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General News    H3'ed 7/20/08

Hawaii Activists Sue to Protect the Vote

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Lawsuit to stop the transmission of votes over telephone lines
and/or the Internet.

by Bob Babson

We filed a lawsuit on July 14, 2008, asking the Court to order the Hawaii Chief Elections Officer to stop using telephone lines or the internet for transmitting ballot counts and election results for final tabulation until such time as administrative rules can be legally promulgated in accordance with Hawaii Administrative Law, Chapter 91, HRS, and all other laws can also be legally followed.

Hart InterCivic (Hart) of Austin, Texas, has the contract to conduct elections for the State of Hawaii. They write the software and design the hardware and it is top secret. No one can inspect it because it is "proprietary property." They claim the version they are using has been inspected by an independent testing agency (ITA) on the mainland. But we don't know if what they inspected is the same as what is
actually used here in Hawaii. We must blindly trust them to be honest.

Each voting machine at the precincts has a memory card with votes on it. After the polls close on election day, the current procedure is to forward all memory cards to the county count center (8th floor of the Maui County Building for Maui) and hand them to the Hart technician who then "reads" them into the Hart tabulator (a laptop in 2006). The laptop is connected to a telephone line and the vote count files are then supposedly transmitted directly to the State count center using a wide area network (WAN). WAN's use the internet. We believe the transmission method is either by email with files attached or file transfer protocol (FTP).

Not only can outsiders hack into anything on the internet but we believe Hart itself, our election vendor, could actually transmit the files to a bogus remote email address or a remote website where the files could be flipped and immediately transmitted directly onto the State count center. Flipping votes means taking votes from one candidate and giving them to another. Since the total vote count
remains the same, no one would know the difference. On top of all of this, the Office of Elections never manually counts the absentee ballots precinct (aka AB-Mail) because it is "too big."
So there you have it. Hart could easily flip votes in the AB-Mail precinct and no one would ever know. AB-Mail is the biggest precinct in all four counties.

For the above reasons, we believe it is imperative to ban the use of any telephone or internet connections to any voting machines or tabulators used by any election vendor. Instead, the memory cards could easily be flown to the State Capitol and "read" directly into Hart's tabulator there. The polls close at 6 pm and the memory cards could be at the airport by 8 pm and arrive in Honolulu by 9 pm and driven to the State count center in plenty of time to tabulate the results by 11 pm which is the usual release time for the final votes in Hawaii elections. Memory cards from a few outlying precincts in the State might not get to Honolulu until the next day for the final, final vote results. But I believe the people of Hawaii would readily accept this knowing that it has removed the huge risk of flipping votes by flying them to Honolulu.

This lawsuit could have national implications, because most states do transmit their votes over telephone lines and the internet and are therefore vulnerable to the same vote flipping by election vendors as described above. Eighty percent of the votes counted in America are counted by just four election vendors: Hart InterCivic, Election Systems and Software, Diebold and Sequoia. It is hoped that voters and elected officials in all states will move in the direction of demanding and passing laws to ban the use of telephone lines and the internet for all election vendors in all 50 states.

Donations Needed

Our lawyer, Lance Collins, Esq., is representing us pro bono. However, we, the plaintiffs, have agreed to pay all court costs, sheriff fees, copies, postage, etc. If you would like to help support this worthy cause for Democracy (every vote counted accurately), please consider making a small donation, such as $25.00 or $50.00, to our lawyer to help with the court costs. Please make your check out to Lance D. Collins, Esq., and mail it to 2070 W. Vineyard, Suite 5, Wailuku, HI 96793-1618.

Reposted per Mr. Babson's request, lightly edited email.

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In 2004, Rady Ananda joined the growing community of citizen journalists. Initially focused on elections, she investigated the 2004 Ohio election, organizing, training and leading several forays into counties to photograph the 2004 ballots. She officially served at three recounts, including the 2004 recount. She also organized and led the team that audited Franklin County Ohio's 2006 election, proving the number of voter signatures did not match official results. Her work appears in three books.

Her blogs also address religious, gender, sexual and racial equality, as well as environmental issues; and are sprinkled with book and film reviews on various topics. She spent most of her working life as a researcher or investigator for private lawyers, and five years as an editor.

She graduated from The Ohio State University's School of Agriculture in December 2003 with a B.S. in Natural Resources.

All material offered here is the property of Rady Ananda, copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. Permission is granted to repost, with proper attribution including the original link.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Tell the truth anyway.

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