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Sci Tech    H1'ed 1/17/10

Brad Friedman Discusses Role of Diebold in Critical MA Special Election Tuesday

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As to the specifics on Tuesday in MA, again, the more that people understand what we're dealing with, and the specific vulnerabilities of the type of voting systems being used (and the private company with a criminal background, LHS Associates, that's involved in servicing the machines), the better. Beyond that, for those in MA, being armed with that knowledge AND showing up at precincts and town counting headquarters to oversee as much of the counting as is possible -- and not much is actually possible when dealing with e-voting -- the better. If they know you're watching, it makes it much more difficult for bad guys to try to get away with things.

And then finally, since I'm often asked, just days before an election "what can we citizens do?!," I'll re-remind that the election reform can't wait until the hours and days before an actual election. It needs to happen, for example, in preparation for the 2010 election cycle, RIGHT NOW. Folks need to contact their elected officials, demand transparency, learn what systems are used and what the vulnerabilities are, and how to best combat them.

I should add -- since I just got a note from someone involved with one of the MA campaigns -- that, when observing at the polls, it's very important to let officials AND THE PUBLIC know about irregularities such as broken seals on optical-scan memory cards, officials and employees touch and accessing those machines and those memory cards during elections. Bring video cameras and still cameras to the polls and document, document, document. You never know what you may end up seeing, that may offer a clue to how a procedure was violated that could affect an election.

It's all about transparency. Always has been. FIGHT like hell for whatever transparency you can get. If you want a government of the people, by the people and for the people, then the PEOPLE, not the private companies and/or the election officials, need to be able to oversee their own elections to ensure self-governance.

Even with the shitty, often-unobservable voting systems we use, there remain many opportunities to oversee the process. USE THEM! And thanks in advance for all the patriotic folks who do exactly that. We could use a few million more of you!

Thanks for talking with me, Brad. And keep up the good work. As you so rightly point out, election integrity and transparency are issues of concern each and every day, not just around election time. For many reasons, we will be sitting on the edge of our seats next Tuesday.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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