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Rep. Kucinich tells Voice of the Voters that DREs cannot be trusted

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Message Mary Ann Gould
Congressman Dennis Kucinich tells

Mary Ann Gould that DREs Cannot be Trusted

Dr. Matt Blaze Joins the Ranks of Computer Experts Who Call DREs "fatally flawed"

Both Voice of the Voters Interviews Now Available Online

Contact information:

Mary Ann Gould

Coalition for Voting Integrity

(c) 215.588.8518

On Wednesday night, during a Voice of the Voters interview, Congressman Dennis Kucinich told Mary Ann Gould that, "[t]here is a question of validity of an election. People have to know their vote counts and is counted. People cannot be guaranteed that with the present DRE system."

The other guest on Wednesday's Voice of the Voters was Dr. Matt Blaze. Dr. Blaze, a leader of one of the teams tasked with completing a security review of the electronic voting systems used in California, told Ms. Gould that he has come to the conclusion that DREs are "fatally flawed" and should be replaced.

A transcript of Rep. Kucinich's interview is enclosed below. Audio files of the entire show are available for online listening in two places.

Via Voice of the Voters archives:

and via podcast at this URL

Transcript: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Voice of the Voters, 8/8/07:

DK: Thank you very much. It's great to join you just for a few minutes. I know you have a distinguished guest there who's done a lot of work on these electronic voting machines.

MAG: We'll be talking about that. I'd like to start out with a simple concept: values. The United States was founded on a set of ideas rather than on a common race, ethnicity, religion, or power structure. It's these shared ideas and ideals that built this country and can revitalize it. I'm sure you agree, but I'd like to know: What ideas and ideals do you think are critical to rebuilding and revitalizing America?

DK: First of all, adherence to our Constitution. It starts with all who manage the affairs of this country and are elected to do so to operate with honesty, integrity, and an adherence to the principles that are articulated in the Constitution of the United States. When you have officials who break the law, who use their power to wage war against innocent people, you then have a condition which undermines the democratic tradition. When you have officials who pass laws that attack essential civil liberties, such as the right to free speech and the right to freedom of association, freedom of assembly, then you have a crisis of the Constitution and of democratic governance. I think the Founders set forth the principles very well in the preamble to the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence is a very powerful document about human rights. That's where it starts with this country.

MAG: Our country is based upon the idea that we the people can govern ourselves. I somehow feel that Washington may have forgotten that.

DK: Of course they've forgotten it. The idea of democratic self-governance resonates with Lincoln's prayer of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Those of us who take the responsibility to guide the affairs of our nation have a responsibility that is a very high calling to make sure that democratic governance is not just a concept but a reality. We're losing that today. It's more government of interest groups, government of corporations, government of anything but the people.

MAG: I couldn't agree more. In fact, Abraham Lincoln also said elections belong to the people It is their decision. It seems to me today that it is no longer the people's decision. We just had, and will continue to have on the program, a professor from the University of Pennsylvania, part of the fabulous study that was recently done in California, that showed that the DREs, direct record electronic voting machines, are fundamentally flawed, cannot be fixed. Yet Congress is doing nothing. What can we do about this because lobbyists are fighting it. I have a quote from one Congressman that said, very simply, "Microsoft won."
DK: As you know, I'm in favor of using paper ballots in all federal elections, and I've introduced a bill to that effect. I also understand that the electronic voting has many flaws and that's why I don't think those machines should be used. Period. Because you can hack them, as people have proven, there is a question of the validity of an election. People have to know their vote counts and is counted. People cannot be guaranteed that with the present DRE system.

MAG: What can be done? What we're being told and in fact our professor from Penn had said he would support a ban by Congress of all DREs and if need be use optical scan with much more hand counting of paper ballots. DK: Maybe what we could do-again, I have a bill in to make paper ballots in federal elections mandatory, and states for state elections have the ability to set their own kind of format, but I think that when the federal government moves on this, it'll cause states to come into conformity. There are ways to bring that about. Something occurs to me, and that is, that perhaps the distinguished guest that you have on would be willing to call my office in Washington because there may be a legal basis for a lawsuit here that deals with really denying the right to vote. And I think I'd be very interested in seeing if that research that's been done could be the basis of a lawsuit to try to throw out that technology for use in a federal election. It may be that unless this has already been adjudicated, it may be that this is a faster route to trying to protect the vote than having to wait for Congress to do something. MAG: Our concern is 2008, Congressman. DK: As is mine. MAG: Yes, and the way it looks now, 2000 is going to look like kindergarten in comparison, I fear, unless some actions are taken. If we leave it to the states, they feel that they have already spent a lot of money, they don't want to spend any more and they're convinced that adding printers onto the backs of these DREs will give them some type of security. It was proven in California that this is invalid. Even with the printers, these machines are definitely unfixable. And then we hear constantly that 1. Nobody in Congress will support a ban on DREs. 2. Lobbyists are too strong over the will of the people. 3. States and county governments don't want to make a change because it's going to be too difficult. DK: I can say that I'd like to talk to those who can help me build the evidence to present to raise the issue of banning them outright. That might be our only recourse. MAG: We'll have John Bonifaz, who is with Voter Action and he's a lawyer, Constitutional, and has spoken out on that very subject on this show, and we will have the people from the California study get in touch with you on this. DK: I'd like them to call my Congressional office, it's a public number, it's 202-225-5871. If they give me a call, I'd like to start the discussion and see what we might be able to do. I mean, obviously, as someone who has run in many elections, I understand what happens when people put their heart and soul into an election, whether you are a candidate or supporting a candidate, if you have to worry at the end of it all about whether the election was stolen. I mean, this is the United States of America. We shouldn't have to be worried whether or not an election is legit. Yet here we are in 2007, having had the experience and having these machines used, not being able to prove the outcome, having the outcome in doubt, having thoughts that maybe the election has been rigged. I mean, what are we talking about here? This is central to whether you have a democracy or not. Everybody should be concerned about it. This is an urgent matter. I can tell you that this is one of the topics that comes up most consistently everywhere in the United States. So I want to thank you for raising the level of awareness and I want to thank your guests for their commitment and service. So please contact me in Washington and as the chairman of the subcommittee on domestic policy, I'll have my staff get involved to see what ways and steps we can take to move in the direction that you are suggesting. I'm interested in two different areas: 1. What action we might be able to take with respect to a ban because I just want to check to see how far we can go in terms of commerce because there is a commerce clause of the Constitution, and I want to check and see if this is consistent with the commerce clause and see if there are any states' rights that would be violated here. The other thing is, I want to see if there's any lawsuit that-- MAG: Let me ask you a question: States' rights vs. citizens' rights, which come first? DK: Often they're consistent. State constitutions are often derived from the federal Constitution. I want to make sure that anything that I propose is going to stand up in court. MAG: We will certainly give you whatever support is necessary and you will certainly have our vote if you will lead the way on this particular issue.

DK: I'm ready to do that, and I would ask you to call me. Thank you for the chance to be on here. As one of the few people who actually voted against the certification of the election in 2004 in the Electoral College, I've already shown how I feel about the issue of election integrity and in introducing a bill for paper ballots. I'm there in asking for scrutiny of these DREs. You may remember that I'm the person in Congress who submitted records for the Congressional Record of people who found out about the flaws in the voting machines and they were worried about being sued. I took that information right to the House of Representatives and dared that company to sue me.

MAG: Let me throw out one idea. Our whole government is based and our Founding Fathers based a brilliant idea on the concept of separate and independent checks and balances. If that's good enough for our government, shouldn't it be the same for our election system?

DK: Absolutely. Elections have to be verifiable. There's just no question about it, and when the verifiability of an election is in doubt because of the kind of technology that's being used, this is a threat to our democracy. I'm aware of it. I care about it. I think about it often. Look, I'm running for president of the United States. Don't think for a moment that I'm not concerned, that all of the efforts we make, if I'm on the threshold of being elected, and then I gotta worry about somebody stealing the election on top of it. From a personal standpoint, I don't want to have to worry about it. But from the standpoint of being an American I have a commitment to this country to protect these elections. Thank you and let's continue to talk and work together.

MAG: Thank you very much.

DK: Thank you and good night.

MAG: Good night.


Dr. Blaze's Research Summary and Bio:

Secure Systems and Cryptology

My research focuses on the architecture and design of secure systems based on cryptographic techniques, analysis of secure systems against practical attack models, and on finding new cryptographic primitives and techniques. This work has led directly to several new cryptographic concepts, including: "Remotely-Keyed Encryption," which allows the use of inexpensive, low-bandwidth secure hardware to protect high-bandwidth communication and stored data, "Atomic Proxy Cryptography," which allows re-encryption by untrusted third parties, and "Master-Key Encryption," which provides a systematic way to design (and study) ciphers with built-in "back doors."

I am especially interested in the use of encryption to protect insecure systems such as the Internet. I was a designer of swIPe, a predecessor of the now standard IPSEC protocol for protecting Internet traffic. Another project, CFS, investigated and demonstrated the feasibility of including encryption as file system service.

Recently, I've applied cryptologic techniques to other areas, including the analysis of physical security systems; this work yielded a powerful and practical attack against virtually all commonly used master-keyed mechanical locks.

Trust Management

I coined the term, and am one of the inventors of, Trust Management, which provides the abstract layer in which a system decides whether to allow some potentially dangerous action. This work has led to two trust management languages, KeyNote and PolicyMaker, that provide tools for specifying policy, delegating authority, and controlling access. In addition to providing a useful framework for studying and proving security properties of distributed systems, our tools have been used to build powerful policy control mechanisms into several important applications, including the OpenBSD IPSEC implementation.

Technology and Public Policy

Cryptology and computer security have important relationships to vital areas of public policy, and my work has touched on these in several ways. In 1994, I discovered a serious flaw in the US Government's "Clipper" encryption system, which had been proposed as a mechanism for the public to encrypt their data in a way that would still allow access by law enforcement. I have edited several influential reports on encryption policy, including the 1998 study of "key escrow" systems that demonstrated that such systems are inherently less secure and more expensive than systems without such a feature. This work contributed to the recent shift in U.S. encryption policy. More recently, I have been active in the analysis of the FBI's ''Carnivore'' Internet wiretap system. I have testified before various committees of the US Congress and European Parliament several times, providing technical perspective on the problems surrounding law enforcement and intelligence access to communications traffic and computer data.

Biographical Information


* Princeton University, Ph.D., Computer Science, January 1993. (Thesis: Caching in Large-Scale Distributed File Systems.)
* Princeton University, M.A., Computer Science, June 1989.
* Columbia University, M.S., Computer Science, May 1988.
* City University of New York (Hunter College) B.S., January 1986.

Current Appointments

* University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science.

Home page:



Congressman Dennis Kucinich's Bio

MA, Speech Communications, Case Western Reserve University, 1974
BA, Speech Communications, Case Western Reserve University, 1973.

Professional Experience:

Consultant, Publicly Owned Electric Systems, 1979-present
President, Marketing and Communications Firm, 1985-1995
Teacher, Communications and Political Science, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University, 1991-1994
Professor, Political Science, Case Western Reserve University, 1982-1992
Communications Entrepreneur, Software and Public Relations, 1982-1992
Clerk of Courts, Cleveland Municipal Court, 1976-1977

Political Experience:

Representative, United States House of Representatives, 1997-present
Candidate, President of the United States, 2003-2004
Senator, Ohio State Senate, District 23, 1994-1996
Democratic Candidate, United States House of Representatives, 1972, 1988, 1992
Member, Cleveland City Council, 1970-1975, 1981-1982
Mayor, City of Cleveland, 1977-1979
Independent Candidate, United State's House of Representatives, 1974.


Member, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States
Member, Croatian American Lodge
Member, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees [Cameraman's Union]
Member, Moving Pictures Technicians
Member, National Guard and Reserve Components Organization
Member, Polish National Alliance
Member, Pioneers
Member, Saint Paul's Catholic Church
Member, West Side Irish American Club.

Caucuses/Non-Legislative Committees:

Co-Chair, Baltic Caucus
Children's Task Force
Vice-Chair, Congressional Aerospace Caucus
Chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus
Vice-Chair, Executive Committee,
Congressional Steel Caucus.


Coalition for Voting Integrity
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Mary Ann Gould Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Co-Founder of the Coalition for Voting Integrity. Host of "Voice of the Voters! Radio & Internet. Nationally recognized expert in Quality, Process improvement and Change Management. Associate of the late Dr. W, Edwards Deming. Speaker/seminars at (more...)
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