Friday, September 01, 2006

Humboldt Succumbs To Fed, State Bullies

As expected, the Humboldt County Supervisors today authorized County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich to negotiate a contract with Hart InterCivic for the purchase of eSlate DRE voting devices. See Monday's post for more details and links.

Bottom line, the Feds passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002. Across the country, Secretaries of State are now putting the final pinch on counties not yet in compliance with the law's requirements to provide an independent and private voting experience for disabled voters. Humboldt will now spend roughly $800,000 to buy machines that no voters here are asking for and hardly anyone here even knows anything about. Worse, these machines are wireless and can be hacked all at once (like most voting systems, I suppose). According to the Hart InterCivic website (as if this is something to boast about):

Centralized Polling Place Command and Control

Polling place officials can simultaneously activate all voting machines, monitor status of booths, receive requests for assistance from a voters, close polls and lock all voting devices. There is no need to manage multiple standalone voting machines. eSlate's simplified polling place set-up and management, results in a reduced risk of standalone machine failures and malfunctions.
I was pleasantly surprised that the Supes discussed this matter for about 30 minutes. They took seriously my proposition that they weigh the costs and benefits of HAVA compliance with those of non-compliance. It never really seemed like they were leaning my way, but they certainly validated the concerns and expressed their frustration at having their decisions so compelled by others. The motion to approve Crnich's request for authorization on the contract included an amendment to include a letter of protest directed to Secretary of State Bruce McPherson. The Supes approved 5-0.


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I was writing a letter to Senator Boxer to praise her for proposing a Vote of No Confidence in Rumsfield, and managed to work this discussion into the letter.

Posted by Blogger Kathryn @ Sep 2, 2006, 1:23:00 AM
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