WHO'LL STOP THE TRAIN (WRECK)?
A New York Story About Irresponsible Voting Vendors, Irresponsible Legislators, Irresponsible Election Commissioners and:
You Choose the Ending (a) the Irresponsible Citizens Who Did Nothing or (b) the Responsible Citizens Who Fought Back
The Legislature is responsible for ensuring that our electoral system is secure, reliable and safe. Our Legislature in New York, knowing nothing, passed the buck, authorizing the State Board of Elections (SBOE) to test the two different types of computers offered by the same few vendors and decide which machines should be made available for the individual county election commissioners to choose for their respective counties. The SBOE Commissioners, with one exception, are not familiar with the studies and reports which reveal that there are no secure, reliable or safe computerized voting systems. They have exhibited no consideration for what is required in a democratic election system and have no idea how computers can be rigged by insiders and outsiders to steal an entire election. And yet our legislators and the SBOE insist we must have these privately owned and controlled computers. The county election commissioners are similarly ignorant. The Governor has inherited this nightmare, but has to date taken no action to protect New Yorkers against the fraud these vendors, with the complicity of our public officials, intend to perpetrate.
Since We the People own this government and since democracy is only as good as the people who care enough to make it work, I thought I'd share this with You The Citizen, in the hope that you would figure out what you might do to preserve our democracy. Please keep in mind that if our electoral system becomes so insecure that you don't know whether your vote has been counted, that is the end of democracy. Unless you can see the process of how a vote is cast and counted, you just don't know how the votes were counted.
You can't see inside computers which we know can be readily manipulated without detection. Touch-screen DREs are impossible to ever verify no matter how many paper trails you attach to the other end of this corrupt machine. Paper Ballot Optical Scanners (PBOSs) are equally corruptible, but if we had laws that required a hand count of a sufficient number of the paper ballots and if we had laws which permitted the citizens to also see the ballot images taken by the optical scanners, at least we could see some of what was happening. Of course we don't need non-transparent computers doing a job we are more than qualified to do, for less money and with far greater security: We could just count the paper ballots ourselves and then we'd be able to observe the entire process from start to finish so we'd know are votes were being accurately counted.
But this piece isn't about the requirements of a democratic electoral system: No one in New York is even thinking about something like that. This piece is about how shoddy and untrustworthy the voting computers are; how irresponsible the voting vendors, politicians and election officials are; and how responsible you need to be while there's still time.
When products are made so unsafe and so defective that they cannot perform the function they are intended to perform (in this case voting machines that are capable of accurately recording and counting votes), those products are supposed to be recalled. Dozen of studies have shown that these voting computers are incapable of providing for a safe and reliable election because aside from a myriad of other problems, anytime a computer scientist (or a competently skilled child) gets her/his hands on one, the machine is hacked in a matter of minutes. Rather than rejecting these error-prone, vulnerable machines New York - the only state in the Union not to have purchased computerized voting systems for its citizens- is planning on doing just that.
What if the government in New York decided to purchase one automobile per family. Let's say it was considering the Ford Pinto, even though it had already been revealed that the Pinto would explode upon impact. And to make this fully analogous to the current situation with computerized voting systems, let's say that dozens of studies had confirmed that the Pinto is too unsafe to drive. If New York State, notwithstanding that evidence, was still going to buy one of these vehicles for your family, what would you do?
Don't let your government buy these unsafe machines for us. The piece below is redrafted from a letter I sent to various members of our NYS government. Please read this and do what you think you should.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must....undergo the fatigue of supporting it." --Thomas Paine.
California's Secretary of State Finds all Computerized Voting Systems Sold by the Vendors Enable The Potential For Theft on a Massive Scale
New York State is about to undergo the most dramatic change to its electoral system in a century. The only options currently being considered by the state are two different computerized systems - touch-screen DREs and paper ballot optical scanners (PBOSs) – both sold by the same handful of vendors. Why is New York still considering these systems when California's Secretary of State has publicly exposed these machines for the snake oil they are?Matt Blaze of the University of Pennsylvania and leader of the Sequoia review team for California's Top to Bottom Electronic Voting Investigation, described these systems as "fatally flawed". The sheer magnitude of the problems as revealed by last month's California's Top to Bottom independent reviews was devastating.1 They corroborate what computer scientists have been trying to tell us: that Americans have been sold a bill of goods and are now voting on computerized systems which are all easy to rig.
The essential safeguards that we all agree are fundamental to any democratic voting system have been removed - obliterated by oblique computerized processes that these vendors try to hide behind. All of the vendors' voting systems were found by California's Secretary of State (SOS) to be seriously vulnerable to attacks that could change the outcome of elections:
the expert reviewers demonstrated that the physical and technological security mechanisms provided by the vendors for each of the voting systems analyzed were inadequate to ensure accuracy and integrity of the election results and of the systems that provide those results.