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Voting Absentee
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Analysis of Venezuelan recall vote
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Big Story of Today
Today's most read Story is:

Insider Blows Whistle on Irregularities at E-Voting Machine Company

Old Articles
Monday, September 20
Pentagon Denies Secret Ballot to Troops (0)
Monday, August 23
Has Diebold Finally Wised Up About Urosevich? (0)
Corporate Secrecy More Important Than Your Vote (0)
Lost Votes in New Mexico (0)
Friday, August 13
Sequoia Shows Off New Machine, Which Promptly Fails To Tally Votes Correctly (0)
US Election Gets International Observers (1)
Thursday, August 12
Miami: Everything Hunky Dorey! (0)
Saturday, August 07
Jeb Bush Again Refuses Safe Guards for BBV (0)
Charlotte Observer Questions Voting Machines (0)
E-voting may make us nostalgic for hanging chads. (0)

Older Articles

Insider Blows Whistle on Irregularities at E-Voting Machine Company
I have come into possession of a pair of letters written by a former Hart-Intercivic technician to the Secretaries of State for Ohio and Texas. These letters detail a "long history of concealing problems" and a willingness to ignore potentially serious problems "largely for the sake of corporate profit".

When I read these letters, I contacted the writer to verify his story and authorship. The technician verified that he was the author and that the letters had been sent, but did not wish to have his name revealed as he had sent the letters privately to the two state Secretaries. He did not object to the details of the letters being revealed as he was concerned about whether the matter had been or would be addressed.

These letters were written the end of July and I held off until now in order to give the relevant states the opportunity to do the right thing and investigate these charges. The writer has never been contacted and I must assume that election officials in Texas and Ohio just don't care.

The tech worked for H-I for over two years and left voluntarily because of what he believed to be "criminal fraud, extreme negligence, and a distinct and troubling pattern of failure to uphold the public trust both in violations of the spirit of its contracts [and] also in concealing problems in an industry which so crucially represents the public interest."

The technician addressed problems in Ohio, which he saw while working for H-I, and problems in Tarrant County, Texas, which is where he went to work after leaving H-I.

In Ohio, he is concerned with three main problems:

Fraudulent Acts

- The computer submitted for security testing in Ohio was not the same as the computers being actually used in the field. EVM vendors are supposed to provide "production models" of their units so that they can be evaluated by both InfoSentry and Compuware (the vendors hired by the state to evaluate the voting machines).

Fraudulent Claims

- H-I's eSlate is billed as storing vote data randomly, so as to prevent specific votes from being traced to specific people. The tech says that this is not true and that simple remedial measures which could have addressed this flaw never made.

- H-I claimed to InfoSentry that it had an "ongoing information security awareness program" which it did not.

- H-I claimed to InfoSentry that it maintained numerous documents on information security systems policy for its employees. Our tech was never able to read any of these documents or even find proof of their existance.

- H-I told the Ohio SoS that election results are not transmitted over public networks, which is not true as unofficial results were transmitted this way. A computer hooked to a public network (like the Internet) is a system vulnerable to outside attack.

Misleading Conduct

- Compuware claimed that safeguards were in place to prevent H-I computers from crashing. One would assume that such a claim was based upon information supplied by H-I. Our source says that systems crashed still occurred and that the causes were seldom revealed to the customers.

- Compuware report claims that storage cards containing vote data cannot be altered using the Windows File System. While true, there are still many other easily procured tools which CAN be used to alter the data.

- Compuware claims that error and audit entries are tracked. This is misleading because only SOME entries are tracked, not ALL.

Since Compuware was supposed to audit H-I software we are left to wonder about these misleading claims. Either Compuware failed to look closely at the system or they simply accepted claims from H-I without question.

Something Rotten in Texas

After leaving H-I, our tech took a job with the Office of the Tarrant County Elections Administrator, which had equipment from Hart-Intercivic and ES&S.

Once there, he discovered more of the same problems he had found at H-I in Ohio, along with shenanigans from repeat offender, ES&S.

What makes the situation scarier is the report of "shockingly inappropriate management decisions", "unethical decisions and erratic behavior" by Robert Parten, the Election Administrator.

According to our insider, Parten displayed a "blatant disregard for election law" and a "poor understanding of and interference with important technical aspects of the election systems".

Problems observed

- Invalid entries in the audit trail generated by H-I's election generation software. These problems could have been corrected, but Parten refused to allow the correction, meaning that any audit of the voting system would be immediately questioned due to the invalid entries.

- Public tests of the voting system were conducted improperly. When problems arose during the tests, they were corrected by altering the election database, which should have required a repeat of the public test, which was not done.

- Individuals required to be present to validate testing were not present for some or all of the tests.

- H-I sold equipment to the (card readers) to the county claiming that it was faster and would prevent corruption problems with ballot cards. In fact, internal testing showed that it did neither and seems to have been sold only to fatten H-I's bottom line.

- H-I sent a poorly trained tech in to do contract support work, which then had to be corrcted by staff techs.

H-I knew that despite its claims of "triple-redundant vote storage", problems occurred that still resulted in lost votes. Tarrant County was never told this until the problems appeared in elections. H-I then said it could recover lost votes, but that the units had to be shipped to Colorado to facilitate the repair. This was utter nonsense and the real reason was to keep the process for recovering votes secret. At this point, H-I would also reveal that the process didn't always work.

- ES&S persuaded other counties, and pressured Tarrant Co. to go along with a plan to force approval by the Texas SoS of uncertified software patches. The idea was to get enough counties asking for the patch (with the implied threat that the machines would not function correctly come election day) that the SoS would feel compelled to approve the request. This operation was personally conducted by ES&S vice president Tom Eschberger (the same Tom Eschberger who took an immunity deal for his involvement in a bribery/kickback scandal in Arkansas).

- Sensitive computers engaged in vote tabulation were left unprotected because Parten prohibited the assignment of passwords to them, claiming such changes a violation of election law.

- Sensitive computers, documentation, memory cards, and software media were not properly secured or kept track of.

- Anti-tampering devices were used improperly or not at all.

- County IT techs would routinely work on election computers, installing anti-virus software which caused the machines to crash due to incompatability with election software. Remote control software was installed on a computer containing sensitive election information.

- Tarrant county failed to perform regular and routine backups of their computers.

- H-I performed fixes of "on the fly" reports during elections, even while results were coming in.

In summing up his concerns, the tech reports being baffled by Parten's "continued work with these election companies; even after admissions of concealing software problems, inappropriate pressure, hints of backroom deals, and poor support."

I asked him further about "backroom deals" and he replied:

Both vendors would hint at discounts, extra support that might be available, ES&S drastically cut their price on a software upgrade, the one I mentioned for the FEB[ruary] election, to try to entice Tarrant to upgrade further. Nothing dramatic while I was there, but the staff reported, and other people I've worked with as a Hart employee have reported that vendors have either made or suggested things that were inappropriate, or they had heard things and had reason to believe them. I cannot be more specific here, let's just say I know for a fact it was happening in the industry, though I don't know that Hart did anything like that in any specific situation.

As you know, ES&S has repeatedly been investigated for bribery. In a competitive market, when a company like Hart loses a deal unexpectedly, let's just say you hear things. If you want some concrete example of inappropriate influence, an obvious one, look to Diebold offering to put offices in counties that bought their product. It's happened more than once.

Once again, here is a prime example of why our vote should not be in the hands of private contractors. When you mix greedy and unethical vendors with clueless or "pliable" public servants, you get a concoction toxic to democracy.

Texans and Ohioans, you need to get on the phone with your Secretaries of State and find out what they are doing about this problem.

Texas SoS
Goeffrey Conner
(800) 252-8683
(512) 463-5650
Fax (512) 475-2811
[email protected]

Ohio SoS
J. Kenneth Blackwell
(614) 466-2585
[email protected]

Letter to Geoffrey Conner

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Letter to J. Kenneth Blackwell

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Hart-Intercivic has e-voting machines in:

Orange Co. CA
Tarrant Co. TX
Harris Co. TX
Travis Co. TX
Charlottesville, VA
Brazos Co. TX
Boulder, CO
Honolulu, HI
Yakima Co. WA
Catawba Co. NC

Posted by David on Tuesday, September 28 @ 02:22:01 CDT (199 reads)
(comments? | Score: 5)

President Carter Sees Problems in Florida
Carter fears Florida vote trouble
BBC News

Voting arrangements in Florida do not meet "basic international requirements" and could undermine the US election, former US President Jimmy Carter says.

He said a repeat of the irregularities of the much-disputed 2000 election - which gave President George W Bush the narrowest of wins - "seems likely".

Mr Carter, a veteran observer of polls worldwide, also accused Florida's top election official of "bias".

"With reforms unlikely at this late stage of the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious process in Florida."

Posted by David on Tuesday, September 28 @ 01:38:16 CDT (27 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

DoD Caves on Block Voting Site
DoD Announces Broader Access to FVAP Web Site
DoD Press Release

In response to concerns from citizens residing overseas, the Department of Defense announced today that access to the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website at has been modified to further increase the number of internet service providers able to access the site.

“The department has taken prompt action to address the concerns of some U.S. citizens overseas regarding the protective measures on DoD networks that were limiting some internet access,” said Charles S. Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. “It is always a challenge to balance access with the required security on department of defense systems.”

DoD Web protection measures are necessary in order to protect the DoD network. While the changes will make the FVAP website accessible to most users, it does not automatically guarantee 100% access to the site. There are many networks that make up the Internet, and some of these networks may employ independent protection mechanisms that prevent communication with the system.

Translation: We may do this again and blame it on someone else.

In the International Herald Tribune, a the DoD claimed that the problem was the result of "an Internet security block imposed several years ago [that] had been left in place inadvertently." This is pure BS, since no one had problems getting to the site until quite recently.

Was the DoD trying to disenfranchise voters for political reasons? Probably not, but the because the Pentagon is pathologically unable to tell the truth about anything they do, they have no one to blame but themselves for claims of partisan actions.

Posted by David on Thursday, September 23 @ 16:26:22 CDT (98 reads)
(comments? | Score: 1)

Shadow of Things to Come
Election snafu has N.O. clerk on defensive
New Orleans Times-Picayune

Reeling from criticism after Saturday's electoral snafu, New Orleans' top elections official Monday said her office did the best it could under the circumstances and instead blamed others for delayed delivery of voting machines to 90 of the city's 442 precincts. .

Clerk of Criminal Court Kimberly Williamson Butler put responsibility for the mix-up on Hurricane Ivan, Secretary of State Fox McKeithen and a moving company.

She also suggested that a group of truck drivers who failed to return to work after leaving for a break during the wee hours Saturday may have been bribed by someone trying to sabotage the election. Butler offered no evidence to back up the theory and later downplayed it, but said all angles should be considered.

Remember that one of the "proofs" that pro-BBV forces offer that the machines can't be tampered with is the "stringent" physical security. Here we have 90 machines go on a joy ride for nine hours.

McKeithen and state Attorney General Charles Foti guaranteed as much, announcing at a joint news conference that their probe examining the debacle should be complete by the end of next week.

"We are not going to have this problem in the November elections," McKeithen said. "I can promise you that."

Care to bet on it?

Posted by David on Thursday, September 23 @ 15:52:57 CDT (69 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

International Election Observers Arrive in Georgia
International election observers have been in Georgia since last Saturday investigating the state of Georgia's elections. They held an open forum on Monday evening which was wonderful. No one spoke in favor of electronic voting and everyone spoke wonderfully of their fears about these machines. Heather Grey (WRFG radio) and Tom Baxter (AJC) moderated and speakers included Laughlin McDonald of the Georgia ACLU, Senator Harp, Hugh Esco of the Georgia Green Party and many activists and citizens. We filled the room and the entire 2 hours.

The observers went to KSU today to visit the Election Center there, and at our request, asked them about voting machines (14-19) which were stolen in a burglary in June 2002. Our worst fears were confirmed that these machines have been in the wild since then, GEMS servers, Touchscreens and Optical Scanners. They were stolen from a Ramada Inn in Macon, Georgia after the system was set up for poll manager training.

KSU's response was that "they were probably kids who threw the machines in the river when they found out what they were."

Sadly, our officials never made an attempt to LOCATE the machines and make no effort to determine if they are being used in a basement somewhere to subvert our elections. I didn't get the impression they dragged the river, either

The dangers of a GEMS tabulating unit sitting in a basement somewhere, undetected and undetectable to the "legitimate" election system, cannot be stressed enough. However, our elections officials have never even reported them missing to the state agency responsible for recovering them.

Roxanne Jekot

Posted by David on Thursday, September 23 @ 15:15:28 CDT (108 reads)
(comments? | Score: 5)

NOW He Comes to His Senses
Take two ballots and call us Nov. 3: A Barnes aide comes down with an expensive case of buyer's remorse Atlanta Journal

Howard Mead was strolling through the state Capitol the other day. He had an appointment with a photographer — part of his revived campaign for a seat on the state Court of Appeals. We still don't know when the new election ordered up by the state Supreme Court will be held.

When he's not campaigning or earning a paycheck, Mead often spends time passing on news articles that question the wisdom of electronic voting.

It is strange, because Mead was legal adviser to Gov. Roy Barnes, who in 2002 approved and budgeted the $54 million needed to buy the touch-screen machines, at the request of Secretary of State Cathy Cox.

Mead has a darn simple explanation for the contradiction. "We were wrong," he said. Mead now thinks the state should have held out for a system with a paper-ballot back-up. We're sure Cox will be glad to hear the news.

How many politicians will be repeating this come November?

Posted by David on Thursday, September 23 @ 15:06:32 CDT (65 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

More Warnings on Voting and E-Voting: Broad Vulnerability
Experts Convened by AAAS Call for Voter-System Research and Reform, Warning of Broad Vulnerability
AAAS Workshop

A panel of top experts on election technology and administration warned Tuesday that the American system of voting is broadly vulnerable to error and abuse, and called for a crash-course of study and reform to make results more reliable and to promote better access by voters, especially those who have historically encountered serious impediments to exercising their right to vote.

While pointing out that problems can arise with any form of casting votes, panelists noted that new touch-screen computer technology has come under recent sustained attack because most such systems leave no paper trail to verify the final count. Last year, computer scientists at Rice University and Johns Hopkins University reported significant security flaws in Diebold Inc.'s AccuVote-TS electronic voting system. Just last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the use of similar Diebold machines, which do not print out ballots as they are cast.

"What can go wrong? Everything," lamented AAAS panelist Susan Inman, director of elections for the Pulaski County Election Commission in Little Rock, Ark. "If the method of voting is made too complex for a poll worker to manage, it can create more problems than are solved." Panelist George Gilbert, director of elections for the Guilford County Board of Elections in North Carolina, put it more tersely: "The system is a Rubik's Cube inside a maze."

Interesting. Mr. Gilbert runs my local election board.

This is, of course, what we have been saying for some time, but few are listening.

Posted by David on Tuesday, September 21 @ 23:07:50 CDT (319 reads)
(comments? | Score: 2.14)

Why Your Election Official Supports BBV
On the Voting Machine Makers' Tab
New York Times

As doubts have grown about the reliability of electronic voting, some of its loudest defenders have been state and local election officials. Many of those same officials have financial ties to voting machine companies. While they may sincerely think that electronic voting machines are so trustworthy that there is no need for a paper record of votes, their views have to be regarded with suspicion until their conflicts are addressed.

Computer scientists, who understand the technology better than anyone else, have been outspoken about the perils of electronic voting. Good government groups, like Common Cause, are increasingly mobilizing grass-roots opposition. And state governments in a growing number of states, including California and Ohio, have pushed through much-needed laws that require electronic voting machines to produce paper records.

But these groups have faced intense opposition from election officials. At a hearing this spring, officials from Georgia, California and Texas dismissed concerns about electronic voting, and argued that voter-verifiable paper trails, which voters can check to ensure their vote was correctly recorded, are impractical.

What election officials do not mention, however, are the close ties they have to the voting machine industry. A disturbing number end up working for voting machine companies. When Bill Jones left office as California's secretary of state in 2003, he quickly became a consultant to Sequoia Voting Systems. His assistant secretary of state took a full-time job there. Former secretaries of state from Florida and Georgia have signed on as lobbyists for Election Systems and Software and Diebold Election Systems. The list goes on.

And on, and on...

Even while in office, many election officials are happy to accept voting machine companies' largess. The Election Center takes money from Diebold and other machine companies, though it will not say how much. At the center's national conference last month, the companies underwrote meals and a dinner cruise.

Here's why your local election officials think BBV is great, the industry is sending them on cruises. there is a word to describe this type of thing and that word is BRIBERY

Posted by David on Tuesday, September 21 @ 21:03:33 CDT (115 reads)
(comments? | Score: 3)

North Carolinians Flocking to Paper
Voter ranks booming
Raleigh News & Observer

Rosemary Blizzard, voter registration director for the State Board of Elections, said her staff is amazed at the number of requests for absentee ballots and registration forms. They have received more than 100,000 new registrations since the primary in July.

"We here in our office are processing hundreds, if not thousands, of registrations every day," she said.

There are many reasons. The 2000 presidential election was the closest in history, causing many people to conclude that their vote does matter, analysts say. Since then, voters have become more polarized on major issues, and that tends to drive them to the polls.

Common Cause North Carolina and the N.C. Coalition for Verified Voting, for example, are urging people to vote by absentee ballot because it creates a paper record. They worry that the touch-screen systems that some counties use only create an electronic record that could be lost or manipulated.


Posted by David on Tuesday, September 21 @ 17:11:35 CDT (101 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

Trouble for Overseas Voters
Pentagon Restricts Overseas Voters
AP Wire

Americans abroad, whose votes could be crucial if the Nov. 2 presidential election proves close, are being denied access to a U.S. Department of Defense Web site designed to make it easier for them to cast absentee ballots.

The problem concerns blocks placed on access to the Web site of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, a Defense Department division to help expatriate American voters, including servicemen and women. The site's address is

In an e-mail, a site Web manager, Susan Leader, said access is being refused to some Internet service providers that were used by hackers to attack U.S. government sites.

And the fact that you have poor security for your server is the voter's fault, how?

"It has the potential to disenfranchise anyone who does not live next to a U.S. Embassy," Rierson said in a telephone interview. But he also noted that the Democratic Party has set up the site, where even people using blocked ISPs can still register.

Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke confirmed that some ISPs which have been used to launch attacks are barred access to military .mil and .gov sites. But she said the blocks were not related to the election nor designed to silence Democrat voting abroad — as some of them suspect.

"It would stop the Republicans, too, right? It's both sides. We're not just letting a certain party through," Krenke said.

The Pentagon has no business stopping ANYONE from voting!

Posted by David on Tuesday, September 21 @ 17:07:06 CDT (108 reads)
(comments? | Score: 0)

Book Order

ISBN 1-929462-45-X
Now available at cost! Order Now

Free on-line edition

Introduction (PDF)
Chapter 1 (PDF)
Chapter 2 (PDF)
Chapter 3 (PDF)
Chapter 4 (PDF)
Chapter 5 (PDF)
Chapter 6 (PDF)
Chapter 7 (PDF)
Chapter 8 (PDF)
Chapter 9 (PDF)
Chapter 10 (PDF)
Chapter 11 (PDF) Chapter 12 (PDF)
Chapter 13 (PDF)
Chapter 14 (PDF)
Chapter 15 (PDF)
Chapter 16 (PDF)
Footnotes (PDF)
Appendix A (PDF)


CONTACT: Bev Harris
Office: 425.228.7131
E-mail: [email protected]
Location: Renton, WA
Time Zone: PST

PLEASE NOTE: Bev Harris no longer considers herself affiliated with me, Plan Nine Publishing, or this web site. Her web site is:

CONTACT: David Allen
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Fax: 336.454.8028
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Location: High Point, NC
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