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DA to investigate March Election

Now Florida wants to make absentee cheating easier.

Event: Citizen Alliance for Secure Elections (SAVE) rally
Sat. 4/17 12:30 p.m. corner State & High, in front of the statehouse, Columbus OH. Questions:
Contact: Jody

Event: Committee for Vote Integrity and Protection to sponsor Town Meeting
FRI. 4/23 6-8 P.M. Laborers Local 310 AFL-CIO Hall 3250 Euclid Ave Cleveland OH
More 216-391-0900, ext. 13

Members of Florida Senate reverse philosophy, lean toward paper ballots.

186 of 763 Diebold voter-card devices failed, multiple problems

Calif. supervisors to protest possible Diebold decertification

Ohio to drop $128m touch-screen order?

Dems promise lawsuit over Sarasota County, FL touchscreens

Civil rights panel: "Voting system flawed

ES&S used uncertified software in Indiana

Riverside Calif. calling in outside experts in voting dispute

Here are passcodes for Apr. 20 Diebold Investor Call

San Diego Diebold "GEMS" system reports wrong votes (again)

Diebold voting systems result in multiple problems

Makers deny machines vulnerable to tampering

Official says insubordinate counties forced Calif. to certify machines

ES&S has passwords, local officials don't?

Apparently we are getting too close for comfort (see following stories). Thank you for the donations to help set up additional security. I have a very specific investigation in mind to take this issue to the next step. Your donations will make that happen immediately. Those of you who have been following our work know: We get action!

Thursday April 29 2004
The Secret Service Wants Your Name: Will "subpeona" this web site?

by Bev Harris
And by the way, they read every word. Hi, agent Mike. This "investigation" no longer passes the stink test.

He says not to tell folks about the "investigating" they are doing.

I have cooperated ad nauseum to this absurd investigation of the "VoteHere hack" which looks to me like it is something entirely different. I'll tell you what it looks like to me:

A fishing expedition.

It appears that they may be using the Patriot Act to circumvent some of the civil rights protections laid down in the 60s. You see, it is illegal for a government agency to go in and demand the list of all the members of a group. And you can't investigate leaks to journalists by going in and grabbing the reporter's computer.

After the Diebold memos were leaked, and my web site was shut down, around the time of the California recall election, I started getting solicited to accept VoteHere software. I didn't bite, because it was obvious that this was an entrapment attempt.

Okay, a word about VoteHere: This is the company that has no visible means of support. It doesn't seem to sell anything. Its board is heavily infested with defense industry types -- a former CIA director (Robert Gates, now heads George Bush School of Government); it had Admiral Bill Owens, also Vice-Chairman of SAIC and a member of the Defense Policy Board with Perle and Wolfowitz, a very close friend of Cheney; currently headed by former Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro.

VoteHere announced that it would be releasing its software for review, back in July 2003. It was planning to release it in September, and was supposed to do so to Dr. David Dill's web site. It never released the code, just a bunch of literature about its product. (It did release some, but not all, of its code this month, making a big splash about it). About a week into October, I got solicited with an email "click this link" for VoteHere software.

Now who would fall for that? Why would anyone in their right mind grab the stuff in some clandestine manner when it was being released into the open momentarily? And this is a company that never sells anything. Who gives a shit anyway, what its software does? It now is trying to peddle yet another alternative to a voter verified paper ballot, an idiotic solution where we turn over auditing of the vote to a handful of cryptographers who work for a private company with defense industry ties. No one I know thinks that is even a viable concept, so why would we care to examine the software these cryptographers make up?

I was in the ending stages of writing my book, putting new chapters online every few days, at that time. Like I'm going to hack into VoteHere (those who know me realize that I couldn't hack my way out of a paper bag) -- this was just dumb.

I turned down the software. In early January this year, VoteHere does a press release that it was "hacked" in October and tries to blame it on the activism community. I published an article expressing doubt that we'd gotten the whole story.

Now, I have been interviewed by the Secret Service on this VoteHere "hack" story about five times. They never spend much time on the hack. Most of the time is spent on the Diebold memos, which they claim they are not investigating.

Here's the deal: The leaking of memos to journalists is not something the government can come in and demand to investigate very easily.

Under the Patriot Act, "hacking" crimes were turned over to a new division, called the CyberCrimes division, and placed under the auspices of the Secret Service. And let me tell you what they want from me now: They want the logs of my web site with all the forum messages, and the IP addresses. That's right. All of them. A giant fishing expedition for every communication of everyone interested in the voting issue. This has nothing to do with a VoteHere "hack" investigation, and I have refused to turn it over.

So, yesterday, they call me up and tell me they are going to subpeona me and put me in front of a grand jury. Well, let 'em. They still aren't getting the list of members of unless they seize my computer -- which my attorney tells me might be what they have in mind.

Also, Agent Mike told me he just "happened" to be on the plane with me a couple weeks ago. What's that supposed to do? Scare me? "You were going to Oakland," he said. Yeah, and Diebold lawyer's memos appeared in the Oakland Tribune, but guess what, Mike: That was the first hop of three on my way to Dallas. I left that morning for a speech at the Dallas Democratic Forum that evening. Never even got off the plane. Better luck next time.

And if they were really investigating what they said -- a VoteHere "hack" can someone explain why they want the logs from the web site -- it was SHUT DOWN due to Diebold cease & desists during the period of the supposed "hack."

And (you know who you are) -- consider this a heads up: If you start bumbling around in my house with U.S. marshalls, the very first thing that will happen is mainstream news coverage that you are misusing the Patriot Act to get at membership lists and private correspondence for a fishing expedition on stuff that isn't even the subject of a legitimate investigation.

Yeah, I'm not a happy camper. Taking the pulse of our democracy nowadays, it doesn't feel very healthy, does it?

Bev Harris

P.S. Everyone say hi to Mike.

Please pass this along, and/or get your group involved:

We need exactly 2,004 Clean-Up Crew members to volunteer as poll workers, election judges, and poll watchers, with a checklist of problems to hunt for and a hotline to litigators and the media. E-mail with "Volunteering!" in the subject line to join the Clean-Up Crew.

Friday April 23 2004
The inside story on California Diebold decertification -- Next: Ohio?

by Bev Harris and Andy Stephenson
Been mighty busy. You ain't seen nothing yet. Both Andy and Bev need contributions, of course, and at the moment they are funding travel for coalition-building among all the small local groups.

"We were caught. We apologize for that," [Diebold Election Systems president Bob]Urosevich said of the mass failures of devices needed to call up digital ballots. Poll-workers in Alameda and San Diego counties hadn't been trained on ways around their failure, and San Diego County chose not to supply polls with backup paper ballots, crippling the largest rollout of e-voting in the nation on March 2. Unknown thousands of voters were turned away at the polls.

"We're sorry for the inconvenience of the voters," Urosevich said.

"Weren't they actually disenfranchised?" asked Tony Miller, chief counsel to the state's elections division.

After a moment, Urosevich agreed: "Yes, sir."

Bev had this to say

Seattle journalist and leader Bev Harris took a microphone two feet in front of Urosevich and said, "What we have is a company that lies. Yes, I'll say it -- lies."bbb

more, Ian Hoffman, Tri-Valley Herald & Oakland Tribune

We don't apologize for eliminating voters' right to vote, we apologize because we got caught while doing this...

Now Diebold is asking California for the chance to (again) certify their TSx system, promising to have it all done by fall to the newest standards.

But their fault was in not delivering a trustwort product. Is his apology intended for shareholders or for the people of California?

Here's a behind the scenes report on this situation:

There were many, many people and groups involved, among them,,, True Majority, SAVE-Democracy, California Voter Foundation, but this produced intense stress and left, really, no choice:

California completed its audit of certified versions in use. ONLY ONE county in California was using certified software (Orange County). Even there, significant problems arose.

The California secretary of state's office issued a report, which was critical to all vendors but brutal on Diebold.

A couple weeks back, I got an email from James Dunn, a California citizen who reported interesting things about his experience as a tech putting together the Diebold TSx system. I thought his information was important and passed it to Jim March, a Republican/Libertarian gun lobbyist who lives in Sacramento, for follow up. Jim is on of my co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit in California asking for restitution from Diebold, and he is highly skilled in persuasive lobbying.

Jim drove to Stockton to take a formal declaration from James Dunn. It was devastating. Basically, Diebold hires techs, and "rovers" for election day, by having a temp agency place ads on They hired Dunn over the phone and told him to show up for work and start assembling Diebold machines.

The use of temporary workers in elections who are "told not to tell what they were doing, and not to answer questions should be a big concern of ours.

Diebold's voter card encoder was not functioning properly, and therefore Diebold created several patches and told Dunn and the others to put them on the machines. Later, at the county facility, the Secretary of State paid a surprise visit. The assistant county registrar and Diebold employees were there. The techs were told not to tell what they were doing, and not to answer questions. After a brief conference among county and Diebold project managers, the techs were sent home with pay.

There was no inventory control. Patches went on some voter card encoders but not others, and records weren't kept of which were which. Patches overwrote other patches on the installation cards, with hand written version numbers crossed out and competing with each other for attention.

b Though Diebold's technical data specs for the TSx machines specify that Diebold is ISO compliant (a quality management system for software) no attempt was made to follow even the most basic quality control standards to comply with ISO 9000. Most machines were not even tested after the patches.

b The batteries kept dying, even when the machines were in transit only for a short time. But the batteries didnt even need to run down; when they got low, the machines lost their software.

The techs warned everyone who would listen that this was going to be a problem on election day. Diebold instructed them to ship the machines out around to various counties (and to Johnson County, Kansas) despite the flaws. The encoders did indeed fail on election day, causing many,many people to lose their ability to vote at all.


At the hearing yesterday: Bob Urosevich started off, and said he had no idea of the battery problem, and that Diebold had fixed all the problems identified by the various reports (SAIC, RABA)

But then Dunn testified that they did know about the problems.

Urosevich was cross examined, and it got pretty cross (on the part of the voter board) and tense (on the part of Diebold's lawyer, who kept jumping up to whisper in Urosevich's ear). His answers were evasive, nonsensical, parsed words beyond the meaning of "is" and so frustrated the panel that one panel member said "so we can look at your answer two ways -- you were trying to be misleading or you were lying. Which is it?"


Enter the next set of documents -- the lawyers memos.

Out of perhaps 600 pages, about 50 pages were deemed to be of compelling public interest. The most important information on these was provided directly to two gentlemen who had an appointment to meet with Kevin Shelley who was, at that time, out of the state. On Monday, March had provided Dunn's declaration to the secretary of state's office and to the California attorney general.

While traveling a few days ago, my plane touched down for about 20 minutes in Oakland while I was on my way to Dallas. I grabbed my cell phone and called Ian Hoffman of the Oakland Trib to tip him off about a set of documents that had become available, and he was keenly interested. He made the correct inquiries to locate a selection of memos.

Hoffman printed two articles in the Oakland Tribune and the Tri Valley Herald, on Tuesday this week, detailing the problems exposed by the memos:

Andy Stephenson can point you to on online repository of the memos, which show the following:

1) Diebold's lawyers were planning to lie to the secretary of state by saying the smart card system was commercial off the shelf, and didnt need to be certified. This was in response to a suggested interrogatory I provided for the January voting panel hearing via Jim March. Of course, this system is customized and heavily modified.

2)Diebold's lawyers described absurd answers to the interrogatories, like saying that to get hold of the source code for the TSx might take several months. However, if a software developer is following ISO 9000 standards, or any certification and auditability standards, of course they can lay their hands on their own source code. In a matter of a few minutes, certainly.

3) Diebolds lawyers said they needed to "find out what the secretary of state's office has" especially, if they had documents from the Diebold FTP site. They said they wanted to minimize document production. It so happens that strong evidence of the customized votercard programs was on that FTP site -- at least nine different versions of it.

4) Diebold's lawyers also outlined a number of areas where they had concluded that their client had probably broken the law.

5) They also made patently absurd written responses about the Windows CE system.


At the hearing, the voting panel cross examined Bob Urosevich and then his lawyer about information contained in these memos. The answers had the crowd squirming, guffawing and rolling their eyes.


Jody Holder, a powerful researcher, brilliant guy, who is also a plaintiff in the consumers lawsuit against Diebold, obtained contracts between Diebold and the counties. In the Kern County contract was a "section O" where Kern agreed to let Diebold set up a dedicated phone line with direct access from corporate into their GEMS central tabulator system at any time.

The voting panel asked the Kern County elections registrar why in the world she signed that. Her only answer was "we don't use it."

But she agreed to give Diebold control of her central tabulator whenever they wanted.

"But I don't do that" she repeated.

"Oh I can sleep better now," said a member of the voting panel.


Urosevich stated that all the flaws were fixed, but in GEMS 1.18.18, you see, I had obtained the release notes. Andy placed all of the release notes on this

web address

(From Bev:)When I testified, I was so sick of the lies that I was not as calm as usual. My testimony consisted of something like this: "Voting is a public trust. But Diebold LIES. You cannot have a company that lies have control of the vote." I then directed the 500-member audience to the web site to look at the release notes and see for themselves. The flaws we exposed in GEMS include ability to bypass password, ability to overwrite the audit log, ability to change votes, ability to enter minus votes, and the use of two sets of books, one which is used for spot checks and the other for the reported results. The two sets of books need not match.

The release notes show that not one of these flaws were corrected.


The chief obstacle to statewide decertification is the county registrars, many of whom are defending Diebold until the bitter end. Many testified, many told flat out lies, like "These machines have never miscounted" (Ahem: San Diego. Super Tuesday. GEMS. Miscounted 3000 votes).


And then they decertified the TSx (applies to 4 counties) and suggested submitting the case to the AGs office for possible criminal and civil prosecution.


Some counties with touch screens did not get decertified (Alameda). That is because they have the TSr not the TSx. This is still not resolved, and may reopen. Also, the GEMS system still is not fully resolved, nor is the issue of wireless communications, which Diebold has never answered.


Citizens, you really can make a difference. Right now I'm in Ohio. Tomorrow I'll meet with a group of African American ministers, with a few state senators, and do media interviews. Today we held a dramatic event at the Diebold stockholders meeting, and DU's own Jeff Seeman, who is running for office, questioned Wally O'Dell creating some most awkward moments.

Ohio is a swing state. Its secretary of state has recommended dumping $128 million into touch screens. Its senate is trying to block the expenditure. Together with CASE Ohio, we are mobilizing support for the senators. I also networked with a fantastic, dynamic new youth voting group called "The League of Pissed Off Voters."

Look the energy and integrity and creativity out there is just amazing.

Now, Wednesday night I flew from San Francisco to Las Vegas, arrived in Cleveland 6 a.m., immediately rented a car and went to Canton for the True Majority / Ruckus Society / Diebold stockholders event, then had meetings all day. I'm pooped, and will sign off shortly to get some sleep. But I want to describe for you how cool True Majority and the Ruckus Society are.

Picture it: Diebold stockholders meeting. Outside, there are three giant red weather balloons, each with a human strapped below it in a parachute harness. These folks did a march of patriots up and over a lengthy grassy knoll -- kind of bouncing, floating and skipping along under their weather balloons. (The power lines were interesting. Yikes. Helium and power lines don't mix, but it was well organized and done safely). When we all marched up the hill, the crowd was chanting. In front of it was a giant voting machine spewing smoke and failing to count votes.

As the balloon people arrived, they stretched a gigantic net between them, so that those attending the Diebold stockholders meeting saw this megabanner: Diebold: Draining the Life out of Democracy.

Cameras. Local TV. Then two suits show up with legal documents. I thought, uh-oh, is this my fourth cease and desist? But no, these were a lawyer and his client, a Mexican businessman who is suing Diebold for ripping him off. They joined the party.

Folks, I want you to join the clean up crew. No, now it doesn't look like we'll be recruiting 2,004 members of the Crew to monitor, work as election judges and poll workers, contact the media, participate in the attorney hotline and join the computer problem reporting hotline.

Now it looks like we're gonna have 20,004 volunteers. Email me to join.

links to more memos including

Alameda County Agreement

Atty fees for 2 months

California Elections Code--Countinq of Vo

Chart CA Desi COntracts

Chart of DESI certified systems 1.18.18 r

D McMillian to M Carrel Feb 2004

Discussion RE Windows CE

Equip list in CA Diebold COunties

Fed Quals and NASED Number

Issues Re CA SOS investigation

Memo Analyzing Alameda Contract

Q and A good stuff

SLO Investigation Notes

Scott Shaw to D McMillian

Scott Shaw to David McMillian

* * * * *

Diebold knew of shortcomings; internal memos show preparations for possible criminal prosecution

Tuesday, April 20 2004
Have been juggling a million things, and working on these stories with Ian Hoffman was one of them. Jim March did a heroic job, by the way. Okay, here goes (and the hits just keep on comin'):

Voting services firm facing legal hurdles
By Ian Hoffman

In a series of internal memos, attorneys for Diebold Election Services Inc. depict California as a legal minefield ...Starting Wednesday, California elections regulators will debate punishing Diebold for fielding unapproved voting systems in violation of state law. They could ban the use of some or all Diebold equipment in California elections, even bar the nation's second largest voting- systems provider from doing business in the largest state.

By February, according to memos obtained by ANG Newspapers, attorneys at the Los Angeles office of corporate defense firm Jones Day estimated that defending Diebold on all quarters would cost $535,000 to $925,000 for two months.

At the time, Jones Day already was scoping potential defenses to a California False Claims Act suit against Diebold that is filed under seal and not publicly available. Lead counsel for Diebold's troubles in California has been assigned to Daniel D. McMillan, a specialist in the False Claims Act.

If the plaintiffs prove that Diebold knowingly made misrepresentations to local governments to win voting-systems contracts, such as its $12.7 million sale to Alameda County and its $31 million sale to San Diego County, Diebold could face punitive damages for up to three times the contracts' value.

Jones Day also had begun analyzing Diebold's risk of criminal prosecution, at a two-month cost of $25,000 to $40,000. The internal memos show the firm already has concluded that California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has evidence that Diebold violated state election laws in at least Los Angeles, Lassen and Trinity counties.

Jones Day's lawyers advised Diebold to retain a white-collar criminal defense specialist for "pre-grand jury investigative advice" at an additional $5,000 to $10,000 a month, with an eye to "persuading prosecuting authorities not to bring criminal charges."

* * * * *

Diebold was aware of shortcomings early
By Ian Hoffman

...California elections officials said they are perplexed that Diebold apparently has not changed practices since a December audit revealed uncertified software running in every county that it serves.

...In drafts of a Feb. 13 letter to state regulators, Diebold's attorneys declared that Diebold makes no changes to electronic devices that the company and its predecessor have been programming for at least five years. The drafts show they staked out a firm position that a critical piece of Diebold's voting system -- its voter-card encoders -- did not need national or state approval because they were commercial off-the-shelf products, never modified by Diebold.

But on the same day the letter was received, Diebold-hired techs were loading non-commercial Diebold software into voter-card encoders in a West Sacramento warehouse for shipment to Alameda and San Diego counties.

...More than 600 of the devices froze or displayed unfamiliar screens and error messages on the morning of Election Day, for failure rates of 24 percent in Alameda County and about 40 percent in San Diego County.

...An outspoken tech complained about the poor quality controls and the failure of the devices when sapped of power.

..."He was gone. They fired him," Dunn said. "The attitude among the others there was, 'I don't care how screwed up these things are, I'm going to keep quiet. I'm not going to get fired.'"

...Diebold's claims to California elections officials, through its attorneys, that it does not modify the encoder software is blatantly untrue, according to Dunn and electronic-voting opponent Jim March.

..."That's a lie," March said.

...Last year, Seattle-based journalist Bev Harris found nine versions of Diebold encoder software on an unsecure Internet site. Software engineers such as March have been marveling at their multitude since.

..."When you vote, you are inserting a memory card containing up to 128k of God-only-knows what. With no oversight, the 'smart cards' could contain some very stupid stuff indeed, or even deliberate subversion," he said.

Tuesday, April 12 2004
Did you know that there are now over 100 groups working to restore secure voting procedures? It is time for us to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to make this wall move. is working with other groups to develop a stronger coalition, both for litigation and for activism efforts. News Media: Scan the "Newsfeed" at left for updates on voting events near you. Citizen Groups: Feel free to submit your contact information and events.

Monday, April 11 2004
Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood: Foolish interview of the day

Change the Motivation Equation for your public officials
By Bev Harris

Because so many areas have just gone barreling forward with these voting machines, and because we found when we did a small pilot project like I'm outlining below that it worked exceptionally well (scroll way down to read about Riverside), we are rolling out THE VOTING CLEAN UP CREW.

The concept behind it: We need to make it more expensive, uncomfortable and sometimes, embarrassing for public officials to use vapor ballots and insufficient auditing procedures, so that they become be less interested in doing so.

  Please pass this along, and/or get your group involved:

We need exactly 2,004 Clean-Up Crew members to volunteer as poll workers, election judges, and poll watchers, with a checklist of problems to hunt for and a hotline to litigators and the media. Job one will be to make sure the election is honest and flows smoothly. Job two will be to promptly expose insufficient security and voting machine malfunctions.E-mail with "Volunteering!" in the subject line to join the Clean-Up Crew.

Clean-Up Crew members will act as communications relays to get problems solved and, if necessary, to relay them to the media. Additional Clean-Up Crew members will collect information needed for prompt litigation. Some Clean-Up Crew members will monitor results for statistical anomalies. We also need role model Clean Up Crew Members, and high profile individuals to demonstrate leadership by publicly joining the Clean Up Crew.

WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST VOTING CLEAN-UP CREW MEMBERS: Barbara, West Palm Beach FL; Bob, Cobb County GA; Gail, Los Angeles County CA; Aaron, Akron OH, Loraine, Whatcom County WA; Sandra Grover NC; Dee Dee, Denton TX; Bob, Groton MA; Bradley, King County, WA; Vicki, Chicago IL; D., Contra Costa County CA; Corrine, Palm Beach County FL; Nick, Bend, OR; Lew, Duval County, FL; Amber, Ojai CA; Jeff, Johnson County, KS; Joanna, Oakland County, MI; Dan Spillane, the Senior Test Engineer for touch-screens who sued VoteHere; yup, we'll assign him to a touch-screen county; Larry, Williamson County TX; Melinda, from Florida; Glenn, Jefferson County, CO; Christopher, from North Carolina; Liz, New York NY; JoAnna, New York NY; Mr. L., Orange County CA; James, Chester County, PA; M.A., Riverside County, CA; Jack, Bergen County NJ; Brian, Morris County NJ; the Kitsap County pod (Barry, Mr. D., JoAnne), WA; R., Philadelphia PA; Sharon, Florida...and many more, keep 'em coming!

Please submit your nomination for a county that needs special attention. E-mail with "Nomination" in the subject line. The Top 10 Clean-Up Sites will each be assigned 100 undercover Clean-Up Crew members, blanketing every polling place with a Crew member. Does your county need special education?

Nominations for Counties that should receive special attention include: Riverside County, CA. Comal County, TX. San Diego County, CA. Fulton County, GA, El Paso County, CO, King County, WA, Snohomish County, WA, El Paso County, TX, Bernalillo County NM, Alameda County, CA, Chester County, PA; San Francisco County, CA; Teller County, CO, Nominate away.

Can you put together a Clean Voting pod?

Run a Clean Voting Crew under your own organization (Note that there is no "Black Box Voting" in the name "Clean Voting Crew" -- all Americans are encouraged to take ownership of this important citizen action! can help provide infrastructure for you, like providing handouts and information relay stations for the press and litigators. Recruit a few friends and family members and have some real fun ensuring the survival of democracy. Get your group involved.

Citizens: It's up to us.
Election officials: Let's solve this now.
Invisible Ballot Vendors: Quit blocking the road.

* * * * *

Think no one will shave votes? Computers caught shaving off payroll hours

Thursday-Sunday April 1-4, 2004
LEAD STORY: Flaws found in Sequoia voting software questions arise about security, conflict of interest
By Bev Harris

* * * * *

Section 18575 of the California Elections Code makes it illegal for anyone other than an election officer to handle, count, or canvass ballots:

Every person is guilty of a felony, and on conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three or four years, who at any election: (a) without first having been appointed and qualified, acts as an election officer, (b) not being an election officer, performs or discharges any of the duties of an election officer in regard to the handling, counting, or canvassing of any ballots.

This section provides that only authorized people, such as an election officer, may count votes. To the extent that an unauthorized person handles or counts votes, he or she is in violation of section 18575.

* * * * *

What follows is a story that describes two Sequoia employees gaining access to a central tabulator computer during the middle of a vote-count; specific security flaws found in the Sequoia WinEds central tabulation program found on the Internet last fall, and issues of conflict of Interest with Riverside County Registrar of Voters Mischelle Townsend.

I have included the closest thing to rebuttals I've been able to find here and in the links. Please not that NONE of the key allegations here have been addressed in rebuttals. Instead, we have a lot of dancing around the issue.

Key issues:

(1) California law is quite specific about who can touch live voting tabulating machines during an election. Sequoia employees do not qualify unless they went through some formal procedure. We have seen no evidence of that in the rebuttals, only the generic "we have support technicians on site" answer. Yes, but the issue is, why were they typing into, and uploading information into, a central tabulation machine during a live vote count?

Sequoia's only answer is even weaker: "Access requires a password and I.D." Yes, apparently, but the issue in this article is the allegation that a Sequoia employee named Eddie Campbell accessed the computer using Riverside employee Brian Foss's I.D. and password.

(2) The Sequoia WinEds central tabulator software found on the Internet was discovered to allow easy manipulation of Spanish-language votes, and allows rewriting source code on the fly. This was not rebutted at all, except for the meaningless "security wasn't compromised" and "these machines are secure" arguments. OK. But can Spanish-language votes be manipulated, and can the source code for the stored processes be changed?

(3) Conflict of interest: While Townsend says it is dreadful that people are discussing these things, the fact remains: She took money that wasn't allowed for travel, and when we wrote in this article that it appeared to be for a paid advertisement, not a news show, Sequoia admitted that they did pay for it, making it: paid advertising. It turns out that Townsend's husband has, indeed been Vice President for Maximus, a company involved with selling voting systems, and that Townsend's disclosure documents were, indeed, missing, though they seem to have been found "misfiled."

Soon, we'll be exposing more. Stay tuned, but if you haven't caught up with all this, read on:

In Riverside County, California, I recently participated in the videotaping of a statement that causes me concern.

On election night, March 2, two people who do not work for the County, Sequoia employees Michael Frontera and Eddie Campbell were observed to access the computer into which live votes, in the form of electronic ballot boxes, are tabulated. They did this during the middle of the count. At this time, approximately 8:50 on election night, about one-third of Riverside's 157 precincts had been counted. At that point, the count was such that an automatic runoff would have been required between Linda Soubirous, a candidate for County Supervisor, and her opponent, Bob Buster.

In the central count room of Riverside County at this time, no vote tabulation activity appeared to be going on. Two men were at the vote tabulation terminals, the computers that load and tally the electronic ballot boxes from precincts around the county. Sequoia employee Michael Frontera was sitting at the terminal typing into the program, and Sequoia employee Eddie Campbell was standing next to him talking to him.

Riverside County has approximately 4,200 touch-screen voting terminals, placed into polling places around the county. The votes are stored on electronic ballot boxes called memory cards, or cartridges. These cards began arriving and soon were piled up all over the counting room. Employees of the Riverside County Elections Division began inputting electronic ballot boxes into the central tabulator shortly after 9:00 p.m.

Response from Sequoia

It seems plausible that the precincts reported earlier may have been mail-in precincts, or may have contained absentee votes, with the delay in the vote a result of waiting for the polling place ballot boxes to be driven in to the central counting office.

After the count resumed, the count for Bob Buster, which had been around 47 percent, rose methodically until it reached exactly the vote total needed to eliminate a mandatory runoff: 50 percent, plus 1 vote.

Precincts in / Bob Buster percentage
46 precincts / 47 percent
87 precincts / 49.12 percent
101 precincts, 49.89 percent
126 precincts / 50.22 percent (Amount needed)
144 precincts / 50.25 percent (no change)
157 precincts / 50.21 percent (no change)

The report I have on provisional ballots from all precincts, which were tallied later: Buster received 47 percent.

Recently, Registrar Mischelle Townsend made a peculiar statement. She said that she could see why people might rig slot machines, because there is money involved, but she could not imagine why anyone would have a motive to rig an election.

One of the most traditional motives for local, city, or county-wide election-rigging is to place candidates in office who will be kind to certain construction companies. I am not imputing any specific ties, or motives, to any candidate at all. However, to say that there is no motive to tamper with election results for the county supervisor positions is naive. Riverside County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation, with lucrative projects for new housing developments, and new industrial parks, going up for approval by county supervisors quite frequently.

Riverside County Supervisors make decisions on projects whose cumulative value is in the hundreds of millions. Thus, we would expect the Registrar of Voters to take very careful precautions to make sure that the vote is honest, fair, and that the counting of the vote is transparent so that it can be trusted by candidates and the public.

Who are the men from Sequoia who accessed the central tabulation computers on election night, during the middle of the vote count?

Michael Frontera is a former Denver Elections Commission executive who took a position with Sequoia shortly after placing $6.6 million in Sequoia orders with Denver. Eddie Campbell is a Sequoia employee who lives in Denver.

What were they doing when Frontera was typing information into the central tabulation computer?

No one from Riverside County was monitoring their actions. According to Alfie Charles from Sequoia, they were doing something to upload results to a Web site, which used an unrelated program. To work on this computer, though, Frontera and Campbell should have documentation on file that they were officially "appointed and qualified" as elections officers for Riverside County. Also, if they were uploading results from the central tabulator machine, even if they were using a different program than the central tabulator program, that would mean the computer was hooked up the the Internet, which Townsend denies, and it would be vulnerable to hacking. These computers were observed to use Windows, and the splash screen that came up when Sequoia's employee opened the program on March 4 was observed to be the same screen that appears when you open WinEds, the central tabulator program.

When, how, and by whom were Frontera and Campbell "appointed and qualified" as elections officers? My fax number is 425-228-3965, and I will await the faxed documentation on this.

According to the California Elections Code section 18564, "Any person is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for two, three, or four years who, before or during an election:...(b) interferes or attempts to interfere with...ballot tally software program source codes..."

Thus, it certainly looks bad, and deserves a full written explanation, when a person who does not work for the County and is not even a resident of the state of California is typing instructions into the central tabulation program during the middle of a count on election night.

But could "typing into the computer" interfere with the software program source codes?

Now I'd like to share with you what we've found out about the WinEds program (Temporary download: Verify this information for yourself), the central tabulator program manufactured by Sequoia Voting Systems. In September 2003, this program was found on an unprotected Web site. Andy Stephenson and I have been working with computer programmers from New York, Wisconsin, the high-tech corridor of Washington State, and California, and we have obtained an analysis of this code.

First, an important caveat: When Stephenson and I attended the Logic and Accuracy test held in Riverside County in February, 2004, during the question and answer period, we were told that the WinEds software found on the Web had nothing whatsoever to do with the real software. The software, WinEds 2.6 build 200 was certified by NASED in September, 2001. Currently, according to Townsend at the L&A test, they use WinEds 3.0.

But what we found was that certain components of the WinEds software, which create security risks, are built into the very foundation of the program. My sources say that it is unlikely that these components have been eliminated, as that would require an extensive rewrite and would mean they'd have to scrap certain functions, like the drag and drop ballot creation program, altogether. So, after this section, I'll pose a few more questions for Alfie Charles and Mischelle Townsend.

Here is why it is so dangerous, based on what we examined, for any employee to type anything into the central tabulation program while an election is in progress:

1. The WinEds program we examined includes a large amount of "business logic," that is, stored procedures that can easily be manipulated. It is not necessary to get access to the central programming information at Sequoia Voting Systems headquarters to change these stored procedures basically, you can change the source code itself that controls the commands given to the central tabulator.
This allows any county database administrator, or any Sequoia support rep, to change the source code that has been approved by the California Secretary of State and the Independent Testing Authority, and imperils the tabulation of votes that have already been cast.

Changing the stored procedures after votes have been cast can do just about anything you want. Using the program we examined, you could put in vote-shaving logic: Multiply this guy's votes times 1.05, and this other guy's votes times .95. Such a manipulation would pass canvassing and would probably even pass a spot check when ballot simulations were printed out one by one.

2. Changing the source code in the stored procedures does not require sneaking in a back door.
Simply by opening the program, you can open windows that give you access to replacing the code. Any county employee or support rep can execute the manipulations easily and with very little chance of getting caught. It takes only minimal computer expertise -- a few vocational training courses for Microsoft, for example, and you will have the knowledge needed to overwrite the commands in the central tabulator.

Therefore, allowing anyone -- even a county employee, but certainly, various support techs who live out of state -- to have access to the system and start typing things into it during a live election is poor election security procedure.

Andy Stephenson asked Townsend if she had any training at all in computer programming. She replied that her degree was in public administration. Townsend is not qualified, even if she is watching the people typing into the tabulator, to judge whether they are doing secure programming.

In this instance, neither Townsend nor anyone from Riverside County was observing what Frontera typed into the WinEds program during a live election, after vote-counting had begun. The entire election on March 2 in Riverside requires that we place our trust in Michael Frontera and Eddie Campbell, who may be the nicest of people, but at no point did the voters of Riverside approve of two guys from Denver getting control over 600,000 votes.

But there's more...

Riverside has a heavy hispanic population. The main part of the L&A test we observed did not test Spanish language ballots, and even if it had, there is no way to verify that the ballot definitions in the L&A test are identical to what was in the machines on election day.

In the WinEds program we examined, the Spanish language ballots can quite easily be altered so that the touch-screen records the vote for the opposite candidate than the voter intended. This works with foreign language votes only.

You do not need to go in a "back door" to flip the Spanish-language votes. It can be easily achieved by mapping the Spanish ballots to vote for Don when Spanish-speaking voters cast a vote for Ron.
The screen will indicate that they voted for Ron, but inside the machine, it will record the vote for Don, and there is no way whatsoever to verify that Hispanic voters' intent was correctly recorded, because there is no paper ballot.

In the WinEds program we examined, the code, when altered, defaulted to erase the manipulations upon closing the program. By creating ballots using the Spanish language manipulation, installing the ballots onto the touchscreens, then closing the program, our handiwork no longer existed when the program was reopened. Thus, if the Spanish-language manipulated code was used to load the polling place machines, then the program was closed, then reopened to load the ballots for the L&A test, the ballots would pass L&A while robbing Hispanic voters of their voice.

The WinEds program we examined uses VBA, an interpreted language which violates FEC standards. In fact, VBA can so easily be used to exploit a system that it is the weapon of choice for many viruses.

In Snohomish County, Washington, county auditor Bob Terwilliger admitted on the Mike Webb radio show that one of his employees did a patch on his Sequoia touch screen system. Later, at a League of Women Voters meeting, Terwilliger said that this patch was only to change a font.

However, because of the way the WinEds program is constructed, you can put programming in so that when you do a simple thing like change a font, it changes the way the vote is recorded.

You simply go into the font definition code, cut and paste your own into it -- code which can have nothing whatsoever to do with fonts -- and voila! Whenever someone innocently changes a font in a report, behind the scenes the program does something else.

"None of the critics is giving any credence to the extensive system of checks and balances that we employ."
Mischelle Townsend, Registrar of Elections, Riverside County, California

On March 4, two days after the election, still in the middle of the count, while 5,000 absentee ballots were being counted, with only 72 votes separating two candidates from a mandatory runoff, Sequoia employee Eddie Campbell was observed outside the building by two citizens, Art Cassel and Brian Floyd. Campbell pulled a memory card out of his pocket.

"Let's see if this will work," he said to a County employee named Paul Shook. He then went into the central counting room. Floyd followed him, demanding to know what was on the card. The card looked exactly like an electronic ballot box card, but Campbell refused to say what was on the card, or give his name when asked, but did admit that he doesn't work for the county.

Campbell then went into the central tabulation room and a Riverside County employee named Brian Foss logged him onto the central tabulator with his (Foss's) password. According to Cassel, Foss then left the room. Campbell touched a handful of central tabulator machines, apparently entering the password belonging to Brian Foss. He reportedly took the card that had been in his pocket, and uploaded information into the machine. Campbell took the card back, put it in his pocket, told Floyd and Cassel that it was his "personal" card, and left the building with it, got on a plane and flew out of the state to Denver.

Response from Sequoia

According to the California Elections Code section 18502, it is most likely illegal to interfere with the manner or timing of counting votes.

In addition to questions about the legality of what Campbell did, here are two obvious problems with the above:

1) Using someone else's password defeats the purpose of the event log, or audit log. Eddie Campbell will show up as Brian Foss.

2) Leaving the state with a card that uploaded data into a live election tabulator during the middle of an election is outrageous. That card needed to be retained by the County of Riverside, at least until the election was certified and recounts were settled.

According to California Elections Code section 18564, leaving the state with that card was illegal. Section 18564, 2.:

Carry away or destroy ballots

A person may not carry away ballots...

"Every person is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two to three years, or by both the fine and imprisonment, who: ... (d) adds to or mixes with, or attempts to add to or mix with, the ballots polled, any other ballots, while they are being counted or canvassed or at any other time ..., (e) carries away or destroys, attempts to carry away or destroy, or knowingly allows another to carry away or destroy, any poll list, ballot container, or ballots lawfully polled or who willfully detains, mutilates, or destroys any election returns (f) removes any unvoted ballots from the polling place before the completion of the ballot count."

Although this section appears to prohibit people from physically carrying ballots away or attempting to physically destroy ballots, a court may extend it to punish people who electronically remove items involved in counting elections from a mechanical voting tabulation device.

Mischelle Townsend, when questioned on March 4, first said that Eddie Campbell was not authorized to work on the central tabulation machines, but when employee Brian Foss admitted that he had logged Campbell in, Townsend reversed herself and said Campbell did have authorization. At issue:

- According to California law, Campbell certainly did not have authorization if there is no documentation of when, who, and how he was formally "appointed and qualified" to act as an election officer.

- According to any reasonable security protocols, Campbell should not log himself into the central tabulator during a live election using someone else's identification.

- According to California law, Campbell should not have introduced or uploaded any data into the machine, and it would be illegal for him to leave the state carrying evidence of what he put in the machine, especially if it contained votes or affected how votes were counted.

(UPDATE): According to the San Jose Mercury News: Voting activists alleging irregularities in the primary election have asked California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley to impound the electronic voting system used in Riverside County.

``The secretary of state definitely needs to come down here and do an investigation,'' said Brian Floyd, campaign manager for Linda Soubirous, a candidate for the county board of supervisors who lost by 49 votes, or one-tenth of a percent. Soubirous is seeking a recount.

A press officer for Shelley said the office is reviewing complaints about the Riverside election.

According to the Riverside Press-Review, Sequoia responded that "The system had not been compromised in any way, and Sequoia officials said the allegations are reckless and unnecessarily shake voter confidence."

More about Townsend

According to the Los Angeles Times

"Riverside County Registrar of Voters Mischelle Townsend illegally accepted travel and lodging from the supplier of the county's electronic voting system, according to a complaint filed Tuesday with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.

"Townsend, however, contends that the accusations stem from a paperwork mix-up.

"Riverside County was the first large jurisdiction in the nation to switch to electronic voting, and used it in the 2000 presidential election. Townsend has often been quoted about the system's accuracy. "...Townsend [also] failed to file conflict-of-interest forms from 1998 to 2002 and failed to disclose the source of her husband's income, charges she denies.

According to the Los Angeles Times, "'I submitted a form every year,' Townsend said. 'I have filled them out each year. I will research our files to see if it was mistakenly filed internally.'"

Response from Riverside County

However, though Townsend indicates this travel reimbursement was to participate in a news show, one report indicates that she was actually participating in a paid advertisement for Sequoia.

Update, and response from Sequoia

According to Townsend's disclosure form for 1996, which she filed on April 1, 1997, Lawrence E. Townsend Jr., who is listed as her spouse, lists his source of income as Maximus, and his position is listed as Vice President of Maximus. Maximus is listed in the Ohio RFP sales proposals for Hart Intercivic voting systems.

- The public relations firm for Sequoia in Riverside, O'Reilly, also has ties to County business. The extent of these ties, and the ethics of representing both the vendor and the client, are currently being investigated.

(UPDATE): According to the Los Angeles Times: Community activists also have raised concerns that O'Reilly Public Relations, a firm hired by Sequoia to provide information to the public when Riverside County's electronic voting machines were first used in 2000, wrote letters on behalf of Townsend that were mailed to political reporters throughout the nation.

According to investigator Joe Lucsko, a past board of supervisor filing indicates that Riverside County negotiated away part of the assets of its contract for the Sequoia voting system for 1,500 extra smart card devices. Maximus does make smart card devices, and where they came from (and, hopefully, who got the commission) will soon come out. Regardless of where they came from, one has to wonder what those 1,500 smart card devices are doing during live elections, what security procedures are followed to ensure that they aren't in a back room somewhere making duplicate smart cards.

(UPDATE): According to the Los Angeles Times Friday, Riverside County officials were urged Thursday to place Registrar of Voters Mischelle Townsend on paid administrative leave until conflict-of-interest allegations filed with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission are resolved.

Townsend misrepresents Avi Rubin (pdf)

So, Alfie Charles and Mischelle Townsend indicated they want to see the questions before answering them. Well, here they are. I'll print answers that are responsive and properly documented.

Mischelle Townsend, cell 909-818-4012; Alfie Charles, cell 559-280-9638, office 510-875-1283.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Riverside County Registrar of Voters Mischelle Townsend said this Internet account was inaccurate. ``I cannot tell you how disappointed I was in reading what was posted on that site. It is so replete with misrepresentations, false statements and misleading information that I am going to have to put out a statement,'' Townsend said Thursday evening.

Seven phone calls from me on Wednesday could not persuade her to answer a single question, and she apparently didn't answer reporter Elise Ackerman's questions, and when Andy Stephenson called on Thursday and Friday, she was unavailable to take any calls. Stephenson reached Townsend on Saturday, asking her for her side of the story to make sure we don't have anything incorrect. "You people aren't interested in the truth," she said, and refused to answer any questions.

However, Townsend did address this in an article in the Riverside Press-Enterprise on Friday, April 2, which reported that Townsend, in a letter Friday, asked District Attorney Grover Trask to investigate whether she violated any laws surrounding the March 2 election. Townsend said she wanted independently to refute the "groundless and politically motivated innuendo" in news accounts and Web sites that alleged she violated conflict-of-interest laws and exceeded government gift limits and that the county's electronic voting system may have been tampered with.

"I'm confident that it will clear up the misrepresentations that were made to the media," Townsend said by phone. "The media has given such credence to the allegations, and we may have people in the public arena who believe what they read rather than what is fact."

"I resent the fact that such an allegation would be made without any type of basis," she said "It is totally a disservice to the public to infer such misleading statements."

I called Alfie Charles of Sequoia on Wednesday, three times, but he did not take my call. He e-mailed me to say that I must submit my questions in writing in order to get a response, a poor option for any journalist, as this does not allow you to ask any follow up questions or ask for clarification. I submitted my questions in writing; he did not answer them. Mr. Charles made two brief statements to newspapers on Thursday, printed in updates above. Stephenson reached Sequoia on Friday, and they did not answer questions, but said they would be issuing a press release, which we will print on this Web site. The press release did not appear on Friday.

Questions for Mischelle Townsend:

- Did Maximus or any company related to it provide smart card devices for Riverside County at any time?

(RESPONSE): Andy Stephenson reached the press office for Riverside County, who says that there has not been a contract with Maximus. This does not directly address the issue of whether Maximus provided any smart card devices for Riverside under a related entity, or without overtly appearing in a contract.

- Does your husband still work for Maximus?

(UPDATE) According to Art Cassel, on Townsend's 2002 form she lists her husband as working for Maximus.

- Where are your financial disclosure documents from 1998 through 2002?

(RESPONSE): The press office for Riverside County told Andy Stephenson that these statements have appeared, and were misfiled, though the date-stamp appears to be for this week, according to Cassel.

- Have you expended any County funds on "public education" activities, and if so, did these "public education" efforts promote Sequoia Voting Systems? What are the names of any entities that received these funds?

(RESPONSE): The press officer for Riverside County told Andy Stephenson that he didn't know.

- When, how, and by whom were Frontera and Campbell "appointed and qualified" as elections officers?

(RESPONSE): the press office for Riverside County replied to this by telling Andy Stephenson that all further questions would have to be submitted in writing.

(Further Questions, submitted in writing):

- Did Frontera and/or Campbell touch the central tabulator on March 2, 2004? If so, what did they do and who gave permission?

- Did Campbell touch the central tabulator on March 4? If so, what specifically did he do, and did he have your permission?

- Was the count suspended at all on March 2?

- What version of the WinEds program were you running on March 2 and afterward?

- Have any County funds been used to pay the O'Reilly PR agency? - Can you obtain answers from one of the tech employees for Riverside: Is it true that foreign language ballots can be re-mapped in WinEds?

- What comment do you have about the security procedures you are using when you allow Mr. Foss's password to be used by Eddie Campbell, thereby having Foss, instead of Campbell, show up in the event log?

- Will you share a printout of the entire event logs from each of the central tabulators with public watchdog groups?


(UPDATE): I was unable to get any answers at all from Sequoia representative Alfie Charles, who first told me he would only answer questions submitted in writing, and after I submitted written questions, did not answer them. According to Andy Stephenson, he was told Friday by Sequoia that they would be issuing a press release on Friday afternoon about this matter. I could not find such a press release in the press release section of Sequoia's Web site

- What is the written policy for Sequoia employees touching live elections tabulations after votes have been cast? Can you fax this written policy to us? 425-228-3965. Waiting eagerly.

The ballot definition program in your WinEds program uses VBA, an "interpretive language" which is prohibited by the FEC standards. Does WinEds still use VBA for any of its functions? Which versions have used VBA in the past, and which versions still do?

- Foreign language ballots are particularly vulnerable in the WinEds program that we examined. Is this still the case, or, if not, will you provide the official release notes from later versions of WinEds that indicate this security flaw has been corrected?

- Why was the function built into the WinEds program which defaults to new code self-destructing when you close out the file? Is this function still in your software? Isn't this particularly dangerous if anyone enters information into the WinEds program during live vote-counting?

- Isn't it insecure to include stored procedures that can be overwritten in the central tabulator software? How does the ability to overwrite source code for key functions square with the requirement to have your source code reviewed and certified prior to use, with any modificaitons approved ahead of time? Is business logic still present in the current WinEds programs? If not, will you provide the formal release notes that show that this flaw was corrected?

- We found, and this was corroborated by the CompuWare report, which we assume uses a later version of WinEds, that it is possible to overwrite information in your central tabulator program without a password by using ODBC connections. Sequoia promised to fix that. Can you provide the release notes to show that these specific problems have been corrected, and when, and also provide the date that this improvement was implemented in Riverside California and Snohomish County, Washington?

Look forward to your responses.

Monday, March 30, 2004
You're Gonna Get a Visit
"None of the critics is giving any credence to the extensive system of checks and balances that we employ."
Mischelle Townsend, Registrar of Elections, Riverside County, California

Voting manufacturers, and a handful of truly clueless elections officials, cite an "extensive system" of procedural protections that supposedly neutralize the stunning security flaws found in our current voting machines. In a series of visits and citizen audits, we have found the security flaws inherent in local "elections procedures" to be just as shocking as the software itself. Each day this week we will feature a new visit:

Wednesday March 17, 2004
Youth: Your right to vote means a whole lot more than choosing a president. You might be drafted. No deferrments.
Bev Harris

While you're here: Sign this please!

If you are in college or high school, please spread the word about Black Box Voting to your friends and to your parents, aunts and uncles, because it is your VOTE that ultimately controls this: Legislation was proposed in the House and Senate (twin bills S89 and HR163) to reinstate the draft as early as June 15, 2005, to apply to both men and women ages 18 to 26 and college deferments will NOT be allowed.

$28 million dollars has been added to the 2004 Selective Service System and the Pentagon has quietly begun a public campaign to fill all 10,350 draft board positions and the 11,070 appeals boards slots nationwide. It appears that both John Kerry and the Bush administration support this action, but you can have an impact by putting pressure on them and by choosing your congressmen. More info available at Common Dreams.

This reminder submitted by one of our Black Box Voting members. Yes, I do read your e-mail I get several hundred a day, though, and still don't have a laptop, so it takes a while to respond. Your contributions are valuable.

Black Box Voting Actions

And yes, we need donations to keep this going. And I still need a laptop to keep things going while traveling.

Our focal points for January and February were TV exposure for the issue, and litigation. In March, National TV covered the issue 21 times in just 14 days, and this resulted in heightened public awareness. I announced last December that litigation would become our focus, and this is beginning to bear fruit. See two updates on litigation activities -- scroll down for today's, then yesterday's.

Heads up: Upcoming Black Box actions

I use the activism for the Viet Nam War and the Civil Rights Movement as a compass. What is missing from the voting integrity movement are the powerful voices of youth and minority communities. Over the next several months, you will see actions to develop more passion among youth and minority communities for this issue. Do whatever you can do to help, jump right in, don't wait for anyone's permission. Hook me up with the right people, and go out and mobilize on your own.

We've got to work on message for the youth, who often equate voting with lack of choice, believing that it's just for president and that their vote doesn't matter, or that all candidates are the same. Voting, of course, controls environmental policy, the draft, taxes, and selects judges both directly and indirectly. And what good are referendi and citizen initiatives if we can't trust our vote?

Minority communities are split on this issue. Recently, when I did an African-American radio show in Louisiana, a community activist recommended abstaining from voting, as a form of protest.

Why Vote?

As many of you know, my husband is African-American. His people died for the right to vote. I am a woman. My ancestors, the Sufragettes, died for the right to vote. And what if you are a white male? The Patriots, in the Revolutionary War, died for your right to vote. To say that voting doesn't matter dishonors your ancestors and throws away your children's future.

So, this election must show the most massive voter turnout in history. If only to protest, by voting for yourself, go vote. If only to check up on them, by observing with a checklist and reporting anomalies, go vote. If only to test the system by voting for the most obscure candidate on the ballot, then observing whether your vote showed up in your precinct totals, go vote. And by all means, vote for the smaller offices, the ones who will be making decisions on the draft, on the environment, and on the privatization of your local water, and on the judges. Got that? Go vote, and fight for your descendants' right to vote, as your ancestors fought for yours.

Quick update on litigation: I am working with several groups to establish a funded coordinated multi-state set of litigations to protect the vote. I need help. You may recall that by last December, I had already concluded that we were late out of the gate for meaningful legislative reform by November 2004, and that we'd have to get litigation going.

By the way, do not accept the latest theme, which even some voting rights organizations are spouting, that we can't do anything until after the November election. That is unAmerican. "Can't" never did anything, and we've just got to roll up our sleeves and make it happen, folks.

Today's litigation update

OK, lawsuits have been filed in Washington State, California, and Florida (thank you to the honorable Robert Wexler). Now we've got to start sharing discovery materials and get some paid talent to coordinate and create templates for pro bono attorneys in several states. Here's how you can help:

1) We need volunteers to help with a new lawsuit in Washington State, one that may have broad implications. The help needed is to do public records requests and collect materials from other suits against the same manufacturer, along with interviewing and taking declarations for witnesses. Email me at if you can help. I will route you to someone else who has already volunteered. We may need a volunteer coordinator, if she can't do that, so that the pro bono attorney on this can interface with just one or two people.

2) We are fixing to serve lawsuits on the following California counties next week: Los Angeles, San Diego, Alameda, Marin, Kern, San Joaquin, Solano, Plumas, Fresno, Humboldt, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Placer, Siskiyou, Trinity and Tulare.

-- I can't serve them, because is a plaintiff in the suit on behalf of its California members. See the lawsuit here. However, I would like this to be a public statement made by the citizens of California, and will be accompanying you, with a documentary film crew from Great Britain, for some of these; I only have a few days, and can't hit all 18 counties personally, but want to do as many as possible. Please e-mail me at above address if you can muster up a few equally interested parties and would like to serve the papers with me.

3) We will be bringing in the bigger investors/contributors very soon for the national clearinghouse for litigation on this. If you have connections, please contact me privately.

Tuesday March 16, 2004
Update: You Gotta Be Replaced
Bev Harris & Andy Stephenson

While you're here: Sign this please!

Did you know...that invisible-ballot proponent Linda Lamone, elections chief for the state of Maryland, who decided to buy Diebold after three studies debunked its claims of security, is trying to lock in her position FOR LIFE? Yes, it's true, and was proposed by Democrats in the Maryland legislature. But Linda Lamone has refused to comply with citizen's wishes for visible ballots. She is paid by taxpayer monies, but is not responsive to either scientific advice or citizen demands. Linda Lamone: Gotta be replaced.

Did you know...that in Utah, they've decided to hold their voting-machine purchase meetings IN SECRET in order not to upset the public? Researchers and Utah residents: Find out the names of those responsible for this decision. They gotta be replaced.

And by the way, Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood is telling proponents of clean voting we are doing a disservice by creating mistrust in the system. News flash, Ms. Hood: When poll workers threaten to call the police to remove a New York Times reporter who is checking out reports of machine problems, when your machines give voters the wrong ballots, when you can't even determine who won a contest because 12 votes separate the top two candidates but the machines ate more than 130 votes, and you can't recount because the ballots are now invisible, you are trying to sell us the emperor's new clothes. Thanks to Jeb, we can't even vote you out, you're appointed, but Glenda Hood: you gotta be replaced.

Latest Black Box Voting "Gotta Be Replaced" List

Riverside County: Registrar of Voters Mischelle Townsend (scroll down for more on her)

Santa Clara County: Registrar of Voters Jesse Durazo (turned down a voter verified paper system even when offered this feature for free by the vendors)

San Diego County: Registrar of Voters Sally McPherson (purchased Diebold touch-screen system AFTER it had been exposed to be riddled with security flaws)

Florida: Secretary of State Glenda Hood, who is fighting visible ballots and is also fighting recounts. According to her, it's good enough just to "re-run" the same data.

Georgia: Secretary of State Cathy Cox, who admits you can't do recounts on the Diebold touch-screens she bought, and has stonewalled on public records requests.

Washington State: Secretary of State Sam Reed (Did a high school tour promoting invisible ballots, on taxpayer money. Or, did Sequoia pay for this? Either way, this is unacceptable.) Caught on video: When, at a meeting sponsored by the League of Women Voters, he refused to answer questions about why he had knowingly overseen the use of uncertified and improperly certified software, citizens shouted, "answer the question, answer the question." Reed never answered the question, but instead turned to the host and said "Do I have to put up with this?" Yes, Mr. Reed, you do, but we don't have to put up with you.

Maryland: Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone, who purchased Diebold invisible ballot machines AFTER the Hopkins/Rice study revealed stunning security flaws, AFTER the SAIC report identified 328 security flaws, 26 deemed "critical", and used them AFTER the RABA report showed the central tabulator could be hacked in five minutes without leaving a trace.

Utah: E-mail us the names of the officials, please, who decided that the public should not be privy to their voting machine purchases.

Tuesday March 16, 2004
Update: You're Gonna Get a Visit
Bev Harris & Andy Stephenson

(Please donate if you want these visits to continue. We are planning our next one already! And watch this spot this week for new VISIT REPORTS, from citizens in New Jersey, California and Texas who decided to pay visits of their own!)

We have had two main focal points over the last 4 weeks: Achieve national television coverage of the Black Box Voting issue, and move forward on consumer litigation.

The New York Times can cover this story every week until the cows come home, but that won't enter the consciousness of a majority of Americans. For that, we needed TV. You may remember a few weeks back, for the We're Gonna Make a Visit action, we visited New York City. During this visit, we met with representatives from MoveOn and the ACLU, taped three documentaries, did a show with Austrian TV, and taped shows with CNN (Wolf Blitzer) and Democracy Now.

We also had several contacts with Vanity Fair, had a brief meeting with Greg Palast, another with Al Sharpton's people. The April issue of Vanity Fair, on newsstands NOW, features a 10,000-word investigative article on the Black Box Voting issue, perhaps the best article yet. Vanity Fair assisted us in getting additional TV coverage, on CNN Paula Zahn (who covered the issue twice) and on ABC Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight. CNN covered the issue also on Aaron Brown and Lou Dobbs (several times); NBC and CBS ran segments on their evening news, and Harris debated Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood on MSNBC. All in all, during a two-week period, national TV covered the Black Box Voting issue 21 times!

What's next?

Yes, there's gonna be another visit to one of the trouble spots, providing that we raise the funds. But first, on the organizing front:

Litigation Update

Earlier, California got a visit from Harris & Stephenson, and two lawsuits were filed one in Washington State, by Andy Stephenson against current secretary of state Sam Reed for improperly certifying the Diebold central tabulator software in King County, and for using uncertified software in the optical-scan machines. The Washington state lawsuit has now entered the discovery phase.

The second lawsuit, filed against Diebold in California on behalf of Jim March, Bev Harris/Black Box Voting for our California members, and several other California citizens, seeks restitution to the taxpayer from Diebold for engaging in false advertising and unfair business practices, and seeks to force 18 county officials to beef up their election security measures. A temporary restraining order was sought, but denied, shortly before the March 2 primary, but the lawsuit is still alive and well, and will enter the discovery phase shortly.

What we have not reported until now is that during the California visit we met with two entities we might call "brains & brawn" for mentoring on how to expand litigation quickly. To do this, we will need to fold a 501c(3) nonprofit entity in under some existing structure, in order to hit the ground running and not waste all the major funds on infrastructure for a wholly new organization. We have been having conversations behind the scenes to do this.

At that point, we will be collecting funding from larger investors in the cause, to underwrite a central clearinghouse which can organize and share discovery, and develop templates for use in many states at once. We have identified several key individuals who have the skills and experience to do this, and are putting the pieces together to take action.

* * * * *

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A blog devloted to the black box
Open Voting Consortium: A non-profit org dedicated to the development and delivery of an open voting solution.
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Contains numerous actual Diebold software files

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Black Box Investigative Reports
Secret Vendor Contracts: Check this out

Black Box Investigative Reports
Watchdog procedures

Black Box Investigative Reports
Counties refuse to follow security directives

Black Box Investigative Reports
Rebuttals for Talking Points

Black Box Investigative Reports
Gonna Get a Visit: "Logic & Accuracy" Test

Black Box Investigative Reports
Other options for visually impaired

Black Box Investigative Reports
Source Documents

Black Box Reports
What is meant by "proper auditing"

Black Box Investigative Reports
Five Felons Press Conference

Black Box Investigative Reports
Citizen reports

Black Box Investigative Reports
The Odd little VoteHere "hack"

Black Box Investigative Reports
The real story in Volusia County 2000

Black Box Investigative Reports
The real story in King County (supposedly)

Black Box Investigative Reports: Smash and grab with your tax dollars (but not your permission)
I'm a steamroller, baby

Black Box Investigative Reports
Sequoia software pops up on Web site

Black Box Investigative Reports
Manipulating elections with GEMS

Black Box Investigative Reports
Can we get the truth out of anyone?

Black Box Investigative Reports
Original rob-georgia interview

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source documents

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