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Turkey Day leftovers: No thanks for stuffing elections with machines

By Bev Harris, Jim March, Kathleen Wynne  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     (# of views)   1 comment
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Who cooked this turkey?

It's about the size of an elephant, and it took a long time to cook. Preparations began in the 80s when some Texas powerbrokers went on an acquisition spree, converting the elections industry from diverse locally-based mom & pop businesses into a handful of firms peppered with criminal indictments and salted with both Republican and Democrat political connections.

The roasting bag

Elections officials had to be bagged up and propagandized. A privatization advocate, the Council of State Governments, was run by Abe Frank, who became a founding director for The Election Center in 1990. The privately held Election Center undertook the task of organizing and training local elections officials under the guidance of former used computer parts salesman R. Doug Lewis.

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At the same time, vendors flexed their influence in the pay-to-play National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) -- You pay your fees, you get your face time. Secretaries of state are heavily involved in choosing voting systems for their states, and they often aspire to run for governor. Through NASS, they have cozied up to the very people who -- literally -- can make that happen.

The recipe: Ingredient list

- One six-member Federal Election Commission:
The FEC makes the rules for voting machine certification, the so-called "1990" and "2002" FEC standards (which have been removed from the FEC site, but can be found here).

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The FEC left themselves a loophole. They never codified the FEC standards into regulations, so that the force of law cannot be applied to force voting machine makers to comply. The FEC standards are "voluntary guidelines".

- Two testing labs, Huntsville Alabama brand

Test how ripe they are before using: Jam a pocket calculator halfway into a banana, see if they'll certify it as a voting machine for the right money.

Three labs were authorized, but vendors chose to use only the Huntsville brand -- Nichols/PSInet/Metamore/Ciber, a series of companies that repeatedly passed the hot potato to a tester named Shawn Southworth, and handed another portion of the testing to Wyle Labs' Jim Dearman.

These labs were supposed to do source code and functionality reviews, but here's the catch: They are paid by the vendors.

The testing labs are called "ITAs" for "Independent Testing Authorities" but there is nothing independent about them. According to Shawn Southworth, in a taped interview conducted by Black Box Voting, the labs don't like to write anything negative in the reports because the vendors don't like it, and they're paying for it.

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- One Voting Systems Panel from the National Association of State Elections Directors (NASED). This panel approves the voting machines after the ITAs recommend approval. They are supposed to check over the ITA's paperwork, after which they assign a "NASED number" signifying Federal certification.

The NASED panel sometimes issued cert numbers before reading the reports, and has routinely certified systems with "not tested" and "untested" notations on the recommendation forms.

NASED got some operational support via cash donations from the big vendors, and apparently never saw anything odd in the fact that two old ladies and a gun nut from Black Box Voting were running circles around the ITAs, exposing hard-core voting system defects like the GEMS defect and fundamentally flawed memory card architecture that the ITAs forgot to mention.

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Rob Kall 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

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity scheduled for release May 22, 2019

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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