E-Vendors Dominate "Future of California Voting" Hearing

Source: Capital Public Radio, KXJZ Sacramento, CA

California's Electronic Voting Booths Need An Upgrade But It Won't Be Cheap

Aired 2/8/2010 on All Things Considered Aired
2/9/2010 on Morning Edition

Sacramento, CA -- California elections officials say their computerized voting booths are in need of upgrades, but they can’t afford to make big improvements. Capital Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports: Listen


CA-SoS-panel-future-voting-020810Two statewide elections are coming up later this year but local elections officials say they’re working with outdated electronic voting booths. 

Private companies that sell the equipment say the state and counties would be better off buying new systems rather than trying to modernize the old equipment.

That would require millions of dollars that governments don’t have right now.

At a public hearing on the issue in Sacramento, some citizens urged the officials to get rid of electronic voting, period.

Photo: Steve Shadley, Capital Public Radio

Tom Courbat is with the Riverside County group Save Our Vote:

“We’re not convinced there is enough security in these voting systems to justify continuing to purchase them. We have seen demonstrations over and over again of machines being hacked...”

Courbat says it would be more secure if voters cast paper ballots that would be counted by hand.  
But advocates for the disabled say not everyone can fill out a paper ballot.

Corporations Are Not the People: A PEN Action to Reverse 'Citizens United' Court Ruling

The following action has been prepared by PEN (People's E-mail Network) in response to the U.S. Supreme Court rulling in 'Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission' asserting that corporate money in politics is the equivalant of the right of free speech by individual citizens. 

Using the PEN action page, you can simultaneously send a letter to:

(1)  Your U.S. Representative in Congress
(2)  Both your U.S. Senators, and
(3)  The editorial letters page of your regional newspaper

Action Page: Corporations Are NOT The People

Congress must act swiftly to block and override this Court ruling by enacting legislation to reject the "Corporate Personhood" doctrine and reassert that governments regulate corporations, not the other way around.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D FL 8) has already assembled proposed legislation in the House to counter the Court's ruling.  Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is doing the same in the Senate.

EDA Serves Public Records Lawsuit on Riverside County, CA

County Responses to Election Records Requests  "Not Responsive, Evasive, and Unusable"

Download EDA Complaint (PDF)

After repeated attempts to obtain election records through public records procedures were denied and evaded by the Riverside County elections department, Election Defense Alliance has filed a lawsuit in Riverside County, CA, to compel the county's registrar of voters and election department to produce all public records used to compile the officially reported voting results for the November 2008 general election.Complaint-Cover

The legal complaint, [Case No. R1C-541239] filed in Riverside County Superior Court November 13 and served on the Riverside Elections Department on December 12, is based on the California Public Records Act (CPRA) and related statutes in the California Government Code.

EDA maintains that all election records are -- or should be -- public documents, to be readily available for public inspection in a timely manner and in complete, usable form; otherwise the public right to verify election outcomes is effectively denied.

EDA is seeking these records to determine (a) whether the officially reported election results were accurate and correct, and (b) whether the elections were conducted in full compliance with the California Elections Code and state and federal requirements for the certification and use of computerized voting systems.

These laws and requirements include provisions guaranteeing the public
access to observe election processes and verify election results.

The lawsuit is the initial phase of the EDA Public Records Election Project (PREP).

Members of the
EDA PREP team collectively have experience monitoring elections and filing records requests in Riverside, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties in California, and Pima and Maricopa counties in Arizona.

The EDA-PREP team worked 8 months studying relevant public records law, preparing the records requests, analyzing responses and records received from Riverside County, and following through with subsequent requests to obtain records that the Riverside elections department either initially refused to provide, or failed to provide in usable form.

Between April and October, 2009, EDA sent four separate CPRA request letters specifying the records sought in further response to Riverside County replies. Each of the request letters are attached to this article as downloadable PDF documents.

Lawsuit Claims and Relief Sought

EDA is seeking a judicial determination as to the legal validity of any of the exemptions the Riverside Elections Department has claimed, and whether its responses to EDA's information requests have been fully compliant with the requirements of the California Public Records Act.

EDA Complaint is Served on Riverside County Elections Department

Riverside election integrity activist Paul Jacobs accompanied Tom Courbat
to the Riverside County Elections Department on Dec. 12, 2009
to serve the summons forthe EDA lawsuit, Case No. RIC-541239.

As declaratory relief, EDA is seeking a court ruling that the Riverside defendants violated the California Public Records Act by:
 __ failing to demonstrate that requested records are exempt;
 __ requiring the payment of fees not  permitted by law;  
_ failing in their mandatory duties to respond to public information requests;
 __ abusing their official discretion, by failing to respond properly to public information requests;
 __ failing to provide requested records in useful form; and by 
 __ denying requests for public records without justification.

EDA is seeking a writ of mandamus compelling the Riverside defendants to:

 __ comply with each  provision of the CPRA
 __ deliver all records responsive to the EDA CPRA requests 
 __ comply with all such election-related records requests by citizens in the future
 __ pay EDA reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of the suit pursuant to Government Code Section  6259, the Code
     of Civil Procedure section 1021.5, and other relevant statutes; and
 __ such other and further relief as the court deems just and proper.
Below are a listing and description of election records EDA requested in the initial CPRA letter of April 24, 2009, and descriptions of the Riverside elections department response to each request.

Another Critical Election Corrupted?

Believe It (Or Not):
The Massachusetts Special Election For US Senate

By Jonathan Simon
August 27, 2010


On January 19th, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts held a Special Election to fill the Senate seat left open by the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. It would be difficult to overstate the political implications of this election. Because the seat was the 60th for the Democrats, it carried with it the effective balance of power in the Senate: without it, in a dramatically polarized and decidedly uncooperative political environment, the Democrats would not be able to override a GOP filibuster. As the media let Americans know, everything from the shape of healthcare policy to financial regulation, from energy and environmental policy to critical judicial appointments hung in the balance.

Just as significantly, the victory by Republican Scott Brown over supposed shoo-in Martha Coakley was taken and trumpeted as a “sign:” the political calculus for the upcoming general elections in 2010 and 2012 was instantly rewritten, with the anger and unrest that apparently produced Brown’s victory establishing expectations of catastrophic losses for the Democrats in November and beyond. All in all the political impact of this single, under-the-radar state election was seismic, very nearly “presidential.”

The Electoral System

With stakes that high, citizens not only of Massachusetts but of the rest of the United States would hope to find firm basis knowledge, as opposed to mere faith that the votes were accurately counted as cast and that the seating of the certified winner, along with the massive implications alluded to above, at least reflected the will and intent of the voting constituency. Instead, this is what a citizen seeking such knowledge about the Massachusetts Special Election would find:

Download and read the complete article above as pdf.

Listen to an in-depth podcast interview with Jonathan Simon on Believe It (Or Not) and related topics of election integrity.

We Need Funds - Please Help!

Paul Revere needed to feed (and shoe) his horse. EDA needs to purchase voting records, to set up exit polling operations, hand-count projects, and Election Night "war rooms", to pay analysts, attorneys, private investigators, and staff, and then, each time we find something worth shouting about, to buy or rent a megaphone. We're not saying that Mr. Revere had it easy, but our "Midnight Ride" has been going on for Four Years now and our "horse" needs new shoes and a bucket of oats. Please help EDA keep this fight for honest elections, observable vote counting, and American democracy alive by donating what you can. Donations are tax-deductible. 
Thank you.

Jonathan Simon
Executive Director
Election Defense Alliance


Was California's Proposition 8 Election Rigged?

Related article: The complete report, Citizen Exit Polls in Los Angeles County: An In-Depth Analysis, by R. H. Phillips


Was California's Proposition 8 Election Rigged?

By Sally Castleman and Jonathan Simon

This report is meant as a warning. It does not provide conclusive proof of election tampering, since such “proof” would be embedded with the memory cards and computer code which are regarded as proprietary secrets and strictly off-limits to examination.  But what is revealed here is strong enough to suggest that legislators, secretaries of state, attorneys general, and the public must pay close attention to what is reported in all future elections. Candidates entering upcoming elections should especially read and understand this report and take notice of the current state of our electoral system. This particular report pertains to California; however, Election Defense Alliance is also publishing a comparable report on the 2008 Presidential election, questioning the results in several states. The bottom line is: with electronic equipment counting our votes, we cannot know whether the official results are accurate. Multiple analyses of vote tabulations from the past several elections caution us that they are not.

This report presents evidence that in the November 2008 election the tabulation of the vote for California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative repealing marriage equality, was probably corrupted. It is beyond the scope of this study to know if any corruption was due to honest error or intentional fraud. Further investigation is warranted.

Much media attention has been focused on California over the past several years regarding gay marriage, abortion, and other hot-button social issues. In November 2008, two such issues appeared on the California ballot:  Proposition 8 outlawed marriage equality (a “yes” vote opposed same-sex marriage); Proposition 4 mandated a waiting period and parental notification before non-emancipated minors were allowed an abortion (similar measures had been defeated twice before).

Election Defense Alliance, a national nonprofit group dedicated to restoring integrity and public accountability to the electoral processes, worked with several other election integrity groups to conduct public election verification exit polls (“EVEP”) in eight states in November.  The polls were meant to validate or detect problems with the official vote counts.  Ten sites, representing 19 precincts, were located in Los Angeles County, California.  This paper presents the analysis of the L.A. County polling results as they pertain to Proposition 8.

EDA Study Shows 2008 CA Prop 8 Results Appear to Have Been Corrupted

Click Here to download the Introduction as a pdf

The following study of suspect Proposition 8 election results in Los Angeles County, CA, is drawn from data gathered in EDA's
Election Verification Exit Poll (EVEP) analysis of the 2008 Presidential election, which reports similarly questionable election results in several states.

Although this exit poll analysis cannot provide conclusive proof of election fraud (because such proof would require access to memory cards and computer code accorded proprietary exemption from public examination) it does provide the strongest indirect proof available that election results have almost certainly been altered by manipulation of the computerized voting systems.

Deviations between exit polls and official results far outside margins of error, cannot be explained away by demographics or polling factors. The facts established in these reports cannot responsibly be dismissed or evaded.

Election Defense Alliance calls on legislators, secretaries of state, attorneys general, the voting public, and especially candidates in upcoming elections, to read these reports and seriously confront their implications.


 An EDA Investigative Report

'Exhaustive analysis of exit polls conducted in Los Angeles County has led to the conclusion that the vote count for Proposition 8 (the ban on same-sex marriage) appears to have been corrupted.

There were not enough Republican voters to account for the disparity between the exit poll and official results
even if every Republican non-responder voted for Proposition 8.

The Edison-Mitofsky exit poll showed a similar disparity statewide,
indicating that altered vote counts may not be limited to Los Angeles County.'


For the Introduction and Executive Summary:


Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.


Download the PDF

Appendices added

Related report: Introduction and Executive Summary


 Exhaustive analysis of exit polls conducted in Los Angeles County has led to the inescapable conclusion that the vote count for Proposition 8 (the ban on same-sex marriage) was corrupted. The data were drawn from questionnaires filled out by 6326 voters at ten polling places scattered across Los Angeles County, and were properly adjusted to match the gender, age, race, and party affiliation of the electorate.

For Proposition 4 (which would have required parental notification and a waiting period for minors seeking abortions), the official results differ from the adjusted exit poll data by only 0.64%. But for Proposition 8, the disparity between the official results and the adjusted exit poll data is 5.74%, enough to affect the margin by 11.48%. Because Los Angeles County comprised 24.23% of the statewide electorate, an error of that magnitude would have affected the statewide margin by 2.78%, accounting for most of the official 4.48% statewide margin of victory. There were not enough Republican voters to account for the disparity between the exit poll and the official results even if every Republican non-responder voted for Proposition 8. The Edison-Mitofsky exit poll showed a similar disparity statewide, indicating that altered vote counts may not be limited to Los Angeles County. 

EDA Exit Polls Generally Match 2008 Election Results, But Find "Wide Disparities" in NH Vote Counts

An Election Defense Alliance Investigative Report
Based on Data Obtained from the EDA 2008 Election Verification Exit Poll Project (EVEP)

This report is meant as a warning. It does not provide conclusive proof of election tampering, but what is revealed here is strong enough to suggest that Legislators, Secretaries of State, Attorneys General, AND CITIZENS must pay close attention to what is reported in all future elections. Candidates entering races in 2010 Mid-Term Elections should especially read and understand this report and take notice of the current state of our electoral system.


'We know that there are huge disparities between the exit poll data and the official results
at all four polling places in New Hampshire, and that adjusting the raw data
to account for party affiliation does not explain them. . . . 
We are forced to conclude that it is very possible that the official results in New Hampshire are not true and correct.'

Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.
Data from citizen exit polls conducted at 28 sites in seven states were found to match closely the official results for President, Senate and Congress at nine polling places (five in California, two in Pennsylvania, one in Ohio, and one in New Mexico). At four polling places (two in New Mexico, one in California, and one in Texas), analysis was inconclusive. At two polling places in Michigan, the official results for 2008 were not inconsistent with established voting patterns. At two polling places in Ohio, the exit polls reflected correctly an erosion of support for the Congressional incumbent. At five polling places in California, the presidential preference of the non-responders closely paralleled their party affiliation. But at six polling places (two in Pennsylvania and four in New Hampshire), large disparities remained between the official results and the exit poll data, even after properly adjusting the data to account for party affiliation, gender, age, and race. The large disparities in the vote count were found at three of these, and we conclude that the official results may be wrong at all six.
Citizen exit polls were conducted by trained volunteers on behalf of Election Defense Alliance (EDA) on November 4, 2008 at 37 sites in eight states. The purpose was not only to collect demographic data (gender, age, race, and party affiliation) for election analysis, but also to reach a large enough sample of voters at the polls to verify (or question) the official results. In every state, the presidential election was listed on the questionnaire handed to the voters. For comparative purposes, the Congressional election, the United States Senate contest if any, and some local contests, were included as well. It is the purpose of this paper to compare the exit poll data with the official results and, where large disparities exist, to assess the reasons for those disparities.
There are four possible reasons for a large disparity between exit polls and official results: (1) a basic flaw in the exit poll methodology; (2) many voters lying on the questionnaire; (3) a non-representative sample of voters responding; or (4) the official results being erroneous or fraudulent. The first two possibilities are rendered unlikely by the fact that, at numerous polling places, there was little difference between the exit poll data and the official results. Thus, if the official results are true and correct, any large disparities must be due to exit poll responders being non-representative with respect to gender, age, race, or party affiliation. It is shown in an accompanying paper concerning Propositions 4 and 8 in Los Angeles County that party affiliation is the most important of these parameters.
This underscores the importance of collecting “refusal data,” as was done in this poll. The exit pollsters noted the gender, race, and estimated age of each voter who was approached but declined to respond. These data can be compared to the responses on the questionnaires filled out by the participating voters. In some states, the gender and age of registered voters are specified on the voter rolls. Of utmost importance are the party affiliations of those who voted at the polls, which in some states is a matter of public record, although sometimes difficult to obtain. Based upon this information, the raw data for the exit poll can be adjusted according to gender, race, age, and party affiliation, to better reflect the demographic makeup of the electorate.
Not all of the exit polls resulted in worthwhile and useable data. At one polling place in Michigan, only 60 of 835 voters were interviewed; no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from such a minimal data set. In San Francisco, and in three of five polling places in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, questionnaires were either lost or possibly mixed up among precincts, leaving us with incomplete and unreliable data sets. At the four polling places in Colorado, election officials have refused to provide a separate vote count for voters at the polls. In Douglas County, Colorado, for example, early voting and absentee ballots accounted for 86.89% of the votes countywide, and 89.51% of the votes in the three precincts where our exit poll was conducted. We are left with no way to make a meaningful comparison between the exit poll data and the official results. But this still leaves us with 28 polling places in seven states. The raw data are shown below.

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2008 and 2004 Presidential Exit Poll Discrepancies Compared

Introductory Summation:

In 2008 the exit poll discrepancy was considerably smaller than in 2004, but it was still well outside the margin of error. I won’t calculate an exact number, since we don’t have all the data yet. But it’s safe to say that the difference is very unlikely to be explained by chance alone.

The fact that pre-election polls provided an estimate very similar to the exit polls in 2008 (The Obama lead was a little bit less in the pre-election polls, but it was surging upwards in the last couple of days, so probably the two were about equivalent) makes it even more likely that they were both accurate.

So that leaves two possibilities: Exit poll bias (and pre-election poll bias as well) or impaired election integrity – that is, election fraud.

Consequently, EDA undertook an effort yesterday to capture exit poll statistics from all major statewide races (President, Senator, and Governor) prior to “adjustment” of the statistics to match the official election results. (Once the statistics are “adjusted” to match the official election results they are worthless for the purpose of assessing the exit poll discrepancy because the “adjustment” erases the discrepancy.)
"What all this means is that, as in 2004, the Democratic candidate performed much better in exit polls than in the official vote count, and the difference was especially large in critical swing states."
To read the complete article, click here

EDA Opens Sequoia Voting System Source Code to Public Exam


Election Defense Alliance Opens Public Review of Sequoia Voting System Source Code

By Jim March

Election Defense Alliance, a nonprofit organized to review and improve voting system technology and operations, has come into possession of thousands of lines of software written by Sequoia Voting Systems as part of a public records response from Riverside County, California. (Sequoia is the third-largest E-voting vendor in the nation, whose secret proprietary software counts the votes for approximately 17% of the U.S. electorate).

Because the files were obtained from a government agency in an above-board fashion, for the first time the analysis process and actual code can be released to the public and studied in a public and transparent fashion.

The entire analysis project and associated files to study are available at a new wiki:

How You Can Help Shine Light on Sequoia

Previous voting system software analysis has been in secret, either due to non-disclosure agreements, court ordered secrecy or the review of code from legally questionable sources.

In this case, no such restrictions exist and the analysis process will be open, online and public as is proper when looking at the engine of our democratic process. “What was done in the dark will be brought to the light” as Johnny Cash put it.

The software was buried inside of data files used to store the tabulation of votes from the November 2008 general election. This practice of blending data and software has been long suspected and even alluded to in documents from Sequoia; however, the details had been obscured under “trade secrets” claims. Sequoia asserted and exercised an alleged “right” to strip the data files of anything proprietary before Riverside County turned the files over to EDA.

Although Sequoia attempted to redact their proprietary code from the election database files, they failed to strip out thousands of lines of software buried in the electon data.

The software appears to control the logical flow of the election, and is detailed enough to name the authors and dates of modifications along with what the code is actually doing to our votes. Some of it might actually have been stripped out, but we strongly suspect not due to the volume of code present.

EDA is expressing concern that such human-readable and “field modifiable” software has been banned by the federal rulebook on voting system design and testing.

Pending a detailed review, we expect to do a legal analysis of the structure of the Sequoia system thus revealed and file complaints with the proper state and federal authorities.

EDA is concerned about other known cases of failure in the certification of voting systems in which legally flawed products were allowed into the market, a trend noticed recently by NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology) in a formal letter throwing one of the authorized test labs out of the voting system test business.

Of the four labs ever credentialed for voting system testing, three have at various times been thrown out for misconduct or incompetence, only to be let back in under “restrictions.”

We believe that the source code analysis from Sequoia will document yet another such case of test lab failure along with a failure at Sequoia.


Shine Light on Sequoia

This Sequoia code review is one part of a larger EDA Public Record Election Project (PREP), based on public records freedom of information law. We have convened an expert group of investigators and are filing public records requests for voting system database records in a number of counties.

If you can lend your software programming skills to the Sequoia code analysis, we invite your participation at the SequoiaStudy wiki.

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