Monday, October 23, 2006

No Wonder Bush isn't Worried ....

(Click on Pic for Larger View)

I have been harping on the subject of secure elections for so long my vocal cords are worn out. The question is, why is this not one of the top priorities of both parties?

Believe it or not, after all of the problems in the last two elections, Florida has passed a law preventing manual recounts -- you heard that right. And they are busy assembling lists of voters who will be turned away on polling day without any ability to prove their right to cast a vote. Just like last time. And the time before that.

Talk about broken government....

ABC News reports:

Electronic Voting Machines Could Skew Elections

Researchers, Candidates Have Little Confidence in Machines Designed to Make Elections Easier to Call

Cheryl Kagan, a former Maryland Democratic legislator, was shocked when she opened her mail Wednesday morning.

Inside, she discovered three computer discs. With them was an anonymous letter saying the discs contained the secret source code for vote-counting that could be used to alter the votes cast through Maryland's new electronic voting machines.

"My understanding is that with these disks a malicious person could skew the outcome of an election," Kagan said.

Diebold, the company that makes the voting machines, told ABC News, "These discs do not alter the security of the Diebold touch-screen system in any way," because election workers can set their own passwords.

But ABC News has obtained an independent report commissioned by the state of Maryland and conducted by Science Applications International Corporation revealing that the original Diebold factory passwords are still being used on many voting machines.
It gets worse. Read the whole story.

Related Articles (More reasons Bush isn't worried):

  • Lyn Davis Lear: Why is the White House so Eerily Confident about the Coming Elections? (The Huffington Post)

  • Richard Wolf: Report skeptical of fraud at polls (USA Today)
    At a time when many states are instituting new requirements for voter registration and identification, a preliminary report to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has found little evidence of the type of polling-place fraud those measures seek to stop.
  • OMB Watch - 2004 Voting Problems Remain
    As the November election gets closer and closer, attention continues to focus on the problems surrounding the voting process along with various speculations about how this mid-term election will pan out. However, there is reason for such awareness. The Century Foundation, Common Cause and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights have published "Voting in 2006: Have We Solved the Problems of 2004?" This report is a follow up to their report on the voting problems found on Election Day in 2004. Unfortunately, their study found that since 2004, not enough has changed. In some areas new voting procedures actually discourage voter participation and voter registration has even become harder in some states.

    Also related is an interesting article at, "Blocking the 2006 Vote".

    (Posted by Amanda Adams)
  • And the Winner Is ... Me - New York Times
    "Voters in Ohio can be forgiven if they feel they have been beamed out of the Midwest and dropped into a third-world autocracy. The latest news from the state's governor's race is that the Republican nominee, Kenneth Blackwell, who is also the Ohio secretary of state, could rule that his opponent is ineligible to run because of a technicality. We'd like to think that his office would not ultimately do that, or that if it did, such a ruling would not be allowed to stand. But the mere fact that an elected official and political candidate has the authority to toss his opponent out of a race is further evidence of a serious flaw in our democracy.

    Ted Strickland, the Democratic nominee, is leading Mr. Blackwell by as much as 28 points, according to one recent poll. In their panic, some Blackwell supporters have hit on the idea of trying to prevent the election from occurring."
  • Note Warns Calif. Hispanics on Voting
    "SANTA ANA, Calif. - The state attorney general's office is investigating a letter received by some Southern California Hispanics that says it is a crime for immigrants to vote and tells them they could be jailed or deported if they go to the polls next month....

    The letter, written in Spanish, tells recipients: "You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time."

    The truth is that immigrants who become naturalized citizens can legally register to vote...."
  • Florida Dems attack election day notices
    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --Florida Democrats asked a state court Friday to block Election Day notices at polling places that would inform voters in Rep. Mark Foley's district that his GOP replacement on the ballot will receive his votes.

    Foley had been a shoo-in for re-election before he resigned from Congress on Sept. 29 after being confronted with sexually explicit instant messages he wrote to male Congressional pages.
    Foley's name is still on the ballot, though, and election supervisors want voters to know that votes for Foley will be given to state Rep. Joe Negron instead.

    Democrats say that would be electioneering, which is illegal under state law.
  • NY Times: Has Bush v. Gore Become the Case That Must Not Be Named?
    At a law school Supreme Court conference that I attended last fall, there was a panel on “The Rehnquist Court.” No one mentioned Bush v. Gore, the most historic case of William Rehnquist’s time as chief justice, and during the Q. and A. no one asked about it. When I asked a prominent law professor about this strange omission, he told me he had been invited to participate in another Rehnquist retrospective, and was told in advance that Bush v. Gore would not be discussed.

    The ruling that stopped the Florida recount and handed the presidency to George W. Bush is disappearing down the legal world’s version of the memory hole, the slot where, in George Orwell’s “1984,” government workers disposed of politically inconvenient records. The Supreme Court has not cited it once since it was decided, and when Justice Antonin Scalia, who loves to hold forth on court precedents, was asked about it at a forum earlier this year, he snapped, “Come on, get over it.”....
  • Ohio Voting Problems Deemed Severe
    Problems with elections in Ohio's most populous county are so severe that it's unlikely they can be completely fixed by November, or even by the 2008 presidential election, a report commissioned by Cuyahoga County ... says.
  • Evan Frisch and Arianna Siegel | What Would Real Election Integrity Mean?
    The "Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006" (H.R. 4844) passed by the House of Representatives last week challenges us to think about the meaning of the words "election integrity," just as it would challenge citizens who wish to exercise the right to vote. The act would impose increasing burdens, which by 2010, would require all voters to provide proof of citizenship in order to apply for a state-issued voter ID. Only a birth certificate, a passport, or a certificate of naturalization would be acceptable proof, documents that a great many Americans do not possess. As we examine the hurdles that this legislation would impose, particularly upon Americans who have already faced unfair barriers to voting, let us also set forth a positive vision of what real election integrity would mean. The chasm between this vision and the House bill reveals much about the values that divide progressives from conservatives....
  • The Nation: Election Dysfunction
    "The Sunday Washington Post headline said it all. Echoing a theme that is finally being picked up by print and broadcast media that for too long has neglected the dramatic problems with this country's systems for casting and counting votes, the newspaper's front page announced: 'Major Problems At Polls Feared: Some Officials Say Voting Law Changes And New Technology Will Cause Trouble.'"....
  • Suit: Ban Computer Voting By Ann Imse
    Voting on computer screens is so vulnerable to massive fraud that Colorado's November election is "headed for a train wreck," says an attorney who is seeking to have the equipment barred at trial next week. An expert would need just two minutes to reprogram and distort votes on a Diebold, one of four brands of computerized voting systems attacked in the suit, says attorney Paul Hultin.
  • NY TimesSelect: In Search of Accurate Vote Totals
    "It's hard to believe that nearly six years after the disasters of Florida in 2000, states still haven't mastered the art of counting votes accurately. Yet there are growing signs that the country is moving into another presidential election cycle in disarray.

    The most troubling evidence comes from Ohio, a key swing state, whose electoral votes decided the 2004 presidential election. A recent government report details enormous flaws in the election system in Ohio's biggest county, problems that may not be fixable before the 2008 election....

    Some of these problems may be explored further in a federal lawsuit challenging Ohio's administration of its 2004 election. Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who has been criticized for many decisions he made on election matters that year, recently agreed to help preserve the 2004 paper ballots for review in the lawsuit.

    Ohio is not the only state that may be headed for trouble in 2008. New York's Legislature was shamefully slow in passing the law needed to start adopting new voting machines statewide. Now localities are just starting to evaluate voting machine companies as they scramble to put machines in place in time for the 2007 election. (Because of a federal lawsuit, New York has to make the switch a year early.) Much can go wrong when new voting machines are used. There has to be extensive testing, and education of poll workers and voters. New York's timetable needlessly risks an Election Day disaster.

    Cuyahoga County deserves credit for commissioning an investigation that raised uncomfortable but important questions. Its report should be a wake-up call to states and counties nationwide. Every jurisdiction in the country that runs elections should question itself just as rigorously, and start fixing any problems without delay."
  • Mother Jones: Just Try Voting Here: 11 of America's worst places to cast a ballot (or try)
    We used to think the voting system was something like the traffic laws - a set of rules clear to everyone, enforced everywhere, with penalties for transgressions; we used to think, in other words, that we had a national election system. As it turns out, except for a rudimentary federal framework, US elections are shaped by a dizzying mélange of inconsistently enforced laws, conflicting court rulings, local traditions, various technology choices, and partisan trickery. Mother Jones provides a list - partial, but emblematic - of American democracy's more glaring weak spots....
  • Daily Kos: VA-Sen: George F. Allen vs. James H. "Jim" . . . ?

  • Taylor Marsh: VOTING: James Webb Gets Screwed | The Huffington Post

  • Some Voting Machines Chop Off Candidates' Names -

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