ES&S machines screwed up in California!

On Election Day last month! So Diebold’s not the only one….

UNCOVERED: CA Sec. of State Threatened Decertification for ES&S After Failures in Recent Election!
Letter from SoS to Voting Machine Co. Warns of Numerous Problems Discovered on Touch-Screen, Optical Scan Machines!
State Senator Outraged, Comments to BRAD BLOG, Calls for Full Release of Information by State!…And Releases Statement on Related Matters…

Holy cow…perhaps this explains why California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson suddenly started turning inexplicably back to Diebold some time around mid-November of this year after having decertified them already back in 2004, and then finding them to have failed massively in a recent mock election test over the summer.

AP’s Juliet Williams reports today on a letter written by McPherson’s office to voting machine vendor, Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) after the recent Special Election here on Nov. 8th. The letter documents a number of very serious problems discovered on ES&S voting equipment during the election. Apparently the SoS threatened ES&S with decertification in the bargain, similar to the one Diebold faced in the state back in 2004 under the previous Sec. of State Kevin Shelley.

Documented (and video-taped!) problems include touch-screen votes being registering for different candidates, software incorrectly reporting total turnout figures, and touch-screen display problems “making it impossible” for voters to correctly confirm their choices!

State Senator Debra Bowen comments to BRAD BLOG wondering why we’ve “been in the dark” about problems with ES&S for five weeks (while CA has been in the final process of selecting new voting equipement!), and she calls on McPherson to release all related information on the matter immediately…

Read more.

Make impeachment happen!



Since we told you Tuesday night about Congressman Conyers’ new bills to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their war lies, 26,000 people have visited the action alert page, and 17,000 have Emailed their Congress Members. You can add to those numbers here.

Already there are seven cosponsors of a bill to create an investigation and make recommendations on impeachment, four cosponsors on a bill to censure Bush, and five cosponsors on a bill to censure Cheney.

This work, combined with our polling on impeachment, and the news that Bush authorized illegal spying on Americans, has pushed impeachment into the media.

For many months the media wouldn’t cover and Congress wouldn’t talk about the public’s demand for impeachment of Bush and Cheney because the pollsters wouldn’t poll on it, and the pollsters wouldn’t poll on it because it wasn’t in the media and wasn’t in Congress. Remember Gallup’s excuse for not polling?

The week before Christmas, things changed. Look at the spike in instances of the I word in recent media punditry.

And Congress Members and Senators are talking about impeachment. Rep. John Lewis says he favors it. Rep. John Conyers has introduced a bill to create an investigation into grounds for it, and seven other Congress Members have immediately signed on. Senator Barbara Boxer announced that she is asking legal scholars for advice on it. Senator Kerry said there are grounds for impeachment; then he flip-flopped — but it wouldn’t be Kerry without that.

Read more.

While our ports went unprotected

Wiretaps said to sift all overseas contacts
Vast US effort seen on eavesdropping
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | December 23, 2005

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency, in carrying out President Bush’s order to intercept the international phone calls and e-mails of Americans suspected of links to Al Qaeda, has probably been using computers to monitor all other Americans’ international communications as well, according to specialists familiar with the workings of the NSA.

The Bush administration and the NSA have declined to provide details about the program the president authorized in 2001, but specialists said the agency serves as a vast data collection and sorting operation. It captures reams of data from satellites, fiberoptic lines, and Internet switching stations, and then uses a computer to check for names, numbers, and words that have been identified as suspicious.

”The whole idea of the NSA is intercepting huge streams of communications, taking in 2 million pieces of communications an hour,” said James Bamford, the author of two books on the NSA, who was the first to reveal the inner workings of the secret agency.

”They have a capacity to listen to every overseas phone call,” said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which has obtained documents about the NSA using Freedom of Information Act requests.

Read more.

A call for articles

From Joan Brunwasser:

I began my new job as voting integrity editor for Op Ed News this week. I say ‘job’ but that’s making a bigger deal out of it than it is. I’m helping Op Ed News with stories on the voting integrity front. Apparently, there’s a bit of wiggle room and I can also submit articles of interest (by others, as well as myself).

I am particularly interested in two things: if you read articles that discuss issues of the day in a cogent fashion, whether they’re specifically on voting issues or not, please forward them to me. I may be able to get some additional coverage for them.

Also, I’m looking for good news: new bits, stories, anecdotes, whatever. If you visit the Op Ed News website, which I hope you will (, you will see the one that was sent to me today (Folded Napkin). It seems to me that people who take what is going on now seriously are deluged with bad news. It gets very
overwhelming and discouraging. But, amidst all the bad news, there are also moments of joy and wonder that are worth sharing. So, please do!

According to Rob Kall, of Op Ed News, the website gets between 250,000 and 350,000 visitors each month is one of 4,500 official Google news websites (no easy feat). Articles get a LOT of exposure there. I’m also looking for original articles (never published anywhere) which Op Ed News will print with an exclusive for 48-72 hours. From there, they can be picked up by various other websites, as we have seen with the three articles on “Invisible Ballots”. They reached numerous other outlets including Brad Blog, the Smirking Chimp, Dissident Voice, True Blue Liberal, Voters Unite, the Velvet Revolution, and more.

So, all of you out there: keep your eyes peeled and send me what you find. I’m not promising anything, but if the article meets Rob’s criteria, I will do my best to get it printed. Short and upbeat articles are particularly welcome!

Best wishes,
Joan Brunwasser, Voting Integrity Editor for Op Ed News

St. Louis County to Diebold: "Get lost!"

Amidst Intense Last-Minute Drama, St. Louis County Rejects Diebold!
Citizen Activists, Increasing Concerns about Diebold Security, Company Integrity Said to Have Been Key to Decision!
ALSO: FOIA Requests Filed About Closed-Door Hearings, Concerns Emerge About ES&S, the Company Chosen Instead of Diebold, and a Diebold Lobbyist Reportedly Inquires About BRAD BLOG…And FAMILY!!!

Add St. Louis County to the growing list of Elections Boards around the country who have now rejected Diebold, Inc. voting machines in the last-minute scramble to select new election hardware prior to the Jan. 1, 2006 Help America Vote Act deadline to have such “upgrades” paid for with Federal tax dollars.

The bad news for the once-great, now-disgraced Diebold, Inc. of North Canton, Ohio, comes as the latest blow in a growing string of disappointments for the company which last week saw the resignation of it’s CEO, the filing of several Class Action Securities Fraud lawsuits and the devasting revelation that their voting machines can be easily hacked allowing the results of Diebold elections to be completely reversed.

Read more.

BREAKING: Diebold pulls out of North Carolina!

Sends Letter to State Announcing Intention to Withdraw in Light of State Law
Requirement for Submission of Source Code!
Said to be happy to help state change their law, however!

For those who have followed the recent yet storied history of Diebold in North Carolina, The BRAD BLOG has just received word that there has been yet one more late-breaking twist! We can now confirm that, in fact, Diebold is removing their company for contention for the lucrative election systems contracts in the state in light of a state law which requires Voting Machine Companies to submit their full source-code to the state for inspection. At least for now.

A letter just obtained by The BRAD BLOG (which we will post in full shortly), sent from Diebold to the NC State Board of Elections, confirms that indeed, the company which had previously fought a state law requiring the submission and inspection of their voting equipment’s software source code has decided they’d rather quit than fight, and is withdrawing their bid to contract with the state of NC for the time being, pending their ability to convince NC to change their laws!

Read more.

What's really going down in California

From a reader:

CA’s Rethug SoS is trying to get Diebold machines certified by Feds!!!

He’s basically trying to do an end-run around California’s Election Reform Groups

McPherson’s office, rather than simply decertifying Diebold once and for all in California, has today decided instead to pass the buck back to the so-called Federal “Independent Testing Authority” (ITA). The ITA is a group of several companies chosen and paid for by the voting machine companies such as Diebold themselves, to test their equipment and software on behalf of the Federal Government. Those ITA labs then either certify the software and/or hardware or send it back to the company with the results of the failed tests kept confidential.

State Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach) has been an outspoken critic of McPherson’s process for considering recertification of Diebold and has
otherwise been a watchdog on issues related to the quickly changing Electoral landscape in the Golden State. She released a statement to The BRAD BLOG late this
evening (complete statement posted at end of this article). Bowen is critical of
McPherson’s plan to “punt” the issue back to the Feds and says in her statement:

“The Secretary of State shouldn’t punt the decision about whether Diebold machines should be used to count ballots in California to the federal government and an ‘independent’ testing authority that’s financed by the voting machine vendors. That decision needs to be made in the open, right here in California.”

Here’s an article about the crooked “testing labs” that McPherson wants to leave CA certification up to.

The ITAs are hired by and paid by — the vendors. That is, when a vendor has a voting machine that they want certified, they find an ITA who is willing to certify the voting machine. Any memos about flaws that are discovered remain confidential. There is no requirement to disclose any problems that are found with the machines. In fact, the entire ITA report is considered proprietary information of the voting machine vendor. After all, they paid for it. This provides an incentive for ITAs to certify machines, to satisfy their clients.

Avi Rubin, the writer of this article, commends McPherson “for the dialogue that he opened up” about the ITAs. He must not know our POS SoS very well. Well Mr. Rubin, here is his consistent pattern: say one thing, but do another.

Example: Attend a meeting wherein the unscrupulous practices of these ITAs are exposed, then turn around and hire them.

STOP Hans von Spakovsky NOW!

Call your senators! Raise holy hell!

From Susan G.: This is something so far under the radar that calls to Chuck and Hillary (or Kerry and Kennedy) will probably really be noticed because they will be shocked that anyone bothered. Please call.

Bush to nominate voter suppression specialist to the FEC
by david blue
Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 07:21:48 AM PDT

A big hat tip to Rick Hasen who noticed this White House press release (buried in the Friday night trash). President Bush is going to nominate Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission.


Well, Hans von Spakovsky is a long-time activist in “voting integrity.” Translated, he is a long-time activist in keeping people away from the polls. His ideas led to the notorious purge of Florida’s voting rolls before the 2000 election in which thousands of mostly-eligible, mostly-Democratic, and mostly-minority voters were removed from the voting lists. Von Spakovsky also was a volunteer for Bush in the Florida recount. Want more? It’s all here.

This guy is a disaster. There is no way he should be on the FEC. FEC Commissioners are subject to Senate approval, so write or call your Senator.

Read more.

California nixes Diebold! (For now, anyway)

SoS: ‘Unresolved significant security concerns’, ‘Source Code Never Ever Reviewed’
State ‘Punts’ Issue Back to Feds for Further Testing, State Senator Objects — Complete Letter from SoS, Senator Bowen’s Full Statement…

Late this afternoon, Sec. of State Bruce McPherson’s office sent a letter to Diebold Election Systems, Inc. Vice President David Bryd, informing him that the state is declining — for the time being — to re-certify Diebold AccuVote touch-screen machines in the state of California pending further testing and certification by Federal authorities.

In the letter, on McPherson’s letterhead (complete letter at bottom of article), Caren Daniels-Meade, chief of the Elections Division writes that “Unresolved significant security concerns exist with respect to the memory card used to program and configure” the Accu-Vote operating system and touch-screen equipment.

In a statement reported by AP, SoS spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns announced problems discovered during routine testing…by state employees and independent consultants including discovery of source code that “had never, ever been reviewed”…

Read more.

Sign on to get those legal memos!

From several friends:

Have you heard that George Bush is using the National Security Agency to conduct surveillance on American citizens without the consent of any court?

This is specifically against the law. Bush says political appointees in the Justice Department outlined the legal authority to get around the restrictions in our laws and the Constitution, but those legal memos are classified.

I just added my name to a formal Freedom of Information Act request to see these documents. We need to know if the president broke the law, and where this administration thinks the line of its authority is.

You can sign on to the Freedom of Information Act request here