Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Eureka T-S Balances Facts With Official Blather

This "he-said, she said" reporting is so old (see below). I want a sit-down with Times-Standard editor Charles Winkler, and others around here. They can't keep offsetting the position of the election integrity community with moving lips from the elections department and expect this to wash. Sending machines home is a violation of chain of custody provisions because the memory cards are not secure and the equipment can be in the possession of fewer than two people. The tamper seals are effectively useless. Cards can be tampered with even when sealed in the machines, and the machines have other means of access besides the card ports. These are verifiable facts (.pdf). The media seem as disinterested in doing the verifying here as they do when it comes to determining the accuracy of the vote count. And have we had enough of the excuses from the elections department saying there is not enough people or space to do the hand counting? If they thought it was important enough they would make it work. Clearly this is not their aim. If the elections department is not going to prioritize a transparent, secure and verifiably accurate count, what exactly do we have them for? If newspapers are going to print that procedures are legal, because the state says so, without regard for the information showing the state is behaving lawlessly, then what do we have either the state or the media for? They are acting as one.

http://www.times-standard.com/local/ci_3958659 (archive)

Article Launched: 06/20/2006 04:15:18 AM PDT

Election critic challenges county
James Faulk The Times-Standard

But election official cites safeguards, established procedures

EUREKA -- Citing the fact that Humboldt County's voting machines were sent home with election officials before the vote, a local election advocate claims the results cannot be trusted.

Dave Berman of the Voter Confidence Committee has long maintained that the voting machines used by the county are illegal, and that they were improperly certified by the secretary of state.

He's now added a new twist to the reasons he offers for doubting local election results -- election officials store the machines at home just before election day.

"We have documentation from security experts who have shown how to alter results of elections within a minute or two, if they have access to the memory cards,"” he said.

Humboldt County Elections Officer Lindsey McWilliams said the county has two choices -- either let the voting machines sit unsupervised in the polling places for days, or let elections officials take them home before dispersing them to the various precincts prior to the vote.

"We find it to be more secure and trustworthy to give them to an election official who is responsible for its safety and security and who also charges the battery before taking it to the polls,"” said McWilliams.

The county has been doing this since 1995, McWilliams said.

He said the county keeps a chain of custody log and that there are security seals on the machines to prevent tampering. They all came back in good shape, he said.

The machines, on the day of the election, also print out a long receipt that indicates whether the machines have any votes in their memory bank.

Berman said the county isn't following the chain of custody rules, and that those provisions "cannot really be boiled down to putting a tamper seal over the memory card."

McWilliams said the county is following the rules.

"The handling procedures require that the devices have security seals attached and that's what we've done,"” he said. "We've got logs of it."”

Berman has long maintained that the only way to verify the county's election results would be a hand counting of the ballots. It took the county three days -- with two groups working -- to count only 2,000 ballots. McWilliams said it would take weeks to county every vote by hand.

The issues Berman raises are not peculiar to Humboldt County. The California Election Protection Network recently issued a press release also declaring a lack of confidence in the San Diego primary election and others.

Berman is a member of that group, and wrote the press release.

"”There is no proof of this election's legitimacy,"” said network member Jim Soper in the release.

The county's Diebold machines have been certified by the California secretary of state.


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We Do Not Consent, Volume 1 (left) and Volume 2 (right), feature essays from Dave Berman's previous blogs, GuvWurld and We Do Not Consent, respectively. Click the covers for FREE e-book versions (.pdf). As of April 2010, paperbacks are temporarily out of print. Click here for the author's bio.

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"Give a damn about the world you live in? Give a damn about what you and I both know is one of the most shameful and destructive periods in American history? If so, do something about it. You can start by reading We Do Not Consent."

— Brad Friedman, Creator/Editor, BradBlog.com; Co-Founder, VelvetRevolution.us


"If in the future we have vital elections, the "no basis for confidence" formulation that GuvWurld is popularizing will have been a historically important development. This is true because by implicitly insisting on verification and checks and balances instead of faith or trust in elections officials or machines as a basis for legitimacy, it encourages healthy transparent elections. It’s also rare that a political formulation approaches scientific certainty, but this formulation is backed up by scientific principles that teach that if you can’t repeat something (such as an election) and verify it by independent means, it doesn’t exist within the realm of what science will accept as established or proven truth."

— Paul Lehto, Attorney at Law, Everett, WA


"Dave Berman has been candid and confrontational in challenging all of us to be "ruthlessly honest" in answering his question, "What would be better?" He encourages us to build consensus definitions of "better," and to match our words with actions every day, even if we do only "the least we can do." Cumulatively and collectively, our actions will bring truth to light."

— Nezzie Wade, Sociology Professor, Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods


"Dave Berman's work is quietly brilliant and powerfully utilitarian. His Voter Confidence Resolution provides a fine, flexible tool whereby any community can reclaim and affirm a right relation to its franchise as a community of voters."

— Elizabeth Ferrari, San Francisco, Green Party of California


"This is an important collection of essays with a strong unitary theme: if you can't prove that you were elected, we can't take you seriously as elected officials. Simple, logical, comprehensive. 'Management' (aka, the 'powers that be') needs to get the message. 'The machines' are not legitimizers, they're an artful dodge and a path to deception. We've had enough...and we most certainly DO NOT consent."

— Michael Collins covers the election fraud beat for "Scoop" Independent Media


"What's special about this book (and it fits because there's nothing more fundamental to Democracy than our vote) is the raising of consciousness. Someone recognizing they have no basis for trusting elections may well ask what else is being taken for granted."

— Eddie Ajamian, Los Angeles, CA


"I urge everyone to read "We Do Not Consent", and distribute it as widely as possible."

— B Robert Franza MD, author of We the People ... Have No Clothes: A Pamphlet for every American