Voter Verification Newsletter -- February 26, 2004
Voter Verification Newsletter -- Volume 2, Number 4 February 26, 2004
David L. Dill, http://www.verifiedvoting.org
* Turn On The Media - Take Action Now;
* VerifiedVoting.org Endorses
* TrueMajority's "The Computer Ate My Vote" Campaign;
* AP Reports that 29% Will be Voting on DREs in November;
* Connecticut Bill for VVPT Introduced;
Go to the Public Hearing Friday, Feb. 27!
* Californians, Please Vote on Paper Instead of DREs;
* Support California's VVPT Legislation!
* Ohio Still Looking at DREs; Legislators Resist, Need Your Help;
* Washington State, Not SoS, Introduces VVPT Bill;
* New York Legislature Passes VVPB Bills, Now Going to Conference;
* Support Florida's New VVPT Bill!
* More on Wexler's Florida Lawsuit;
* Wordy Ballot Requires iVotronic + Paper in Florida;
* Big Coverage in Indianapolis;
* Valencia County, New Mexico Buys Sequoia Despite Protest;
* Philadelphia - March 10th Hearing On Electronic Voting Issues;
* Virginia Encounters Yet Another Voting Machine "Glitch";
* New Features on VerifiedVoting.org Site;
TURN ON THE MEDIA - TAKE ACTION NOW
This week Media for Democracy launched an alert related to electronic voting, calling on people to quickly send an email to the major television executives asking them to cover the electronic voting issue more responsibly.
ACTION: Go to http://www.mediafordemocracy.us/campaign/evote and send a letter. Do it now!!
Media For Democracy 2004 is a non-partisan citizens' initiative to monitor mainstream news coverage of the 2004 elections and advocate fair, democratic and issue-oriented standards of reporting. The project links voters with more than 100 independent media reform groups in a targeted campaign to prevent the types of media mistakes -- such as early, erroneous and politically biased projections -- that plagued the 2000 election.
VERIFIEDVOTING.ORG ENDORSES GRAHAM BILL
Bob Kibrick has completed a detailed analysis and comparison of the three Senate voting bills. VerifiedVoting.org is continuing to enthusiastically support S.1980 only. While Boxer's bill (S.2045) is very similar to Graham's bill, the fact that Graham's is an identical companion to Holt's makes a faster enactment possible.
Senate voting bill comparison report:
TRUEMAJORITY'S "THE COMPUTER ATE MY VOTE" CAMPAIGN
February 17, speaking outside the National Association of Secretaries of State, TrueMajority began a campaign to call for a vvpt. Citing the SoS support in California, Nevada, and Washington, TrueMajority is attempting to convince Secretaries of State in 10 target states to call for vvpt. They are inundating the State offices with protest FAXs sent by TrueMajority members.
So many FAXs went to the Massachusetts office that the machines couldn't handle it, and the staff lodged a complaint with the police. Brian McNiff, spokesman for Secretary of State Galvin, claimed that the campaign was off target because MA doesn't used paperless machines. What he failed to mention is that their HAVA plan calls for DREs in the future. Unfortunately the article doesn't call attention to that.
AP REPORTS THAT 29% WILL BE VOTING ON DREs IN NOVEMBER
The Associated Press reported on the number of voters who would be voting on electronic voting machines. Nationally 50 million voters, about 29 percent, will be using electronic voting machines in November.
CONNECTICUT BILL FOR VVPT INTRODUCED; GO TO THE PUBLIC HEARING FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27!
In the Connecticut legislature, bill SB-388 requiring a voter-verified paper trail, was introduced and has been referred to the Joint Committee on Government Administration and Elections. The public hearing is tomorrow, Friday, February. 27.
ACTION: Go to the hearing to support the bill if you can!
CALIFORNIANS, PLEASE VOTE ON PAPER INSTEAD OF DREs!
The California Voter Foundation (CVF) has targeted 14 DRE counties with a plea to voters to apply for absentee ballots and drop their ballots off at the polls on Super Tuesday, March 2 or mail them in.
ACTION: Though the application deadline (Feb. 24) has passed, Shelley has ordered the registrars of TSx counties (Kern, San Diego, San Joachin, Solano) to allow voters to vote on absentee ballots on election day. Pick up your ballot at the registrar's office and VOTE ON PAPER. If you live in other DRE counties, you may be able to get absentee ballots at your registrar's office. Shelley is encouraging them to provide paper for voters who want it. Check on this in your county! Vote on paper!
SUPPORT CALIFORNIA'S VVPT LEGISLATION!
State Senators Perata (D) and Johnson ( R) have introduced a bill (SB-1438) to require a voter-verified paper audit trail. Also, Assemblyman Levine, of the 40th District and the Majority Whip, has introduced AB-2843. This bill was introduced as a 'place holder' and will be fleshed-out via amendments.
ACTION: Contact your state representatives and urge them to support these bills.
OHIO STILL LOOKING AT DREs; LEGISLATORS RESIST, NEED YOUR HELP
Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has asked for the money to purchase new DRE voting machines. State lawmakers want a little time to ensure that the state is making the right decision.
Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell will request $128 million from the state Controlling Board on March 8 to buy new voting machines. State Senators Jeff Jacobson and Teresa Fedor are asking the Controlling Board to reject the funding until security questions are resolved. If the request is rejected, Blackwell's office will propose all 88 Ohio counties move to optical scan ballot systems, which have a paper record of the votes cast, said Blackwell's spokesman, Carlo LoParo.
You might remember that Senator Fedor introduced a vvpt bill (S 167) into the Ohio Senate last December.
ACTION: Ohio voters, call your representatives to support this bill!!
WASHINGTON STATE, NOT SOS, INTRODUCES VVPT BILL
Activists in Washington state have been working hard lobbying the State Legislature to ensure that citizens in Washington have a good, secure voting system. The activists have even gone to the extent of writing their own legislation (HB-2978) and lobbying for members of the state Senate and House for co-sponsors. The text of the bill is here.
ACTION: Washington voters, contact your representatives to support this bill!
Secretary of State Reed, contrary to the tone of the press he is receiving, is introducing bills that will not guarantee the safeguards Washington needs. Of Reed's bills, HB-2745 died in the House before it could go to the floor. A substitute Senate bill, ESSB-6420, was passed by the Senate and sent on to the House for amendments and a vote.
Members of Citizens for Voting Integrity - WA and Whatcom Fair Voting are watching the progress of the legislation very closely. Contact your Senators in opposition to this bill!
NEW YORK LEGISLATURE PASSES VVPB BILLS, NOW GOING TO CONFERENCE
On February 23, the New York State Senate has passed bill S6207, calling for, among other things, voter verified paper ballots on any DREs used in New York. The Assembly also passed a new version of last year's VVPB bill, A8847-A. These bills now have to have their differences worked out (and there are some significant ones) in conference before a final version can be passed.
ACTION: Common Cause of New York is calling for action, as follows: Please contact Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno at 518-455-3191, and urge him to conference with the Assembly on their respective voting packages. You can also contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Then, please contact Common Cause New York at email@example.com or 800-300-8707 to let them know that you took this action.
The fact that both houses of the state legislature are passing a VVPB bill is encouraging, and a tribute to the activism of New York State citizens. There are still some problems in the bills, however, for example, there seems to be no requirement in either bill that the paper ballot is the official ballot.
These bills are being evaluated by "New Yorkers for Verifiable Voting" and the results of that evaluation will be posted to the New York State page as soon as the evaluation is complete. (Editors Note: New Yorkers for Verifiable Voting can be located at: www.nyvv.org )
SUPPORT FLORIDA'S NEW VVPT BILL!
A bill to has been introduced in the Florida Legislature that would guarantee a voter-verified permanent paper record. Delray Beach Democrat, Anne Gannon, has introduced HB-1037. Here is the text of the bill (pdf).
ACTION: If you live in Florida, contact your state representatives in support of this bill!
MORE ON WEXLER'S FLORIDA LAWSUIT
The Florida court dismissed Congressman Wexler's lawsuit. He has asked for a final decision so he can decide on the next step. He will appeal the decision and/or file another lawsuit in Federal court.
In answer to Congressman Robert Wexler's lawsuit, the Florida Secretary of State, Glenda Hood; has taken the position that there will be no reason for any county with DREs to print any ballots for any reason. This means that not only will there not be a voter-verified paper ballot, but there will be no ballots printed at the end of the day from the computer's memory. In a statement to the media, the Department of State said that they have notified elections supervisors that touch screen ballots don't have to be included during manual recounts because there is no question about how voters intended to vote.
WORDY BALLOT REQUIRES iVOTRONIC + PAPER IN FLORIDA
In Pompano Beach (in Broward County), the description of one issue on the ballot is too long to fit on the ES&S touch screen, so voters will be filling in a circle with a pencil for that one question. All the rest of the voting will be done on the touch screens.
BIG COVERAGE IN INDIANAPOLIS
Indianapolis TV station, WISH-TV8, did a two-part investigative report with an additional follow-up report. The station's website sums up the tone of the report, "The investigation finds serious questions about security and troubling concerns on both how the technology is sold, and who is getting rich on public money." Purdue Professor Eugene Spafford was our side's main proponent in the investigation. Incidentally, as reference material he used a document VerifiedVoting.org prepared for him. You can find it now online at:
In addition, the investigative reporters interviewed officials from MicroVote and ES&S. They also did a test vote with permission from the Marion County Election Director and the assistance of a technician from ES&S. The optical scan machines counted the test ballots correctly BUT 10 of 50 votes were changed when the totals were sent to the central tabulating unit. Officials claimed that if it had been a real election, quality control procedures would have prevented the problem. We wonder why they didn't use those procedures in a televised demonstration intended to show Indiana how the election system works.
VALENCIA COUNTY, NEW MEXICO BUYS SEQUOIA DESPITE PROTEST
In New Mexico, Valencia County decided to purchase 115 Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen voting machines for $518, 668. The machines will be used in the municipal election on March 2. On February 4, County Commission Chairman Gary Daves signed the lease payment agreement with the State Department of Finance Administration despite protests by Commissioners Alicia Aguilar and Al Padilla and audience members.
PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 10TH HEARING ON ELECTRONIC VOTING ISSUES
On Wednesday, March 10, 2004 from 12-4 p.m., the Democratic Policy Committee and the State Government Committee (D) will hold a hearing at Philadelphia City Hall (Room 201 - Conversation Hall), Philadelphia, PA to discuss issues involving electronic voting. They will examine the voting process to determine what measures need be taken to assure the accuracy, integrity and security of computer-assisted elections. Voting security expert, Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, and Lynn Landes, freelance journalist specializing in voting technology and democracy issues, have been invited to testify. Rodney Oliver (717)787-8529, the Executive Director of the PA House State Government Committee (D) will host the event. State Representative Babette Josephs is Chair of the PA House State Government Committee.
ACTION: Attend this hearing and support Dr. Mercuri and Ms. Landes!
VIRGINIA ENCOUNTERS YET ANOTHER VOTING MACHINE "GLITCH"
We are becoming weary of voting machine "glitches" that officials explain away by saying the vote totals weren't affected - when they really have no way of knowing that without doing a true audit. Here's another case in point, in the Richmond Virginia Democratic primary.
The bottom of an article with a subtitle, "New voting machines get generally strong reviews in local tests," tells us about "Just One Glitch." Here's the report:
"City Registrar Kirk Showalter said both sets of machines worked well, with one exception. The eSlate machines at the Hermitage shut down at about 3:30 p.m. when the unit that controlled them "fried." While that unit was being replaced, about a dozen voters had to use paper ballots, she said. The glitch wasn't expected to cause any problem retrieving the votes that had been cast."
NEW FEATURES ON VERIFIEDVOTING.ORG SITE
In our attempt to give you as many tools as possible to support your work toward passing the bills, we have put a pre-written "Resolution In Support of H.R.2239 and S.1980" on-line for your use. This resolution can be used for state or local political party committees or in caucus states to get the endorsement on the local and/or state plank and, hopefully, get it on the national plank.
We have also begun a library with audio and visual files. If you need an audio or video piece for a presentation, you can look in here and see what will work for you. Some of these files are more technical than others so you can pick your presentation depending on the audience.