This newsletter is intended to be a combined effort of CASE OHIO, J30 COALITION, AND OHIO VIGILANCE, and any citizen activists involved in Election reform. This newsletter will include applicable news and events, it is not intended to promote any specific agenda but instead be inclusive of current newsworthy events.
GAO Report: The General Accounting Office has issued a 107 page report. For the first time, an official government agency has acknowledged in vivid detail the insecurities inherent in voting on electronic machines provided by partisan, privately controlled corporations.
In October 2005, the Government Accountability Office released a comprehensive analysis of the concerns raised by the increasing use of electronic voting machines.
Overall, GAO found that "significant concerns about the security and reliability of electronic voting systems" have been raised (p. 22).
GAO indicated that "some of these concerns have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes" (p. 23).
According to GAO, "election officials, computer security experts, citizen advocacy groups, and others have raised significant concerns about the security and reliability of electronic voting systems, citing instances of weak security controls, system design flaws, inadequate system version control, inadequate security testing, incorrect system configuration, poor security management, and vague or incomplete standards, among other issues". The security and reliability concerns raised in recent reports merit the focused attention of federal, state, and local authorities responsible for election administration" (p. 22-23).
GAO further reported that "security experts and some election officials have expressed concern that tests currently performed by independent testing authorities and state and local election officials do not adequately assess electronic voting system security and reliability," and that "these concerns are amplified by what some perceive as a lack of transparency in the testing process" (p. 34)
John Hopkins Center Gazette: Here are the first three paragraphs of a longer article regarding a new effort to make election technology secure.
A federally funded center dedicated to improving the reliability and trustworthiness of voting technology, drawing on experts in computer science, public policy and human behavior, will be based at The Johns Hopkins University, the National Science Foundation announced Aug. 15. Researchers from five other institutions nationwide will participate in the project, which is aimed at addressing public concerns about the growing use of electronic voting machines in local, state and national elections.
The NSF said it would provide $7.5 million over five years to launch the new endeavor called ACCURATE, which is short for A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable, and Transparent Elections. Avi Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins and technical director of the university's Information Security Institute, will direct the center.
Rubin has received international attention in recent years for identifying risks associated with computer-based voting technology that has been put into use with minimal scrutiny by independent security experts. He has testified before state and federal lawmakers and election supervisors regarding potential security flaws in these machines.
COLUMBUS COMMUNITY RADIO PROJECT UPDATE: (11/21/05)
The Columbus Community Radio Foundation has made significant progress in its efforts to launch a community radio station in Columbus, Ohio. Our fall fundraising event with speaker Amy Goodman raised nearly $3,000 which enabled us to purchase a used radio tower and to have a contractor disassemble it for us. Once the tower is erected at our transmitter site and a transmitter and antennae are connected we'll be ready to begin broadcasting a signal. We are currently applying for a local construction permit to erect the tower and are fundraising to cover that cost. In total we would like to raise $7,000 to cover all of our anticipated remaining construction expenses.
CCRF's transmitter is only permitted to RE-broadcast ( "translate" or "repeat") another station's signal and we are working closely with a group of 4 organizations that are united under a single Low Power FM license which was recently awarded by the FCC. Those organizations (Simply Living, Columbus Refugee and Immigration Services, Bexley Public Radio Foundation and the Groveport-Madison School district) are in the process of organizing their station and negotiating a cooperative agreement between them regarding policies and programming guidelines, time sharing and governance. CCRF is advising them as we draw upon our experience and our connections with Pacifica Radio, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and the Grass Roots Radio Coalition. Groveport Madison has allowed CCRF to have access to the 6-9 am time slot 7 days a week and we intend to produce a daily morning program that will include news, interviews, discussion, music, theater and short pre-produced segments from independent producers from 6-8 Monday through Friday with Democracy Now taking up the last hour from 8:00 - 9:00 except on weekends.
CCRF is developing programming criteria and submission guidelines in accordance with our mission statement and we are developing similar proposals for each of the LPFM partner groups. We are presently looking for volunteers for a number of tasks including;
> Morning Show co-hosts and production engineers
> Reporters, producers and announcers
> Program Committee volunteers
> finance committee volunteers ( fundraising)
> researchers for a Pacifica Archives program to be produced by CCRF
> Community Calendar Producers
CCRF has been meeting every other Tuesday at the Council on American Islamic Relations offices ( 4700 Reed Rd.) at 8:00 pm ( but will be switching to 7:30 pm as of November 22). All are welcome.
Our next fundraising event is tentatively scheduled for January 13, 2006 when we will present Sonali Kolhatkar, host of the Pacifica program Uprising and head of the U.S. Afghan Women's Mission. Sonali is about to release a book on the current status of women in Afghanistan based on extensive interviews and her own eyewitness accounts. For updates visit our website at; www.ccrfonline.org
CALIFORNIA INVITED BLACK BOX VOTING TO TEST DIEBOLD
The California Secretary of State has invited Black Box Voting to test/"hack" a Diebold AccuVote-OS voting machine for security vulnerability likely in December 2005. The California Secretary of State's consultant has already found the Diebold AccuVote-OS vulnerable to alteration of vote results.
VOTING PROBLEMS CONTINUE IN OHIO
Lucas County/Toledo Board of Elections (Ohio) took the longest time to complete the vote counting on in Ohio for the November 8, 2005 election. They took 11.5 hours after the close of the polls using Diebold DRE voting machines. They are in the same group as Clermont County Board of Elections, which took the longest for the Second Congressional District August 2, 2005 election
The Lucas County Board of Elections in the November 8, 2005 election, evicted TOLEDO BLADE reporters from the Board of Elections and blocked all reporters from going up the escalator to view the counting. They are in the same group as Warren County, which blocked reporters from viewing the counting in November 2004.
Lucas County also used "rovers" to pick up the memory cards (which contain all the votes) from the precincts instead of the customary procedure of having the precinct head bring them into the county. Some of these "rovers" were people who held elected or appointed positions for a particular political party such as a councilman and Board members of the Lucas County Board of Elections.
"ONE YEAR LATER - VOTING RIGHTS IN OHIO"
The Free Press of Columbus, Ohio sponsored "One Year Later - Voting Rights in Ohio" and a Tribute to Bill Moss at the New Faith Baptist Church in Columbus on November 5, 2005. The New Faith Baptist Church was where the public met to report the considerable problems in the November 2004 election in Columbus, Ohio a year ago. Bill Moss, now deceased, who was lead plaintiff in the resulting MOSS vs. OHIO lawsuit for voting rights, was honored for his civil rights and election work. Films of the Freedom Bus Ride and trip to Washington for the challenge to the Ohio electoral vote in January 2005 were shown. Approximately 70 people attended. There were many speakers including Bob Fitrakis, Susan Truitt, and Cliff Arnebeck, who are all well known in the election reform movement.SPEAKING TO LICKING COUNTY YOUNG DEMOCRATS
Marj Creech and Jo Anne Karasek went to Ohio State University - Newark to speak to the Young Democrats of Licking County (Ohio) on November 17, 2005 on the voting machine problems and the hand count paper ballot solution. A number of election reform advocates, including J30 Coalition members, also did a Voting Rights Forum for LICOPAC in Newark on July 6, 2005. Between the two events we have gained many activists from the Licking County area.LUCAS COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
The Lucas County (Ohio) Board of Elections' last reply to Jo Anne Karasek for a date to inspect public records referred to a date, which they refused, that was not requested. They keep the ballots requested for inspection in the same room as the ballots for the most recent election, refuse to move them, and claim that they cannot be examined there for security reasons. They refuse to consider allowing another inspection until about December 20. Only two inspections have been permitted since the first public records request on May 2005. Legal action may be necessary.CLERMONT COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
The Clermont County (Ohio) Board of Elections response for a first request by Jo Anne Karasek to inspect public records (of the Hackett/Schmidt election on August 2, 2005) included a refusal in October to allow inspection for more than one hour, a demand of eight to ten cents a page for copying, when Office Depot only charges six cents a page including profits. The Clermont County Prosecutor threatened arrest and refused to allow videotaping of the inspection. Legal action may be necessary. RECOUNTS AND POSSIBLE AUDITS OF NOVEMBER 8, 2005 ELECTION
The election reform movement, especially in Ohio, is concerned about the outcome of the statewide issues, Issues #1 thru #5, in the November 8, 2005 election. The biggest concern is because a COLUMBUS DISPATCH poll reported on November 6, 2005, indicated that Issues #2 and #3 would be won with a substantial margin, but they both lost with a substantial margin. There are plans to do recounts and audits of the November 8 election in parts of Ohio.
For questions or to volunteer for election reform activities, contact Jo Anne Karasek, email@example.com , a member of J30 Coalition, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/J30/
Mark Crispen Miller on John Kerry:
This quote is from a Free Press article "In recent days Mark Crispin Miller has reported that he heard from Kerry personally that Kerry believes the election was stolen. The dialog has been widely reported on the internet. Kerry has since seemed to deny it." You are encouraged to read the entire article:
REFORM OHIO NOW: ELECTION RESULTS
Here is a snippet from an article in the Free Press on the RON results: "While debate still rages over Ohio's stolen presidential election of 2004, the impossible outcomes of key 2005 referendum issues may have put an electronic nail through American democracy. Once again, the Buckeye state has hosted an astonishing display of electronic manipulation that calls into question the sanctity of America's right to vote, and to have those votes counted in this crucial swing state." In addition, Bob Koehler (Chicago Tribune) has written about the RON results.
Black Box Voting has information on the "next-generation technologies going up for sale by Diebold. At the same time as about a dozen states have put forward cookie-cutter legislation mandating mail-in ballot experiments (wonder who is really behind those), Diebold has, for two years, been behind the scenes developing an automated mail-in computerized processing system.
. . . . Legislation appears, then we find out that, behind the scenes, the vendor was developing a machine for the legislation that hadn't yet appeared. We wonder if unwitting legislators knew that their bill was going to be serviced by an as yet unmarketed Diebold computer system."
[The Diebold Vote Remote] System allows election to set acceptance for the ballots high, low, or anywhere they want. This system is not certified. It interacts with the voter registration system, which also contains party affiliation of voters. It may never be tested or certified, since it slips through a loophole in the certification language. Financial documents obtained by BLACK BOX VOTING show completed billings for Vote Remote, indicating that it is already in use.
DNC resolution in Support of Election Reform. The Democrats speak! The text of the resolution is a this link. http://blog.pdamerica.org/?p=426
From ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION on Diebold
Diebold, Inc., manufacturer of electronic voting machines, has been sending out many cease-and-desist letters to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), after internal documents indicating flaws in their systems were published on the Internet. The company cited copyright violations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and demanded that the documents be taken down.
Speaking Engagement: On Tuesday, October 25, Marge Creech, Victoria Parks, Jo Anne Karasek and Pete Johnson traveled to Akron to discuss Vote Fraud with a peace group. About 30 people attended. It was difficult to deliver a focused presentation on the plethora of issues in only one hour, but valuable dialogue followed the presentation. Thanks to Paul and Louise Baker for the invitation.
Vote Trust USA: recommended newsletter.
Book of the month club: FOOLED AGAIN: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them) by Mark Crispin Miller. Although I have not completed it, so far it is excellent. The introduction should be a must read for every American.
Parallel Election news
Franklin County, Ohio November 8, 2005 General Election
Comparison of Parallel Election Results to Official Results
Final Report Nov. 14, 2005
Several reports over the past two years warn that voting electronically is not secure, yet Secretary of State Blackwell is forcing all of Ohio to adopt these expensive, hackable, privately-owned voting systems. He will then run for Governor in 2006, on systems he required, while conducting the administration of this, and his own, election.
Informed citizens cannot accept results that can't be hand-counted. Secret software belongs nowhere in the public voting process. Since our vote belongs to us - not to private for-profit corporations or public officials, citizens must run their own elections; become responsible for developing and implementing fair and honest elections in their own states, and check the accuracy of these machines. Parallel voters privately cast paper ballots and then deposit their own vote into a locked ballot box, which is later counted in a public place.
Precinct 16D, Franklin County (Columbus) was chosen to model civic engagement. Organizers vote in this precinct and were better able to involve neighbors in the Parallel Election.
Ohio has 13,600 precincts in 88 counties. A 1% sample would require 1360 Parallel Elections across the state. Organizers will continue to train teams for the 2006 elections. Since a minimum of six PE workers is needed, over 8,000 citizens are needed just to count 1% of an Ohio vote. Less than 100 concerned citizens, per county, could meet the staffing needs of a Parallel Election.
There were 1,049 registered voters on Nov. 8, 2005 in 16D. 53 people voted in the Parallel Election and 99 people voted in the Official Election, as follows: 3 Absentee, 2 provisionals, and 94 in-person voters.
Editor note: I cannot format the table correctly, please click on the "tinyurl" link to see a correctly formatted table.
No. of Votes % for the Issue No. of Votes % for the Issue Yes No Yes No
Parallel Election Official Reported
YES NO % for YES NO % for
Issue 1 - Public funds for private R&D; highways 33 19 62% 70 20 75%
Issue 2 - 35 Day absentee voting 42 9 79% 73 19 78%
Issue 3 - Lowers campaign contribution limits 44 8 83% 78 15 83%
Issue 4 - Independent Redistricting Commission 42 10 79% 74 20 79%
Issue 5 - Creates Elections Board of Supervisors 42 10 79% 75 19 80%
(nine people appointed by Ohio judges)
The results for the entire state were reported as Issue 1 passing, and Issues 2 thru 5 failing by a wide margin, contrary to the results of this precinct. Clearly, this precinct alone is not a large enough sample from which to draw conclusions. What can be ascertained is that official reported results of Precinct 16D matched the Parallel Election results.
Based on polling numbers, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have submitted a rejection of the official results at http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/1559.
At least three states held Parallel Elections on November 8 th: Ohio, California and Texas. Information about these other states can be found at http://www.guvwurld.org//Election%20Reform/KHUM%20Radio%20Interview%20-%20Humboldt%20County%20Parallel%20Election%20-%2011-3-05.mp3 for Humboldt County, CA and San Diego, CA www.studycaliforniaballots.org
There was very light voting across Columbus, as reported by other voter protection workers. One team, including global human rights videographer Dorothy Fadiman, covered several precincts throughout the day. Until about 3:30, the weather was sunny and breezy, with temps reaching 70º. Temperatures fell slowly in the evening.
16-D is a heavily democratic, mostly young adult precinct, with a large block of student voters, just west of the Ohio State Fairgrounds. Racially mixed, the precinct also includes a good amount of families. This precinct was chosen to model citizen activism at the local level. "All you need are 6 to 8 voters in your precinct to run a Parallel Election. But be sure to bring enough food and hydration," an activist advised.
Police cruisers drove by several times in the morning, but probably related to other activities. One cruiser did park and face the parallel election table, for about 45 minutes, but it could have just been his lunch break. The pollworkers, precinct judge and voters who participated in the PE support PE efforts and have been very accommodating. Very few voters turned down the opportunity to vote in the parallel election and thanked PE workers for doing this. Team Ohio counted the parallel ballots in a local restaurant, later that night.
To learn How To Conduct a Parallel Election, see http://tinyurl.com/exjqm, or http://tinyurl.com/bmmgz at www.GuvWurld.org; or see www.studycaliforniaballots.org.
Team Ohio included: Rady Ananda, Marjorie Preston, Marj Creech, Madalena LaMarche, Troy Semen, Kal Palnicki, Dave Hickman, and Steave Scott. Much thanks goes to Steave Scott and Warren Stewart for assisting the videographic team of Dorothy Fadiman, to Marj Creech for capturing jpegs during the PE and during the ballot count, and to Victorian's Midnight Café for the ambiance.
Suggestions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org