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 (www.opednews.com), 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


The ongoing fight in North Carolina

Board will reconsider new voting machines

Elections panel wanted optical-scan over touch-screen system
By Michael Hewlett
Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Forsyth County Board of Elections will reconsider Thursday its recommendation that the county buy voting machines that scan paper ballots to replace the current punch-card system at the request of Forsyth County commissioners.

And commissioners will decide whether to accept the board’s recommendation later that day.

Last week, Kathie Chastain Cooper, the county’s director of elections, was visibly angered when the board of elections recommended optical-scan machines from Elections Systems & Software Co.

She had favored the touch-screen machines from Diebold Election Systems, a company mired in controversy over the reliability and security of its equipment.

Two law firms representing investors have sued Diebold for misleading them about its voting machines, and chief executive Walden W. O’Dell resigned abruptly last week. He had been criticized for sending a fundraising letter in 2003 in which he said that he would guarantee Ohio for President Bush.

Chastain Cooper said she likes the Diebold Accuvote touch-screen system because it has a tamper-proof paper trail that lets voters see where their votes have been marked, and the machines are not as heavy as the touch-screen machines offered by Elections Systems & Software Co.

Chastain Cooper also said that the optical-scan machines require large and bulky paper ballots, which would require more storage space. She said that more precinct workers would have to be hired, and that recounts would be harder to do than on touch-screen machines.

Critics in Forsyth County and across the country have argued that electronic-voting machines have security flaws that could enable someone to hack into the system and manipulate election results.

Read more.

A must-read review of a must-read book

if I do say so myself…

A Government Hijacked

Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)

By Mark Crispin Miller
Reviewed by William E. Betz

There is no joy in this book. It documents in excruciating detail overwhelming evidence of the broad-ranging election fraud that took place in the United States in connection with the 2004 national election. Unfortunately, the reaction of the typical na•ve American to the fact that the election was stolen by the right-wing Republicans who are currently in power in this country has been an insistent disbelief. The indisputable facts have been either roundly disputed or assiduously ignored by the mainstream print and broadcast media, and the proponents of this ugliest of truths have been relegated to the status of tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists.

The subject of this book is self-marginalizing. It utterly destroys the reflexive “It can’t happen here” response of those of us who refuse to believe that it HAS happened here. I say “those of us” because acknowledgement of the basic premise of the book is the most revolutionary of thoughts for anyone who has learned to believe in the sanctity of our electoral system, and the basic premise is extremely painful to admit in spite of the overwhelming proof: Our government has been hijacked by undemocratic forces that manipulated election results to reinstall the Bush administration, an illegitimate administration initially installed by a Supreme Court decision that invalidated the results of the 2000 election, an administration dedicated to world domination and the destruction of American democracy, the U.S. Constitution and the individual rights that made this country the envy of striving people throughout the world.

Read more.

Bucks County patriots lead the way

Bucks voting coalition grows in numbers, influence
Municipalities, Dems join call for machines with paper record.
By Hal Marcovitz
Of The Morning Call

Six months ago, the Bucks County Coalition for Voting Integrity amounted to little more than a few names and phone numbers scribbled on a note pad kept by Mary Ann Gould, the Richboro woman who founded the group.

Today, the coalition has a mailing list of more than 1,000, an attorney, a legal defense fund and a major political party backing its mission, which is to persuade the county commissioners to buy voting machines that preserve paper records of each vote cast in an election.

Read more.