I’ve been absent from the public eye for nearly four months, involved one of the most comprehensive examinations of voting information since 2005. I analyzed a sequential set of 80 voter history lists, 1,000 electronic poll book reports, a dozen master electronic poll book records, 50 participating voter lists, internal worksheets on purges, transaction logs for updates and changes in voter lists, user guides, correspondence and staff training materials. The findings will help citizens oversee the 2012 election. My five-part report for citizen oversight of WHO CAN VOTE / WHO DID VOTE will be released at http://www.blackboxvoting.org, one major report per week, throughout the month of September 2011.
Four things the public must be able to see and authenticate:
1. Who can vote (the voter list)
2. Who did vote (participating voter list)
3. Chain of custody
4. The count
In what I believe is a truly pioneering evaluation, I’m going to take the public inside crucial parts of the voter list system — the lists
that dictate who can vote, and the lists that report who did vote (the
crucial check and balance which MUST MATCH the number of votes cast.)
In 2008, actor Tim Robbins went to vote in the presidential election and was told he was not registered. Only after repeated and firm assertion that he had registered to vote, and a considerable delay, was he allowed to vote. What happened? I have uncovered data that shows exactly how this situation can happen, and why it is likely to happen again in the 2012 presidential election unless simple steps are taken to resolve a widespread issue.
In Wisconsin, citizens who checked their voter records found them to be inaccurate. The histories reported that they had not voted in elections when they had; that they had voted absentee when they had not. (But who cares?) Your voter history is used to determine whether to keep or purge you from the rolls. Your vote method history (absentee, early, at polls) needs to MATCH the election results record. In other words, the number of absentee votes must MATCH the number of people in the voter history who voted absentee. Inaccurate voter histories will produce wrongful purging. Participating voter lists that don’t match number of votes violate one of the most crucial safeguards against vote count tampering.
Voter lists have to be updated, with changed addresses and so forth; how do such actions put you at risk for wrongful purging? I have located specific areas where procedural protections need to be added in order to prevent voter updates from producing wrongful purges. And what about “rightful purging”? The Help America Vote Act required cleansing of voter lists, which became a controversial political talking point. I’ll show you just how cluttered with duplicates the voter lists had become, and the immense job it was to clean them up.
Demographics are often cited to support or negate election results. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 contains provisions for tracking racial demographics in locations with a history of problems. These “Voting Rights” locations, by federal law, track the number of Black voters (and sometimes Hispanic, Asian or other minority groups). But are the reported demographics accurate? I found that these demographics are becoming increasingly inaccurate in at least one racially polarized county. Yet the demographics are frequently cited to tell the public the electronic count must be accurate because it “matches the demographics.” (What does that statement mean if the demographics are inaccurate?)
When then-US Representative Cynthia McKinney (later 2008 Green Party candidate for president) requested to examine the list of who voted in her 2006 congressional election, she was never given a thing. They used electronic poll books and no one seemed to know exactly what the poll list would look like. I have obtained approximately one thousand electronic poll logs, along with their accompanying master files. I will show you exactly what they look like, what to ask for, how to examine them, what safeguards are crucial to reduce risk with electronic poll books, now widely used in the USA.
Are there any problems with the software design in the ES&S/Diebold ExpressPoll system? (You betcha.) As they say, humans err but a computer can REALLY mess things up.
How does the voter list interact with the vote counting process, and could it be used to tamper? It’s not surprising that the voter list would supply a number of voters per precinct to be used with election results, to track turnout percentage. I WAS surprised, however, to see a more intimate relationship; one that could be used like a middleman, using the voter list software to actually tamper with the vote count itself.
In absentee voting locations — and over 25 states now have no-fault absentee voting — inaccurate “who voted” lists offer a direct connection to vote stuffing for insiders willing to exploit the lists.
I will also be posting some surveillance tapes from an election operation, with specific suggestions for procedural protections to preserve and protect surveillance tape data.
* * * * *
I think citizens will be able to tackle issues with stuffing, purging, double voting, and ghost voting with a much better understanding of how the system works and what to do.
My usual process is to examine information, then publish a report. For the first time, I decided to meet with an election commission to provide a preview of findings BEFORE publishing the report, to see if this will produce more constructive action. I traveled to Memphis to meet with all five members of the Shelby County Election Commission last week.
I’ll admit, I worry whether this approach will help or hurt. We will find out over the next two months whether a less adversarial approach can work in 2012. Will we see truly public, truly transparent, specific solutions which hold people accountable and get at underlying causes to correct them, along with full compliance with open records to let the public see and authenticate? Or will we see circling of the wagons, a focus on discrediting the messenger, partisan politics and generic reassurances?
Let’s watch this unfold. It will tell us a lot about what to expect and how we can all approach things in 2012.
* * * * *
The upcoming reports would not have been possible without the help of Susan Pynchon, of Florida Fair Elections Coalition; Kathleen Wynne, who played a behind the scenes but crucial role; a group of special technical friends, and the inspiration and example set by Shelby County Election Commissioner George Monger. Black Box Voting was kept alive during this quiet period by our loyal donors, and particularly by one donor (you know who you are), who knew of this project and helped us survive.
This is not to say there aren’t legitimate problems with Islam or with immigration, but some people have an ideological or economic interest in fanning the flames of racial hatred. Without an enemy, how can you justify a police state and massive spending on military?
How Joe Biden aided Clarence Thomas
The New Yorker has an article on Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni. The article describes how the Court has moved to adopt many of his hard right views. And it summarizes the case corroborating Anita Hill’s testimony against Thomas:
Thomas was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of fifty-two to forty-eight, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor any other part of the government has since seen fit to reëxamine the Thomas-Hill controversy. Still, a good deal of evidence has since emerged about the protagonists and their testimony. Even near the end of the hearings, several other women who had worked for Thomas were prepared to testify and corroborate Hill’s testimony that Thomas had a history of making female subordinates uncomfortable with personal and sexual talk. The group included Angela Wright, Rose Jourdain, and Sukari Hardnett; other associates of Thomas, among them Kaye Savage and Fred Cooke, would have testified about the nominee’s long-standing interest in pornography, which would have corroborated Hill’s account. But Joseph Biden, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee at the time, decided not to call these witnesses. This year, Lillian McEwen, a Washington lawyer who had a long-term romantic relationship with Thomas before he met Ginni, published a memoir, “D.C. Unmasked & Undressed.” She, too, remarked on the Justice’s “strong interest in pornography,” and she also said that Thomas scrutinized his work colleagues as prospective sexual partners. In short, virtually all the evidence that has emerged since the hearings corroborates Hill’s version of events. This, of course, makes Ginni Thomas’s phone call to Hill all the more puzzling. (Ginni Thomas did not respond to a request for comment; in an interview with the Daily Caller, a conservative Web site, she called her voice mail “a private matter” that was “probably a mistake on my part.” Justice Thomas also declined to comment.) Read more
Having succeeded in re-interpreting the First Amendment (on Citizens United) and the Second Amendment (on gun rights), Thomas’ next target is the Eighth Amendment: declaring “Obamacare”, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare unconstitutional. Don’t think it can’t happen.
Wednesday Media was asked if it could cover a meeting of Act For America (http://actforamerica.org/) in Chehalis on August 27th. [Editor’s note: ACT! for America is an organization devoted to speaking “the truth about radical Islam, terror and jihad.”] We tried, but it was a hard slog. Here are some notes from the meeting and what they are thinking about:
A group of perhaps 30 people met to discuss their concern with a stealth war that is being waged against the United States. The group was entirely white, predominately male, and the average age is estimated to be 50+. I did not spot a single person who looked like they could be under 35 to 40 years of age.
It’s an interesting group who appear to share a concern about the appointment and election of “devout Muslims” to important government positions. There is also concern about devout Muslim infiltration of the military and police forces. The speaker started with a recitation about the danger of the Muslim invasion and statement that when the Muslim population of an area increases beyond 25% that the Muslim population takes over, gets pushy and begins to implement Sharia Law. The speaker was quite clear that Sharia Law is meant to replace all constitutional law and is a completely different kind of law.
Act for America was reported to number about 170,000 people now across the United States with significant political influence through funding of a lobbyist in Washington DC who is knocking on the doors of the elected officials.
There was encouragement to make connections between Act for America and the Minutemen, the National Rifle Association and other groups with closely-aligned goals. American is under attack from radical Islam, from Iran, from Hamas. Europe is even worse, it can’t recover without a “shooting war” and that seems unlikely. There was some discussion that GOP candidate Mitt Romney just doesn’t get it. He has made comments in the debates that led some in this group to believe he does not see the Muslims as a threat to Constitutional law.
There was brief discussion of the threat of illegal immigration to the US, that we are under attack from many fronts, but the focus returned quickly to the threat of Hamas, Palestine and muslim extremists.
The speaker, Bill, was friendly, persuasive and articulate and made many clear statements about the threats we face, but the statements were striking and consistent in their lack of specifics. Statements about the implementation of Sharia law in communities in the US were not backed up with a single locale named where this has happened or is happening.
The group watched a video “Wall of Lies” on the territorial conflict between Israel and teh Palestinian people. This video was very well done, it was persuasive propaganda mixing current day footage of campus demonstrations for justice for Palestine, for boycotts of Israeli goods, with 50 and 60 year old quotes from Middle Eastern political leaders, with footage of Iranian demonstrations against the US and Israel and the inevitable footage of Adolph Hitler, the translation of Mein Kampf into Arabic and an attempt to establish some kind of axis of evil connection between the European Holocaust against the Jewish people and the current territorial conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people.
The meeting was well-organized, as was the speaker and the political material. The video was top shelf propaganda, well organized, edited and produced.
I am not sure how a person would go about opening a dialogue with this group to broaden their understanding of US/Israeli militarism, the influence and sway of US power in the regions of the world where US political leaders identify national security interests (I think these interests are indistinguishable from control of oil and mineral resources and the geopolitics of controlling those resources) and how strategic US interests invade the lives of other human beings on the planet. I would love to see this group and others like it exposed to a more rational analysis of Middle East politics from persons like Steve Niva, Peter Bohmer or Larry Mosqueda (to drop just a few names), but that exposure seems pretty unlikely.
Will post up some photos sometime soon, but they are pretty unremarkable.