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Elections Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Elections Media Articles in Major Media


Below are key excerpts of highly revealing elections articles reported in the major media. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These elections articles are listed by article date. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.


Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Sorry, I Can’t Find Your Name
2008-10-23, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/23/opinion/23thu1.htm

Voting rolls, which are maintained by local election officials, are one of the weakest links in American democracy and problems are growing. Republicans have been pressing for sweeping voter purges in many states. They have also fought to make it harder to enroll new voters. Voting experts say there could be serious problems at the polls on Nov. 4. A number of states — including the battleground state of Florida — have adopted no match, no vote rules. Voters can be removed from the rolls if their names do not match a second list, such as a Social Security or driver’s license database. But (like the U.S. mail) lists of this kind are notoriously mistake-filled, and one typo can cause a no match. In Ohio, Republicans recently sued the secretary of state, demanding that she provide local officials with a dubious match list. As many as 200,000 new voters could have been blocked from casting ballots. The Supreme Court rejected the suit, but Republicans are still looking for ways to use the list on Election Day. For this election, voters need to be prepared to fight for their right to cast a ballot. They should try to confirm before Nov. 4 that they are on the rolls — something that in many states can be done on a secretary of state or board of elections Web site. If their state permits it, they should vote early. If voters find on Election Day that their names are not on the rolls, they should contact a voters’ rights group like Election Protection, at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Note: A recent report in Rolling Stone by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast details many of these tactics to eliminate voters from the rolls. To watch a related video by Greg Palast click here. For many disturbing reports from major media sources on threats to free and fair elections in the US, click here. And for a powerful, five-minute video showing both the ways your vote can disappear and what you can do about it, click here.


Secrets and Shams of Political Polls
2008-09-18, Newswise.com
http://www.newswise.com/p/articles/view/544442/

In the 13 years David Moore worked for the Gallup Poll, he learned that media polls are not used to uncover the “will” or thoughts of the public, but rather to manufacture a “public opinion” that grabs the attention of journalists and can be used to fill media news holes. [Moore] draws on first-hand experience as well as the history of modern media polling practices – focusing particularly on the four most influential polls: New York Times/CBS News, Washington Post/ABC News, Pew Research, and USA Today/Gallup – to reveal the inner-workings of pollsters and the cycle of bias that tends to promote the powerful and suppress dissent in his new book The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls. Analyzing pollsters’ problematic methodology ... Moore reveals how polls distort voters’ election preferences as well as the public’s support for or opposition to government policies. The net result, he says, is that polls give false readings of which candidates voters prefer and what the public wants, which ultimately determines the democratic process. In his new book, Moore shows how polls create a “legitimacy spin cycle.” Those in power frame an issue to favor their position, while the press limits its coverage of sources that might disagree with the administration. Pollsters, in turn, develop surveys to dovetail with the news stories and the people – many of whom have little idea of what is happening beyond the limited information presented to them by the news media – are pressured into answering questions that reinforce the original position of those in power.

Note: For lots more on the many threats to free and fair elections in the United States, click here.


Opinion: Let's impeach e-voting
2008-09-08, Computerworld
http://computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyN...

Were software patches that didn't fix problems but instead changed results applied to electronic voting machines in two Georgia counties? Were the patches applied at the instruction of a top Diebold executive, without informing local election officials? This charge has been leveled several times since a rather surprising election in which two Democratic candidates had comfortable leads in polls just before Election Day yet lost by substantial margins. Of course, there's a strong correlation between your degree of suspicion of those results and which party you support. But we should all be frightened if there's no way to prove that tampering didn't occur. And when voting machines are electronic, paperless and proprietary, it's all but impossible to do a recount or check for errors in a way that can uncover a malicious hack. Election consultant Chris Hood told Rolling Stone magazine that he was working for Diebold in Georgia in 2002 when the head of the company's election division arrived to distribute a patch to workers. That code was applied to only about 5,000 machines in two counties. Hood says it was an unauthorized patch that was kept hidden from state officials. The Georgia allegations are disturbing but, sadly, not unique. An attorney and IT security consultant last month cited that incident to renew challenges to 2004 Ohio elections, which had a similar mix of paperless Diebold machines and statistically curious results.

Note: For many more reports of the risks associated with electronic voting systems, click here.


Warning on voting machines reveals oversight failure
2008-08-24, McClatchy Newspapers
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/50485.html

Disclosure of an election computer glitch that could drop ballot totals for entire precincts is stirring new worries that an unofficial laboratory testing system failed for years to detect an array of flaws in $1.5 billion worth of voting equipment sold nationwide since 2003. Texas-based Premier Elections Solutions [formerly Diebold Inc.] last week alerted at least 1,750 jurisdictions across the country that special precautions are needed to address the problem in tabulation software affecting all 19 of its models dating back a decade. Voting experts reacted skeptically to the company's assertion that election workers' routine crosschecks of ballot totals would have spotted any instances where its servers failed to register some precinct vote totals when receiving data from multiple memory cards. Like nearly all of the nation's modern voting equipment, Premier's products were declared "qualified" under a voluntary testing process overseen from the mid 1990s until 2005 by the National Association of State Election Directors. Computer scientists, some state officials and election watchdog groups allege that the NASED-sponsored testing system was a recipe for disaster, shrouded in secrecy, and allowing equipment makers to help design the tests. As a result, charged Susan Greenhalgh, a spokeswoman for watchdog group Voter Action, the systems on which Americans will decide the race between Barack Obama and John McCain in November are "scandalously flawed"' and "the integrity of this election is in question."

Note: Why isn't this important news being picked up by other major media?


Voting machine gets LinuxWorld tryout
2008-08-02, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/01/BUFD1224UC.DTL

Like many people, Alan Dechert was outraged when the 2000 presidential election was thrown to the Supreme Court because nobody could figure out how Florida's voters had voted. An engineer who has designed and tested software for a living, he thinks the outcomes of elections should never be in doubt. So Dechert and a couple of colleagues founded the Open Voting Consortium, a nonprofit group dedicated to delivering "trustable and open voting systems." In addition to lobbying against proprietary voting machines, they have spent the last several years working with scientists and engineers around the world to design and build a voting machine of their own. On Tuesday their machine will be put to the test at LinuxWorld in San Francisco, where the 10,000 people who are expected to attend the conference will get to vote in a mock presidential election pitting Barack Obama against John McCain. "The voting system in the U.S. is still not sufficiently accurate to determine the winner in a very close election," said Dechert, who has worked at Borland International and Intel developing and testing software. "By the time we're done (with the mock election), nobody will have any doubt." The code that runs this voting machine is based on the work of a former [U.C.] Berkeley student, Ka-Ping Yee, who now works at Google. At a price of about $400, the new voting machine is a tenth of the cost of proprietary machines ... because it's simply designed and based on free software. Its workings are transparent, he said, unlike some of the electronic voting machines that California decertified for security problems.

Note: How could the U.S. government allow private companies to develop machines with secret codes the government can't access in the first place? For a summary of the many problems with proprietary electronic voting machines, click here.


McCain's 'big advantage'
2008-06-25, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/24/EDPC11EHS4.DTL

Charlie Black, senior adviser to John McCain, caused a fluff by saying that a terrorist attack on U.S. soil would be a "big advantage" to his candidate. No one mentioned that eight years ago, the Project for a New American Century called for "a new Pearl Harbor" that could move the American people to accept the neoconservative vision of militarized global domination. Then 9/11 happened, lifting George W. Bush from the shadows of a disputed election to the heights of a "war presidency." Bush has taken on unprecedented powers since the events of 9/11. On that day, the president issued his "Declaration of Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks" under the authority of the National Emergencies Act. This declaration, which can be rescinded by joint resolution of Congress, has instead been extended six times. In 2007, the declaration was quietly strengthened with the issuance of National Security Presidential Directive 51, which gave the president the authority to do whatever he deems necessary in a vaguely defined "catastrophic emergency," including everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Not a single congressional hearing was held on this directive. Will Congress act decisively to remove the president's emergency powers, challenge the directive and defend the Constitution?


Capitol Chaos
2008-06-08, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/06/INFS114789.DTL

[California] Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi had no intention of voting for AB2818, a bill that the Castro Valley Democrat feared could undermine its stated goal of protecting affordable housing. But on May 28, she nearly approved it - without her knowledge, and without her presence on the Assembly floor. As the roll call began, Hayashi was engaged in a budget subcommittee meeting on the Capitol's fourth floor. Suddenly, two floors below, the light next to her name on the big electronic voting board in the Assembly chamber turned green, a "yes" vote. Seconds later, it turned red. Then green. Red. Green. Finally, after 22 seconds of alternating colors, the space next to Hayashi's name went blank. While there are conflicting accounts of exactly what caused this dizzying sequence, this much is clear: Two people had their hands on Hayashi's voting switches during the roll call on AB2818 - and one was acting against her will. "Ghost voting" was not the only disturbing episode as the Assembly took up 316 bills in the three days leading up to the deadline for measures to pass their house of origin. In the frenzied treadmill, there was little or no debate on most matters, important bills died when legislators failed to vote, and votes were being cast for members without their express consent. In the Hayashi case, eyewitnesses said her initial "yes" vote was cast by Assemblyman Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, an assistant majority floor leader who colleagues said had taken the liberty of voting for other missing members as bills were being rushed to beat the deadline. "I don't recall it, but I don't deny it either," de León said.

Note: For lots more on problems with voting systems, click here.


Clinton, Obama are Wall Street darlings
2008-03-21, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-wallstdems21mar21,1,1953...

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who are running for president as economic populists, are benefiting handsomely from Wall Street donations, easily surpassing Republican John McCain in campaign contributions from the troubled financial services sector. It is part of a broader fundraising shift toward Democrats, compared to past campaigns when Republicans were the favorites of Wall Street. The flow of campaign cash is a measure of how open-fisted banks and other financial institutions have been to politicians of both parties. Concern is rising that "no matter who the Democratic nominee is and who wins in November, Wall Street will have a friend in the White House," said Massie Ritsch of the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations. "The door will be open to these big banks." Sen. Clinton of New York is leading the way, bringing in at least $6.29 million from the securities and investment industry, compared with $6.03 million for Sen. Obama of Illinois and $2.59 million for McCain. Those figures include donations from the investment companies' employees and political action committees. The candidates' receipts reflect a broader trend that demonstrates how money follows power in Washington. It suggests that the nation's money managers are betting heavily that either Clinton or Obama will capture the White House and that Democrats will retain control of Congress. "What that Wall Street money means is that few people in Washington, including the leading presidential candidates, say a thing when the government moves to bail out Wall Street before it helps homeowners," said David Sirota, a liberal activist and former congressional aide.

Note: For more insight into the relationship between big finance and big government, click here.


West 'embraces sham democracies'
2008-01-31, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/7219708.stm

The US, EU and other democracies are accepting flawed and unfair elections out of political expediency, Human Rights Watch says in its annual report. Allowing autocrats to pose as democrats without demanding they uphold civil and political rights risked undermining human rights worldwide, it warned. HRW said Pakistan, Thailand, Bahrain, Jordan, Nigeria, Kenya and Russia had been falsely claiming to be democratic. In the report, HRW said established democracies such as the US and members of the European Union were increasingly tolerating autocrats "claiming the mantle of democracy". "In 2007 too many governments ... acted as if simply holding a vote is enough to prove a nation 'democratic', and Washington, Brussels and European capitals played along. The Bush administration has spoken of its commitment to democracy abroad but often kept silent about the need for all governments to respect human rights." HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said it had become too easy for autocrats to get away with mounting a sham democracy "because too many Western governments insist on elections and leave it at that. They don't press governments on the key human rights issues that make democracy function - a free press, peaceful assembly, and a functioning civil society that can really challenge power. It seems Washington and European governments will accept even the most dubious election so long as the 'victor' is a strategic or commercial ally," Mr Roth said.


Who decides who'll be allowed on TV debates?
2008-01-24, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/01/24/MNJDUJ0TP.DTL

The Nevada Supreme Court's ruling allowing a cable network to exclude Rep. Dennis Kucinich from a Democratic presidential debate was barely a blip on the media radar screen. But in the long term, the court decision might prove to be [very] significant. It constituted the strongest judicial statement yet of news organizations' near-absolute power to control participation in pre-election forums. Kucinich, the Ohio congressman who polls in the low single digits but has a fervent following among his party's anti-war base, [charged] that the cable channel had promised to let him in when he met its standards, then abruptly changed those standards to keep him out. MSNBC said initially that the debate was open to Democrats who placed in the top four in a national poll. It invited Kucinich on Jan. 9 after a Gallup Poll a few days earlier ranked him fourth. But two days later, after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson dropped out of the race, the channel narrowed its criteria to the top three candidates and withdrew Kucinich's invitation. The day before the debate, a Nevada judge ordered MSNBC to let Kucinich participate, saying the cable operator had entered into a binding contract that it couldn't rescind once the candidate accepted. The state's high court quickly granted review and, an hour before the debate, ruled 7-0 in the cable channel's favor. The bottom line: Debates, the public's sole opportunity to see competing candidates in a neutral setting, are the prerogative of the sponsoring organizations - typically, these days, the news media - which set the criteria and have free rein to alter them.

Note: For a summary of reliable reports on major problems with the electoral process, click here.


South Carolina Primary Vulnerable to Fraud
2008-01-16, CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0801/16/ldt.01.html

Well, new questions tonight about the electronic voting machines that will be used in the upcoming South Carolina primary. Those voting machines do not have a paper trail, and as Kitty Pilgrim now reports, that could leave this election vulnerable to fraud and a possibility of recounting. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Election activists warn the 11,400 ES&S voting machines used in the [South Carolina] primaries could malfunction. And without a paper trail, will not be able to be accurately recounted. This as New Hampshire begins recounting its results today. New Hampshire's recount [is] made possible by their paper trail. South Carolina's state attorney general defends its paperless system saying in the event of a botched election, "Our grand jury would investigate and we would prosecute any election fraud that goes on." But fraud isn't the only concern. HOLLY JACOBSON, VOTERACTION.ORG: It's not just that these systems can be tampered with, but also that the systems have been seemingly designed poorly, and they fail on Election Day. Fraud or intent for fraud aside, these systems just don't seem to work well. And that, we know. PILGRIM: In Sarasota County, Florida, in 2006, the congressional race tallied an alarmingly high number of missing votes, 18,000. In 2007, security concerns led Ohio to decommission a similar model to those that will be used in South Carolina. The South Carolina League of Women's Voters released a report this week, "This system has not been designed with security as a basic requirement and it should not be used for voting in South Carolina."(END VIDEOTAPE)

Note: For a summary of reliable reports on major problems with the new electronic voting machines, click here.


Kucinich Seeks NH Dem Vote Recount
2008-01-11, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22608231

Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who won less than 2 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, said Thursday he wants a recount to ensure that all ballots in his party's contest were counted. The Ohio congressman cited "serious and credible reports, allegations and rumors" about the integrity of Tuesday results. In a letter dated Thursday, Kucinich said he does not expect significant changes in his vote total, but wants assurance that "100 percent of the voters had 100 percent of their votes counted." Kucinich alluded to online reports alleging disparities around the state between hand-counted ballots, which tended to favor Sen. Barack Obama, and machine-counted ones that tended to favor Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He also noted the difference between pre-election polls, which indicated Obama would win, and Clinton's triumph by a 39 percent to 37 percent margin. [Deputy Secretary of State David] Scanlon said his office had received several phone calls since Tuesday, mostly from outside the state, questioning the results. New Hampshire's voting machines are not linked in any way, which Scanlon says reduces the likelihood of tampering with results on a statewide level. Also, the results can be checked against paper ballots. "I think people from out of state don't completely understand how our process works and they compare it to the system that might exist in Florida or Ohio, where they have had serious problems," he said. "Perhaps the best thing that could happen for us is to have a recount to show the people that ... the votes that were cast on election day were accurately reflected in the results."

Note: Except for this sparsely reported AP story, why didn't any media articles raise the question of voting machine manipulation? The SF Chronicle pointed out, "Pollster Mervin Field, a dean of American polling who has been measuring public opinion for more than six decades, notes that seven public and two private polls all reported on ... the day before the election that Obama was ahead of Clinton anywhere from 9 to 11 points." MSNBC's Chris Matthews stated: "Even our own exit polls, taken as people came out of voting, showed [Obama] ahead. So what's going on here?" For lots more on voting manipulation, click here.


How did pollsters blow it in Clinton-Obama race?
2008-01-10, Seattle Times (One of Seattle's two leading newspapers)
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2004116840_poll10.html

For days, poll after poll showed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama opening a big lead heading into the New Hampshire Democratic primary. But when the votes were counted, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won. Even she seemed surprised. Were the polls all wrong? Did the pollsters misjudge how many women would vote? Did voters lie when pollsters called? Regardless of the answers, many analysts urged a post-mortem to figure out what the heck happened in New Hampshire. "It is simply unprecedented for so many polls to have been so wrong," said Gary Langer, the polling director for ABC News, in a memo posted at his Web site. "We need to know why." Pollsters accurately predicted John McCain's comeback win in the GOP race. They nailed John Edwards' third-place finish among Democrats. But at least a dozen polls had the senator from Illinois defeating Clinton, almost all showing Obama gaining and opening a lead on Clinton. One survey for C-SPAN and Reuters showed Obama up 42-29 percent over Clinton. Six public polls for news media and universities showed him with an average lead of 8.3 percentage points. None showed Clinton close, let alone ahead. Yet she beat Obama by 39-36 percent. So what happened? A number of bloggers Wednesday cited the "wildly inaccurate" polls as evidence that the vote was rigged. "Other folks that I've spoken to ... share my concern at this hour," wrote blogger Brad Friedman, a Los Angeles-based election-fraud watchdog, on bradblog.com. Bloggers across the nation keyed into the fact that 81 percent of New Hampshire votes were being counted on machines that an HBO documentary alleged are easily hacked.

Note: The Los Angeles Times exit poll showed Obama with 44% and Clinton with 35%. Many experts claim that polls can not be off that much. A Washington Post blog mentions the interesting fact "Vote tallies from the New Hampshire Secretary of State show that she won by 4.23 percentage points in the counties using Diebold optical scanners, but lost by 5.81 points in those where paper ballots are counted by hand." For lots more on voting manipulation, click here. The HBO documentary available here is also highly revealing.


Can You Count on Voting Machines?
2008-01-06, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/magazine/06Vote-t.html

In the last three election cycles, touch-screen machines have become one of the most mysterious and divisive elements in modern electoral politics. In hundreds of instances ... they [have failed] unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices “flip” from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish. Most famously, in the November 2006 Congressional election in Sarasota, Fla., touch-screen machines recorded an 18,000-person “undervote” for a race decided by fewer than 400 votes. The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe — disgruntled citizens and ... computer geeks — but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government. One by one, states are renouncing the use of touch-screen voting machines. California and Florida decided to get rid of their electronic voting machines last spring, and last month, Colorado decertified about half of its touch-screen devices. Also last month, Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio secretary of state, released a report in the wake of the Cuyahoga crashes arguing that touch-screens “may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process.” She was so worried she is now forcing Cuyahoga to scrap its touch-screen machines and go back to paper-based voting — before the Ohio primary, scheduled for March 4. Michael Shamos, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University who has examined voting-machine systems for more than 25 years, estimates that about 10 percent of the touch-screen machines “fail” in each election.

Note: 10% of the machines fail, yet many still believe the results from previous elections were accurate. For many revealing reports on the serious problems with electronic voting machines, click here.


Sources: Bhutto was to give U.S. lawmakers vote-rigging report
2008-01-01, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/01/01/pakistan.voterigging/

On the day she died, Benazir Bhutto planned to hand over to visiting U.S. lawmakers a report accusing Pakistan's intelligence services of a plot to rig parliamentary elections, sources close to the slain former Pakistani prime minister told CNN Tuesday. Bhutto was assassinated Thursday, hours before a scheduled meeting with Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania. "Where an opposing candidate is strong in an area, they [supporters of President Pervez Musharraf] have planned to create a conflict at the polling station, even killing people if necessary, to stop polls at least three to four hours," the document says. The report also accused the government of planning to tamper with ballots and voter lists, intimidate opposition candidates and misuse U.S.-made equipment to monitor communications of opponents. One Bhutto source said the document was compiled at her request and said the information came from sources inside the police and intelligence services. Sen. Latif Khosa ... accused the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence of operating a rigging cell from a safe house in the capital, Islamabad. The goal, he said, is to change voting results electronically on election day. "The ISI has set up a mega-computer system where they can hack any computer in Pakistan and connect with the Election Commission," he said. Media outlets in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have run reports alleging that retired Brig. Gen. Ejaz Shah -- formerly an Inter-Services Intelligence officer and now head of the civilian Intelligence Bureau -- is involved in the vote rigging plans. Shah's name also turned up in a letter Bhutto wrote to Musharraf after the first attempt on her life on October 18, when she returned to Pakistan after eight years in exile. In the letter, the media reported, Shah was one of four Pakistani officials Bhutto named as people who wanted her dead.

Note: It is an extremely odd "coincidence" that Benazir Bhutto was planning to meet Senator Arlen Specter later in the day on which she was assassinated in Rawalpindi, headquarters of the Pakistani military dictatorship. Specter was the inventor of the official "magic bullet" theory of the John F. Kennedy assassination, which purported to explain the physical evidence of several bullets from different directions in the bodies of Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally as having been caused by just one bullet from the rifle of Lee Harvey Oswald.


California suing Nebraska voting machine maker for $15 million
2007-11-20, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/20/BA5QTFFQF.DTL

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen sued a Nebraska voting machine company on Monday, seeking fines and reimbursements of nearly $15 million from the firm for allegedly selling nearly 1,000 uncertified machines to San Francisco and ... Solano, Marin, Merced and Colusa counties. Bowen learned of the possible violation last July and ordered an investigation. "ES&S ignored the law over and over and over again, and it got caught," Bowen said in a statement after filing suit against the company. "I am not going to stand on the sidelines and watch a voting system vendor come into the state, ignore the laws and make millions of dollars from California's taxpayers in the process." Bowen's decision could be a windfall for the affected counties. In the suit, the secretary of state is seeking a $10,000 penalty for each of the uncertified machines sold in the state, with half that fine intended to go to the counties that bought them. ES&S also would have to reimburse the counties for the full cost of the machines, but the counties would be able to keep the AutoMARKs, which are now slated to receive full state certification in early December. The reimbursement rule was added to the state election code in 2004 in an effort to boost the penalties against companies that ignore the state's certification rules. "I was surprised to see this happen," Bowen said in a telephone conference call Monday afternoon. "I hope this will be the last time I have to use (the new penalties)." Bowen said there is no ambiguity in the law. "Changes ... must be submitted to the secretary of state before a voting machine can be sold or used in California," she said. "California law doesn't ask the manufacturer to decide whether the changes are small or large or medium-size." California only learned about the changes when an ES&S representative inadvertently mentioned the new version of the AutoMARK in a telephone conference call with state election officials. The company never even mentioned to the state or the five counties that changes had been made to the machines that were shipped, Bowen said.

Note: For many revealing articles on the serious problems with the new electronic voting machines, click here.


Student describes how she became a Clinton plant
2007-11-13, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/13/clinton.planted/index.html

The college student who was told what question to ask at one of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign events said "voters have the right to know what happened" and she wasn't the only one who was planted. In an exclusive on-camera interview with CNN, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, a 19-year-old sophomore at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, said giving anyone specific questions to ask is "dishonest," and the whole incident has given her a negative outlook on politics. Gallo-Chasanoff ... said what happened was simple: She said a senior Clinton staffer asked if she'd like to ask the senator a question after an energy speech the Democratic presidential hopeful gave in Newton, Iowa, on November 6. "I sort of thought about it, and I said 'Yeah, can I ask how her energy plan compares to the other candidates' energy plans?'" Gallo-Chasanoff said Monday night. According to Gallo-Chasanoff, the staffer said, " 'I don't think that's a good idea, because I don't know how familiar she is with their plans.' " He then opened a binder to a page that, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, had about eight questions on it. "The top one was planned specifically for a college student," she added. "It said 'college student' in brackets and then the question." Topping that sheet of paper was the following: "As a young person, I'm worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How does your plan combat climate change?" And while she said she would have rather used her own question, Gallo-Chasanoff said she didn't have a problem asking the campaign's because she "likes to be agreeable," adding that since she told the staffer she'd ask their pre-typed question she "didn't want to go back on my word." Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said ... Clinton had "no idea who she was calling on." Gallo-Chasanoff wasn't so sure. "It seemed like she knew to call on me because there were so many people, and ... I was the only college student in that area," she said. Gallo-Chasanoff said she wasn't the only person given a question.

Note: Click on the link above to watch videos of the student asking the planted question and of the full interview with CNN.


No buyer for voting machine unit
2007-08-16, BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6950024.stm

US cash dispenser and security company Diebold has admitted that it has failed to find a buyer for its troubled electronic voting machine business. Diebold and other manufacturers of such voting machines have been hit by criticism that they are unreliable and vulnerable to tampering. Growing unease about the machines in the US has led to a number of delayed orders from states. Diebold said that as a result, its 2007 revenues would fall $120m (Ł61m). It added that it would now allow the unit to operate more independently, with a separate board of directors and, possibly, a new management structure. Diebold said it had not ruled out another attempt at a full or partial sale. Some 50 million Americans, about 30% of registered voters, used electronic machines to cast their vote in the 2004 presidential election. The machines were introduced in the aftermath of the problems caused by antiquated punch-card systems in the 2000 presidential election. However, there has since been growing concern that electronic machines may be equally as unreliable.

Note: For more reliable information on the serious problems with the new electronic voting machines, click here.


Voting decision creates turmoil
2007-08-05, Sacramento Bee (Leading newspaper of California's capital city)
http://www.sacbee.com/749/story/309719.html

Across California, bleary-eyed voting watchdogs, registrars and public officials spent the day trying to digest [Secretary of State Debra] Bowen's late Friday decision to limit electronic balloting and install various new safeguards. The former Democratic state senator, an electronic voting skeptic who fought in the Legislature to require a paper trail for digital ballots, [took action] after University of California researchers found security flaws in three electronic systems. Barring a legal challenge, Bowen's actions will force 21 counties to shutter most of their touch-screen machines. Those counties, who use machines made by Diebold Election Systems and Sequoia Voting Systems, will instead ask most voters to fill bubbles on paper ballots to make their selections, a method known as "optical scan." Dan Ashby, [an] electronic voting critic who heads the California Election Protection Network, praised Bowen for her actions. "Election officials are probably going to fight tooth and nail against the decertification order, but we think truth and logic are on our side," Ashby said. "The best use for the machines would be to melt them down for scrap. But before we can do that, we have to do a withdrawal in stages." Bowen estimated that more than two-thirds of California voters already cast paper ballots, a number she believes will continue to rise as more people vote absentee.

Note: The Sacramento Bee, within two days of its publication, restricted access to this story, requiring registration to read it. Secretary of State Bowen is under attack throughout the state for having proven the hackability of electronic voting machines. Many Registrars of Voters are threatening to ignore the new regulations, and they are getting a lot of press coverage as they attempt to reverse Bowen's decision. You can show support for Debra Bowen through contacting the media, writing letters to editors, or by signing this petition. For more reliable, verifiable information about the serious problems with new electronic voting machines, click here.


State Vote Machines Lose Test To Hackers
2007-07-28, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper), Front Page
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/07/28/MNGP6R8TJO1.DTL

State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California's voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems' electronic functions, according to a University of California study. The researchers "were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,'' said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the "top to bottom review" of every voting system certified by the state. Neither Bowen nor the investigators were willing to say exactly how vulnerable California elections are to computer hackers. The review included voting equipment from every company approved for use in the state. Bowen said ... that the report is only one piece of information she will use to decide which voting systems are secure enough to use in February's presidential primary election.

Note: For more reliable, verifiable information on the problems with new electronic voting machines, click here.


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