observable vote counting
Immediately below you’ll find various responses you can expect to hear from your Secretary of State, election officials, the media, etc, followed by the facts with which to answer these disingenuous government/corporate “talking points.” (supplied by BlackBox Voting and edited.)
THE TRUTH: In some states the public is not allowed to examine the paper trail. Some machines produce a paper trail that is on very flimsy paper and is very difficult to read. Furthermore, the computer can print out whatever you might want to see and still do something completely different inside the machine. It is extremely rare that the paper trails are looked at by anyone.
TALKING POINT: In some states, after each election, some random “audits” are done, where the electronic votes are compared to paper ballots or to the paper trail for one or more races, to verify that they match.
THE TRUTH: This is not an audit, it is a spot check, and it is often controlled by the same people who program the system and control Chain of Custody for absentee ballots. These “audits” are usually done a few days after the election and the Chain of Custody has been broken. How does the public know there has been no ballot switching?
TALKING POINT: Our state has very good recount laws to ensure the accuracy of a count in close elections.
a) A recount is only performed after the ballots have been removed from public sight and the Chain of Custody has been broken. No "after the fact" recount can authenticate the original count.
b) In some states recounts are not allowed unless a candidate had “lost” by a very small percentage point.
c) In some states, a “recount” means just running the ballots through the same electronic equipment/computer again.
TALKING POINT: Our elections are run by county auditors using certified voting systems.
THE TRUTH: What this is saying is "Trust us. We will verify the election for you."
That is not the same as allowing the public to see the essential accounting itself. The right to authenticate our own elections is an inalienable right, derived from the right to self government.
According to the US Constitution, our representatives are to be chosen by the people. The People cannot transfer this right to the government. Any election run by the government must also ensure that the public can see and authenticate all essential steps.
The government cannot be in control of choosing itself.
TALKING POINT: The voting systems have been tested by independent test laboratories and when installed, cannot be changed.
b) These labs test only what the vendor tells them to test. They have also been caught omitting key tests.
c) Saying "the installations cannot be changed" does not mean "the votes cannot be altered."
d) Votes and vote totals can be altered whether or not electronic vote counting software is an approved version.
TALKING POINT: The machines are certified at the national level, tested and certified by our state and tested by the county.
Imagine this: You work as a teller at a bank. They decide to remove the video camera that shows you counting the cash. Instead, they give you a pretest to "detect whether you might tamper at some point in the future." Pretests can help detect incompetence in the election setup, but there is no pretest anywhere that can predict alteration of the count at a later date and time.
There IS a way to detect vote tampering, and it is transparency. The public must be allowed to check whether actual voted ballots match electronically reported counts.
TALKING POINT: After testing, the machines are then locked and sealed until put into use.
THE TRUTH: Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. We always hear this statement and we also regularly see that some machines weren't sealed; that they were accessed by technicians or elections insiders mid-election; or that crucial transactions are missing from or added to the vote-counting computer's audit logs.
Even if machines were sealed, since computers can only do what they are instructed to do by their administrator, locking and sealing has no bearing on inside access or actual manipulation of the count.
Historically, tampering by insiders is the most common form of election fraud.
TALKING POINT: Each election there are random audits to compare the vote counts to the actual paper ballots to make sure they match.
b) A random spot check is not protective against alteration of the count by someone with inside access. At best, spot checks may detect accidental error, but they do not detect deliberate alteration. Those controlling the spot check also control ballot Chain of Custody.
c) By the time a spot check is done, Chain of Custody is broken. No after the fact audit or recount can substitute for public right to see the original count.
e) No partial count authenticates the whole pool. The public must be able to authenticate the count of the whole, not just a part of the count.
There are all kinds of games with after-the-fact "random" spot checks. The random is not truly random; the ballots were substituted, ditched, altered before the count; the race chosen for counting is hand-picked...
f) The public is not allowed to do the spot check. It is assigned to an entity chosen by the same people who run the election.
Basically, "We will do a random spot check" means "Go away, we will authenticate this for you. You cannot authenticate it yourself."
TALKING POINT: Most voters vote on paper ballots, so do not vote on the electronic machines
THE TRUTH: More than 98% of votes in the U.S. are counted electronically. Even if you mark your vote on a paper ballot, it is almost certain your ballot will be counted by an Optical Scan Machine that is a software-driven.
TALKING POINT: Many voters vote early or by absentee ballot and those counts are checked each day to verify the number of voters match the number of ballots received/submitted.
THE TRUTH: The public cannot "verify the number of voters matches the number of ballots" with absentee voting. With absentee or early voting, the public can never see who actually put the ballot into the system.
With absentee voting, the public can only see a report generated by the same insiders who control the voting system.
With absentee voting, the count can be altered by adding, subtracting, changing, or substituting ballots before the machine counts them; and also by alteration of the electronic counting process itself, because electronic counting is hidden from the public. So is the storing of the ballots that arrive prior to the election hidden from the public.
TALKING POINT: We are committed to running fair, accurate, transparent and auditable elections.
THE TRUTH: Even though most election officials and poll workers are honest and hard-working, no state is really committed to running transparent elections because almost all the vote counting is concealed and the entire premise is that only the government can validate the election of itself. Beyond even this, in the vast majority of cases even the government is in the dark as to how the votes are really being counted, with only the insiders (corporate vendors) who program and service the computers in the know.
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Bastille Line: An Urgent Call To Action
E2012: The Good, The Bad, and The Ironic
December 28, 2012
by Jonathan Simon and Sally Castleman
November 6th: Celebrations, Riddles, Questions, Context
E2012—another Democratic victory, a lot of cheering in the streets, living rooms, and even some Election Integrity “war rooms” across America—a lot like E2008. Change you could believe in. Safe to go back in the water. Concerns about election theft greatly overblown. But that was before E2010, when the Tea Party swept in, Democrats and moderates were sent packing, and what seems to be a very long-term blockade of both federal and state governments was installed by those same red-shifted votecounts that had somehow escaped general notice two years earlier when they weren’t red-shifted enough to keep Obama out of the White House. Who, in December 2008, saw E2010 coming? Who, in December 2012, is thinking E2014? (We did. We are. We hope you are too.)
What actually happened on Election Night 2012 remains unclear. In terms of outcome, while the Democrats took what were regarded as the major in-play prizes of the White House and Senate (adding to their narrow majority in the latter), the Republicans maintained a solid grip on the US House (despite Congressional approval ratings hovering in the single digits and despite an overall Democratic victory in the national popular vote for the House, only the fourth occurrence of this win-the-vote-lose-the-House phenomenon in over 100 years) as well as on a sizeable majority of statehouses. In effect little changed in the actual political infrastructure as a result of E2012, though the election was momentarily seen as a repudiation of extreme right-wing politics and of the impact of vast corporate and Super-PAC expenditures on voter choice. It is also worth noting that, much as in E2008, it required a dismal campaign run by a feckless, tone-deaf, and unpopular candidate trying desperately and all-too-transparently to Etch-A-Sketch away an indelible impression of extremism left over from the “severely conservative” primary season, not to mention a series of gaffes by GOP Senate candidates ranging from the borderline moronic to the instantly fatal, to bring about even this tepid electoral result that did little more than maintain the status quo.
But the real riddle of E2012 is what was Karl Rove doing on FOX News at the witching hour making a complete and very uncharacteristic fool of himself? The question remains unanswered. Shrouded still in mystery is whether a planned massive electronic rig was disarmed and, if so, how and why, at what stage, and totally or partially.
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