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A Post-Election E-Conversation with Ion Sancho

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Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joan Brunwasser
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Dear Mr. Sancho:
I am the Voting Integrity Editor for OpEdNews. We have been in
contact in the past. I sent you a copy of the documentary "Invisible
Ballots" a number of months ago.

I'm writing to you about the voting debacle we have just witnessed.
What happened in Sarasota County is just the tip of the iceberg.
Anyone reading the corporate media would be unaware, but there were tens of thousands of voting complaints to Common Cause and other hotlines. There were meltdowns across the country.

I'm in Cook County, IL, and we voted on Sequoia machines which were just revealed (a few days before the election) to have a button which flips the program to manual mode and will allow unlimited voting. While this was reported on BradBlog, it was not covered locally very much. When asked, the supervisor of elections assured that their poll workers would be on top of it. That was not my experience at my polling place.

My question has to do with the Sarasota County experience with the
wildly high undervote. Now, your counterpart is saying that she will
favor paper ballots. But this will involve using the optical
scanners. Does everyone have such a short memory? Does no one
remember the Harri Hursti/Black Box Voting authorized hack that took place almost a year ago in your county? That was on an optical scanner.

Why do people not 'get' that electronic voting is not a friend to
voters and can't guarantee accuracy, security or transparency? I'm
afraid that people will judge the results of 2006 a success and the
election reform movement will lose its momentum.

Any thoughts on this matter?

best wishes,
Joan Brunwasser, Voting Integrity Editor, OpEdNews

Ion Sancho wrote:
Dear Joan:
Sorry I did not respond to earlier, but your point is dead on.
So much of the debate on counting our votes correctly gets lost on the people who have adopted some remedy and starts "religiously" espousing their solution as the only answer. I am not sure what the answer is, but let me begin by saying whatever the solution is - it has to apply to everyone, large jurisdictions with big budgets, small rural counties without technical support, and everywhere in between.

For me, "it's the 'a' stupid", you know, that fourth letter in the vvpat,
or "audit". I don't care if we use optical scanners, hybrids
(automark, populex or the some other new device) or something else, when we depend on technology to count the votes there must be a transparent audit to confirm the elections result. I'll say it again, votes must be transparently audited, and until we adopt this standard we will continue to have problems. I like optical scan voting with a paper ballot, but only because that allows me to conduct an audit transparently, independent of technology, and in the event of some major problem (like Sarasota) /I still have all the votes/!
-Ion Sancho


Would you mind if I printed my letter and your response? I'm trying to get a debate going here. Anything to raise public awareness.
thanks for everything you have done. by the way, I saw "Hacking
Democracy" (Editor's note: which will be shown all month on HBO; check your local area for the schedule) and watched what I have been talking about and writing about for months: the Hursti/Black Box Voting hack in your county. It was much more powerful and shocking watching it in the flesh, so to speak.


best wishes,


Dear Joan:
You most certainly can print my response, and thank you for your kind words about the documentary. Accountability, and auditability, are criticals components of any overall elections process, and what we are seeing in Sarasota when both are lacking.
-Ion Sancho
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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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