Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Prepared Remarks, VCC Press Conference 6/6/06

Thank you all for being here. My name is Dave Berman and I work with the election watchdog group the Voter Confidence Committee. We are here tonight first of all to announce that we do not and will not accept the unverified results reported by secret vote counting machines. Humboldt County uses Diebold optical scanners to count our ballots. For those who may not know how this works, let me briefly explain.

Humboldt voters mark a paper ballot, which could and should be counted by hand. Instead, the ballot is fed into the optical scanner. The ballot does not simply come out the other end to reveal the results. While inside the scanner, computer programming interprets the information from the ballots and converts it into AccuBasic. This is Diebold’s proprietary programming language. Neither the public, nor the media, nor even our elections officials are allowed to examine the “interpreter code” or AccuBasic language, which Diebold claims as a trade secret.

So think about it now. All the info from all the ballots is in a form that can only be read by Diebold. This is the same Diebold facing more than a half dozen class action suits from shareholders alleging fraud. The same Diebold whose flawed machines have been documented in reports from the Government Accountability Office and even our own CA Secretary of State. The same Diebold exposed by security experts who performed “test hacks” to demonstrate the ability to change election results without a trace. The same Diebold whose PR flunkie addressed such problems by saying, "It's only a vulnerability to those who would commit a felony." The VCC agrees that tampering with an election is a felony, and the equipment that would allow it should never be used.

The VCC would like to recognize recent efforts by the Humboldt County Elections Department. Clearly they have acknowledged and affirmed the seriousness of our concerns for transparent, secure and verifiably accurate elections. We support the project that will emerge in the next few weeks to make ballot images available on CD for any citizen or community group wishing to perform their own verification of election results.

However, unfortunately, the test launch of this unprecedented transparency project will not include all ballots or serve as a complete check of the accuracy of today’s Primary. As such, we are left to decide whether we can accept as legitimate, results that are delivered entirely by the secret Diebold counting machines. Voters may have had a chance to verify their ballot before it was scanned, but the results have not been verified by voters or the media. The solution to this dilemma has two parts.

First, the VCC asks that media not report what it cannot prove. The media should not publish or broadcast as fact what it cannot independently verify. These should be basic tenets of anyone’s journalistic integrity.

Second, to determine conclusive results to the election, the VCC asks that the media join us in prevailing upon the Elections Department and County Supervisors to allow for a full hand count to be conducted by Humboldt citizens.

The VCC will hold a demonstration tomorrow morning at 10am at the Elections Department at H and Harris Streets in Eureka. Our actions are not based on the results but because of the conditions of this election. Thank you

Posted by Dave Berman - 1:38 AM | Permalink
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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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