Jun 25, 2006
TAKE ACTION TO HOLD CALIFORNIA'S 50TH DISTRICT ACCOUNTABLE TO HANDCOUNT BALLOTS TABULATED BY DIEBOLD MACHINES. THE VACATED SEAT OF DUKE CUNNINGHAM MAY NOT HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY THE REPUBLICANS. HELP PDA BY TAKING ACTION TO SEE THAT DISTRICT 50 IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO THE ELECTION INTEGRITY LAWS FOR ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES WITH NO PAPER TRAILS:
Dear fellow PDA Activists,
I've been working, like thousands of you, on Election Protection for a year and a half.
PDA Advisory Board members Rep. John Conyers and his Sr. Legislative Asst. Joel Segal helped hold the first federal hearings on voter suppression and machine anomalies in Ohio that resulted in the historic challenge to the Ohio electors in the House of Representatives, backed by Senator Barbara Boxer.
PDA Board Member and Constitutional lawyer John Bonifaz appeared at those hearings on behalf of election integrity and understood the peril to democracy so deeply he is now seeking office as Massachusetts' top election official, Secretary of State.
Our two founding issues were opposing the war in Iraq and re-establishing honest elections in the U.S, because the elections that brought us this war had decisive anomalies that were never addressed.
Election integrity is under the microscope in San Diego County. The 50th U.S. Congressional seat was given there, in special election, to Brian Bilbray (R) over Francine Busy (D) by three percentage points. The vote was counted on Diebold software, widely publicized to be technically vulnerable to tampering. The machines, both opti-scanner and DREs, were not kept in proper custody before the election.
PDA insists the paper in this election - paper ballots and Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail --be counted to determine the accuracy of the machine count in this race. For this reason, we have issued the statement below. Please read below and take action!
Chair Progressive Democrats of America
Progressive Democrats of America declares No Confidence in the machine tally results of California's 50th district June 6 Congressional special election.
PDA calls for a full hand-count of both the paper ballots and the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail to determine the level of accuracy or error in the Diebold voting system used in this election.
The reason for this statement is that the Diebold machines, which have memory cards, were not kept in proper custody as prescribed in guidelines issued March 22, 2006, by Sandra Steinbach, Chair of Voting Systems Board of the National Association of State Elections Directors (NASED): "Every memory card requires at least the same level of protection as the ballot boxes and ballots used in the election. To prevent corruption of memory cards NASED hereby adopts an official addendum to the qualification of all voting systems that include a memory card that functions to store and transfer ballot images or tabulation data: 1. Throughout the life of the voting system, the election official shall maintain control of all memory cards and keep a perpetual chain of custody record for all of the memory cards used with the system.
Programmed memory cards shall be stored securely at all times with logged accesses and transfers.
The concluding statement of Steinbach's letter is this: "Failure to comply with this addendum negates the voting system's status as a NASED-qualified voting system."
This election had national significance to both major parties bitterly contesting balance in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The margin of difference in the unofficial results, with many votes still uncounted, is within 5 percent.
The San Diego Registrar followed practices, established before the arrival of computer voting, that create broad security risks now. Pollworkers were allowed to take home machines; were stored in unsecured locations such as cars and garages, for days and weeks prior to the election.
The machines are the easily-tampered-with Diebold systems which were publicly shown (by Harri Hursti, Dec. 13, 2006, and others) to be completely hackable in less than two minutes time, with no password required. San Diego's breach in security is in direct defiance of regulations both by the CA Secretary of State and the Federal oversight board who had warned against precisely such a breach.
Security risks are amplified by hidden programming errors. In Pottawattamie County, Iowa, on the same day as the CA-50 election, two Republican elections were counted on opti-scan systems and the results looked suspicious to the elections director. Were two popular incumbents really losing to two little-known challengers? The opti-scan was stopped and all the ballots were hand-counted. In a case of healthy suspicion serving democracy, the voters' intent was read by human eyes and the apparent "losers" were victors. Subsequently, technicians determined that the opti-scanner had not been programmed correctly for the ballots for those races, and was "reading" those ballots wrong.
We call on the candidates in CA's 50th to strengthen American democracy and support a hand-count of paper ballots and paper trail in this election.
The outcome of the hand-count, whatever it is, will reflect the voters' intent and verify the degree of machine accuracy or error, at least in this one election.
Let's honor the voters. The hasty swearing-in of the Republican candidate dishonored them. As the ceremony went forward, thousands of votes were not yet counted and the Secretary of State had not certified the election results. No wonder participation in democracy is at an all-time low: this haste sends a signal that, for many of our officials, a large percentage of voters are superfluous, unnecessary, and more or less a bureaucratic burden. Nobody likes to be a burden. So nice people - increasingly - not only don't engage in political debate - they don't vote!
ACTION: SIGN THE PETITION FOR A HAND-COUNT: http://www.velvetrevolution.us/content/busby-bilbray/busby-bilbray.php
PDA calls for a hand-count of the paper ballots and paper trails in California's 50th district before recognizing the legitimacy of any announced winner. We make this statement for the sake of democracy at a time of technological transition more than for the sake of a particular candidate, party, or outcome. The outcome we wish is a determination of true voter intent, which, because of the custody breaches and well-publicized security vulnerabilities of the voting system used, cannot be determined by the machine tally in this race.
The full text of NASED Chair Sandra Steinbach's letter:
March 22, 2006 National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) Voting System Board Voting System Memory Card Issues Memory card security is an important issue that requires some additional attention. They are used in many voting systems, both optical scan and direct recording electronic. Among the systems using memory cards is the Diebold AccuVote optical scan system. On December 23, 2005, the Chairperson of the NASED Voting Systems Standards Board contacted representatives of CIBER, Inc.; Wyle Laboratories and Diebold Election Systems, Inc. with a request for additional information regarding the qualification testing of the Diebold voting equipment and the memory cards associated with those systems. The letter read, in part: It is clear the memory card and ABasic component of the Diebold voting system should have been tested, but were not. From Ciber and Wyle labs, NASED independent test authorities, I request a full, written explanation of how this happened and why. Please respond by January 3,
2006. I expect to make this report public and anticipate Diebold's cooperation.
In the intervening weeks NASED has received general responses from Wyle and CIBER, as well as detailed reports of security analysis of the Diebold memory card's ABasic Code by CIBER and one issued by the California Secretary of State in conjunction with its certification documentation. Both of these studies were performed in response to requests from the State of California to Diebold Election Systems.
Both the California and CIBER reports arrive at the same core conclusion:
Diebold voting systems which include the ABasic code on the memory card can be safely used in elections. Physical security measures should be used to mitigate risks to the system; but these security measures are practical procedures already in place in many election jurisdictions. Even without the additional explicit security measures, corruption of the election results in an official election would require the active participation of the election officials and a person with a detailed working knowledge of the voting system programs.
Memory cards are used in many NASED-qualified voting systems. The memory card function is to store and transfer ballot images or tabulation data. It is sealed inside the voting device and its presence is necessary for the operation of the equipment. Corruption of the memory card with the intent to change vote totals can only occur after the device has been set for election and before the first vote is cast.
March 22, 2006 Every memory card requires at least the same level of protection as the ballot boxes and ballots used in the election. To prevent corruption of memory cards NASED hereby adopts an official addendum to the qualification of all voting systems that include a memory card that functions to store and transfer ballot images or tabulation data:
1. Throughout the life of the voting system, the election official shall maintain control of all memory cards and keep a perpetual chain of custody record for all of the memory cards used with the system. Programmed memory cards shall be stored securely at all times with logged accesses and transfers.
2. Immediately after the memory card is installed in the voting station, the card shall be sealed against unauthorized access. The voting station shall not be set into election mode until after the memory card is sealed inside.
3. Use controlled serialized seals that are tamper resistant and resistant to inadvertent breakage along with verifiable seal logs.
4. In post-election mode, print the results report prior to removing the memory card from the optical scanner. If additional reports other than the results report are available, print these as well.
Failure to comply with this addendum negates the voting system's status as a NASED-qualified voting system.
Sandra J. Steinbach Chairperson NASED Voting Systems Board
THIS IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT, SO PLEASE SIGN AND PASS ALONG THE NETWORK TO GIVE YOUR SUPPORT FOR ELECTION INTEGRITY LAWS TO BE FOLLOWED IN ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES
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