Friday, February 10, 2006

No big surprise

Get ready for the white men of the Republican party to lecture black leaders about not knowing their place

At the funeral of Coretta Scott King, the grande dame of America's civil rights and progressive activist community, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, a revered elder of that same community, criticized President Bush, and the war, and the fact that America still has so many poor and needy. Kind of something you'd expect at the funeral of a woman who after her husband was assassinated, yet the day before he was buried, led a civil rights march of 50,000 people. A woman who spoke at an anti-war rally in NYC only 3 weeks after her husband was mattered. A woman who devoted her entire life to non-violence.
I say this because you know it's only a matter of hours before the Republican Swift Boating of Rev. Lowery and Coretta's funeral begins. How dare a black man not know his place at a funeral, they'll say. As if the Republican party and its surrogates have any right whatsoever to speak on behalf of Mrs. King, to tell black America what they can and cannot do to honor one of their most revered leaders.
A party that doesn't have a single African-American member of Congress has no right lecturing black people about knowing their place.[Emphasis added.]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Latest From Black Box Voting -- Opening Diebold

(Permission granted to copy, distribute, reprint, or cite granted - requires link to, credit source.)


1) Diebold agrees to waive proprietary claims to GEMS database files

This is big, and has nationwide implications as it can open up access for Volusia County, San Diego County, DuPage County, and other areas where questions have arisen on voting machine results.

Black Box Voting has been assisting the Alaska Democratic Party in fighting for the right to obtain the Diebold "central tabulator" database files.

The crux of the dispute: According to Alaska Democrats, official results from Alaska's 2004 election are riddled with discrepancies but the Alaska Division of Elections refused to turn over the voting files to the Democrats, arguing that the data format belongs to Diebold and can't be made public. Diebold told Alaska officials it owns the "structure of the database."

Today, Diebold caved and released its proprietary claims. The formal letter from Diebold and the implications of this, which are significant, can be read at the link above.


2) Though you may already have heard that the US Supreme Court is getting a case on electronic voting, you may not have seen the particulars.

Pennsylvania's Lynn Landes is fighting the suit in the Supreme Court as a citizen, by herself, with no lawyer (called a "Pro Se" case). She follows in the footsteps of the founder of Pennsyvlania, William Penn, who himself fought a Pro Se case which established the power of citizen juries in English and American jurisprudence. Others who fought and won Pro Se cases include Nelson Mandela and Emma Goldman. Landes, in taking this on by herself, honors the Sufragettes, who also fought a seemingly unwinnable battle. (Until they won.)

Landes has asked the Supreme Court to examine the important issue of financial penalities invoked against those who file civil rights cases. She has also asked the court to allow her to have her voting civil rights case heard. For an analysis of the important and creative issues in her case, and to view the lawsuit itself, go to the link above, and also see Lynn Landes's site:


3) Important new information is coming out by way of transcripts and depositions obtained by Black Box Voting. Grab some popcorn. These documents are available here:

The documents, which include personal sworn testimony by 23-count felon (for computer crimes) Jeffrey Dean, who ended up creating the programs that process ballots and votes in much of the USA, are filled with new information:

- Dean achieved remote access into several California counties for the 2000 election. He did this to run a "VoteRemote" program, and it involved transferring data back and forth from his office in a suburb of Seattle.

- Dean sold vaporware to the state of Colorado

- In one election, on software for an absentee ballot counter that Dean helped create, Sacramento County was unable to get results out of the system until days after the election

- The documents contain testimony indicating that Jeffrey Dean began programming components for King County absentee balloting while STILL IN PRISON.

- A great deal of new information is provided about how Dean got involved in elections, how Global Election Systems took over Dean's company (Spectrum), and then Diebold took over Global and Spectrum, and other information of historical significance.

- The documents also contain copies of checks forged by Jeffrey Dean.

Even Black Box Voting has not read all of these documents yet. They are hot off the scanner and full of surprises.


4) What protects your personal information once it enters e-elections?

here are the kinds of databases that are and will be created with new e-elections technology:

- Massive computerized statewide voter registration databases
- Voter identification cards and voter biometrics
- VoteRemote-style electronic signature databases
- Electronic poll check-in databases
- And proposed by some companies, databases for electronic
verification of your vote

Are there any laws at all that protect this kind of information from being purchased by companies like Choicepoint, one of the nation's primary resellers of personal information to homeland security, law enforcement agents, employers, insurance agencies and direct marketing groups?

Choicepoint, according to the Atlanta Constitution and the Associated Press, has purchased voter registration databases before. It has a $60 million contract with the Department of Homeland Security, and was one of the first clients to sign up with lobbyist "The Ashcroft Group" -- run by former attorney general John Ashcroft.

Within 24 hours of publishing this story, which is about the issues that remain to be addressed in the ethics and regulations of data-brokering for elections information, the president of Choicepoint called Bev Harris.

In this surprising conversation, he revealed that his wife is on the board of directors for VoteTrustUSA. He said he did not believe this needs to be disclosed.

He pointed out that Black Box Voting erred in the article [in] saying there were ties with Choicepoint and Equifax, and Black Box Voting issued a correction in the story to that effect.

For more information on Choicepoint, see

5) This story was broken by BradBlog, and it's important:

A court has ordered a re-do of an election in Ohio, due to Diebold touch screens recording too many votes.

6) Volusia County poll tapes are up here:

Black Box Voting found numerous irregularities in the poll tapes from Volusia County's 2004 election. The images of the tapes are now posted, along with a list of the anomalies.

Among the problems:

Precinct 215: Multiple anomalies including mismatched vote counts

Precinct 303: A white rectangle appears in the zero tape and the public defender's race doesn't appear on zero tape

Precinct 305: A documented case of time travel? Reported date on voting machine is 18,000 years in the future.

Precinct 417: Doozy of a time error on results report. Poll workers noticed it, signed off on it, thinking the clock stamp on the results report was about an hour off. However, the clock was actually nearly 13 hours off. In fact, it had not advanced even one second during the entire day while the voting machine was counting ballots. This gets into a tech discussion of CPUs and clocks, and is very difficult to explain.

Precinct 527: Race # 60 recorded "zero" votes for both ballot choices (all other races did record votes). The long report shows no undervotes.

About a dozen precincts have "memory card error" on the tape. Tapes for dozens of precincts reveal that the machines were not tested before the election. Several time discrepancies, one zero report was run at 11 p.m. with results appearing at midnight.

* * * * *