Out-Of-State Corporation Offered Wisconsin Election Clerks a Deal on Touchscreen Voting Machines That Make Election Results Impossible To Verify: EDA Alerts Clerks To Dangers
For full story please open Press Release in .pdf format below.
Riverside County Board of Supervisors
September 29, 2009
(Partial transcript of board meeting)
Re: November 2008 Election and Electronic Voting – Item 3.66
Supervisor Buster: It [decertification] was a big blow to many of us who invested in this [$30+ million for e-voting machines] and I think to the public to see most of the use snatched away from us now. And as I pointed out to her now, somewhat inconsistently, if the touchscreens are so potentially dangerous or so potentially unreliable then why is it that the Secretary of State continues to allow one, one per voting place resulting in our 72,000 voters using it as a matter of fact. And then having to do the extra manual tally with all its extra costs and then not getting reimbursed for that. It seems to me there’s a big gulf between the county voters here a growing proportion of them and the representation they are getting from our Secretary of State. She should have come down here and talked to us before she rescinded the use of these machines. And she should be more responsive to the numerous voters, the thousands of them who want to use these machines and she should be explaining to us what now can we do with these thousands of machines that are sitting on the shelf. Shouldn’t we be using those as voters demand and ask for them as evidenced by those 72,000 people crowded in at the one sole machine they were allowed to use?
”…and they continue to be used because the voters choose them in large numbers here in Riverside County. So I think we ought to extend an invitation to Secretary Bowen to come to the county, particularly around election time or during the election and get an idea of what are issues are regarding the continued use of our touchscreen machines, if only to reimburse us for the extra cost of the manual tally.
ROV Dunmore: “…so the further contradiction is you can only have one per polling place but you can have an unlimited amount at early voting sites. And that early voting program is what really cost the county the majority of the $400,000. In May we did not have early voting sites and I believe that our tally, of course it was a lower turnout, was about $29,000 for which we billed Sequoia also and have not received any payment. But it’s getting more difficult in the arena of electronic voting, and if I may expand for just a moment, what we do for early voting is that we cut up the receipts so we can do a stack and sort method. All these are for one candidate, all these are for another candidate, and then we can count them. New recount regulations that are set to go into effect very soon do not allow us to cut up the tapes anymore. That we have to keep them on a single roll, which will make the 100% manual tally of any early voting unit take much longer than it did in November. I brought this up with the Chief Deputy Secretary of State Evan Goldberg and he said well I’ll make a note of that but it ended up in the recount regulations in any event. So it is getting more difficult for us to use electronic voting in an early voting venue.
Supervisor Buster: Sometimes you have to balance these risks that experts may correctly conclude you face with the public’s desire to try to come up with some kind of a compromise on these machines and that’s what I don’t see occurring here and that disturbs me. Particularly when we’re going to other countries and we’re trying to encourage democracy there and encourage people to vote – it seems to me uh, uh, it’s a real sore spot with me that these machines were I think were peremptorily jerked and banned almost totally from our county, and then, and then to keep our interest whetted in the issue, doled out one of them completely inconsistent too with their scientific findings of a high risk involved. So it doesn’t – what the actual results of the state actions by the Secretary of State’s office don’t make sense from any standpoint if you want to look at them.”
Chairman Stone: “…What is Sequoia doing as our vendor to adapt their software to the mitigation measures the Secretary of State would like to see implemented in software so we can begin using these machines again? Are they actively engaged with the Secretary of State, are they actively engaged in modifying the software so that we can begin utilizing these machines again?”
ROV Dunmore: I was at the nationwide conference in San Diego in July or August and they have all the vendors out there ES&S, Premier, Sequoia, there’s one other one that is escaping me, Dominion voting was there which is the Insight where you vote your paper ballot, you slide it into a slot, and it counts the marks on that right there, and they are recorded onto a cartridge, similar to our DREs, and the cartridge is brought back to our office and counted, uh, processed.
Now, So not only do you have the ballot, but now it’s taking a picture of the ballot and you have the cartridge and that is Sequoia’s new product, how Dominion Voting is coming at it, and also Premier. And so I talked with Jack Blain, the president of Sequoia at that particular conference – he was trying to sell me on their new product which is this precinct optical scanner that takes a picture. I said well how much will you give me for my DREs if I take this to my board? He said well there’s not much of a market for those these days. So, so, um, I hope that answers your question. I don’t not believe they have anything in Federal testing at this point to um remedy the software that is currently on them and I believe it’s because across the nation the doors are really being shut toward electronic voting. It’s not – to go through the certification process is a very very expensive process
Chairman Stone: But they’re already certified by the Federal government. Has the Federal government expressed the issues the Secretary of State has with respect to Sequoia software?
ROV Dunmore: Uh, with regards to that, our Secretary of State requires that they go through the federal testing and get a federal cert number before she will even test it here. Any issues that were brought up at the federal level, and I’d have to go research those, if there were any, have been remedied and they were given a cert number for the current software that we’re using. But they don’t have anything, I don’t believe, in the testing at the federal level right now. Again, it’s very expensive and if there’s not a market for it they’re likely not willing to invest in putting that forward.
Chairman Stone: “—the federal government didn’t have any issues with the integrity of the Sequoia voting system, otherwise they would not have given a certification for it. So here we have one person in the state of California that stands in the way of comprehensive, accurate voting devices that have never had any legal challenges that have resulted in a fraud. We’ve had machines that have cut costs, expedited results to the electorate so they can see the results of elections, so because of ONE PERSON we are withheld from using these machines that are federally certified. So, if we have a new Secretary of State, and I believe she’s up for reelection at this time, those machines could be recertified by a new Secretary of State, and we could utilize those machines without any problems, is that correct?”
ROV Dunmore: Yes
Chairman Stone: Thank you Barbara.
Court Upholds Touchscreen Voting
By BILL RANKIN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 10:51 a.m. Monday, September 28, 2009
The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday upheld the use of touch-screen voting, rejecting claims the machines violate the right to vote.
In a unanimous ruling, the court turned back a challenge by a group of citizens who filed suit three years ago in Fulton County Superior Court. A judge had previously dismissed the suit, ruling in favor of state officials.
The group claimed their fundamental right to vote is harmed because the recording, counting and retention of their votes, unlike paper ballots, are not being properly protected, which can prevent fraudulent manipulation of the results.
But the state high court, in a ruling written by Justice George Carley, found the use of touchscreen voting systems does not severely restrict the right to vote.
Download the Court Ruling
Georgia's Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling
affirming state's right to use electronic voting machines
VoterGA Response to Today's Ruling
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled today that our current form of un-auditable voting does not infringe upon the fundamental right to vote and to have our vote counted. This ruling essentially gives the state a license to pretend to conduct elections.
Not one of the 100+ million votes that have been cast on the machines since 2002 can be audited for accuracy and correctness of vote recording. Georgia law in 2001 and 2002 required that any new machines have an independent audit trail of each vote cast.
The state’s own witnesses have acknowledged that the specific type of electronic voting machines we purchased and use do not have such an independent audit trail. The machines can only internally recreate selections that may or may not have been shown to voter. Without an independent audit trail, it is impossible to determine whether the actual ballots cast on Election Day were recorded correctly. Auditable electronic voting machines were available for purchase in 2002 as they are today.
When one or two officials can commit the state of Georgia to a $ 54 million purchase of voting equipment that was illegal at the moment of purchase, there must be some mechanism of accountability. Otherwise, public officials can operate above the law.
In this particular case, the previous boss of former Secretary of State Cox, who signed the purchase agreement, was the lobbyist for Diebold, the voting machine vendor. When the people have no recourse even for a standard trial of evidence , they become slaves to their government rather than the masters of it.
The Georgia Supreme Court also upheld the remarkable lower court decision that no trial is warranted on any count of the 13-count legal suit. The Georgia Supreme Court declined to overturn that lower court decision in spite of 17 disputes of facts cited in lower court conclusions and 41 disputes of facts cited against claims made by the state to Georgia Supreme Court.
Several of these disputes involved claims that were directly contradicted by the evidence in the record and clearly cited. Summary judgment dismissals, such as the one that the Georgia Supreme Court has just upheld, are rare in this type of case because standard procedures for any court in America require the court to hear the evidence in order to determine the facts before reaching a conclusion.
Now that the state has proven not to be unable to rule against itself on any count, some Constitutional parts of the case could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. While offering a more substantive decision than the lower court, the Georgia Supreme Court did not cite U.S. Supreme Court rulings related to ballot counting and recounting to corroborate its decision. All such U.S. Supreme Court rulings confirm that ballot counting and recounting requires strict scrutiny.
On the contrary, the Georgia Supreme Court decided that the state need only have a rational basis for implementing the voting systems. Even so, there is no rational basis for implementing a voting system that violates the law.
P.S. I will send a follow-up e-mail on possible next steps once we have had time to analyze the decision.
Georgia Supreme Court to Hear Landmark Voting Rights Case
WHO: Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia (VoterGA) is a diverse, non-partisan coalition of Georgia voters and organizations who filed a voting rights lawsuit against the current method of Georgia electronic voting that they contend cannot be properly verified, audited, or recounted.
WHEN: Monday July 13, 2009
WHERE: 40 Capitol Square #507
Atlanta Ga. 30334
WHAT: The Georgia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a landmark E-Voting rights case that is being followed nationally.
Plaintiffs contend that their voting rights are being unconstitutionally abridged based on admissions collected by election officials that:
• Tabulation server results can be altered on Election Day without detection;
• Votes can be swapped between candidates on Election Day without detection;
• The voting machines do not meet legal requirements under which they were procured and allegedly certified;
• County and state tabulation servers cannot be certified according to state and federal procedures; and much more.
(404) 664-4044 or (404) 606-3206
Motions & Case Information: www.voterga.org
Additional articles on the evolution of this lawsuit: http://electiondefensealliance.org/georgia
But County Gets Negative Marks for Pushing DREs
Coverage from Riverside Press Enterprise
Voter Advocacy Group Praises Special Election
By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise Wednesday, May 20, 2009
A watchdog group critical of how Riverside County has handled past elections said Wednesday that Tuesday's special election vote went smoothly with added accountability.
Temecula-based Save R Vote monitored Tuesday's election and praised Registrar Barbara Dunmore for putting a series of safeguards in place to maintain the integrity of cast ballots.
"This was the most improved, smoothest election that I have seen in seven elections," said Tom Courbat, the group's founder.
The safeguards came from an audit led by former district attorney Grover Trask.
The measures include adding a redesigned ballot statement that precinct workers fill out to account for ballots and signatures, adding a form at ballot collection centers for workers to report if there is something wrong with ballot boxes and installing two computer monitors at the registrar's headquarters for observers to monitor ballot counting.
"This proves they could do it in a big election. It didn't result in that much additional work," Courbat said. "It gives a higher degree of accountability."
Dunmore said Wednesday that the light turnout made the election a perfect time to unveil the new measures.
"We wanted to put them in place as quick as possible," she said. "We worked very hard on that."
Dunmore said she is pleased to hear that Save R Vote found the improvements well executed.
Still, the group remains critical of Riverside County for what it sees as the over use of electronic touch-screen voting machines.
"There's an agenda here, to prove people like electronic voting when given the choice.
It is not about liking. People like to drive 120 on the freeway, but it is not safe.
You cannot adequately secure these machines."
Secretary of State Debra Bowen decertified the use of touch-screen voting machines in 2007, citing security vulnerabilities. She then set conditions for their limited use.
In Tuesday's election, poll workers asked voters whether they wanted to use a paper ballot or an electronic machine.
"There's an agenda here, and the agenda here is to prove people like electronic voting when given the choice. It is not about liking," Courbat said. "People like to drive 120 on the freeway, but it is not safe. You cannot adequately secure these machines."
Courbat criticized the county for not informing voters at polling sites that there have been issues surrounding the machines.
Dunmore said her office must offer voters the choice. She said poll workers can't provide a history of the machines to each voter, and if voters have questions, they can contact her office. The use of electronic voting machines on Tuesday complied with election rules, she said.
"We did see precincts where there were more votes cast on the electronic voting unit than on paper ballots," Dunmore said. "That is a choice made by the voter." On Tuesday, there were 28,148 votes cast on electronic machines, about 41 percent of the ballots cast a precincts, Dunmore said.
Riverside County had at least three precincts, two in Corona and one in Murrieta, where all the votes were cast on the electronic machines, Dunmore said. Fifty-seven precincts didn't have any votes cast on electronic machines.
Reach Duane W. Gang at 951-368-9547 or dgang@PE.com
From Bo Lipari's blog, 3/22/08:
Vendor to sue NY again to allow DREs
I told you the DRE vendors are like zombies, and will never, ever stop trying to force DRE machines on New York State voters. Once again, LibertyVote and their Dutch partner Nedap are preparing to go to Court to challenge county purchases for accessible paper ballot systems, and to overturn New York State’s right to test our voting machines to the strict standards we worked so hard to achieve.
On Thursday, March 20, the Cattaraugus county Board of Elections informed the State Board that they wanted to change the order placed last month for 57 Ballot Marking Devices, and instead want to substitute LibertyVote DREs for the paper ballot systems. This is an astonishing request for several reasons – for one, orders have already been placed for the ballot markers and contracts have been completed, signed and sealed; and for another, the LibertyVote DRE has yet to undergo any testing whatsoever! Yes, that’s right, testing to New York’s rigorous standards has not yet even started, and won’t be completed until this summer at the earliest. But Cattaraugus county is telling the State Board they want to purchase the LibertyVote DRE now, essentially asking them to bypass all testing and simply approve the machine at the next Board meeting on Wednesday, March 26.
The Cattaraugus letter, signed by the county commissioners (and obviously prepared by LibertyVote/Nedap’s lawyers) lays out the vendor’s litigation strategy and arguments to the Court if the State Board refuses the county request to allow them to switch from paper ballots to an uncertified DRE. My guess - if the State Board turns down this outrageous request at the next meeting, LibertyVote/Nedap will be back in State Supreme Court before the close of business asking that New York’s certification testing be canceled and their DRE immediately approved for purchase. And based on their past success in this Court, why wouldn’t they?
But will the 4 Commissioners stand up to the DRE vendor? I certainly hope so, for granting the county’s request would fly in the face of everything the Board has said during the last three years about New York’s rigorous certification process and standards, and would essentially cancel New York’s voting machine certification testing. But there’s cause for concern that the Board may not stand their ground. As I reported in my last post, the Board demonstrated that LibertyVote/Nedap’s legal assaults on New York’s machine selection process have made them reluctant to deny approval to the vendor’s machines, even in light of evidence that they do not meet state requirements.
Let me be clear – if the State Board approves the Cattaraugus request at their meeting, they will violate the letter and the spirit of New York’s election laws and regulations which promise voters a comprehensive and complete testing regimen. If the Board approves this request, they will be enablers for a voting machine vendor that has demonstrated when they can’t win approval on merit, they are willing to force approval by litigation; a vendor that believes that the voices of voters, legislators, and election officials around New York State are but a minor annoyance that can be ignored at their choosing; ultimately, a vendor that believes that their right to profit supersedes the requirements of the law, the voters, and democracy.
U.S. Supreme Court Appeal ConsiderationsVoterGA Supporters,
We now are at the most significant crossroads in the history of our landmark voting rights case. We must quickly make a decision whether or not to appeal the Constitutional arguments of the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. I have tried to assemble the facts with as little bias as possible for your consideration. Some major areas for your consideration are:
· The Georgia Supreme Court Ruling
· The Basis for a U.S. Supreme Court Appeal
· Appeal Costs
· Appeal Benefits
· Appeal Risks
· Other Federal Alternatives
GA Supreme Court Ruling:In considering whether or not to appeal, it is important to have an understanding of the Georgia Supreme Court decision. The decision had no dissenters and was slightly more substantial than the state superior court ruling but it still had the same basic flaws:
· The court denied our normal right to a trial on all 13 counts of the lawsuit although we factually disputed 41 assertions made to the court by the Attorney General’s office and cited 17 lower court conclusions that had no basis in case evidence;
· The court defied all U.S. Supreme Court case law for ballot counting and recounting by refusing to apply strict scrutiny to our fundamental right of voting;
· The court instead applied a minimal standard of scrutiny and ruled that the former Secretary had a rational basis for implementing the machines in spite of the evidence we presented showing:
a. The machines do not have an independent audit trail of each vote cast as the law required. That law was in effect when the machines were procured, evaluated, allegedly certified and purchased;
b. The office of the Secretary of State was warned in advance of the need for voter verification, recount retention and audit controls by numerous governmental and public sources including a State Senate Committee, the head of Fulton County Elections and the 21st Century Voting Commission Report;
c. There was no compelling need for the Secretary to commit $54 million of taxpayer funds to replace many auditable voting machines with a statewide implementation of voting machines that cannot be properly audited.
· The opinion written by Justice George Carley was cleverly worded to ignore nearly every shred of evidence that we presented, just as the lower court order did.
· The opinion made conclusions with no basis in fact such as: “However, the undisputed evidence shows that the touch screen machines accurately record each vote when they are properly operated.” No such evidence was ever submitted in the case and it is technically impossible to produce the evidence without an independent audit trail.
· The opinion made unsubstantiated conclusions that were in direct conflict with the facts in the case record such as: “…uncontroverted evidence shows that the Secretary of State has properly certified the DRE voting system pursuant to O.C.G.A. 21-2-379-2.” That code section requires the Secretary of State to produce a “report." We explained that the certification reports were never produced for the current equipment. Only certificates were provided for them.
In addition, no reports or certificates of any kind were produced for machines used in the 2001-2002 time period. Thus it is impossible for the evidence to be uncontroverted. Furthermore, we showed that the tabulation servers can never be certified according to federal guidelines, as secretary of state policy requires, because the servers cannot prevent fraudulent vote manipulation as the guidelines require.
In summary, we did everything we needed to do to win this case in the Georgia Supreme Court:
· Our briefs clearly presented the evidence and case law while refuting all material assertions made by the opposition;
· Walker did what we believed to be a very good job at the GA Supreme Court oral arguments;
· Todd followed up with a letter at the request of the Court that clearly applied all U.S. Supreme Court case law to our case and refuted the exact case law presented by the opposition because it was unrelated to ballot counting and recounting.
The court had everything it needed to make a decision based on the merits of the case but chose to ignore those merits. Since the case law and evidence we presented was never refuted by either court, I can only assume that the courts made a biased decision to protect state interests or those involved.