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Riverside Rides Again...

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Black Box Voting : Latest Consumer Reports from Black Box Voting: 3-14-07:

Riverside Rides Again ...

Posted by Bev Harris on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 04:47 pm:

Tom Courbat is an ordinary guy who consistently commits extraodinary acts of citizenship along with several other salt-of-the-earth types who assemble in Riverside County, California under the name "SAV R VOTE." They are part of a growing number of American citizens who have discovered that a handful of common-sense individuals can literally move mountains to improve election integrity.

Riverside County has a reputation when it comes to elections. A somewhat pungent reputation. A reputation of the type that has featured candidates showing up at the door threatening would-be competitors. Riverside has a reputation for vapor-voting, information blockades and secrecy.

In the new DVD release of the HBO film Hacking Democracy)

( http://www.hackingdemocracy.com ), look for never-before-seen footage of the rogues in Riverside. NEXT TIME YOU'RE WONDERING WHAT TO DO ON ELECTION NIGHT IN YOUR COMMUNITY...

Inch by inch, election after election, Riverside citizens are opening up Riverside elections. One step at a time, they are detoxifying the system. What follows is a set of photos by citizens showing you exactly how to move a mountain one rock at a time. Riverside citizens took a trip through the 2006 general election with one objective in mind: To observe the chain of custody of their votes.

PRE-ELECTION BREAKDOWNS IN SECURE CHAIN OF CUSTODY The photo below shows two locations with $80,000 worth of machines that can easily be stolen in 60 seconds or less. [tosheval.jpg] link to photo: http://www.blackbox1.org/CA/tosheval.jpg [Cole-Canyon.jpg] link to photo: http://www.blackbox1.org/CA/Cole-Canyon.jpg

If the machines aren't stolen, the votes they control might be: The breakdown in chain of custody reveals that the machines are easily susceptible to memory card (electronic ballot box) swaps and election contamination. Being on wheeled carts, and with ADA access ramps, these machines could be stolen in 60 seconds. If both locations were hit, $80,000 worth of fully-loaded (with memory cards installed) voting machines would turn up missing. Worse yet, in a short period of time, two individuals, posing as election employees or poll workers, could remove the real memory card on any or all machines and replace it/them with virus-infected cards. One person could serve as a lookout while the other opens the machine, removes the original card and inserts the virus- infected card. The "tamper evident" seals are often not checked, and can be difficult to detect tampering even if checked.

COLLECTION CENTER IN RIVERSIDE The following photos were taken from video at a Riverside collection center – a parking lot – on Election Night, November 7, 2006 between 9:40 p.m. and 10:35 pm: [seals.jpg] link to photo: http://www.blackbox1.org/CA/seals.jpg Seals were broken to gain entry into the transparent sealed pouch compartment containing voting cartridges. The pouch compartment is transparent so workers and supervisors can count the number of voting cartridges contained inside without the need to open it. Breaking the seal breaks the "chain of custody". Supervisors simply provided additional red seals after the activity was completed, resulting in bags that looked "secure" since there were then "seals" back on the bags. No explanation ever given as to why. [losing-ones-memory.jpg] link to photo: http://www.blackbox1.org/CA/losing-ones-memory.jpg

Workers searched fruitlessly for the missing two cartridges and finally gave up. The two missing vote cartridges never showed up at Election Headquarters on Election Night. When the Registrar of Voters was asked how many vote cartridges were missing on Election Night, she replied "None". [pickup.jpg] link to photo: http://www.blackbox1.org/CA/pickup.jpg

Even dogs are not allowed to be transported in an unsecured manner in the back of an open-bed pickup truck. Should voting cartridges in unsecured bags be transported from parking lots (collection centers) to Election Headquarters, sometimes located 50 miles away or more?

REFUSAL TO ALLOW OBSERVERS TO SEE VOTE PROCESSING [secret-processing-sm.jpg] link to photo: http://www.blackbox1.org/CA/secret-processing-sm.jpg All terminals are turned away from the citizen observers who are kept away from the input screens that show error codes and actions workers take to correct errors, including ignoring them. This also breaks the chain of custody, as there is no independent verification that the handling of the voting cartridges (or absentee ballots) is appropriate, accurate and legal. The "aura of secrecy" and lack of transparency is easily seen here.

The public is not welcome to view the actual vote counting activities to a level of detail that would allow independent verification of the accuracy of the vote counting process. "Security factors" are cited as the reason that not even two members of the Election Observer Panel are allowed in the vote counting area on election night. Yet the photos on the preceding two pages show clearly that "security" is an issue primarily when it keeps the public from viewing anything meaningful. [This photo was taken on 6-17-06 during the counting of absentee ballots following the primary election.]

HOW'S YOUR OWN COUNTY DOING ON CHAIN OF CUSTODY? Why not find out? Bring a camera and a video and let us know what you find out! And aren't you glad Tom Courbat, Paul Jacobs, and the Riverside SAV R VOTE group have showed America how it's done? Photos by Tom Courbat and Paul Jacobs. Presented by the citizenry to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on 2-6-07 at 9:30 a.m. For more information on tracking election chain of custody, see the Black Box Voting Citizen's Tool Kit

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.
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