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General News    H3'ed 11/6/12

Fitrakis-Wasserman Announce Filing of Restraining Order at D.C. Press Conference

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Under one roof, a galaxy of Progressive heroes assembled at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Monday, November 5, including Harvey Wasserman, famed environmental and election integrity activist; Clint Curtis, the lionized early whistleblower who outed illegal manipulation of e-voting systems in Florida in 2000; and Jill Stein, presidential nominee of the Green Party.

     Also sharing the podium were EI experts Sara Mansky, of No More Stolen Elections and Laurie Grace, director of the Institute for Electoral and Democratic Integrity.

     Attorney, activist, and author Bob Fitrakis participated via a cellphone placed next to a microphone--he had to remain in Columbus to push forward an injunction against the secretary of state of Ohio, Jon Husted, at the U.S. district court in southern Ohio. #2:12CV1015, a temporary restraining order, was filed today by Fitrakis to be tried as an emergency hearing. Judge Greg Frost has already been assigned to the case. The crucial and extremely time-sensitive brief requires SoS Husted to remove the untested and uncertified "experimental" software put in place by Ohio's BOE in twenty-four of the Buckeye State's eighty-eight counties, including the cities of Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.

     The FBI has also been alerted and asked to investigate the situation.

     Litigants allege that the software, or patches, was added at the   "experimental" level secretly, at the last minute, to get around the requirement that all such additions must be tested and certified prior to being used in upcoming elections. But such actions are legal only when conducted in only a few precincts in each county, according Fitrakis, and illegal at the state and federal levels. Moreover, the structure of the additions is eerily reminiscent of the "man in the middle" venue by which many claim that the 2004 election was stolen, in Ohio and other battleground states.

     The software is said to update programming already installed in twenty-five counties, all of whom use ES&S systems, at the level of the central tabulator, a location far more critical to the voting process than a single voting machine or a precinct-level central tabulator. It is said to eliminate the need for keypunchers to input data into the system. Instead, the data are directed to a thumb drive whose contents are sent to the office of SoS Husted. Use of the new software is not directly involved in tabulation and therefore does not require certification, according to internal memos.

     But, in the mind of this digitally challenged writer and many others, lots can happen within this intermediary said to make the transfer process more efficient.

     According to Fitrakis's latest report to OEN: "This uncertified and untested software could easily malfunction and corrupt votes on the central tabulation machines, thus destroying any electronic record of the actual votes by citizens. This "experimental' software, as outlined in the contract, has no security protocols."

     And why, in the name of all the deities in control of the election process, is experimental equipment being auditioned for the first time in a historically crucial presidential election? Why not first at the dogcatcher level??? No offense intended.

     More than four million voters, or around 80 percent of Buckeye State voters will be affected, according to information leaked from the office of the SoS. The "3C" cities, where the majority of the Buckeye State's population is concentrated, are all involved: Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.

     "People need to draw a line in the sand," said Fitrakis, "to demand that it [the software] be taken off of the machinery."

     Had the issue surfaced sooner, I am sure that results may have been different, a   reality that didn't seem to have occurred to the judge nor influenced his decision

*****

Later in the day: Fitrakis reported that the judge ruled against him but will keep an open mind about holding another hearing if the evidence warrants it. Let's hope that that scenario is unnecessary. Weird that the software paid for by the SoS can be obtained online for free. Weird.

     Almost as weird as payment of as much as $8,000 for a DRE and then finding it for sale a year later at thirty-some dollars (see my just-published GGPP for some relevant anecdotes.)

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for Opednews.com since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)
 

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