Diebold AccuVote touch-screen voting machine: No voters required.
Looks like Diebold going to win again 2008
This is a very important news post, with national implications because -- with YOUR help: you must send five specific e-mails -- today's miscarriage of democracy will give you the first good shot at subpoena-induced sworn testimony from voting machine makers and testing labs. Vendors and voting machine examiners: Enjoy the reprieve that McPherson just handed you, because the American citizenry -- with the help of some California senators -- is about to make sure it stops right now.
Citizens: Instructions are provided in this article.
Contact list: Email, Fax, Call -- Senate rules committee to issue subpoenas:
Senator Don Perata (Chair) - may want to call him as well as email. California citizens, use the form at his site to send messages also.
(916) 651-4009 mailto:Senator.Perata@sen.ca.gov
Senator Jim Battin (Vice-Chair)
Senator Roy Ashburn
Senator Debra Bowen
(916) 651-4028 (Prefers email: email@example.comYes, call her too so she can log the support calls, it's important since it allows her to back her position from the grassroots.)
Senator Gilbert Cedillo
Call and, California citizens - use the form at his site to send your message as well.
Red flag: Meet bull
THE RED FLAG: Today California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson certified Diebold's entire product line, including the TSx touchscreen machine with its "toilet paper roll" paper trail -- you know, the design that removes the privacy of your vote. He also approved the Diebold optical scan system, knowing it can be hacked, and he approved the Diebold GEMS system, knowing it can be hacked, and all accessories and accompaniments.
The system was approved despite 100 percent public opposition and despite not having the ITA report back. (Welcome to Black Box America.)
YOU'RE THE BULL: It's time for you and everyone you know to send emails for subpoenas!
We are seeing a pattern of obfuscation and cover-up. YOUR help will be needed to get to the bottom of it all.
The Feb. 16 California Senate Elections Committee hearing on certification was hit with no-shows by ALL FOUR major vendors (Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Hart Intercivic).
Representatives from Wyle and Ciber testing labs declined to appear. Both the technical staff and the PR flaks for the California Secretary of State's office blew off the Senate Elections Committee.
The Secretary of State's office is now "legally late" on a series of public records requests made by California Elections Committee Chairperson Debra Bowen.
This lack of response to a California Senate hearing is a potential disaster in the making. With no election insiders willing to answer questions, the vendors as a whole (and Diebold in particular) along with the now-infamously inadequate test labs start looking like they're coated with non-stick Teflon.
It's not nice to blow off democracy, and we are asking you, the taxpayer, to refuse to allow testers and vendors to thumb their noses at the California Senate. It's your tax dollars that are paying for this equipment, which you have asked NOT to be purchased at all.
That Senate hearing on 16th could end up doing more harm than good, because if subpoenas don't happen, it tells American citizens that they are impotent and that laws, federal regulations and standards don't matter. That is, unless you and your friends send five very important emails to gouge that Teflon.
This is your best shot to drag the right people to the questioning table, kicking and screaming if necessary.
Complicating things: the head of the Senate Elections Committee (Debra Bowen) has to get permission from the California Senate Rules Committee to have subpoenas issued.
Fortunately there are good people at Rules. Of their five members, the chair (Sen. Don Perata-D) has a good record in electronic voting issues and Sen. Cedillo-D also has a decent grasp of these issues. Sen. Bowen is the 3rd Democrat on Rules and we know where she stands. The two Republicans (Sen. Jim Battin (Vice-Chair) and Sen. Roy Ashburn) are approachable on this issue too. Only three of these Senators are needed to invoke port subpoenas (or letters containing promises of subpoenas upon failure to appear).
YOUR EMAILS ARE NEEDED to Rules Committee members
Urge support for subpoenas of election industry and certification insiders who didn't testify on the 16th.
Black Box Voting Inc. seldom puts out calls for grassroots pressure, as we feel this powerful tool can be diluted with over-use. But now is the time.
How to deliver your message
Be quick, be polite, be professional. Here's your message: ask for "Rules Committee support for subpoenas of election industry and certification insiders who won't otherwise inform the Elections Committee as to what's going on".
This is about volume of emails logged.
Therefore, not only should YOU send emails, but this needs to go out to your list.
Why this certification is a red flag
California does NOT have the Wyle Labs ITA report back on the memory card and interpreted code. McPherson sent the code back to the labs after issues were triggered by Black Box Voting in a June 20, 2005 "19202 request".
To recap, Wyle should never have approved the use of interpreted code OR "electronic ballot box" memory cards that can be pre-stuffed with negative and positive votes, especially when you can use Diebold's funky private "AccuBasic" code to fake the zero report that's supposed to catch such manipulations.
Black Box Voting asked the Secretary of State's office to review this issue, per California Election Code 19202. Shortly before Thanksgiving, the Calif. Sec. State's office formally requested Black Box Voting to do a review but under contrived and ridiculous test conditions written by Diebold.
This turkey shoot led to a bit of squabble. The Secretary of State's office buck-passed the situation to Wyle, and Wyle still hasn't responded.
Not surprising: If Wyle says interpreted code is OK, they've violated the FEC 2002 published standards yet again. If Wyle says it's a problem, any reasonable person will ask "how did you approve it in the first place!?"
This is a classic Catch-22 which Wyle appears to be unable to resolve.
Members of the Voting Systems Technology Assessment Advisory Board (VSTAAB) two UC Berkeley researchers tested the code for Secretary of State McPherson and blasted the system. It is stunning that McPherson is still certifying the system, which is clearly out of compliance with FEC standards.
Because Black Box Voting made the 19202 request we believe we have every right to that data, especially since Election Code 19202 requires the Secretary of State's office to "report on it's accuracy and efficiency."
The public commentary in California on this system is running 100 percent against certification. The federal testing authority appears to be dumbstruck. With your help, Black Box Voting WILL get to the bottom of this if it takes a backhoe and bulldozer to do it.
California Sec. State staff reports late AGAIN
A hearing on 3/1/06 at the Secretary of State's office will take public commentary on a slew of new or revised voting machines from ES&S, Sequoia, Hart and Populex. The agenda and other information has been posted here:
What's significant by its absence is the legally required staff reports on these machines to allow the public to give informed testimony. The California SecState's office has consistently promised to make these available a month ahead of time (again, as required) but as of today they're a no-show:
This agency doesn't appear to care much about informed commentary.
Item three: What? No regulations YET!?
This one is important, folks. Almost a year ago the activist community in California discovered something important in California Election Code 19205:
19205. The Secretary of State shall establish the specifications for and the regulations governing voting machines, voting devices, vote tabulating devices, and any software used for each, including the programs and procedures for vote tabulating and testing. The criteria for establishing the specifications and regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) The machine or device and its software shall be suitable for the purpose for which it is intended.
(cool.gif The system shall preserve the secrecy of the ballot.
© The system shall be safe from fraud or manipulation.
"Regulations" has very specific meaning in California: it means the agency in question has to write a set of rules, submit them for public comment and hold meetings with public input on them.
Without regulations the agency can make up the rules as they go along, which in times past (admittedly prior to the McPherson administration) we’ve seen as they play favorites in fairly obvious fashion, with the treatment of Avante voting systems as opposed to major vendors with more political clout being classic across 2003 and 2004.
Worse, at present the Secretary of State's office blocks all questions from the public during the "public commentary" meetings. We can't question their certification staff or the vendors. This is a travesty which we could fight in a proper regulatory wrangling process but the McPherson administration has ignored this vital reform for the nearly a year they’ve known about the legal requirement.
They've ignored the law on this for nearly a year, folks. ALL future certifications appear to be illegal on their face until this is fixed.
Conclusions: We’re seeing a horrifying pattern of obfuscation and illegality wrapped together and supporting each other. We have reason to think that the California Rules and Elections committees acting together can shed light on this series of backroom dealings and we're asking YOUR help in making it happen.
Any one of these items viewed individually would be bad news.
Together? Well folks, WE better hang together on this. If democracy as a transparent and lawful concept cannot be restored in California, the rest of the nation will go with it and our Republic is doomed.
This ain’t a drill folks. Grab a phone, start dialing. Polite, professional, short clear message, FIRM is what works.
The Secretary of State's office has released the Berkeley report on the Diebold product line:
This document borders on the bizarre. We find the following quotes of particular interest:
Harri Hursti's attack does work: Mr. Hursti's attack on the AV-OS is definitely real. He was indeed able to change the election results by doing nothing more than modifying the contents of a memory card. He needed no passwords, no cryptographic keys, and no access to any other part of the voting system, including the GEMS election management server.
Interpreted code is contrary to standards: Interpreted code in general is prohibited by the 2002 FEC Voluntary Voting System Standards, and also by the successor standard, the EAC's Voluntary Voting System Guidelines due to take effect in two years. In order for the Diebold software architecture to be in compliance, it would appear that either the AccuBasic language and interpreter have to be removed, or the standard will have to be changed.
California can only run software certified by the Federal ITA process, by state law. The "Berkeley team" is saying flat-out that such certification was NOT done correctly, therefore the entire Diebold product line is illegal under state law.
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