Tuesday, August 01, 2006

San Diego Follow-Up, From the Source

Yesterday I detailed the lawsuit filed to contest the election in California's 50th Congressional District. Citizens nationwide have contributed to the VelvetRevolution.us fund to hire attorney Paul Lehto. I have frequent contact with Lehto and knew to expect that the complaint filed would seek a hand count to verify the results of this race. Yet in reading the case, Lehto's arguments and citations suggest that a more appropriate remedy, with precedent no less, might just be for the court to order a new election. I asked Lehto to comment:

"The recount right is of course only going to measure a certain slice of error and is not a fail-safe remedy by any means. We are asking, also, in the alternative for tossing out this election and starting again. This is the better and more appropriate remedy but the truth-seeking function of this lawsuit is probably it's #1 purpose so we don't wish to pass up the informational advantages to exercising a recount remedy first."
Not much to say to that really. It is a totally straight answer about strategy and the strengths of this case.

All the way from Columbus, OH, Rady Ananda is also on the team on the ground in San Diego. Rady and I worked together last fall at the National Summit To Save Our Elections. We have also collaborated on other election and strategy work and she will periodically write here as a guest blogger. Below she has submitted her own reflections on Monday's events followed by a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
August 1, 2006
Suing for Confidence in San Diego

For those interested in reading the lawsuit filed in San Diego yesterday, here's a link: http://www.bradblog.com/docs/CA50_ContestPetition_073106.pdf

The weather here matches Cleveland - cloudy, muggy and rainy. Everyone warned me San Diego was hot and arid. Is this global warming? But thanks to Judy Hess - we're able to stay in this beautiful home. With 4 adults using one car, we're even reducing our contribution to global warming.

In addition to famed election attorney Paul Lehto, local attorney Ken Simpson also deserves our thanks. The man has the patience of a saint as we tried to keep the plaintiffs where they needed to be, when they needed to be there, today. We officially filed the contest at 4:17 pm, which had Ken sweating bullets. The statutory deadline was 4:30.

Paul, while physically present with us all day Monday, spent much of the day taking one media call after another. Here's a link to his radio interview with Air America host Ed Shultz http://www.bradblog.com/audio/EdSchultz_PaulLethto_073106.mp3.

PDA Advisory Board Chair and actress, Mimi Kennedy, treated six of us to lunch, after the morning press conference held in front of the Hall of Justice. She spoke during the press conference, as well as plaintiff-contestant Gail Jacobson, and CA50 Coordinator Judy Hess. All of them hit our talking points expertly. It was also fun for me to finally meet election integrity activists I've only known electronically for the past 18 months.

Two of the local news stations covered our press conference - one fairly represented our views, while the other completely mocked us. They used claimed victor Brian Bilbray's sound bytes to imply we were insane to spend money to try to overturn what arrogant officials here consider a fait accompli.

Perhaps they know the courts will ignore Registrar Mikel that Haas broke state and federal laws that rendered the machines decertified, thus rendering the election illegal.

Admittedly, I might be jaded after watching Ohio courts repeatedly ignore election and recount laws. And now that they're scapegoating low level employees for high-level directives (in Cuyahoga County), I'm galled me to no end.

Instead of a recount, I wonder if an entire new election ought to be sought in District 50. Why settle for recounting what are tainted results? They broke chain of custody; the results can't be trusted.

To our advantage, Open Voting Foundation's recent press release on the "flip switch" inside Diebold machines surely supports our cause with this lawsuit. http://www.openvotingfoundation.org/ All it takes is someone to flip the switch and the machine operates a different - untested and uncertified - program. It appears this is the very reason those machines had "sleepovers" away from prying eyes.

My question to the election integrity movement is when do we call for an e-voting boycott? After November 06? After November 08? My vote is that we reject these machines now - but I understand that most Americans believe they can change things this November. Even I have hope that with enough of these kinds of lawsuits, we can convince Americans to reject these machines entirely.

I'm impressed with the Irish. In 2004, they rejected e-voting entirely. http://www.cev.ie/htm/report/V02.pdf The bad news is that in 2006, they only rejected the software used in their chosen system (Nedap-Powervote), believing the secrecy and accuracy issues could be overcome with better software. http://www.cev.ie/htm/report/second_report/pdf/Part%200%20Index.pdf

My biggest hope is that US citizens don't wait for 08 - and simply reject an election system that gives us no basis for confidence in reported results.


Rady Ananda

Blogging from San Diego

In response to the article at:


Dear Editors:

After reading Phil Lavelle's article in today's San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lawsuit seeks to void Bilbray-Busby results," I noticed that Registrar Hass insists voting machine sleepovers are the most efficient method of getting the machines to the polls by 7am. What your article failed to mention is that we have pictures, witnesses and documentation of voting machines arriving at 11:18 am. I wonder how many other precincts received their machines late?

Another significant piece of information which you may not have been aware of is the recent discovery of a flip switch inside Diebold machines which allows the machine to report results from more than one memory cache. This is reported at http://www.openvotingfoundation.org/ and it means that any and all "security" procedures are easily circumvented.

That Diebold would purposely design the machine this way only raises further doubt about the reliability of voting on electronic machines.

The most shocking part of your story is that claimed loser Francine Busby stated she has "no reason to question the legitimacy of the election or the results of it." Does this mean she believes state and federal election laws can be violated without throwing the results into question? If so, she doesn't deserve to serve in Congress. In any case, the true will of the voters is still important and should still be sought.


Rady Ananda

Columbus, Ohio

Posted by Dave Berman - 10:48 PM | Permalink
Comments (1 So Far) | Top of Page | WDNC Main Page

Read or Post a Comment

I think when the hearing reaches San Diego there is going to be some serious stink raised about the "sleepovers". It was a question asked here in Bakersfield and we kept all our machines locked up. The senators explored the whole security issue pretty well.

When I blogged about the meeting I had literally 25 pages of notes. But I just tried to whittle it down so people would read my writeup about it. I have some great questions and the idiots responses if you are interested...let me know.

Posted by Blogger dusty @ Aug 3, 2006, 6:46:00 PM
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