Tom Courbat

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: ListenListen to audio

 

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statewide elections are coming up later this year but local elections officials say they’re working with outdated electronic voting booths.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:

Courbat:
“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.



Riverside Elections Department Heeds SaveRVote for Big Improvements

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

SaveRVote Report Fills in Missing Pieces of the 2008 Election

April 14, 2009

"Missing Pieces," a devastating citizen review of the 2008 presidential election conducted in Riverside County, CA, will be presented to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the press today at 1:30 p.m. by SaveRVote founder (and EDA Election Monitoring Coordinator) Tom Courbat.

(Proceedings will be streamed live over the Internet via this URL:  http://bosvideo.co.riverside.ca.us/ppportal/agenda/webcast.aspx ).

Download Report in PDF

Download Photographic Slideshow

Download Precinct Analysis

IllegibleTabulatorScreenThe report, prepared by Courbat and the citizen volunteers of the SaveRVote election monitoring organization, documents violations of election law and egregious failures by the Riverside County Registrar of Voters, Barbara Dunmore, and her departmental staff, to secure, track, or even properly count the ballots in the November 2008 presidential election. 

SaveRVote monitors on election day and night photographed evidence of election law violations, logged missing memory cards ("electronic ballot boxes"), and in their subsequent 5-month examination of Riverside County election records, found vote counting and ballot auditing errors in official county election reports numbering in the tens and even hundreds of thousands.

The exhaustively documented Missing Pieces report, presented in its entirety here on the EDA website, consists of an executive summary, findings and recommendations, a slideshow of photographic evidence, and a spreadsheet analysis of oversized precincts exceeding legal limits.

SaveRVote concludes its report urging the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to commission an independent auditing firm to conduct a true forensic audit of the county's election canvass process, as well as a computer systems security audit of the county's Sequoia voting system by independent qualified experts.

More than 120 citizen volunteers with SaveRVote examined 20,000 election documents in what is believed to be the most comprehensive forensic review ever performed on a single county election system.

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