Voter Verification Newsletter -- February 14, 2004
Voter Verification Newsletter -- Vol 2, Number 3,February 14, 2004
David L. Dill, http://www.verifiedvoting.org
* VerifiedVoting.org Incorporates as Non-Profit, Begins Fundraising
* Our web site has a new look
* H.R.2239/S.1980 Report (and Boxer's New Bill)
* Good News!! Serve Program Cancelled
* VerifiedVoting.org Uncovers Proof of Votes Lost BY DREs
* Raba Technologies Hacks into Diebold Machines with the Greatest of Ease
* Wexler's Lawsuit for a Paper Trail in Florida Gets a Hearing
* Mississippi Senate Declares Last November's Election Invalid
* Additional Security Measures Ordered for the California Primary
* Twin VVPT Bills Introduced into Minnesota House and Senate
* ES&S Causes Illegal Elections in Indiana
* National Day of Student Action, Feb. 25
* VerifiedVoting.org Sponsored its First Press Conference
VERIFIEDVOTING.ORG INCORPORATES AS NON-PROFIT, BEGINS FUNDRAISING
VerifiedVoting.org is now an "org"!
VerifiedVoting has operated for more than 8 months on the efforts of a core team of volunteers with no funding other than their time and what they pay for themselves.
We are inspired by the progress that the paper trail movement has achieved over the last 13 months, and we are proud of our contributions to those accomplishments. But we recognize that we are engaged in a serious battle against people with the resources to hire lobbyists and PR firms to spin the issue. We need funding that will allow our views to be heard concerning this matter of national urgency.
VerifiedVoting.org has incorporated as a 501(c)(4) non-profit, which means that we can engage in political activity, but that contributions are not tax-deductible.
We can now accept on-line contributions. If you have questions or need further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VERIFIEDVOTING.ORG HAS A NEW LOOK!
As we approached incorporation, we decided that a new logo was in order. We held a contest, selected our favorite from a selection of wonderful entries, and asked the winning designer to join our team. This led to the development of a new "look and feel" with improved navigation. The first phase of the redesign was launched today. Be sure to visit the site to see the changes. And if you have updated information for our state pages, please let us know.
H.R.2239/S.1980 REPORT (AND BOXER'S NEW BILL)
H.R.2239 now has 114 co-sponsors, including 7 Republicans. There are no official co-sponsors for S.1980, but we are expecting good news soon. On another note, Senator John Edwards is now a co-sponsor of Senator Clinton's bill (S.1986). S.1986 does not mandate a voter-verifiable paper trail, nor does it require disclosed source code or surprise recounts. VerifiedVoting.org does not support Clinton's bill.
Senator Barbara Boxer has introduced a bill (S.2045) that is very similar to S.1980. Much of the language is copied directly from H.R.2239. VerifiedVoting.org will post an analysis of the bills next week. Watch for it in the Important Announcements.
Many of you are visiting your Congress people. Great! Please keep it up. Guidelines for visiting legislators or staff are here: http://www.verifiedvoting.org/resources/town_meeting_resources.asp
GOOD NEWS!! SERVE PROGRAM CANCELLED
February 5, 2004, the Department of Defense, citing security concerns, cancelled the Secure Electronic Registration and Voter Experiment (SERVE) designed to allow U.S. military personnel and civilians living overseas to cast an absentee ballot over the Internet. http://www.pennlive.com/newsflash/topstories/index.ssf?/base/politics-0/1076016241230950.xml
That's the bottom line! Here's the sequence of some events that preceded this excellent news.
1) January 22, 2004, David Wagner, Avi Rubin, David Jefferson, and Barbara Simons - commissioned to analyze SERVE - released their report recommending that SERVE be shut down because the current Internet architecture could not be made secure. http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/01/21/internet.voting/index.html
2) Shortly after the report was released, organizations from both parties appealed to both Congress and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to cancel SERVE. The organizations included Republicans Abroad and Democrats Abroad, as well as several others whose primary concern is for Americans overseas. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61273-2004Jan29.html
3) A few days later, on February 2, in an expected move, the DoD cancelled the test of SERVE scheduled for South Carolina, stating that the system was not yet certified. http://www.detnews.com/2004/technology/0402/03/technology-53859.htm
Then on February 5, 2004, SERVE died. ROP. Congratulations, David Wagner, Avi Rubin, David Jefferson, and Barbara Simons for a job well done!!
We applaud the Department of Defense for heeding the advice of the experts and taking the necessary precautions to protect the votes of Americans living abroad. We encourage the states to follow the Pentagon's lead and act on the advice of the experts who are warning of the insecurity and unreliability of paperless electronic voting.
VERIFIEDVOTING.ORG UNCOVERS PROOF OF VOTES LOST BY DREs
November 2002 was not so long ago that links to election articles don't still get passed around in emails. An article on lost votes in Wake County, North Carolina, is one example When VerifiedVoting.org received the link, we called the Director of Elections to find out the type of machine. The conversation revealed more than we had anticipated. Here's the brief version.
Flawed software on ES&S iVotronic touch screens caused 436 ballot to be lost in the 2002 Wake County election in North Carolina. While there have been many reported cases of anomalies in elections using touch screen machines (such as the 134 blank ballots cast on iVotronic machines in Florida's January 2004 election), this is the first case in which the software was the undisputed cause.
The malfunction occurred in the one-stop, early voting process. Ms. Cherie Poucher, the Director of Elections, acquired absentee ballot applications from all the people who voted on the touch screens that day. When her staff discovered that the machine counters did not match the number of ballot applications, they realized there was a problem. Ms. Poucher and her staff examined the sequence numbers in the audit data, compared them to the numbers on the absentee ballot applications, and were able to identify the voters whose votes had not been recorded by the iVotronic machines. They contacted the affected voters, and all but 78 of the 436 recast their votes on optical scan ballots.
ES&S admitted the problem was caused by flawed software. They even acknowledged that Jackson County, which was using the same firmware version as Wake County, had encountered the same problem two days earlier. But ES&S did not attempt to replace the firmware in Wake County until they were contacted by Ms. Poucher about the missing votes on the machines her county was using.
Ms. Poucher billed ES&S almost $6000 for the expenses she incurred contacting the voters whose votes were lost by the malfunctioning machines. ES&S paid the bill. (For complete details, see: http://www.verifiedvoting.org/resources/documents/RaleighElection2002.pdf )
RABA TECHNOLOGIES HACKS INTO DIEBOLD MACHINES WITH THE GREATEST OF EASE
Computer security experts at Raba Technologies, hired by Maryland's legislative services department to hack Diebold voting machines, found that flaws in the machines could result in malicious insiders or outsiders stealing an election. Their report stated that the Diebold machines did accurately count the votes but could be compromised. The full report is here: http://www.raba.com/press/TA_Report_AccuVote.pdf
William Arbaugh, a University of Maryland assistant professor of computer science who participated in the test, said the researchers found a "gauntlet" of problems, including a security hole that let them remotely dial in to the voting terminals and get administrative control of the machines. "We could have done anything we wanted to," Arbaugh said. "We could change the ballots (before the election) or change the votes during the election."
Meanwhile, Diebold President Bob Urosevich said in a press release that the Raba Technologies report confirmed "the accuracy and security of Maryland's voting procedures and our voting systems as they exist today."
Karl Aro, director of Maryland's legislative services department, told the television station he was pleased with the report from Raba. "It is a validation that the system is ready to work in March," he said.
In her Wired News article (much of which is quoted in this newsletter item), Kim Zetter included this terrific quote from Avi Rubin, "They took a study that was highly critical of them and claimed victory. I don't understand the continuous need to insist that things are OK." http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,62109,00.html
Note that this is the FOURTH Diebold-condemning report that Maryland has seems to be ignoring - the second that Maryland itself has commissioned.
WEXLER'S LAWSUIT FOR A PAPER TRAIL IN FLORIDA GETS A HEARING
February 6, 2004 was the hearing for Representative Wexlers lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore. The suit was prompted by the 134 unexplained undervotes on iVotronic machines in January's special election, and the fact that the invalid ballots could not be manually recounted as required by Florida law. The defense argued that the venue isn't the right one, that the case should be tried in Tallahassee. http://www.tcpalm.com/tcp/palm_beach_news/article/0,1651,TCP_1020_2637499,00.html
About 75 voting activists, including members of Florida Grassroots Project, were there providing very vocal support for Wexler - even though there were too many to allow in the courtroom. At this time, there is no indication of when Judge Karen Miller will make her ruling, but we await it with impatience.
Wexler claims touch screens are illegal because they don't produce tangible ballots and therefore don't allow a manual recount as state law requires in close elections. http://www.congress.org/congressorg/webreturn/?url=http://www.house.gov/wexler
Palm Beach County commissions got the county out of the lawsuit by agreeing to add printers to all the county's touch-screens. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-pprinters04feb04,0,904031.story?coll=sfla-news-palm
In fact, commissioners in all three of Florida's three most populous counties - Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade- took a stance in favor of a voter-verified paper trail. "The tri-county coalition voted unanimously to send state legislators a letter endorsing a paper trail." Sequoia, the manufacturer of Palm Beach County's touch-screen machines, immediately offered to supply printers at $500 each, once they are developed and certified - which may not be until after the November election. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/content/auto/epaper/editions/tuesday/new s_04518e8231cb02880029.html
MISSISSIPPI SENATE DECLARES LAST NOVEMBER'S ELECTION INVALID
In the November 2003 election, Hinds County, Mississippi used the WINnVote touchscreen machine (the same as the one used in Fairfax County, Virginia disastrous election). Poll workers had trouble starting the machines, some of the machines overheated and had to be taken out of service, poll workers were scrambling to find enough paper ballots, and many voters left with polls without voting because of the long delays. http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0311/04/mvproblems.html
The problems were investigated by a Mississippi Senate committee, and on January 19, it recommended invalidating the outcome of the race for the District 91 Senate seat and holding the election over. Two days later, the Senate approved the recommendation. The new election is set for February 10. The last we heard the Democratic candidate, Dewayne Thomas, was considering pulling out of the race and conceding to his opponent, Richard White. We hope Thomas doesn't allow faulty machines to determine an outcome that should be decided by the voters. http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0401/21/ma04.html
ADDITIONAL SECURITY MEASURES ORDERED FOR THE CALIFORNIA PRIMARY
February 5, 2004, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley ordered county elections officials to implement additional security measures for the March 2, 2004 primary to protect voters against problems that could arise from the use of new computerized voting machines.
Among the measures are state testing of randomly selected voting machines in every county on election day. These 'parallel monitoring' tests will be designed, conducted and recorded by independent experts. California is the first state to implement this requirement, which has been recommended by voting security experts. Shelley also directed that the source code for the Diebold TSx be provided to his office prior to the election. The source code will be reviewed by independent experts selected by the Secretary of State. http://myvotecounts.ca.gov/dre.pdf
In a related article, Mercury News reports that only one county registrar of 14 who responded to inquiries said she planned to implement specific steps recommended by the RABA report (discussed above), and that registrars in only three counties said they had read the report. http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/7885748.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
NOTE: If you are a California voter and prefer to vote on a paper ballot rather than a DRE, be sure to apply for your absentee ballot before February 24!
TWIN VVPT BILLS INTRODUCED INTO MINNESOTA HOUSE AND SENATE
On February 2, 2004, Representative Eric Lipman introduced H.F.1703 into the House. On the same day, Senators Dan Sparks and Linda Higgins introduced a companion bill (S.F. 1666) into the Senate. Not only do these bills require a voter-verifiable paper trail, they require that all ballots be optical scan ballots. So any touch screens the state buys must be ballot-generators, not DREs. You can read the full text of HF1703 here: http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/cgi-bin/getbill.pl?number=HF1703&session=ls83&version=latest&session_number=0&session_year=2004
Those of you who are from Minnesota, be sure to contact your state legislators and urge them to enact these bills quickly!!
ES&S CAUSES ILLEGAL ELECTIONS IN INDIANA
"Members of the Johnson County Election Board on Thursday blasted a representative from Election Systems & Software for providing allegedly illegal voting equipment during last year's general election. The state's election commission had not certified the software used in the machines as reliable and accurate, which meant counties should not have used it." This means, of course, that Indiana held an illegal election, compliments of ES&S.
The bad news is, "There is no penalty under Indiana law for using illegal equipment to conduct an election." It's a short article, but it's a good read: http://www.indystar.com/articles/7/118206-8957-009.html
This from another article: "The Indiana Election Commission is issuing a subpoena to ES&S, requiring the company explain why it provided Wayne, Henry and Johnson counties, and possibly three more counties, with voting equipment that had not been certified as accurate and approved for use in Indiana." http://www.pal-item.com/news/stories/20040124/localnews/289055.html
NATIONAL DAY OF STUDENT ACTION, FEB. 25
On February 25, 2004, VerifiedVoting.org is planning a national day of student action. The campaign, organized by volunteer Lisa Dangutis, aims to get a million student signatures on petitions supporting H.R.2239/S.1980. The signed petitions will be mailed to Congress. We hope the petition drive will both inform university students and garner support for the bills.
VERIFIEDVOTING.ORG SPONSORED ITS FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE
On Thursday, February 5, 2004, VerifiedVoting.org sponsored a telephone press conference. Barbara Simons and Avi Rubin were available to answer questions from the press about the SERVE program and how their analysis applied to the Michigan primary. The turnout was small but impressive: CNN, Wired News, Computer World, and George Washington University reporters attended. A short spot on CNN Thursday night mentioned a group opposing Internet voting in Michigan because of possible hacking. Thanks to Harper West for organizing the press conference and for bringing this CNN spot to our attention.
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