chalabi, Halliburton, Enron, the prosituting of the
EPA, the FALSE SCIENCE on global warming, the Federal
deficit, the nominations of reich-wing judges,
Medifraud, the pre-9/11 failures testified to by
Richard Clarke and others, the disturbing nature of
the business relationships between the House of Saud,
the House of Bin Laden and the House of Bush, etc. But
it is important to remember that this nightmare began
with the theft of a Presidential election that
commenced on the ground in Fraudida and was completed
in D.C. with Supreme InJustice...The LNS has written a
lot about Triple Lock (remember to use our searchable
database at
wwww.mindspace,org\liberation-news-service\), but just
for a refresher, the Triple Lock consists of #1:
Overwhelming advantage in campaign $$$, #2: Control
over the "US mainstream news media," #3: Black box
voting. The Triple Lock is still the crux of this
campaign. Unprecendented campaign $$$ have flown into
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) and to the
Democratic Party and its allies, but the Bush cabal
still has an incredible advantage. The consequences of
the Bush abomination's failed policies have been so
eggregious that the "US mainstream news media" has
been forced in an event-driven environment to report
*some* of the truth, but it still protects the Bush
abomination from the US electorate, whenever it can it
pulls its punches and it refuses to provide the
CONTINUITY and CONTEXT needed for grasping how utterly
the Bush abomination has failed and how dangerous they
have made the world for Americans...The battle over
black box voting is raging all over the country: Ohio,
Georgia and Fraudida itself are of particular concern,
JFK is ahead now in both Ohio and Fraudida. Be
vigilant, be vocal, be vociferous...

Marty Logan, Inter Press Service: Kozminski's
Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections (CASE) is one
of many campaigns -- local and national -- created
specifically to push governments to ensure that if
they jump on the electronic voting bandwagon, they
must first guarantee that the new mechanism will
include a "paper trail" for every vote.
Many voting activists cite a letter from Wally O'Dell,
chairman and chief executive of Diebold, Inc., the
largest maker of electronic voting terminals in the
country, as proof of the direct link between elected
officials and manufacturers: ''I am committed to
helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the
president next year,'' O'Dell wrote in a fundraising
letter in 2003.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0605-02.htm

Published on Saturday, June 5, 2004 by the Inter Press
Service
US Citizens Revolting Against Paperless Voting
by Marty Logan

MONTREAL- Carroll County officials in the U.S. state
of Ohio opted this week not to buy an electronic
voting machine in time for November's presidential
election, and Dan Kozminski says his group should get
some of the credit for that decision.

Kozminski's Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections
(CASE) is one of many campaigns -- local and national
-- created specifically to push governments to ensure
that if they jump on the electronic voting bandwagon,
they must first guarantee that the new mechanism will
include a "paper trail" for every vote.

"Many of our members have attended boards of election
meetings. We have faxed them, we have e-mailed them
many times, and sent out regular mail. We have been
working with VerifiedVoting.org and the Electronic
Frontier Foundation to encourage their members in Ohio
to call their boards of elections to ask them please
not to go forward," says the CASE activist from
Cleveland, Ohio.

Across the United States, "the land of the free" and
long a shining example of democracy to people
worldwide, groups and movements have sprung up in
recent months fighting to ensure that everyone who is
entitled is able to vote on Nov. 3 and that those
ballots are fairly counted.

And their demand for paper backups to
electronically-cast votes is an important part of that
effort.

So far, CASE has played a part in the decisions of 28
of 31 counties in the northern state of Ohio to not
take advantage of new federal funding to buy the
machines in 2004, said Kozminski in a telephone
interview with IPS Friday.

"Our position is that electronic voting is probably
going to be the wave of the future. I'm comfortable
with computers -- I used to be a computer programmer.
But they're rushing into this whole procedure without
really thinking through the issues, and (without)
putting forward a very secure, reliable verifiable
technology."

Echoes of that view can be found on numerous U.S.
websites, in Internet chat rooms and, increasingly, in
the mainstream media.

One of the most-quoted voices is that of Bev Harris,
author of "Black-Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the
21st Century". She is a journalist who has made
uncovering hi-tech voting fraud her passion.

Harris is calling for volunteers to join an election
monitoring team -- what she refers to as the "Clean-Up
Crew" -- that would serve as poll workers, election
judges and poll watchers in November, when President
George W. Bush, of the Republican Party, is expected
to face Democrat challenger, Senator John Kerry.

"Some Clean-Up Crew members will act as communications
relays to get problems to the media instantly.
Additional... members will collect information needed
for prompt litigation (and) monitor results for
statistical anomalies," says an e-mail from Harris.

"Please submit your nomination for a county that needs
special attention. The Top 10 clean-up sites will each
be assigned 100 Clean-Up Crew members, blanketing
every polling place," adds the journalist, who writes
on her website that she has embarked on a 90-day road
trip to investigate who is profiting from the move to
electronic voting.

Many voting activists cite a letter from Wally O'Dell,
chairman and chief executive of Diebold, Inc., the
largest maker of electronic voting terminals in the
country, as proof of the direct link between elected
officials and manufacturers: ''I am committed to
helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the
president next year,'' O'Dell wrote in a fundraising
letter in 2003.

In May, O'Dell told the New York Times the letter was
a "huge mistake".

Paperless voting machines were one of many issues to
emerge from the infamous 2000 presidential election,
which ended with a Supreme Court decision that Bush
had triumphed by 537 votes in the key state of
Florida, governed by his brother Jeb Bush.

The furore that erupted over that debacle motivated
Congress to pass the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in
2002. It provides money for states to replace
antiquated voting systems such as punch cards. But it
does not require that new systems provide a
voter-verified paper ballot, or any form of paper
trail.

Without that proof, says Kozminski, you have "no way
at all to audit the results, to have a meaningful
recount... the only way you can recount is to
regurgitate the same information out of these
machines, and that's not a recount".

He tells the story of an exercise in the northeast
state of Maryland, where officials hired a computer
expert to try to hack into a staged election. It took
the expert only five minutes, "using software an
eighth-grader could download off the Internet," says
Kozminski.

Other accounts of real and potential voting machine
fraud are numerous and growing daily.

Two counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade,
reported problems with voting machines during
elections in 2003. The malfunction was compounded by
the news that the state official who oversees voting
claimed she learned of the glitches only in May, when
her office had acknowledged the problems in a March
letter.

It is estimated that in November, about a third of
U.S. citizens registered to vote will do so
electronically, another one-third will use optical
scan machines, 20 percent will use punch cards, 13
percent will vote with lever machines and the
remainder will use other options, according to company
Election Data Services Inc.

On May 30 the New York Times wrote in an editorial
that so-called independent testing of voting machines
"is riddled with problems, including conflicts of
interest and a disturbing lack of transparency. Voters
should demand reform, and they should also keep
demanding, as a growing number of Americans are, a
voter-verified paper record of their vote."

Earlier this week, Moveon.org, an Internet-based
campaign devoted to unseating Bush in November,
launched its own paper-ballot campaign, centred on an
online petition citizens can e-mail to the president.

"I urge you to make sure all voters can verify their
votes. We shouldn't have to trust electronic voting
machines -- we should be able to verify our votes on
paper," says the petition.

"November is coming soon. Please protect my vote as if
it were your own," it adds.

Texas-based Diebold said last month that 20 of the 31
Ohio counties chosen to receive federal money under
HAVA had indicated they would purchase Diebold
machines if they went electronic in 2004.

That could generate revenues of up to 20 million
dollars, the company predicted in a statement.

But after Thursday's vote in Carroll County and an
announcement Friday that Ohio's Secretary of State
Kenneth Blackwell has banned another county from
buying machines because it took too long to make a
decision, only three counties have indicated they will
definitely go electronic, according to Kozminski.

Yet, to date no companies have had their machines
certified for use in Ohio this year.

"We've been told that Diebold is expecting their
approval by the end of June. We're kind of hoping that
would be too late" to use in November, says Kozminski.


The former salesman says he set aside a project to
develop an Internet business so he could work with
CASE full time. "This has become a passion (for me),
along with everybody else in our organisation, to
protect democracy."

"I was never involved in anything before this issue.
And the more I learn, the more I'm horrified about how
many votes are spoiled, how elections can be close...
how votes are lost, mail-in ballots are not counted.
It just absolutely blew my mind."


Citizens' Alliance for Secure Elections

MoveOn.org

Help America Vote Act

Black Box Voting

Copyright 2004 IPS - Inter Press Service

Posted by richard at June 5, 2004 01:28 PM