Friday, November 05, 2004

Electronic Voting

What about the possibility of election fraud?

If you keep up on your cyberspace scuttlebutt (and, really, why wouldn't you?), you are probably aware that all sorts of stuff is flying all over the blogosphere questioning the validity of the vote counts. Greg Palast is flatly claiming that Kerry won Ohio, and many people are suspicious, and pointing out that there is such a strong difference between the exit polls and the actual vote, and the difference all goes in one direction.

I've stayed out of it and haven't commented because

1)I don't like conspiracy theories.

2) I think if you can't come up with real, hard evidence of such a thing (and although the exit polls are provocative, they aren't hard evidence), there is no sense in it. You won't actually accomplish anything but to look like a nut. Even if you're right.

But you know what's completely unacceptable? All these conspiracy theories are floating around - and it's impossible to prove that they're right, of course. But it's ALSO impossible to prove that they're wrong.

We have a system is some states where there is no backup and where there is no oversight of any kind. There is NOTHING ensuring that the process is accurate and fair. And that's insane. That's not a partisan issue. It's unacceptable, and it isn't the way we have EVER conducted elections of any kind at any time. There has ALWAYS been oversight, and a ton of it. There has ALWAYS been a way to double check. Until now.

And that means that even if the result of THIS election was accurate, the next one WON'T be. Or the one after that. Or the one twenty years from now. You put into place a system like that, and SOMEONE will use it to cheat. If not now, eventually. And there is, or will be, no way to even know that it happened. And that is completely unacceptable.

The issue is so obvious that the only possbile reason for disagreeing would be that you wish to be able to cheat.

Anywho, there is a group called Black Box Voting that is filing a gigantic Freedom of Information Request. Here's their info:

Voting without auditing. (Are we insane?)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON Nov 3 2004 -- Did the voting machines trump exit polls? There’s a way to find out.

Black Box Voting (.ORG) is conducting the largest Freedom of Information action in history. At 8:30 p.m. Election Night, Black Box Voting blanketed the U.S. with the first in a series of public records requests, to obtain internal computer logs and other documents from 3,000 individual counties and townships. Networks called the election before anyone bothered to perform even the most rudimentary audit.

America: We have permission to say No to unaudited voting. It is our right.

Among the first requests sent to counties (with all kinds of voting systems -- optical scan, touch-screen, and punch card) is a formal records request for internal audit logs, polling place results slips, modem transmission logs, and computer trouble slips.

An earlier FOIA is more sensitive, and has not been disclosed here. We will notify you as soon as we can go public with it.

Such a request filed in King County, Washington on Sept. 15, following the primary election six weeks ago, uncovered an internal audit log containing a three-hour deletion on election night; “trouble slips” revealing suspicious modem activity; and profound problems with security, including accidental disclosure of critically sensitive remote access information to poll workers, office personnel, and even, in a shocking blunder, to Black Box Voting activists.

Black Box Voting is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer protection group for elections. You may view the first volley of public records requests here: Freedom of Information requests here

Responses from public officials will be posted in the forum, is organized by state and county, so that any news organization or citizens group has access to the information. Black Box Voting will assist in analysis, by providing expertise in evaluating the records. Watch for the records online; Black Box Voting will be posting the results as they come in. And by the way, these are not free. The more donations we get, the more FOIAs we are empowered to do. Time's a'wasting.

We look forward to seeing you participate in this process. Join us in evaluating the previously undisclosed inside information about how our voting system works.

Play a part in reclaiming transparency. It’s the only way.

More information is at the site.

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