Monday, November 3, 2008

Pre-Election Troubles on Boil

Sent by David Swanson:


This will be the last news summary before Election Day and it is one that will make you uncomfortable.

The last few days of voting news, see below, have some real pre-election scares in them. Perhaps most frightening is a letter published by the U.S. Election Asstance Commission from a Michigan election official describing how an ES&S optical scan machine got inconsistent votes in logic and accuracy testing. The October 24th letter, published today, raises serious doubts about the machines. The Michigan official wrote:

"While problems with the performacne [sic] and design of the M-100s have been documented, this is the first time I have ever questioned the integrity of these machines. The issue is this - four of our communities or eight percent - reported inconsistent vote totals during their logic and accuracy testing with the ES&S machines. The same ballots, run through the same machines, yielded different results each time."

Kim Zetter from Wired notes "ES&S tabulators were responsible for counting 50 percent of the votes in the last four major U.S. elections, according to the company. Some 30,000 of them are now deployed in 43 states."

The problem is the machines get dirty during use (like on busy election days!) and cannot be cleaned as maintenance voids the warranty. ES&S is the same company that makes touchscreen machines that have reportedly flipped votes in five states. Combining the ES&S problems with Diebold's (aka Premier) admission that their machines can lose the votes of entire precincts and it is difficult to be confident about the vote count.

Other news shows the beat goes on -- long lines in multiple states, officials and judges refusing to extend the voting day to make up for it, purging of voters continued in Colorado after a judge ordered it stopped and leaves Colorado voters confused., a variety of people put forward various ways in which the election could still be stolen. Even Oprah Winfrey found her voting machine failing to count her presidential choice! But, election integrity activists are also doing what they can. Black Box voting puts out several videos on what you can do to protect the vote and numerous obervers, poll watchers and election hot lines will be in force tomorrow, along with army's of lawyers inside and outside the campaigns. If you want to get a visual of how arrogant election officials can be, watch the video associated with the last story from Philadelphia.

It is hard to imagine how Election Day can go smoothly. Why would it be anything but a concentrated repeat of early voting -- long lines, registration challenges, voter suppression, machine problems and litigation. Is this any way to run an election? Is this really the greatest democracy on Earth!?

If you haven't taken action on our last two alerts (1) urging the networks and AP to keep the exit poll results before they are reconfigured to match the voting results (something that could be the most effective audit of the election we have); and (2) seeking the intervention of international observers for any post-election battles -- there is still time to do so. See

Kevin Zeese

Judge Refuses Last-Minute Election Changes in Va.

November 03, 2008

By Anita Kumar
Washington Post

RICHMOND, Nov. 3 -- Hours before the polls open, a federal judge Monday refused to order any last-minute changes to Virginia's voting procedures in response to allegations by the NAACP that the state is not prepared to handle the predicted historic voter turnout in Tuesday's election.

But U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams will consider Tuesday a separate request by Republican presidential nominee John McCain to allow overseas absentee ballots an extra 10 days to arrive in Virginia.

» Read More

McCain sues to force Va. to count military ballots

November 03, 2008

By Bob Lewis
The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. -- Republican John McCain's presidential campaign sued the Virginia election board Monday, claiming absentee ballots weren't mailed on time to military members serving overseas.

The complaint asks the U.S. District Court in Richmond to order the state to count absentee ballots postmarked by Tuesday and received by Nov. 14. It contends that thousands of troops' ballots _ many of which would go to McCain _ will not be counted.

» Read More

Georgia: Fulton, Clayton won't extend voting hours, urge patience

November 03, 2008

Minimum 2-hour waits expected in Fulton

By Mary Lou Pickel, Megan Matteucci
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Officials in Fulton and Clayton counties Monday morning decided against seeking permission to extend polling hours on Election Day.

The Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections voted unanimously not to extend hours, saying that they think the number of voting machines per person is sufficient to handle the load.

» Read More

Colorado's Purged voters in the dark over Election Day status

November 03, 2008

Thousands potentially could be denied right to cast ballots over bureaucratic snafus

By Naomi Zeveloff
Colorado Independent

Thousands of purged Colorado voters have no clue that they've been removed from the state’s rolls. And that could make for some dramatic scenarios on Election Day tomorrow when would-be registered voters are denied a regular ballot at the polls.

Last week, voting rights experts scored a win to protect these voters who were removed from the rolls by allowing them to vote by provisional ballot. The Advancement Project, a national voter protection organization, filed suit against Secretary of State Mike Coffman for illegally removing as many as 30,000 voters after a 90-day no purge federal deadline. In a settlement, Coffman agreed to provide provisional ballots to purged voters who show up at the polls on Election Day. These special provisional forms will be verified before any others in the two weeks after the election.

» Read More

Combat Vote Suppression posted

November 03, 2008

By Peter Rothberg
The Nation

This longest election campaign in American history, soon to be concluded, has seen a record number of new voters registered.

In Connecticut, more than 300,000 new voters have added their names to the rolls since January 1, and a higher percentage of registered voters are expected to participate in tomorrow's election than at any time since John F. Kennedy faced off with Richard Nixon in 1960.

» Read More

Could voting meltdown history repeat itself?

November 03, 2008

By Deborah Hastings
Associated Press

In 2000, the presidential election was marred by hanging chads in Florida. Four years later, it was malfunctioning machines in Ohio. With record numbers of voters expected yet again, the fundamental question remains whether the country's embattled election machinery will stand up to the pressure.

This year's unprecedented primary turnout has already exposed cracks in the infrastructure. In Texas, lines stretched for hours and ballots ran out. Voters in Virginia were told to submit slips of paper — which were later disqualified — when ballot deliveries didn't arrive, and overwhelmed poll workers in Washington, D.C., hid electronic machines because they were afraid of the contraptions.

» Read More

Concerns continue to shadow e-voting

November 03, 2008

Security Focus

As the United States readies for a historic presidential election, voting and security experts continue to push for better checks on the machines that will record and tally up the ballots.

Over the past month, scattered reports of electronic voting machines that have "flipped votes" -- marking a vote for a different candidate than the one selected -- has worried some election experts. The issues have been reported in Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia, although an online video that appeared to show the problem has been assailed as misleading, according to Wired News.

» Read More

Short-Circuiting the Vote

November 03, 2008

Tuesday's election will be the most technologically advanced in American history. But will it be the most reliable?


Eight years have passed since the autumn of the hanging chads. Most punch-card voting machines have been retired, and several billion dollars have been spent on new election hardware as well as the preparation of updated, computerized, statewide registration lists. A major federal elections law was passed in 2002 (the Help America Vote Act); a new agency (the Elections Assistance Commission) was created; and state officials across the country have been working hard to insure that "Florida" will not happen again.

» Read More

Touchscreen Voting Machines Cause Long Lines and Disenfranchise Voters

November 03, 2008

Authors: William A. Edelstein, Arthur D. Edelstein

Abstract: Computerized touchscreen "Direct Recording Electronic" DRE voting systems have been used by over 1/3 of American voters in recent elections. In many places, insufficient DRE numbers in combination with lengthy ballots and high voter traffic have caused long lines and disenfranchised voters who left without voting. We have applied computer queuing simulation to the voting process and conclude that far more DREs, at great expense, would be needed to keep waiting times low. Alternatively, paper ballot-optical scan systems can be easily and economically scaled to prevent long lines and meet unexpected contingencies.

Black Box Voting on Protecting the Vote Count on Election Night

November 03, 2008

By Bev Harris
Black Box Voting

Black Box Voting was asked by YouTube to prepare an easy to follow public education program for Protecting the Count on ELECTION NIGHT and the days that follow. We also collaborated with and Election Defense Alliance. YouTube has created a Channel called Video Your Vote. The Black Box Voting Protect the Count series contains important information and several video clips never before made public.

» Read More

No comments: