Re: Bev Harris Trashed OVC at the Houston Election Hearing

From: Jim March <jmarch_at_prodigy_dot_net>
Date: Fri Jul 01 2005 - 13:58:43 CDT

Sigh. OK, obviously, I'm kinda "caught in the middle here".

According to Bev, she didn't "trash" OVC so much as raise a few
concerns. I wasn't able to talk to her about it for very long yesterday
evening a nutshell, what really scares her is the idea that
current vendors such as ES&S and Diebold will be able to "cloak
themselves in OVCness" and "look good" while still doing nefarious stuff

And she's got a point...the track records of these clowns is NOT at all

Now...I wasn't there, and I don't know what was said. BUT I do know
this: Bev Harris and Kathleen Wynne are both VERY well aware of the
current paper trail capabilities of the Sequoia and Diebold "toilet
paper roll" audit trail systems. If Kathy is saying they don't know,
then there was a miscommunication somewhere. Bigtime.

I think if we dig deeper, we'll find that Bev/Kathleen have two very
valid complaints about the "rolls": first, because of the small format
and the need for paper-roll handling at the scanner, building an OVC
central tabulator with an industry standard scanner that would read
those rolls would be a serious bitch. There MAY be off-the-shelf
scanner solutions to read the "rolls" but I'm not aware of any and I've
been unable to google for one. And that means that an automated recount
via open-source processes may be impossible without custom hardware.
(Or we cut the roll sections up with scissors and run 'em though a
flatbed scanner one by one? That's just insane...)

But let's say we get a "roll scanner" of some sort. Arright. Now you
have to have the software find the "spoiled alert" on the paper and go
back and trash the last one. Remember, not all "votes" on the roll are
valid! It CAN be done with software but B'Gawd what a pain and God help
you if you miss a "spoil alert".

The second issue at a minimum concerns Diebold's variant: when you do
"curbside voting for the disabled" the paper roll can NOT go with the
system and doesn't paper-record those votes. Once you have that
disconnect between the paper and electronic records you've got bupkis as
far as auditability goes.

I don't know if the Sequoia box is similar.

Now let's make one more point clear: we (meaning BlackBoxVoting) are at
this point convinced that deliberate fraud is taking place, engineered
by at least some of the major vendors. Folks, once we establish that
rock-solid, to the point where people end up in jail (and we're closing
in on that!) then yes, the idea of allowing these vendors to infiltrate
OVC is horrifying. Even to me. And once fraud is proven, then...guess
what? Bev's "paper only" stance doesn't look anywhere near as radical
as Kathy is making out.

I am NOT saying OVC's goals aren't achievable. I strongly suspect they
are, although I want to be able to do red-team attacks (or watch Hari
Hursti do one!) on a final or near-final product.

But even THEN, if such tests pass, the idea of an ES&S or Diebold or
Sequoia supplied "OVC system" scares the bejeezus out of me and I
really, REALLY don't think I'm alone in that.


Kathy Dopp wrote:

> Everyone,
> At the Houston Hearing, when asked a question, Bev Harris, verbally
> tore apart the OVC and made the OVC sound like a more unethical
> insidious group than Diebold. As fast as she maligned the OVC in so
> many ways, I did not manage to record or recall it all, but among
> other equally nefarious barbs she claimed that the OVC is a group set
> up "to funnel public monies into private pockets". I suggest that
> anyone who tries to speak with her on this issue first listens to her
> opinion of the OVC for a long time first so you can understand all the
> attacks she is making before trying to correct her on any of them.
> In addition, I discovered this a.m. what exactly Bev Harris and her
> staff are ignorant of that is causing them to revert to their "all
> hand counted paper ballots and nothing else" losing position.
> I tried to inform them but both Bev and her underling Kathleen both
> refused to allow me to finish a sentence (both in Houston or this a.m.
> over the phone) and were verbally abusive so I was unable to educate
> them. (Bev Harris also verbally attacked Dr. Paster from the Carter
> Center when he came to speak to us as well, in spite of his dedicating
> his life to election integrity and arranging for some in our group to
> speak the next day at the Carter/Baker hearing.)
> I am sending out the following information on what Bev and her group
> are ignorant of, so that folks on this list, who don't mind being
> verbally abused or folks who Bev and her group are capable of
> controlling themselves to treat civilly, may try to educate them.
> BEV AND HER STAFF ARE UNAWARE THAT DREs come equipped now with voter
> verifiable paper rolls that are attached to each individual DRE voting
> machine that are encased in plastic and that the printing on them can
> be seen by the voter after it is printed! (I know this is hard to
> believe but Katheleen this a.m. insisted that the only paper trail is
> the paper audit log on the central tabulators and Bev's rude behavior
> to me at the Houston Hearing would be much more understandable if Bev
> shared this ignorance with her staff) Kathleen, Bev's staff person,
> insisted to me this a.m. that the individual paper rolls on each
> voting machine do not exist.
> Because of this, Bev and her staff are very unaware that systems can
> be built to recount these (admittedly horrific) VVPATs. I have
> actually seen a demonstration of a working open source system built by
> ES&S to recount their paper rolls. While the system is admittedly a
> bad one, ES&S uses a more substantial wider paper roll than Diebold's
> flimsy narrow paper roll and in addition ES&S makes an open source
> system available to independently recount their paper rolls and their
> OS is more secure. ES&S staff actually seem aware of security
> concerns, unlike Diebold who seem to deliberately build in security
> holes.
> The problem with Bev and her staff being ignorant of the VVPAT feature
> of DREs is that Bev has once again gone entirely back to her position
> that America return to an "All hand-counted paper ballot system with
> NO electronic recount of the paper" that would doom our election
> integrity movement to failure by causing every election official to
> stop listening.
> A friend of Bev's, *Sharona Merel*, of the National Ballot Integrity
> Project, even stood up and heckled me verbally from the audience when
> I had the microphone because I was espousing routine audits of paper
> ballots in randomly selected precincts in the precincts at the close
> of polls in sufficient precincts to have a very high probability of
> catching any miscounted precincts. It was the only instance of
> heckling from the audience during the entire Election Assessment
> Hearing, which was a terrific very successful affair because the
> Carter Commission representative came over, took our input on CD and
> paper, and allowed some in the group to attend and even speak at the
> actual Carter/Baker commission.
> IMO, it is important that Bev Harris and her staff be educated on all
> the components of the DRE machines and stop attacking and making
> terrible allegations against the OVC. We all agree on so much and our
> goals of achieving election integrity are the same, so it would be
> much better if Bev and her group would stop the public attacks against
> the OVC and be willing to respectfully listen and open-mindedly learn
> from others in the movement, so that we all can win back U.S. election
> integrity.
> USCV has even put a simple spreadsheet audit calculator and
> instructions on the Internet for people to use to calculate the
> probabilities of detecting miscounted precincts here:
> I know that there are friends of Bev on this list who can speak to
> her, so that is why I'm sending out this information here, as well as
> on my voting rights activist group, many of whom follow Bev's lead in
> forming their own positions.
> I hung up on Kathleen this a.m. because I am unwilling to be rudely
> treated or verbally abused for over three or four minutes at a time
> by her or Bev Harris when they are espousing their uninformed opinions
> and refusing to let me complete a sentence or inform them of any new
> facts that controvert their "hand counted paper ballots are the ONLY
> possible way to achieve election integrity and I refuse to listen to
> anything you have to say and you're wrong before you speak" approach.
> So please communicate with Bev Harris and her group if you are one of
> those who they allow you to get a word in edgewise, and educate them,
> as Bev is doing real damage to the OVC and the practical arm of the
> election integrity movement in a very deliberate way. There is a tape
> that was made of her comments about OVC that will become available for
> those who would like to view it later.
> Best Regards,
> Kathy Dopp
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Received on Sun Jul 31 23:17:10 2005

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