FW: Has the (Ohio) ACLU gone over to the Dark Side?

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Tue Jul 27 2004 - 16:12:41 CDT

Here is a note I sent yesterday about the actions of the Ohio ACLU.

------ Forwarded Message
From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 18:13:52 -0700
Subject: Has the (Ohio) ACLU gone over to the Dark Side?

Hi, all.

As you may know, the Ohio ACLU has sued the state of Ohio to eliminate
punchcard machines on the grounds that they unfairly discriminate against
minorities. The Ohio ACLU website that discusses this page is

First and most disturbing is the following quote from the Ohio ACLU webpage:

> In addition, we argued that alleged security defects in electronic voting
> equipment do not justify a stay since the Secretary of State already
> authorized its use in Franklin County and other counties across Ohio.

How can the Ohio ACLU be referring to "alleged security defects"??? Is
there anything that can be done to prevent the Ohio ACLU from discrediting
the entire organization, to say nothing of supporting insecure and
excessively expensive voting systems?
Second, paperless touch screen voting machines may actually increase
problems for minority voters - assuming that the machines correctly record
and count the votes, which they may or may not do. The Florida ACLU (did
the Ohio ACLU even both to check with the Florida ACLU?) studied the
September 2002 Miami-Dade primary
According to the Miami-Dade Election Reform Commission:

> A study of 31 problem precincts conducted by the Florida ACLU found that
> 18,752 voters signed the rolls to vote, but only 17,208 votes were recorded.
> This means that a total of 1,544 votes were lost in those precincts, a lost
> vote rate of 8.2%. The ACLU reported that approximately half of the lost
> votes were from African-Americans. These lost votes echoed the failures of
> the 2000 election. According to the Miami Herald, the rate of under- and
> over-votes in those 31 precincts had been 6.75% in November 2000. The ACLU
> also reported a large disparity when the rate of problems at majority black
> precincts was compared with the rate in majority non-black precincts.
In other words, a higher percentage of African American votes were ³lost² by
the ES&S machines in 2002 than had been lost by the infamous punch card
machines in 2000. And in 2002 there was no way to determine what the
intention of those voters had been, because there were no paper ballots.

Meanwhile, the national ACLU can't decide which side it's on. Rather than
suing election officials to learn about potential conflicts of interest,
redacted security reports, and why they would ever have agreed to purchase
voting systems with proprietary software, secret and inadequate testing, and
secret test results, it seems that the best we can hope for with the
national ACLU is that they say nothing - since the previous document that
had been circulated by the national office was a pathetic defense of
paperless voting machines.



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Received on Sat Jul 31 23:17:14 2004

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