For Release Monday, June 19, 2006


The California Election Protection Network (CEPN), a nonpartisan coalition of more than 25 election integrity organizations throughout California, is calling for a full hand count of all ballots and paper audit trails from San Diego County’s June 6 primary election. CEPN has posted a Voters’ Resolution of No Confidence on its website citing violations of California and federal election regulations, and describing the vote counting process as “secret,” without means for verification by voters, elections officials, or the newsmedia.

“There is no proof of this election’s legitimacy,” said CEPN member Jim Soper. “Despite a mountain of proof that these machines are easily hackable, Secretary of State McPherson certified the system claiming a set of handling procedures would keep the machines safe. Now we learn that machines were unsecured in pollworkers’ homes before the election, rendering those procedures useless.”

In February, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson released a security report he had commissioned of Diebold touch screen (DRE) and optical scan voting machines. The report authored by University of California computer scientists concluded that the machines should never be left in the presence of fewer than two people, because one person alone could implant malicious code that could alter vote-counting functions without leaving any detectable evidence.

In San Diego County–as well as other California counties using Diebold machines–poll workers were allowed to take the machines for “sleepover” storage in their homes for days prior to the election. The state report, “Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuBasic Interpreter,” also said the machines could not be used unless the secret “interpreter code” was removed or the law changed to allow it. Neither was done. This same report confirmed several previously reported vulnerabilities in the Diebold systems, and announced the finding of 16 additional previously undisclosed security risks.

Despite these clear threats to election security, McPherson certified the machines for use in California elections.

“These elections were conducted under illegal conditions. The results could very well have been compromised, and we can have no confidence in the reported results,” said CEPN member, Dan Ashby.

Soper, a software engineer, added, “The public needs to understand that no amount of testing will ever detect hidden computer code that can be secretly activated on election day. Nobody, and no machine, should be counting our votes in secret.”

“Not only that, but the voters’ ballots are being treated as a side-issue,” said Ashby. “Even before all the votes were counted, Secretary McPherson declared Brian Bilbray the winner of the 50th District Congressional run-off election. On that basis–not the actual vote count–Republican members of Congress staged a swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol. They did this while tens of thousands of absentee and provisional ballots remained uncounted.”

CEPN is calling upon San Diego County Registrar Mikel Haas and Secretary McPherson to invalidate all reported results until the outcome of each race can be verified through a hand count of all legally cast votes. Calling it a “Free-Count” rather than a recount, the CEPN citizen watchdogs insist that this manual counting of the ballots be conducted without charge to the voting public.

“The San Diego election department’s violation of legal election procedure invalidated the original machine count,” said Ashby. “It is the San Diego registrar’s obligation to conduct a proper election, not bill the people to pay for his blunder.”

With historical undertones, the CEPN Voters’ Resolution of No Confidence draws from the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which says the “just Power” of the government comes from he “Consent of the Governed.”

“Under these illegal election conditions, the Consent of the Governed is being assumed, not sought,” said Resolution author Dave Berman, a CEPN member from Humboldt County’s Voter Confidence Committee. Quoting from the Resolution, Berman continued, “We, The People, DO NOT CONSENT to transferring power and authority to candidates claiming victory in this illegitimate election. We will do everything within our Constitutional and Human Rights to protect and preserve possession of this power that is inalienably Ours to be given but never taken away.”

The CEPN notes that its position is in solidarity with the No Confidence stance taken by the Progressive Democrats of America, Tribune Media Services columnist Bob Koehler, and the election integrity organization, which is circulating an online petition calling for a hand count of the San Diego ballots.

The CEPN Voters’ Resolution of No Confidence can be read at:

The Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuBasic Interpreter can be read at:

The Velvet Revolution online petition can be read and signed at:

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