By Jody Holder
July 4th, 2006
Black Box Voting has declared independence from our reliance upon the election industry to protect the sanctity of our vote. The use of electronic voting with its inherent risks of failure and fraud is like a cancer upon the body politic, attacking the very foundation of our form of government. The election industry has not only ignored the symptoms, it has denied them. By its denial and resulting failure to act, the cancer has spread throughout the country. Since early spring the responsible election officials have known how severe the disease was, and how fast it was spreading. They knew what steps were required to stop it, yet they failed to act. Black Box Voting knows an informed citizenry would demand that this cancer be confronted and excised before another election is held and has chosen to bypass the officials and go direct to the voters.
In March 2006, Bruce Funk, a conscientious and patriotic election official in Emery County, Utah invited Black Box Voting to examine the recently delivered Diebold voting machines. Black Box Voting's team discovered several security hazards so critical they immediately notified both national and local election officials of their existence prior to issuing a formal report. It was urgent that the warning be sounded because these voting machines were being delivered throughout the country and would soon be used in actual elections. Among the recipients of the alert were Diebold Election Systems, the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC), National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), and other governmental agencies.
In May Black Box Voting issued two versions of their formal report: a redacted version for release to the public; and the full report detailing the actual risks to various election officials, including the EAC and NASED. Black Box Voting wanted to provide officials an opportunity to take the necessary steps to protect the voters from the revealed hazards. Despite the warning, the responsible election officials failed to adequately respond.
There have been multiple elections conducted with these machines since then with most of the dangers still intact. Even the most basic mitigation, protecting the voting machine from unauthorized access, was ignored. Further, there were jurisdictions such as San Diego and San Joaquin County in California that sent the machines home with poll workers for days prior to the election.
The election industry as a whole has known that the current system of testing and approving voting systems is broken. This has resulted in voting machines being used that have proven to be defective and so insecure that the voter cannot have confidence that those who govern us were truly put there by the will of the people. This latest report, coupled with the prior Black Box Voting report of the dangers in the memory card used in Diebold's voting systems, was an additional reason for immediate action by the election industry. Their response has been too little and too late.
Now Black Box Voting has chosen to go directly to the voters of the country and inform them of the seriousness of the defects in these machines. It has released the full report detailing the dangers revealed by their examination of the Diebold touch-screen voting machine. The citizens have the right to know the answers to these questions:
1. Why did it take a citizen-led investigation to discover these risks to our vote?
2. Why have election officials not adequately responded?
3. Why should the citizens of this country pay the costs for procedural and stop- gap measures to compensate for defective voting systems that should never have been approved or bought in the first place?
4. Why do so many election officials keep defending these voting systems known to be defective in design and with known risks of fraud and manipulation?
Our representatives and election officials must be accountable for answering those questions, and must immediately take steps to protect our vote. There is a nationwide election in four months when millions of voters will be using these defective machines. We cannot have confidence in the outcome of any election conducted on these machines under the current conditions. Black Box Voting has now revealed to us the insidious nature of this disease that attacks our very right to choose who shall govern us; now we need to demand the immediate removal of this cancer from our nation.
The full report can be found here: http://www.bbvdocs.org/reports/BBVreportIIunredacted.pdf
Additional information and pictures can be found here:
My thanks to www.blackboxvoting,org, Harri Hursti, Security Innovations, and the many grassroots activists and organizations that have stepped forward to fight for our right to choose who shall govern us.
Jody Holder is a voting activist living in California