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Election Forum: the Vote Counters vs. "We the People"

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First, they threw away the citizens' fundamental civil right to
oversee elections properly. Then, they strong-armed reluctant local
elections officials into buying insecure and unauditable voting
machines, at staggering cost to the taxpayers. Now that the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has blasted the DRE
technology, they say it will be too costly to rectify the situation.

Who is "they"? The Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC),
an advisory board to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC),
which in turn is run by a small handful of individuals selected by the
president of the United States, together with many of the former
public officials who pushed for paperless voting in the first place.

Here's an article about the EAC's technical committee stonewalling the
NIST recommendations:

http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=90 05632

They say they will still work to improve security, but that doesn't
address the underlying problem: Your civil rights.

This is not, at its heart, a computer security matter, though that is
also a problem. The core problem is that citizens, as the owners of
their government, must have the ability to oversee it. You can't
oversee it if you can't get the information.

Scientists like Ron Rivest, a renowned computer security expert, have
their own solutions in mind. The problem is, by treating it solely as
a security issue and not as a civil right -- the right to open
observation and the right to oversee -- the scientific community is
hijacking the citizenry's right to control their own elections.

Prepare to hear arguments that it's okay that you cannot authenticate
your own elections. The scientific community, bolstered by private
industry and a bunch of cronies who are trying to avoid embarrassment
for mistakes they made in ushering in paperless DREs in the first
place, have decided on your behalf that you don't mind giving up your
rights.
***

Conflicts of interest:

Technical Guidelines Development Committee

John Gale
Nebraska Secretary of State
Standards Board ( EAC )
Lincoln, NE
Oversaw the removal of Nebraska's right to look at paper ballots even
in a recount. Nebraska was using optical scans made by a company owned
by the leading Nebraska newspaper (Omaha World Herald, which owns most
of the newspapers in Nebraska) and a sitting member of the U.S. Senate
(Chuck Hagel, who did not disclose his ownership of the voting company
properly). I have a letter from Mr. Gale telling a candidate that
there is no provision in the law to look at the paper ballots, even if
he pays for it, even in a recount.

Dr. Brittain Williams
Retired professor- Kennesaw State- University of Georgia
National Association of State Election Directors (NASED)
Tucker, GA
Has been paid significant sums of money as a state technical advisor
for Diebold systems (Georgia, Maryland, Virginia); has been an
outspoken proponent of Diebold paperless touch-screens for at least
four years.

Dr. Ronald Rivest
Professor, MIT-Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science
Cambridge, MA
Plans to put out his own technology-based solution, apparently based
on cryptography. If paperless touch-screens are removed, especially if
buttressed with strong Freedom of Information protections for
citizens, his solution becomes irrelevant.

Helen Purcell
Maricopa County Recorder
Board of Advisors ( EAC )
Phoenix, AZ
Her voting system and ballots were locked down by the FBI for the 2004
election; Black Box Voting director Jim March has reported to me on
severe security violations in Maricopa County for the Nov. 2006
general election. (Hey Jim, hurry up with the public report!).

Dr. Daniel Schutzer
Director and SVP, Enterprise Technology Office
CitiGroup
New York, NY
Am I correct in thinking he may be an investment banker?

Whitney Quesenbery
President-Usability Professionals' Association
High Bridge, NJ
ACCURATE - up to $8 million in funding depends upon keeping technology
in voting

Dr. David Wagner
Professor, University of California-Berkeley
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
Berkeley, CA
ACCURATE - up to $8 million in funding depends upon keeping technology
in voting

While we have a technology committee, note that we have no civil
rights committee. There is no representation of your right to oversee
elections, but there are a lot of people getting paid to protect
technology. They keep redefining it as a security issue, and they keep
wanting more money for it. We must stubbornly return to the civil
rights aspects of elections, or we will continue to cede our right of
oversight over to a small group of scientists (many with vested
interests).
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http://www.blackboxvoting.org
Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.

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