Bill Bored's Journal
Report on New York's Dominion / Smartmatic / Sequoia / Diebold Voting System -- from the Philippines
IT Experts Praise Citizens’ Election Monitoring, Call for Filing of Cases vs. Comelec, Smartmatic
Published on June 30, 2010
BY ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-TIM have been bragging that the May 10 was a success and was peaceful and orderly.
But for the Computer Professionals Union (CPU) it was frustrating.
Based on their monitoring, the top five problems that occurred during the elections were: malfunctioned machines, delay in voting, the machines failed to boot, missing election equipment and disenfranchisement. According to them, these reports can be used to push for reforms in the election system as well as evidence in taking legal actions against the Comelec and Smartmatic.
There is a big gap between the law and the way the automated election system was implemented, a study by the De La Salle University’s College of Computer Studies revealed. The study further said that the Comelec disregarded transparency and participation which are essential elements of a credible election.
“The whole election process was outsourced by the government, was the P11 billion ($ 237,375,917) investment worth it?” asked Prof. Allan Bora of DLSU College of Computer Studies.
Bora said the investment is not worth it when there is no way to check if there is massive cheating that happened during the elections. Other equipment such as UV lamps and secrecy folders were not also used during the elections. “The automated election system was a cash cow,” Bora said.
Optical scan voting machines not welcomed by all Mid-Hudson counties
By ARIEL ZANGLA
THE FEDERAL Help America Vote Act of 2002 required, in part, that all states update their voting systems in order to enable individuals with disabilities to vote independently and privately.
In response, New York adopted the Election Reform and Modernization Act of 2005 as a way to implement the federal measure. Now, Nassau County has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s act. The suit claims the state act violates the New York Constitution by introducing voting machines that are inaccurate and subject to tampering.
“The crux of the lawsuit is that (the act) violates the state’s Constitution and it does so vis-à-vis the introduction of machines that are inaccurate, subject to tampering and which don’t count votes in a fashion that is consistent with the mandates of New York state law,” said Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli. “So, therefore, the use of these machines can and will result in the disenfranchisement of New York state voters.”
“The Help America Vote Act does not mandate a switch to computerized voting machines,” said Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner.
(H)e will introduce a resolution in the county Legislature, urging it to allow the county Board of Elections to join Nassau’s lawsuit, which he said could be done at no cost to taxpayers.
VIRGINIA Martin, the Democratic commissioner of elections in Columbia County, said she and her Republican counterpart support Nassau’s litigation because it challenges the constitutionality of the state’s act.
“We find the Election Reform and Modernization Act unconstitutional because it requires election commissioners, which are constitutional officers, to verify to the accuracy of election results even though we don’t know how those results were compiled,” Martin said.
Martin also said computers can be hacked, there could be an error in the programming, the calibration of the machine could be off and the computer cannot interpret the intent of the voter. She said there is no such ambiguity with lever-action machines and they are secure.
If Nassau County’s litigation is successful, Martin said, all counties in the state could be allowed to continue using the old machines.
Show up for this one folks, if you want to stop Bush v. Gore-style elections in NY!
From Marc Crispin Miller's blog: Let NY keep its lever machines! PRESS CONFERENCE on 10/28!
October 24, 2009
Keep Lever Voting Machines!
Supporters Needed to Attend
on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009
12:45 – 1:30 PM Promptly
City Councilmember Helen Foster is introducing a new Resolution
to Keep Our Lever Voting Machines!
Lever voting machines, supplemented by our accessible ballot marking devices (”BMDs”) for voters with disabilities, are the ONLY AFFORDABLE and MOST SECURE equipment for our future elections.
New York needs to pay attention to our national and statewide economic crisis NOW, and stop all plans to replace our affordable, secure equipment with expensive new equipment that we cannot handle securely!
How to get to City Hall in Manhattan by subway:
N or R to City Hall
4, 5 or 6 to Brooklyn Bridge
J, M, or Z to Chambers Street
2 or 3 to Park Place
This issue is serious, but we will have a loud, fun press conference! We need to estimate how many will attend. Please RSVP by email, or call Teresa Hommel,
Chair, Task Force on Election Integrity, Community Church of New York
Phone: 212 228-3803
E-mail: tahommel AT earthlink.net
(replace AT with @)
NY Democrats may yet grow spines folks! Watch this cool video and read more about it!:
NYC Never Sleeps! Village Independent Dems Opt Out of Op Scan
Keep-the-Levers Resolution (PDF) passes after informed public debate.
The more you know about lever voting machines, the more you want to stay with them. This experience - that an informed public prefers lever voting over the vagaries of electronic vote scanners - was demonstrated once again on July 9th at a debate at St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery in Manhattan. The event was sponsored by the Village Independent Democrats, a 53-year-old organization established to provide a constant and rigorous examination of local and national issues in the light of independent, liberal Democratic principles. True to their goals of promoting measures designed to serve all the people and to further the interest and participation of all citizens in the civic affairs of their community, the VID presented "The Threat to Voting in New York and What to Do About It" featuring Douglas Kellner, Co-Chair of the New York State Board of Elections, New York University Professor Mark Crispin Miller, renowned author of "Fooled Again: The Real Case for Electoral Reform" and attorney Andi Novick, founder of the Election Transparency Coalition.
The pros and cons of computerized vote counting, paper ballots, and lever machines were discussed in a well-structured format that, while strictly controlled by the moderator, eventually allowed everyone to participate. For perhaps the first time in a public forum, the hard questions about computerized vote counting were asked -- and at least partially answered.
After the forum on July 9th, the Village Independent Democrats joined over twenty counties, several labor unions, the Association of Towns of the State of New York, individual towns, villages, good government organizations and thousands of New Yorkers in passing resolutions in favor of retaining lever voting machines. When the public is given the facts, they make the right decisions.
Uncertified machines do not serve voters
By VIRGINIA MARTIN
First published in print: Thursday, June 25, 2009
A sentence in the June 17 editorial, "Iranians' fight for democracy," sent a chill down my spine.
"...Iran's supreme leader ... has called for a limited recount."
Hold that thought. Something else -- that I literally shudder to connect to the above -- has been nagging at me for some weeks. It is this:
How many candidates running for office this fall know that the votes that will decide their fate will be counted by an uncertified computer program?
And how many of those candidates know that only a small fraction of those votes will be hand counted after the fact to see if that uncertified computer program (which also has not yet proved to be accurate, reliable or tamper-proof) worked as it was intended to and was not hacked into?
"A limited recount."
Across New York, 47 counties with 1.4 million registered voters will participate in a "pilot project" in which uncertified optical-scan voting machines, manufactured and programmed by Sequoia Voting Systems or Election Systems & Software, will count the votes.
And the recounts of these votes?
They'll be limited.
Right now, and the regulations are now being considered, it appears that three percent of all machines will be subjected to a hand recount. Additionally recounted, and fortunately at 100 percent, will be any race in which there is a margin of one percent or less between candidates. (Think about that one. If Candidate A receives 51 percent and Candidate B receives 49 percent, there will be no full recount.)
It's been suggested that any candidate will have the option of going to court to request a full recount. Yet that unfairly puts the onus on the candidate, who risks charges of sour grapes or of running up expenses to add to the taxpayers' tab.
But Columbia County candidates and voters will be far better served. None of our races will require "limited recounts" because none will be counted by an optical scanner. Voters will select candidates using their choice of a lever machine or ballot-marking device.
That's because Commissioner Don Kline and I opted out of the optical-scan pilot project. We, along with the overwhelming majority of our custodians, inspectors, voters and county legislators, hope to continue using this voting system of lever machine with ballot-marking device, which meets all the requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act, well into the future.
Virginia Martin is the Democratic commissioner of the Columbia County Board of Elections.
New York's New Plan for Deploying Optical Scanners Is Dependent on Historically Undependable Vendors and Proper Functioning of Their Historically Defective Equipment
by Ellen Theisen. June 12, 2009
New York has been struggling to comply with federal and state laws that require changes to their voting equipment. The state has encountered many problems with its current vendors – Sequoia/Dominion and Election Systems and Software (ES&S) – and their equipment. Nevertheless, the State Board of Elections' most recent plan is wholly dependent on the performance of those vendors and that equipment.
A little background
The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires every polling place to offer a method of voting that enables people with disabilities to vote privately and independently. A New York State law passed in 2005 requires the replacement of lever machines by September 2007. The law was amended in August 2007 to remove any specific date for the replacement of levers, because no system could be certified in time to meet the original deadline.
New York State regulations require the new equipment to meet 2005 federal voting system standards, but after three years of rigorous state testing, no voting system has been able to pass its certification tests. The delay has been caused by 1) deficiencies in the test labs contracted to test the equipment, and 2) deficiencies in the equipment being tested and its documentation produced by the vendors.
The SBOE plans to complete certification testing for both vendors' scanners by mid-December and then certify them both on December 15, 2009. The proposal states:
"SBOE has urgently and repeatedly stressed to all involved that everything and anything that can be done to move this process forward should be undertaken."
"SBOE is committed to full certification and delivery as indicated in this document and the accompanying documents."
This commitment to certification is highly optimistic, in light of these facts:
During the last three years of testing the Sequoia ImageCast scanner, the labs have found hundreds of problems that had to be corrected, and the SBOE has not yet certified it.
No testing (none) has been done on the ES&S DS200 scanner.
It's difficult to believe that things will go better using uncertified ES&S and Sequoia equipment in the state-wide "pilot program."
In fact, many citizens don’t.
A coalition of election integrity and good government groups have written letters to the SBOE, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the New York State Attorney General urging improvements to the program, such as a reduction in the size of the pilot to no more than 10% of the registered voters in any participating county, contingency plans, and 100% election-night hand counts of every paper ballot tabulated by the uncertified scanners. One such letter points out the obvious: that "failure to make meaningful changes to the pilot will raise serious questions about the results of these elections."
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