Rummy was booted, Noe's going to prison for a number of years, and the powers that be gave us a Democratic sweep. In exchange, the election integrity movement is being told it must accept audits of the machines, if one is to gauge the length and intensity of e-debate on the subject, or the campaign promises of public servants.
Ohio's next Secretary of State spoke with grassroots activists and party operatives last night, repeating her campaign mantra of "free, fair, open and honest elections." Jennifer Brunner also promised to "examine the machines."
Examine the machines? We are done examining the machines – the verdict is in. Under current election conditions, there is no basis for confidence in reported election results. The machines are only one part of the problem, and the easiest to remove. This is the first and most crucial step toward honest elections.
Lest Brunner misconstrue the position of hand-counted paper ballot (HCPB) advocates, I advised her we were going to have a "Boston D-R-E Party." The look of horror on her face revealed two things: 1) she knows the difference between Opti-Scan and DRE; and 2) she's unaware how deeply discredited are electronic voting results.
Trust must reconcile itself to transparency; a secretly run election is the antithesis of democracy. When votes are cast, printed or counted with software which, by its very nature, cannot be made secure, we have no basis for confidence in reported election results.
THE GAMED SYSTEM
Strengthening the HCPB argument, these machines continue to prove they've been hacked. We received reports, again, from around the country and within Ohio, that voter choices hopped to a different candidate or simply failed to register the vote. [3, 4]
It's simple. Computers only do what they're programmed to do. If the computer switches your vote from one candidate to another, it was programmed to do so. If the computer ignores your vote for a candidate, it was programmed to do so. Machines that exhibit these "glitches" should be immediately removed from use. They weren't. Garbage in; garbage out.
Further destroying credibility, election officials continue to fail to maintain chain of custody of memory cards, which now represent the ballot box. Over 70 memory cards went missing from Cuyahoga County's May primary and at least three precincts in Franklin County on failed to turn in their memory cards on November 7th.
No matter who were declared winners of the midterm elections, democracy advocates still insist on a transparent system in which we can form a basis for confidence in reported results.
MACHINES & AUDITS vs. HAND-COUNTED PAPER BALLOTS
Secretary of State-elect Brunner advised she would work closely with U.S. Rep Stephanie Tubbs Jones on national legislation addressing these issues. My heart sinks. Neither the Holt nor the Kucinich bill (HR 550 and HR 6200) is sufficient to restore trustworthy election conditions.
No matter what agreement public officials have made with private corporations to administer public elections, democracy advocates reject electronic voting. There are virtually limitless ways these machines can be hacked, without leaving a trace. This fact precludes giving HR 550 serious consideration, since it offers to audit the machines.
Ohio Boards of Election proved, in the 04 recount, they are incapable of performing legally-required "random" audits. In an Orwellian redefinition, Blackwell changed the meaning of random to "select" when auditing 3% of the precincts to determine if a full recount was needed. This redefinition violated Ohio law. The Ohio recount never legally occurred. Bush was handed another presidency.
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