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Two Black Box Voting Investigators Ready To Rumble

Black Box Voting Investigators May Appear Soon Near You
Two Full Time Investigators On A 14-State Tour

From Bev
Read The Book…Support The Cause - Order Your Copy Today

Black Box Voting launches the first publicly funded consumer protection organization for elections A 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan, publicly funded consumer protection organization for elections.

There are no other groups fulfilling this role.


Trust in our voting system is the element that keeps us from taking to the streets every time we disagree with something our government does. Perceived lack of integrity in the voting system can cause a whole country to quit cooperating, or lose interest in voting. It is only because our representatives were chosen by our own voice that we agree to abide by the laws they vote upon, on our behalf.

Black Box Voting, funded by public donations, was founded by investigative writer Bev Harris, who began hard-core investigations into election procedures in 2002, uncovering story after story with the journalistic integrity to provide solid documentation for her findings. (Stories broken by Harris:

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Private donors are providing the start-up funds for the organization.

Black Box Voting has now officially donned hip boots and a caver's hat, and is wading into local elections to find out what's going on and make the public aware of specific problems in order to improve electoral integrity. All elections, even national elections, take place at the local level -- yet citizens have had few options to report concerns. The Federal Elections Commission consists of six people, who set broad national policy guidelines, but generally do not investigate specific local complaints. The newly formed Election Assistance Commission (EAC) publishes policy guidelines and may help to set standards, but is not staffed or funded to investigation local complaints. The Carter Center monitors elections only in foreign countries.

Black Box Voting places a heavy emphasis on field investigations. It has attracted thousands of citizen volunteers, who will be assisting in election watching this fall. Staff investigators visit and interview local election officials, candidates, poll workers, and even the programmers who design the software used in today's election systems. The organization coordinates with over 100 local groups nationwide to research and educate the public about elections procedures.

Why do elections need an independent consumer organization?

Election procedures have changed.

- "To err is machine" Voting machines have been found to miscount. Some miscounts are ridiculous (i.e. Allamakee County Iowa, 2000 national election, counted 4 million votes though just 300 voters showed up to vote). Many miscounts, if they are less obvious, are never flagged at all.

- Modern-day voting systems have largely been privatized. Key functions are run by private for-profit corporations. These corporations have a habit of hiring their own regulators.

- The certification system for voting machines is so fundamentally flawed that it allows machines to miscount and lose votes. Four studies in a row spotted serious errors that passed through certification without a hitch.

- Voting software has been found to contain hidden “back doors” that allow end runs around the voting system.

- Fewer eyes watch over election procedures than ever before.

- Recent changes in voter registration systems may bring new problems with voter roll accuracy

- Outsourced voter roll verification has resulted in wrongfully purged voters

- Ballot production, performed by private companies, can cause certain kinds of votes to be omitted from the count. This applies to optical scan ballots (fill in the dot) and punch card ballots.

- New systems are designed to replace the poll book sign in with a computerized, digital system made by private companies, using proprietary software that the public is not allowed to examine. Such a system, improperly used, would enable whole cemeteries to sign in and vote.

- Certified and sworn election officials now outsource - even during live elections - to technicians employed by private manufacturers. Private vendors, in turn, outsource election support to temporary employees hired by third parties.

- Redistricting software, also produced by private companies who hold it proprietary, now allows instant and precise data designed to manipulate districts for political gain.

- Election officials are often appointed, not elected. In many states there is no requirement for election officials to disclose personal financial information, inviting conflict of interest.

- Election checks and balances have eroded: Voter Verified Paper ballots have been removed in as many as 20 percent of all voters in the U.S. Paperless touch screen machines do not permit recounts. Even when paper ballots exist, in many states it is now illegal to compare them to computer counts, even in a recount.

- Absentee voting: In most locations, there is no way to know whether all the ballots mailed in were counted. At no point is there a comparison of the count received by the Post Office with the count received by the elections division.

- Polling place results used to be compared with the overall totals, to make sure each polling place result was correctly reported when all votes are added up. This key audit has been eliminated in most locations, opening the door for tampering by replacing memory cards and/or tampering with the central server at the county level.

We have independent consumer protection organizations for toasters. You can read about problems with baby car seats in consumer publications. But until now, no independent, publicly funded consumer protection organization has existed for the most fundamental piece of democracy we have: Elections.

Who Runs Black Box Voting?

Members of the board for the new nonprofit, Black Box Voting:

President: Linda Franz. Legislative expert. A quiet but very accomplished voting issue activist -- Look her up in Chapter 15 of the Black Box Voting book

Secretary: Joseph Bailey III. Union organizer. Civil rights advocate for over 30 years.

Jim March. Professional lobbyist (gun rights), computer programmer and citizen activist on the voting issue

Thalia Dudley. From the Dudley family, an African American family that began in North Carolina and, for five successive generations, has been fighting for voting rights.

Vickie Karp. Chairperson for the Coalition for Visible Ballots. With Abby Delozier, Spearheaded a billboard campaign for paper ballots in Austin, generating widespread media coverage. A Texas businesswoman and entreprenuer.

Agrippa Williams. Performing artist, renowned for his work keeping black history alive. Played the legendary Paul Robeson in the theatre, travels nationwide in major theatre productions. Multiple citizen awards; Williams once gave up one of his kidneys for a complete stranger, to save his life.

Executive Director: Bev Harris

Associate Director: Andy Stephenson

Stephenson has resigned his candidacy for secretary of state in order to work nationwide to maximize impact on this issue as the clock ticks down. This was a painful loss to the state of Washington, but a gain for the United States as a whole.

Harris and Stephenson (and local citizens, like yourself, who are assisting with investigations and providing road maps to local politics) are traveling on investigations, beginning in 48 hours, to:

- Texas

- Ohio

- New Mexico

- California

- Arizona

- Utah

- Wyoming

- Arkansas

- Georgia

- Florida

- Nevada

- North Carolina

- South Carolina

Please email if you want to find a way to meet when we're on our way through your state. Other states will receive surprise visits.

Look out. We're nonprofit, we're funded, and we're ready to rock and roll.

Immediate investigation: Kickbacks and conflicts of interest

Next target: August and September primaries, and November election: the Black Box Voting election watch crew. Citizen volunteers will assist in auditing election procedures, reporting problems to the hotline. We aren't yet revealing all of our strategies for this. No reason to give certain people too much time to prepare.

Bev Harris has gifted all of her rights to, and revenues for, the Black Box Voting book to the new nonprofit organization. She has also turned over all monies due from David Allen and Plan Nine Publishing, if they can be collected. That is now up to the board of directors.

- Bev Harris


Contact info:
Black Box Voting
206-335-7747 (high congestion, use email if possible)

(Note: The ".com" site is a commercial site owned by someone else and is not affiliated with the organization or the people at Black Box Voting.) Tax deductible donations: Use online payment at or mail to

Black Box Voting - 330 SW 43rd St PMB K-547 Renton WA 98055 - Ask for brokerage account number for stock donations -


POST SCRIPT: Mischelle Townsend to retire almost immediately

It is rather unusual for the Registrar of Elections to retire right before a national election.

According to the Press Enterprise, Mischelle Townsend, Riverside County elections registrar is retiring as of July 17.

Sequoia says an employment agreement is not in the works.

Art Cassel hit her with two more public records requests on Friday. Previously, Townsend's division was sued in a courageous, and prescient, effort by Susan Marie Weber; Townsend came under investigation for alleged irregularities with access to the central tabulator during the March 2 election, but according to the local district attorney, "no wrongdoing was found." Interestingly, although a thorough investigation was promised, the witnesses were never interviewed. In a recent recount, Townsend refused to turn over the zero reports from the voting machines, and also refused to allow the internal flash memory of the machines -- the supposed "redundant data storage" to be compared to the cartridges. One of the citizens who is particularly knowledgeable about problems with Riverside election procedures is Jeremiah Akin, who noted many troublesome issues with the Logic & Accuracy tests run by Townsend. For example, she changed software configurations after an L&A test, saying it was needed to correct a flaw

-- but the early voting had already been done, and if the software was flawed in a way that affected the count, the early votes would have been compromised

-- and no new L&A test was done after the modification.

According to the Press Enterprise: "Mischelle Townsend cited family reasons for ending nearly 30 years in government"

- Bev Harris

# # ENDS # #

Bev Harris is author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering In The 21st Century … See
Read The Book…Support The Cause - Order Your Copy Today

For more background and live news links on this news subject see also Scoop's Special Feature – A Very American Coup…

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