Elections News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on elections
There is little assurance your vote will count. As we've been reporting almost nightly...for more than a year, electronic voting machines are placing our democracy at risk. These machines time and again have been demonstrated to be extremely vulnerable to tampering and error, and many of them have no voter-verified paper trail. Only 27 states have laws requiring the use of voter-verified paper trails. 15 states [have] no mandated requirements for safeguarding your vote. During the 2004 presidential election, one voting machine...added nearly 3,900 additional votes to Bush's total. Officials caught the machine's error because only 638 voters cast presidential ballots at that precinct, but in a heavily populated district, can we really be sure the votes will be counted correctly? [In] the May primary election in Cuyahoga County, Ohio...the electronic voting machines' four sources of vote totals -- individual ballots, paper trail summary, election archives and memory cards -- didn't even match up. The report concluded that relying on the current system for Cuyahoga County's more than 1.3 million people should be viewed as "a calculated risk." Are we really willing to risk our democracy? A 2005 Government Accountability Office report on electronic voting confirmed the worst fears of watchdog groups and election officials. "There is evidence that some of these concerns have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes." That is simply unacceptable. Congress and the White House need to immediately take steps to assure the integrity of electronic voting with paper trails that could be audited in any recount.
Note: For lots more reliable, verifiable information on the various aspects of the elections cover-up, see http://www.wanttoknow.info/electionsinformation
It's hard to believe that nearly six years after the disasters of Florida in 2000, states still haven't mastered the art of counting votes accurately. The most troubling evidence comes from Ohio...whose electoral votes decided the 2004 presidential election. A recent government report details enormous flaws in the election system in Ohio's biggest county, problems that may not be fixable before the 2008 election. Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland...recently adopted Diebold electronic voting machines that produce a voter-verified paper record of every vote cast. Investigators compared the vote totals recorded on the machines after this year's primary with the paper records produced by the machines. The numbers should have been the same, but often there were large and unexplained discrepancies. The report also found that nearly 10 percent of the paper records were destroyed, blank, illegible, or otherwise compromised. Some of these problems may be explored further in a federal lawsuit challenging Ohio's administration of its 2004 election. Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell...has been criticized for many decisions he made on election matters that year. New York's Legislature was shamefully slow in passing the law needed to start adopting new voting machines statewide. Now localities are just starting to evaluate voting machine companies as they scramble to put machines in place in time for the 2007 election. Because of a federal lawsuit, New York has to make the switch a year early.
Note: Why has the media barely mentioned the federal lawsuit challenging Ohio's administration of the 2004 election? This was the state that determined the winner. For more on elections cover-up, click here.
A viral video of New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez using a "Corruption Game" to highlight the need for campaign finance reform during a House Oversight Committee hearing last Wednesday has become the most viewed video of any politician in Twitter history. In her "corruption game," Ocasio-Cortez launched into a "lightning round" of questions for a panel of ethics experts in a bid to demonstrate just how easy it is for corrupt lawmakers - and even, hypothetically, the president of the U.S. - to avoid accountability under current government ethics laws. The 29-year-old lawmaker was able to highlight how a political "bad guy" would be able to enrich themselves and advance their interests "even if that means putting [their] interests ahead of the American people." Her examples ranged from taking "special interest dark money" from corporate PACs to fund a campaign to using hush money payments to make potential scandals disappear and writing laws that benefit donors and then buying stocks in their companies for personal financial gain. "So," Ocasio-Cortez said, in summary: "We have a system that is fundamentally broken. We have these influences existing in this body, which means that these influences are here, in this committee, shaping the questions that are being asked of you all right now. Would you say that that's correct?" "Yes," one expert, Walter Michael Shaub Jr. ... who previously served as the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, responded.
Note: Note: Don't miss this most revealing video at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
For almost 17 years, states and counties around the country have conducted elections on machines that have been repeatedly shown to be vulnerable to hacking, errors and breakdowns, and that leave behind no proof that the votes counted actually match the votes that were cast. Now ... states and counties across the country are working to replace these outdated machines with new ones. The purchases replace machines from the turn of the century that raise serious security concerns. But the same companies that made and sold those machines are behind the new generation of technology, and a history of distrust between election security advocates and voting machine vendors has led to a bitter debate over the viability of the new voting equipment. The draw of the new machines, called ballot-marking devices (BMD), is the promise of a paper ballot. But there are concerns with the integrity of the paper trail a BMD would create at every stage. Many BMD models on the market print a sort of two-in-one ballot with one section to be read by machines and another to be read by humans. Barcodes – or QR codes – that represent a voter’s choices are printed on the ballot along with plain text showing, presumably, the same information in a way people can understand. When the ballot is scanned, it is the barcode that is scanned and counted, not the text that voters can read. If a barcode is printed that represents a different choice, or the scanners were hacked, voters would not know the difference.
Note: Computer scientists have shown nearly every make and model of electronic voting machine to be vulnerable to hacking. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Crystal Mason, the woman who became the poster child for voter suppression when she was sentenced to five years for casting a ballot in Texas, has gone into federal prison. Mason’s crime was to cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election. An African American woman, she had been encouraged by her mother to do her civic duty and vote. When she turned up to the polling station her name was not on the register, so she cast a provisional ballot that was never counted. She did not read the small print of the form that said that anyone who has been convicted of a felony – as she had, having previously been convicted of tax fraud – was prohibited from voting under Texas law. For casting a vote that was not counted, she will now serve 10 months in the federal system. While locked up it is likely that her final appeals in state court will be exhausted, which means she could be passed at the end of the 10 months directly to state custody for a further five years. Her lawyer, Alison Grinter, said she was dismayed to see Mason ripped from her family. “This is an act of voter intimidation, not the will of a free people.” Grinter added: Texas ... has one of the most strict voter ID laws in the country. Fort Worth ... has been particularly hardline, not only prosecuting Mason but also going after a Hispanic woman, Rosa Ortega, for mistakenly voting as a non-US citizen. Ortega, 37, who had permanent resident status in the US having come to the country as an infant, was sentenced to eight years in prison to be followed by deportation.
One of the country’s largest voting machine makers has admitted in a letter to a U.S. senator that some of its past election-management systems had remote-access software preinstalled, despite past denials that any of its systems were equipped with such software. Election Systems and Software (ES&S) told Democratic Senator Ron Wyden ... that the company provided election equipment with remote connection software to an unspecified number of states from 2000 to 2006. “ES&S provided pcAnywhere remote connection software on the [Election-Management System] workstation to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006,” wrote Tom Burt, ES&S president. The election-management system is used to count official election results and sometimes to program voting machines. PcAnywhere was the name of the remote-access software made by Symantec. In 2012, Symantec told all of its customers to disable or to uninstall the software after admitting it had been hacked in 2006, at the same time that ES&S was selling election-management systems with pcAnywhere preinstalled. ES&S would not say how many systems were sold with the software from 2000 to 2006 but stressed the company stopped using it in 2007, after it was prohibited by the Election Assistance Commission. A computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University discovered in 2011 that the technology was pre-installed on an election-management system that was sold to a Pennsylvania county.
Note: For more on this threat to democracy, see this excellent essay. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
We brought together a panel of more than 100 cybersecurity leaders from across government, the private sector, academia and the research community for a new feature called The Network — an ongoing, informal survey. Our first survey revealed deep concerns that states aren’t prepared to defend themselves against the types of cyberattacks that disrupted the 2016 presidential election. Several experts said that state voter registration databases are particularly vulnerable — and make an appealing target for attackers who want to sow confusion and undermine confidence in the voting process. “The voting machines themselves are only part of the story,” said Matt Blaze, a cryptographer and computer science professor. “The ‘back end’ systems, used by states and counties for voter registration and counting ballots, are equally critical to election security, and these systems are often connected, directly or indirectly, to the Internet.” Jay Kaplan, co-founder of the cybersecurity firm Synack, notes a bright spot: The Election Assistance Commission has a national voting system certification program to independently verify that a voting system meets security requirements. “However, testing for this certification is completely optional,” said Kaplan. “States can set their own standards for voting systems. As such, some states are significantly more buttoned up than others. The reality is states are understaffed, underfunded, and are too heavily reliant on election-system vendors securing their own systems.”
Note: Many states have purchased electronic voting machines that are surprisingly easy to hack from private companies. It has also been clearly demonstrated that elections software purchased from private companies to manage voter registration in many states is vulnerable to common cyberattacks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Sitting in a hotel bar, Alexander Nix, who runs the political data firm Cambridge Analytica, had a few ideas for a prospective client looking for help in a foreign election. The firm could send an attractive woman to seduce a rival candidate and secretly videotape the encounter, Mr. Nix said, or send someone posing as a wealthy land developer to pass a bribe. “We have a long history of working behind the scenes,” Mr. Nix said. The prospective client, though, was actually a reporter. The encounter was secretly filmed as part of a monthslong investigation into Cambridge Analytica, the data firm with ties to President Trump’s 2016 campaign. The results of Channel 4’s work were broadcast ... days after reports ... that the firm had harvested the data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles in its bid to develop techniques for predicting the behavior of individual American voters. Less noticed has been the work that Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, the SCL Group, have done outside the United States. “Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company,” he told the Channel 4 reporter. “We can set up fake IDs and websites.” Mr. Nix ... boasted that Cambridge Analytica employs front companies and former spies on behalf of political clients. The information that is uncovered ... is then put “into the bloodstream to the internet,” said Mark Turnbull, another Cambridge executive. “Then watch it grow,” he added. “It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘That’s propaganda.’”
Note: Watch an astounding video revealing how Cambridge Analytica has successfully manipulated national elections around the world using sleazy tactics like pretty women to entrap candidates and offering major bribes while recording the exchange. And here is a video featuring the whistleblower who exposed this.
Forbes has seen numerous reports of broken machines causing epic queues and peeving voters. One of the more concerning tales came from New Jersey, where one voter complained not only of machines being broken but claimed an official decided to say "maybe Russians did it". If an official did say those words, whether in seriousness or in jest, it'd have been unwise given fears around Russia's hacking of the election, following the breach of the Democratic National Committee earlier this year. Many took to Twitter to complain about broken machines, including those voting in Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Columbia and San Francisco. Most complaints have come from New York and Detroit. ProPublica also reported issues across Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio. The Tennessean reported issues ... too. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [stated] the department has been offering cybersecurity assistance to state, county and local election agencies, and found vulnerabilities during system scans, though wouldn't disclose their nature or provenance. Voting machines have always been vulnerable, said Matt Bernhard ... an expert on the security of electoral systems. "This year isn't that different, other than I'm expecting higher turnout which may stress the infrastructure more," added Bernhard, who yesterday released a report highlighting how different areas of the U.S. use poorly-protected machines.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
The Maine Clean Elections Act, originally passed in 1996 and strengthened in 2015, gives candidates the option to finance campaigns with taxpayer dollars. Candidates who choose to run a publicly financed campaign don’t need to spend time courting wealthy donors - in fact, they’re prohibited from raising private money. Instead, constituents show their support through $5 contributions to the Maine Clean Elections Fund made on behalf of a candidate. But that money doesn’t go to the candidate - instead, it shows support and helps fund the public-financing program. Once candidates have raised the required number of donations, they receive a flat fee from the state, which can vary depending on the office being sought. During [State representative Joyce] McCreight’s first campaign, in 2014, the state gave her nearly $5,000 once she’d collected 60 contributions. She won, and by the end of her first term, she’d helped to write a bill that makes it easy for low-income people without insurance to get reproductive health [services]. The bill passed, and McCreight expects it to save the state $2.5 million a year. McCreight’s story ... was made possible by a network of activists who came together in 1995 to draft and support the Maine Clean Elections Act. The Clean Elections system has given Maine the most economically diverse legislature in the nation. About 14 percent of Maine legislators are working class: waitresses, cashiers, machinists. Only 2 percent of the U.S. Congress comes from similar backgrounds.
Note: Why is the major media not reporting this important and inspiring news? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process, and the extraordinary lengths to which politicians, lobbyists and even judges go to solicit money, are laid bare in sealed court documents leaked to the Guardian. The John Doe files amount to 1,500 pages of largely unseen material gathered in evidence by prosecutors investigating alleged irregularities in political fundraising. Last year the Wisconsin supreme court ordered that all the documents should be destroyed, though a set survived that has now been obtained by the news organisation. The files open a window on a world that is very rarely glimpsed by the public, in which millions of dollars are secretly donated by major corporations and super-wealthy individuals to third-party groups in an attempt to sway elections. Five Wisconsin prosecutors carried out a deep investigation into what they suspected were criminal campaign-finance violations by the campaign committee of Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor. In 2015, Justice Prosser refused to recuse himself from a case in which the state supreme court sat in judgment over the John Doe investigation, despite the fact that the investigation focused on precisely the same network of lobbying groups and donors that had helped him hang onto his seat. The judge joined a majority of four conservative justices who voted to terminate the investigation and destroy all the documents now leaked to the Guardian.
If there is anything positive to say about the 2016 elections, it's that they have finally forced an end to the official denial of computerized election rigging. In the past month, the fact that our voting technology is a hacker's paradise has been validated by no less than all the major TV news networks. Of course, the corporate media and political parties are now professing "shock" at the very prospect that US elections can be manipulated, and yes, even stolen. Yet it has long been an open secret that game-changing races have been decided not by voters, but by insiders; from the presidential race of 1960, appropriated for John Kennedy by Democratic muscle in Chicago, to the two victories secured for George W. Bush by GOP fixers in Florida and hackers in Ohio. Among other suspect elections in recent years are key Congressional races hijacked by combinations of voter suppression, gerrymandering, dark money and the ugly little secret of American elections: rigged voting machines. How is this possible? Because over many decades, our public elections have been privatized and outsourced to a handful of corporations and dozens of private service vendors. Some have even been convicted of crimes, including bribery, bid rigging, kickback schemes, lying to voting officials and computer fraud. In turn, these shady corporations have sold us billions in "proprietary" computerized voting systems, [while] election laws have slowly been altered to facilitate this quiet transition to more "expedient" private control.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems. The FBI warning [was] titled “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems.” The alert, labeled as restricted for “NEED TO KNOW recipients,” disclosed that the bureau was investigating cyberintrusions against two state election websites this summer, including one that resulted in the “exfiltration,” or theft, of voter registration data. The bulletin does not identify the states in question, but sources familiar with the document say it refers to the targeting by suspected foreign hackers of voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. In the Illinois case, officials were forced to shut down the state’s voter registration system for 10 days in late July, after the hackers managed to download personal data on up to 200,000 state voters, Ken Menzel, the general counsel of the Illinois Board of Elections, said in an interview. FBI agents confirmed to [Menzel] that the perpetrators were believed to be foreign hackers, although they were not identified by country. Agents told him they had reached no conclusions, and other experts say the hackers could also have been common cybercriminals hoping to steal personal data on state voters for fraudulent purposes, such as obtaining bogus tax refunds.
Recent attempts at campaign-directed cyber-attacks have raised red flags about just how vulnerable the upcoming U.S. election is to hackers. The most vulnerable aspect of the voting process is the individual ballot. But in a digital world, far more is susceptible to tampering than the ballot itself. With digital tools integrated throughout the electoral process ... potential weak spots show up long before anyone casts the first vote. Gabriella Coleman, Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University and author of the book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, warned even poorly executed hacks can be successful. "If you seed enough doubt, it doesn't matter if the system has been hacked or not, because people won't trust the system." With the rise of new technologies there is potential for individuals, governments, terrorist groups or hackers to use internet-based tools strategically to leak sensitive documents, collect private information and influence voter opinion and sentiment. A recent Bloomberg exposé featured a South American political hacker who engaged for a decade in what he calls "psychological operations." He created software to manage and direct an army of fake Twitter accounts. He could change the names, profile pictures, and biographies of thousands of fake accounts to suit his particular needs at the time, using those virtual crowds to sway trends and public opinion.
Note: Read more about South American political hacker Andrés Sepúlveda's effective manipulation of elections in nine countries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
19,000 internal Democratic Party emails released on Friday by WikiLeaks [set] off a frenzy on the eve of the party’s quadrennial nominating convention and forc[ed] the resignation of the party chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Some of the emails revealed internal discussion by D.N.C. officials — obligated under party rules to remain neutral in the presidential primary — about how to discredit Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, enraging some of his supporters. Some ... are highly critical of Mr. Sanders. But the leaked cache also included thousands of emails exchanged by Democratic officials and party fund-raisers, revealing in rarely seen detail the elaborate, ingratiating and often bluntly transactional exchanges necessary to harvest hundreds of millions of dollars from the party’s wealthy donor class. The emails capture a world where seating charts are arranged with dollar totals in mind, where a White House celebration of gay pride is a thinly disguised occasion for rewarding wealthy donors and where physical proximity to the president is the most precious of currencies. Donors who raise $1.25 million for the party — or who give $467,000 — are entitled to priority booking in a top hotel, nightly access to V.I.P. lounges and an “exclusive roundtable and campaign briefing with high-level Democratic officials,” according to a promotional brochure obtained by The Times.
Note: This informative article reveals in detail how much influence wealth has on the democratic process. Democracy in America more resembles a system of one dollar per vote than one person per vote. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
With studies suggesting that long lines at the polls cost Democrats hundreds of thousands of votes in November, party leaders are beginning a push to make voting and voter registration easier, setting up a likely new conflict with Republicans over a deeply polarizing issue. Democrats in the House and Senate have already introduced bills that would require states to provide online voter registration and allow at least 15 days of early voting, among other things. Fourteen states are also considering whether to expand early voting, including the battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio and Virginia, according to FairVote, a nonprofit group that advocates electoral change. Several recent polls and studies suggest that long waiting times in some places depressed turnout in 2012 and that lines were longest in cities, where Democrats outnumber Republicans. In a New York Times/CBS News poll taken shortly after Election Day, 18 percent of Democrats said they waited at least a half-hour to vote, compared with 11 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis determined that blacks and Hispanics waited nearly twice as long in line to vote on average than whites. Florida had the nation’s longest lines, at 45 minutes, followed by the District of Columbia, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia, according to Charles Stewart III, the political science professor who conducted the analysis. A separate analysis, by an Ohio State University professor and The Orlando Sentinel, concluded that more than 200,000 voters in Florida “gave up in frustration” without voting.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on major inadequacies in US electoral procedures, click here.
Who's buying our democracy? Wall Street financiers, the Koch brothers, and casino magnates Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, among others. And they're doing much of it in secret. It's a perfect storm - the combination of three waves that are about to drown government as we know it. The first is the greatest concentration of wealth in America in more than a century. The 400 richest Americans are richer than the bottom 150 million Americans put together. The trend started 30 years ago, and it's related to globalization and technological changes that have stymied wage growth for most people, "trickle-down economics," ... tax cuts and the steady decline in the bargaining power of organized labor. The second is the wave of unlimited political contributions, courtesy of ... one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 ruling that held that corporations are people under the First Amendment, [meaning] that virtually any billionaire can contribute as much to a political campaign as he wants. The third is complete secrecy about who's contributing how much to whom. Political fronts posing as charitable, nonprofit "social welfare" organizations ... don't have to disclose their donors. As a result, outfits like the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS are taking in hundreds of millions from corporations that don't even tell their own shareholders what political payments they're making. Separately, any one of these three would be bad enough. Put the three together, and our democracy is being sold down the drain.
Note: The author of this article, Robert Reich, is a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and former U.S. secretary of labor, and author of the newly released Beyond Outrage: What Has Gone Wrong With Our Economy and Our Democracy, and How to Fix It.
The CIA, which has been monitoring foreign countries' use of electronic voting systems, has reported apparent vote-rigging schemes in Venezuela, Macedonia and Ukraine and a raft of concerns about the machines' vulnerability to tampering. In a presentation that could provide disturbing lessons for the United States, where electronic voting is becoming universal, [CIA cybersecurity expert] Steve Stigall summarized what he described as attempts to use computers to undermine democratic elections in developing nations. His remarks have received no news media attention until now. Stigall told the Election Assistance Commission ... that computerized electoral systems can be manipulated at five stages, from altering voter registration lists to posting results. Stigall said voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren't connected could be compromised wirelessly. Eleven U.S. states have banned or limited wireless capability in voting equipment, but Stigall said elections officials didn't always know it when wireless cards were embedded in their machines. Stigall said that most Web-based ballot systems had proved to be insecure. The commission has been criticized for giving states more than $1 billion to buy electronic equipment without first setting performance standards. Numerous computer-security experts have concluded that U.S. systems can be hacked, and allegations of tampering in Ohio, Florida and other swing states have triggered a campaign to require all voting machines to produce paper audit trails.
Note: For key articles from reliable sources exposing the many flaws in electronic voting systems, click here.
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?
[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.
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