Monday, August 28, 2006

CA Denies Vote-PAD Certification...Related to San Diego Lawsuit?

Over the past several weeks it has been repeatedly documented (WDNC, BradBlog, VoteTrustUSA) that Vote-PAD was getting shafted on its application for certification in CA. A document dated 8/25 and bearing the signature of Secretary of State Bruce McPherson started circulating today. Vote-PAD's certification application was loudly rejected. I decline to quote even a word from this document here, though I make it available in the GuvWurld News Archive as a public service.

In response to this rejection, Vote-PAD has posted to its site a description of the ridiculous certification procedures it endured. The piece borrows heavily from Alice In Wonderland. It is quite brilliant and I recommend clicking here to read the whole thing laced with links to supporting evidence. Here is an excerpt:

The Queen started by describing the testing process, "We asked them to vote independently on the Vote-PAD, and we told them exactly what to do the entire time."

"Excuse me," said Alice, "but how is that independent?"

"That's not the point," said the Queen. "The point is that they weren't able to vote independently."

"But you didn't let them," objected Alice.

"Don't be impertinent," said the King.

"Yes!" murmured the jury.

"Let's be clear on one thing," spoke the Queen. "When disabled people tried to vote on the Vote-PAD, their error rate was unacceptably high and they took an excessively long time."

"Compared to what?" asked one of the jurors.

"Nothing," said the Queen. "Nothing at all. We have no standards."

"They've begun asking riddles," thought Alice.
"--I believe I can guess that," she added, aloud.

"What was the error rate on the voting systems you've approved, and how long did people take to vote on them?" asked Alice.

"We haven't used people with disabilities to test the other systems," said the Queen. "We know nothing about that."

"Nothing whatever?" asked a voting integrity advocate.

"Nothing whatever," said the Queen.
Humboldt County was pulling hard for Vote-PAD certification. I'll come back the to local repercussions of the certification rejection in a moment. Over at BradBlog, guest blogger and friend Emily Levy has been getting inside dirt on the Secretary of State's office. The point of entry for her inquiry was the Scoop article I posted about this morning.

Congress recently swore in Brian Bilbray even though votes were still being counted and the San Diego County Registrar had not certified his election. This is a large part of the basis for the CA-50 lawsuit. From Collins's Scoop article we now know that the official record of Congress shows the swearing in moved forward because House Speaker Dennis Hastert received a fax from Susan Lapsley, CA Assistant Secretary of State for Elections. This fax contained "unofficial results" from Bilbray's election.

So, two things to know: here is a petition to recall Hastert for interfering with local elections; and Levy's dirt is on Lapsley, who seems to others inside the certification process to have done a power grab. Levy writes, paraphrasing what her inside source told her: "She [Lapsley] was in charge of the certification process and largely responsible for the outrageous changes in the process made to prevent VotePad from being certified." Well somebody had to be responsible, but can we hold anyone accountable?

The Judge will rule Tuesday afternoon on the defense motion to dismiss the CA-50 lawsuit. Meanwhile, the usual suspects are doing our best to keep the story visible. Raw Story has another article on the suit today, including a lot of good quotes from attorney Paul Lehto. Lehto also appeared on the Peter B. Collins radio show today. Actually, I'd guess he did other shows too but I just happened to hear this interview on KGOE 1480 AM in Eureka. Listen here (.mp3 - fast forward to third hour).

Without Vote-PAD as an approved option for Humboldt County to comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Registrar Carolyn Crnich put out an e-mail today to members of the citizens' Election Advisory Committee.
Committee members:

The Secretary of State has declined to certify VotePAD for use in California. (See attached letter)

I have been in contact with Hart InterCivic regarding their e-Slate. The board of Supervisors will meet in special session this Friday, September 1, 2006 to hear my request to enter into a contract for HAVA compliant voting equipment. Because of this late development on the part of the Secretary of State, the agenda item which had been submitted for this special session contains sample contracts for VotePAD, Diebold, and Hart and requests the authority to sign one of the contracts. Because we now know that it will not be a VotePad contract, I will specifically request authority to enter into a contact with Hart.

The next regular meeting of the Elections Advisory Committee will be Thursday, September 7th. The topic of discussion for that meeting will be the steps necessary to put on a HAVA compliant election in November on equipment we have yet to order. Lots of work to do and little time to do it...

See you next Thursday.

Carolyn Crnich
The agenda for the Supervisors' meeting is here. The specific agenda item for the voting equipment is here (.pdf). With all three contracts included in full, the document is 55 pages. I have not fully studied it. I am also just getting up to speed on the Hart InterCivic eSlate. I used this demo on the corporate site.

eSlate is a Direct Record Electronic (DRE) but not a touch screen machine. Instead it is a small hand-held tablet that operates with a dial and some buttons. This part doesn't make that much of a difference to me. I want to know if interpreted code is used. This is the programming code that translates the voters' choices from a form the voter can review into a form that is shielded from scrutiny and regarded as "proprietary" by the vendor. This is not the sort of thing I would expect to find on the Hart website.

A quick Google search for hart intercivic eslate gave me over 35,000 hits. Among the first few was a page at VoteTrustUSA containing abstracts of various articles about election "glitches" related to eSlate. Most prominently, BradBlog looked at eSlate problems back in March, including posting an interview with and documents from a Hart whistleblower. None of this is good at all. The only promising thing about Hart InterCivic is that the company recently pledged to comply with any open source requirements that may become law in the future, which is presumably a promise not to stand behind proprietary claims. If so, no time like the present for Humboldt to get a good look under the hood.


Posted by Dave Berman - 11:05 PM | Permalink
Comments (0 So Far) | Top of Page | WDNC Main Page
As shown on
Dave's new blog,
Manifest Positivity

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.

Back Page Quotes

"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,; Co-Founder,

"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