Saturday, July 26, 2003

If you thought Florida elections were bad.....

Here's some excerpts from some articles about a very serious problem that every conscious American should be aware of....

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The U.S. presidential election is still more than a year away, but it is already headed for a scandal even worse than what voters got in 2000.

For some in Maryland, the report yesterday by Johns Hopkins University computer security experts that electronic voting machines could easily be hacked into set off alarm bells. But for others, including the state officials who recently signed a $55.6 million agreement to put the units in every voting precinct by March, the report is one more example of "technological hysteria."

"The study should be setting off alarm bells," said Del. William A. Bronrott (D-Montgomery). "We need to be 100 percent sure that there is no chance that our machines can be tampered with."

An electronic voting system the Hamilton County Board of Elections is considering as a replacement to punch-card ballots is susceptible to fraud, computer security experts warned in a study released Thursday.

The Johns Hopkins University study found "significant security flaws" with the system designed by Diebold Election Systems. The study said the system was vulnerable to unscrupulous voters and to "insiders such as poll workers, software developers and even janitors," who could cast multiple votes without a trace.

University researchers delivered a serious blow to the current crop of electronic voting systems in an analysis of one such system's source code in which they concluded that a voter could cast unlimited ballots without detection.

Using an earlier version of the source code that powers machines manufactured by Diebold Election Systems, the security experts--three from Johns Hopkins University and a colleague from Rice University--performed an audit and found numerous security holes.

"Our analysis shows that this voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards applicable in other contexts," said the researchers in a paper published Wednesday on the Internet, concluding that "as a society, we must carefully consider the risks inherent in electronic voting, as it places our very democracy at risk."

"How to Rig an Election in the United States" By C.D. Sludge

"It is a recorded fact that every system of balloting established in America has been gamed and rigged. I.E. America's political practitioners have a very long history of ballot rigging and vote tampering. ... In more recent history investigative Journalist Greg Palast has documented in detail Katherine Harris's use of electronic data matching technologies to disenfranchise thousands of Florida voters in advance of the 2000 Presidential election. We highly recommend readers purchase a copy of "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" by Greg Palast to read much more about this."

"Bald-Faced Lies About Black Box Voting Machines" and "The Truth About the Rob-Georgia File" By Bev Harris, the Author of the soon to be published book "Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering In The 21st Century"

Dan Gilmor of the San Jose Mercury News has summarized the situation in some of his recent blogs dated July 23rd and July 20th.

Until I read his columns, I had no idea that Southern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization I normally support, actually sued to force counties using old, punch-card technology to update to the newer unproven technology.

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Here's what We Have To Do:

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat, has introduced Bill # HR 2239, also known as the " Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 ." This legislation would require a paper trail in DRE voting for the 2004 elections. We need to contact our elected officials A.S.A.P. to let them know that we absolutely have to pass this bill!

If you live in California, you need to contact the top voting official, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, and urge him to require a verifiable paper audit trail for all such systems. He's soliciting public comments on a recent task force report on electronic voting machines, and the overall issue, until Aug. 1. You can snail-mail comments to Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, attn: Touch Screen Report, 1500 11th St., Sacramento, CA 95814. E-mail comments to or send a fax to (916) 653-9675.

Please do NOT put this matter off!

For more information on this matter, go to these links:

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E.P. Saturday, July 26, 2003