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Arizona: Election Fraud – Chicago? Florida? Ohio? Not this time
New from States - Arizona
By John Gideon, Information Manager, and VoteTrustUSA   
October 28, 2005
How about Maricopa County, Arizona, the fourth most populous county in the United States? Yes, sunny, laid back Arizona. It seems that the results of the September 7, 2004 Republican primary have Republicans challenging Republicans in the state legislature and in the media. Also emerging are reports that county jail inmates were being used to handle ballots in exchange for early release.
In an article in the Phoenix New Times, reporter John Dougherty tells a tale of seeming election fraud, a quid pro quo offer, new votes that appear like magic, failure by an assistant county attorney to serve a subpoena, political pressure, and one hell of a mess.
Why Elections Are Not About Politics
New from VoteTrustBlog - Warren Stewart
By Warren Stewart, Director of Legislative Issues and Policy, VoteTrustUSA   
October 27, 2005
It has been suggested that the recent report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform represented a compromise, or more precisely, a trade-off, between issues that meant most to the Republicans (Voter ID) and those that meant most to the Democrats (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail or VVPAT). The trade may never have been explicit, but could have just emerged from the fault lines on the panel as they struggled to reach a unanimous agreement. Needless to say, I have no way of knowing about the internal politics of the Commission, but I strongly object to the glib assumption of a political polarity between Voter ID and VVPAT.

In fact, elections are not about politics. I know that sounds absurd but hear me out. Elections are an idea - an old idea by now, but an idea that somehow always seems innovative. Let’s collectively decide what should happen and agree that we’ll all have an equal part in making those decisions. We’ll all indicate our opinions - let’s call them votes - and we’ll all accept the results.
Tennessee: Choosing Trustworthy and Reliable Voting Systems
New from States - Tennessee
By Robert Tuke, Chairman, Tennessee Democratic Party   
October 26, 2005
Editor's note - This letter was sent recently to Democratic Representatives on County Election Commissions.

You are in the process of making decisions that are vitally important to the safety, security and trustworthiness of our voting process in Tennessee. I know you want to be sure that our future elections here in Tennessee will remain free from the problems that have occurred too often with non-verifiable, insecure and expensive electronic voting systems in several states.

For the past several years, the problems with direct record electronic (DRE) voting systems have been well documented. These expensive voting systems have encountered multiple problems that, through accident or by design, have impacted the conduct of elections in several states around the country. These voting machines have been studied by computer scientists at many universities, and these researchers have recommended against using these machines because they frequently malfunction and their secret operating software can be easily tampered with without detection by election officials.
North Dakota and Nebraska Quietly Stay All Paper
New from States - North Dakota
By Warren Stewart, Director of Legislative Issues and Policy   
October 25, 2005
With little public notice, both North Dakota and Nebraska have decided to join the swelling ranks of states that have passed on paperless Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting machines and opted instead for optical scan systems that utilize ballot-marking devices to comply with requirements for disabled accessibility.

Wyoming, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, Montana, and several other states have also chosen to meet the HAVA disability access requirements through the use of ballot marking devices rather than paperless electronic machines. This calls into questions the claims by election officials in New Mexico, New York, California, and other states that ballot-marking devices are somehow not HAVA compliant.
"A Crazy Way to Run An Election"
New from Vendors - Diebold
By Susan Pynchon, Executive Director, Florida Fair Elections Coalition   
October 24, 2005
Performance of the Diebold “Blended” or “Dual” System: Preliminary Report  
Two members of Florida Fair Elections Coalition (FFEC), Kitty Garber and I, traveled to Flagler County in September to support Flagler’s lone voter activist, Deborah Susswein, in observing the closing of the municipal primary election held for the city of Palm Coast on September 13, 2005.  Deborah and I stayed at the elections office while Kitty observed the poll closing at one polling place and then joined us at the elections office.
We believe this election was the first time the Diebold “blended” or “dual” voting system was used in an election in Florida.  “Blended system” is the term used by Diebold and the state of Florida to refer to a dual voting system that combines optical scanners and Diebold TSX touch-screens in each polling place.  One touch-screen is placed with the op-scan(s) in each precinct for the stated purpose of serving disabled voters who cannot mark a paper ballot.

New Mexico: Did You Erase Your Own Vote?
New from States - New Mexico
By Warren Stewart, Director of Legislative Issues and Policy, VoteTrustUSA   
October 22, 2005
In 2004, New Mexico once again led the nation in Presidential undervote rate. Undervotes are ballots cast without a vote for President, and New Mexico had 21, 084 of them – 2.78% of the total ballots cast last November or one out of every 36 voters. New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron seems surprisingly untroubled by undervotes, commenting after the election that she doesn't "spend a lot of time on undervote issues, I'm just speculating that some voters are just not concerned with the presidential race." [1]

I never found this very convincing. However, recent testimony from the head of Automated Election Services (AES), the company that provides election services to most of the counties in New Mexico, may offer a more persuasive explanation.
New GAO Report Confirms Serious Security Problems with Electronic Voting Systems
New from Vendors - General Topics
By VoteTrustUSA   
October 21, 2005
"[C]oncerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes."

A newly released report on the security and accuracy of electronic voting systems, issued by the Government Accountability Office, confirms the seriousness of problems reported by members of the Election Integrity Community since 2002. 

Voting System Vulnerabilities Confirmed by the GAO include:

•Cast ballots, ballot definition files, memory cards, and audit logs could be modified.
•Supervisor functions were protected with weak or easily guessed passwords, and memory cards that allowed individuals access to voting machines were inadequately protected.
•Systems had easily picked locks and power switches that were exposed and unprotected.
•Voting machine vendors had weak security practices, including the failure to conduct background checks on programmers and system developers, and the failure to establish clear chain of custody procedures for handling software.

California: Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors Chooses Promises Over Evidence
New from States - California
By John Gideon, Information Manager, and VoteTrustUSA   
October 19, 2005
santacruzUpdated: October 20, 2005. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to allow the County Clerk, Gail Pellerin, to enter into contract negotiations with Sequoia Voting Systems, a recently purchased subsidiary of Smartmatic, Inc. which is a Florida-registered, Venezuelan-owned, company. Pellerin recommended a blended system using Sequoia optical scanners and one Sequoia Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting system with voter-verified paper audit trail in each polling place.

The 94-page report Pellerin presented to the Board contains 69 pages of information supplied by citizen opponents of the purchase, including documented failures of Sequoia DRE systems in past elections, analyses showing the higher operating cost of DREs, and testimony by disabled individuals explaining the difficulties they had using Sequoia voting machines. Read the report here.

DREs vs. Op Scans: New Florida Study Compares Actual Costs of Election Administration
New from Vendors - General Topics
Contributed by Dr. Rosemarie Myerson   
October 10, 2005
A new study, by Dr. Rosemarie Myerson and Richard Myerson, of the real cost of DRE and optical scan voting systems in all Florida Counties, reveals that buying touchscreens will increase a county’s annual expenditures by 57.3%. Owning optical scanners should increase their expected annual costs 16.9%. Optical scanners have the further advantage of providing a voter verified paper ballot that can be used to audit the machine’s data and for any needed independent recount. To match this auditing advantage of optical scanners, the present touch screen systems would require the county to purchase and maintain a large number of printers, an additional set of costs that would significantly increase the county’s annual expenses.

Voting Systems User Warning: Hart InterCivic Ballot Now
New from Vendors - Hart Intercivic
By John Gideon, Information Manager, and VoteTrustUSA   
October 10, 2005
Voting System: Hart InterCivic Ballot Now optical scan system, using Kodak i800 Series Scanner

Problems Found by Election Officials: During a hand recount of ballots counted in Yakima County, Washington, it was discovered that 24 properly marked ballots had been counted as undervotes and had not been tallied. An investigation was carried out by Hart InterCivic employees who looked at the ballot images. The examination revealed that 24 ballot images contained a white vertical line spanning the entire length of the ballot. The line ran through the left portion of all option boxes in the 4th column of each ballot.
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