Ernest Canning on bradblog has written a detailed account of all the goings on. Mary Bottari of the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch writes about Walker and his relationships with realtors.
Looking back at Walker almost a year ago, on February 23, 2011, here is the story by Jason Linkins about the prank phone call when Walker thinks he is talking with David Koch. Here is the transcript of the call. The questions remain:
- What is Walker's relationship with the Koch Brothers?
- Who is Walker taking orders from?
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), founded by the Koch Brothers, advocates for limited government, free markets and federalism. On its Task and Policy task force web page, ALEC says, "A recent survey of members indicated that tax policy was their top concern. In the most recent legislative session, over 500 bills to lower the tax burden and curb excessive government spending were introduced by ALEC members." ALEC writes boiler plate legislation that states adopt. The questions remain:
- Has Wisconsin adopted, under Scott Walker, any of ALEC's boiler plate legislation?
- And if so, which ones?
Kathy Nickolaus, who in 2002 received immunity in a criminal investigation into illegal activity, is the Waukesha county clerk who was investigated in 2011 for her activities around the Supreme Court election and recount in Wisconsin, but she was not prosecuted. See BRADBLOG and Wisconsin Government Accountability Board GAB. The questions remain:
- What role will Nickolaus play in the Scott Walker recall?
- What role will Nickolaus play in the 2012 General Election?
During 2011, Minnesota-based Command Central first offered to sell EDGE reconditioned touchscreens (with VVPAT, voter-verified paper audit trail) and INSIGHT optical scan machines to municipalities in Wisconsin. No payment was due until January, 2012. Then, when perhaps Command Central did not have enough takers, the company offered to trade two touchscreens for free in exchange for having the municipality returning to Command Central one optical scan machine that they already owned.
Here is a Customer Database from Command Central that lists their electronic voting machines transactions in Wisconsin in 2011. I obtained this database through a request to Ross Hein and Kevin Kennedy of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB). Hein, Campaign Finance and Elections Supervisor at the GAB, sent me the chart. In a phone conversation with him on February 16, 2012, Hein told me that the GAB had requested this information from Command Central. I learned a lot from Hein: The information Command Central sent appears to be incomplete. Very worthy of note and not necessarily obvious in the chart, Hein said that Command Central sold to other municipalities the same INSIGHT optical scan machines that were returned to them by some municipalities in exchange for two free EDGE touchscreens. These machines would be about five to seven years old. The Won Eagle machines are from the nineties. "HMA" after "Won Eagle" stands for hardware maintenance agreement. Imagine the money Command Central will be making from maintaining these old machines. According to John Washburn, electronic voting machines companies make most of their money in maintaining the machines, not in selling them.
Optical scan machines are bad enough. These machines lull people into thinking that because there is a paper trail, the paper ballots can always be counted by hand if something is suspect about the machine count of the election. But with many touchscreens, there is no paper trail at all, and therefore no way ever to count the votes again. And often the paper trail that the touchscreens have is worthless and small and fades.
Wisconsin law statutes require a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) Ã -5.91 (18), "If the device consists of an electronic voting machine, it generates a complete, permanent paper record showing all votes cast by each elector, that is verifiable by the elector, by either visual or nonvisual means as appropriate, before the elector leaves the voting area, and that enables a manual count or recount of each vote cast by the elector." Some questions remain:
- Why and when did Command Central approach Wisconsin?
- Did Command Central also approach other states?
- If so, what other states and when?
- Were the offers the same as those given to Wisconsin municipalities?
- How did they decide which municipalities in Wisconsin to approach?
- When and why did they change from offering touchscreens to sell to offering a free exchange?
- What are the municipalities who paid saying about their neighbors who paid nothing?
- Are there connections between the burning issue of a huge open-pit iron mine on the shores of Lake Superior and the electronic voting machines offers of Command Central? As the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians and other Wisconsin activists protest the proposed mine, police take Sam Morris of the Bad River Band out of the Capitol for drumming. Here is a press release by the Bad River Band about the International Ecological Treasure that would be destroyed by the proposed mine. Barbara With reports on the hearing about mining bill AB 426 on February 18, 2012. With's report includes the video by Nicole Desautels Schulte of geologist Jason Huberty and geochemist Joseph Skulan testifying. A press release linked at the bottom of the report helped me understand the scientific evidence presented.
- Are there connections between the municipalities that accepted for free or bought Command Central offer and the iron mines?
- Is there no connection to the iron mines issue of those municipalities that refused the offer?
- Why did some of the municipalities refuse the deal?
More questions, these from attorney Jim Mueller of Wisconsin Citizens for Election Protection, a Facebook group you can join.
- What are the specific municipalities Command Central contracts with?
- Who are the principals of Command Central and what are their political, financial and criminal backgrounds?
- Who are the programmers and what are their political, financial and criminal backgrounds?
- Where did Command Central get the machines? From some state banning them out?
- How can Command Central give two machines in exchange for one twenty-year-old machine?
- What is their fee structure for programming, supplying and maintaining the machines?
- What operating instructions do they give to election officials?
- Who owns the owner of Command Central?
Bottom line, who is Command Central? In private Facebook communications and on the telephone in February 2012, in response to questions I had asked him, John Washburn told me that Command Central has been in Wisconsin for 20 years and is the exclusive distributor for Dominion Voting Systems in Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Michigan. The question remains:
- Is there a connection between the offers of Command Central and the desire to rig the upcoming Scott Walker recall and also the 2012 General Election?
Electronic voting machines and the rigged elections coming from them are pushing this country not only to the right, but to the ultra right. I do not believe the people of the USA, the 99%, are ultra right. Since the passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) - a well thought out and planned strategy to steal our elections - most jurisdictions/municipalities across the country use electronic voting machines for voting. Verified Voting periodically publishes a fantastically helpful listing of all election equipment used in jurisdictions in the USA; see Election Equipment 2010.
Whether Direct Recording Electronic (DRE)/touchscreens or optical scans, all electronic voting machines can be, and have been, hacked. Many states are still using touchscreen that do not even have a paper trail. Paper ballots, as used with optical scan electronic voting machines, of themselves are not enough. Paper ballots are not very valuable unless they are hand-counted in publicly observed secure elections. How many recounts have their been? And how many changed the result of the election?
There have been only two notable hand-recounts. The first was the hand-recount in Washington state in 2004, which overturned the machine election results and gave Christine Gregoire the governor's seat. The second was the hand-recount in Minnesota in 2008, when the electronic voting machines count was overturned and Al Franken won the Senate seat in the hand-recount. Several years ago, in a telephone conversation with voting rights activist Paul Lehto,he stated that in both cases the recounts were for Democratic candidates and both states had a sympathetic Democratic governor who supported the recount.
The words "paper ballots" obfuscate the issue to the uninitiated. The solution to the fraud and error associated with all the electronic voting machines, is elections counted and decided by publicly observed, secure hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB). With that kind of HCPB elections, we have the fairest and most transparent opportunity to know that our votes are counted as cast. See Center for Hand-Counted Paper Ballots for extensive readings about hacking and the solution.