Re: Ms. Tobi's overheated rhetoric

From: Nancy Tobi <nancy_dot_tobi_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sat Nov 03 2007 - 13:31:03 CDT

Do you have sourcing for Lofgren's statement that ACCURATE is one of the
enemies of the open voting movement?

On 11/3/07, Brent Turner <brent@openvotingconsortium.org> wrote:
>
> Great words- Robert Zimmerman plainly stated " You don't need a
> weatherman to know which way the wind blows" –
>
>
>
> In this case, actions speak louder than words. I applaud all the heroes
> choosing to engage in this information exchange- and I would contend the
> participants here have varying degrees of expertise, as expertise in this
> arena is not perfectly achieved by virtue of a computer degree/certificate.
>
>
>
>
> My understanding is Mr. Jefferson is one of the better regarded academics.
> – This certainly highlights the benefit of Mr. Jefferson corralling the
> lesser informed ( and possibly corrupted ) scientists and having the "ivory
> tower" community tender their support for open source systems. This action
> would greatly benefit our quest for transparency.
>
>
>
> When a person holds themselves out as " an expert" ( credentialed or not )
> and starts affecting this battle for democracy, they obtain a special duty
> unique to our time in history- This has been my problem with all the
> swirling " expertise" - One day I hope to wake up and the secret software
> systems will be gone, Until then, I know we are all failures at protecting
> our democracy, That simple. The HAVA boys ran this scam through and now we
> all have to attempt to remove it. Until that happens, there is no room for
> ego as we have all been duped and have not appropriately responded. This is
> shameful. One hopeful point- I know the folks on this list will keep
> trying in this last ditch struggle to reclaim our democracy.
>
>
>
> Zoe Lofgren said there was two enemies to the open voting movement-
> Microsoft and Accurate— She suggested we acknowledge and address them
> both. I can understand Microsoft's agenda …
>
>
>
> But what's up with David Dill ? Is there any chance he might give that
> grant money back ? That might get him off the hook….
>
>
>
>
>
> Brent Turner
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> *From:* Nancy Tobi [mailto:nancy.tobi@gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Saturday, November 03, 2007 6:16 AM
> *To:* Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> *Subject:* Re: [OVC-discuss] Ms. Tobi's overheated rhetoric
>
>
>
> Hello everyone. I am - I suppose "honored" to be the subject line in a
> thread of this distinctive list serv. A dubious honor, to be sure, but
> that's okay. This is a discussion that needs to happen.
>
> First, let me apologize up front for offending those good and honest
> "experts" who truly are working for the public good. I count Dr. Jefferson
> among these. I have long admired his work, his obvious integrity, and his
> contributions to the cause of democracy. The VSTAAB report of last year is
> mind blowing and I even allowed myself to assume that the so-called
> "mitigations" it suggests are nothing more than straw men for anyone who has
> the sense to read the report and understand that those mitigations, no doubt
> required by the powers that be, are effectively inconsequential in the face
> of the bottom line conclusions of that report: *the Diebold architecture
> is so bad that the only way to render it usable for elections is a complete
> redesign.*
>
> Now, to David's specific points:
>
> 1) I attended an event last year at Dartmouth College where a speaker from
> ACCURATE was describing his/their approach to e-voting. He described his
> perfect e-voting technology: it would do *everything *and leave, as he put
> it, *nothing* to the chance of pollworker human error. Now, first of all,
> the arrogance of this techno-elitist is so apparent, in that he was
> completely oblivious to the fact that the programming itself was coming from
> a human, and therefore subject to the same error (or worse, malevolence) as
> anything coming from a pollworker. And second of all, I happen to LIKE my
> pollworkers. They are my neighbors and members of my community. I don't feel
> the need for a computer, programmed anonymously by someone *with no oath
> of allegience to NH or my community*, to neutralize my pollworkers who are
> perfectly capable of doing their jobs. *This is the perfect example of
> the elitist movement among technologists to yank our elections out of the
> populist muck. *As many of us are aware, this move to yank our elections
> out of the populist muck is becoming quite successful, as polling place
> after polling place faces worker shortages because the average citizen who
> should be overseeing our elections CAN'T or WON'T do it anymore.
>
> One SoS had told me last year, that they have a law on their books saying
> that if no election workers show up on election day, the first citizens have
> to run the elections (the show must go on). This is a beautiful thing. But
> that state is canceling out that law, because the elections have become so
> complex that ordinary citizens can't run them anymore.
>
> I rest my case.
>
> *2) The self-appointed experts looking to complexify our elections to the
> point where nobody but them understands what is going on:* This jolly
> group may be found at any meeting of the Technical Guidelines Committee of
> the EAC. I understand these people have been appointed to this committee by
> someone other than themselves, but in their posture they represent
> themselves as the self-appointed arbiters of "what is best for us ordinary
> citizen plebes" and what is best in their minds is - apparently -
> techno-election complexification.
>
> Have you read the VVSG these folks have put together? More than 600 pages
> of highly complex software and hardware specifications.
>
> These guys sit around their NIST office and smugly design voting systems
> that are more complex and expensive than a lunar shuttle. All to do the
> simple job of counting (and marking) ballots. They see themselves as
> do-gooders because they are allegedly designing voting systems bullet proof
> to any type of possible human disability or language challenge. This is how
> they justify their actions.
>
> But they have never, seemingly, asked the questions about whether or not
> their beautiful designs fit the requirements for DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS, which
> by nature, must be OPEN, OBSERVABLE, and SIMPLE ENOUGH FOR EVERY PUBLIC
> CITIZEN TO OVERSEE.
>
> This is a HUGE problem, this problem of the technologists who have pushed
> their way into the halls of power - okay, they've been invited - and are now
> positioning themselves as the arbiters of designing our election systems.
> Why do you think THEY have been invited but Joe Citizen is repeatedly shut
> out? These guys are invited to design our LEGISLATION too! Holt et al freely
> borrow language from the VVSG, and we have seen in the case of Microsoft et
> al, freely redesign their own legislation to suit the demands of the
> technologists.
>
> *There is a fundamental question here that must be asked and answered by
> all of these technologists: WHAT ABOUT DEMOCRACY???? Does complex technology
> - inherently opaque by its very nature - even belong in our elections?
>
> I think this is what is behind Alan's suggestion that all of you
> technologists take a public stand on this - or get the hell out of our way
> as we try to restore our democracy.
> *
> Mr. Jefferson is in a perfect position to raise these fundamental
> questions of principle and objectives. If this group of technologists wishes
> to continue to be recognized as "scientists" then they ought to start
> behaving like scientists:
>
> - start with the principle you are working with: DEMOCRACY
> - design your "experiments" with defined objectives and parameters:
> DEMOCRATIC STANDARDS FOR ELECTIONS = TRANSPARENCY, OBSERVABILITY,
> ACCESSIBILITY TO ALL CITIZENS REGARDLESS OF THEIR TRAINING, EDUCATION, OR
> BACKGROUND
> - provide legitimate and objective conclusions: SYSTEM A DOES/DOES
> NOT MEET THE STANDARDS OF DEMOCRACY BECAUSE A, B, OR C.
> - test your results: BRING IN ORDINARY CITIZENS AND TRY OUT YOUR
> IDEAS ON THEM. SEE IF THEY WORK.
>
> I hope this clarifies my position and what you have been calling
> "rhetoric".
>
> Best,
>
> Nancy
>
>
>
> On 11/3/07, *Arlene Montemarano* <mikarl@starpower.net> wrote:
>
> (This will tick some people off.)
>
> Bravo! Well said!-
>
> As a 'little person', I appreciate recognition that all the computer
> jargon remains very much Greek to me, and very very intimidating to many of
> us without the capacity to understand what it is doing with my very precious
> vote. That does not make me a moron. I believe it makes me typical of
> voters.
>
> Nancy does understand it and wants to simplify the process for ALL of us
> down to its necessities. Paper ballot, I mark it myself, I watch people
> count it right there in the room, I can keep track of it all and do not have
> to 'trust' and hope and wonder. Can any of the experts in computer
> technology ever understand how empowering that is?
>
> It would be such a relief if we could all of us then become experts in
> voting and our own voting process.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Jim March wrote:
>
> On Nov 2, 2007 10:44 PM, David Jefferson <d_jefferson@yahoo.com> <d_jefferson@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> David Jefferson wrote,
>
>
> Whether Ms. Tobi is familiar with what goes on in the behind-the-scenes
>
> arena or not is irrelevant. There is absolutely no support for her
>
> outrageous statements even in the public arena. There is no
>
>
>
>
> "elitist movement among technologists to yank our elections out
>
> of the populist muck",
>
>
> and there are absolutely no public statements by technologists
>
> that support that idea. Ms. Tobi, or someone, just made that up.
>
>
>
>
> Likewise, there do not exist any
>
>
> "self appointed experts ... [who] ... are drowning in their own self
>
> created illusion that a high tech, complexified, opaque, and
>
> expertified election system can meet the standards for a free
>
>
>
> and open democracy".
>
>
> Who the hell is she talking about?
>
>
>
> For God's sake David, exhibit "A" is David Dill.
>
>
> For exhibit "B"...oh, here's a good one.
>
>
> I'm right this moment in Pima County AZ (basically Tucson). The Pima
>
> County Democratic Party is fighting a public records battle to get the
>
>
>
> raw GEMS databases for past elections - the MDB/GBF files. We want to
>
> take them apart and see if there's been any mid-stream trickery.
>
>
> Note that this county has already:
>
>
> * Shut down all phone connections to their TSx systems - in other
>
>
>
> words, pulled MS-RAS off the central tabulator as it's an obvious
>
> channel straight in.
>
>
> * Not only have they disconnected their servers from the county
>
> intranet and real Internet, they've exposed every inch of wire so that
>
>
>
> we can visibly see that they have.
>
>
> * They finally (based on our demands) agreed to change the passwords
>
> and incoming optical scan modem number for each election. And as
>
> usual in a Diebold system, everybody logs into the server as user
>
>
>
> "admin".
>
>
> So, there's no "private data" left in the data files and no way we can
>
> get a "hacked database" back into their process - and all because of
>
> OUR demands for better security. They still don't want to turn the
>
>
>
> raw data files over, allegedly so as to avoid giving "us" (Pima County
>
> Democrats plus one stray Libertarian in the mix - yours truly) a
>
> "hacking roadmap" to future elections. Never mind that anybody who
>
>
>
> wants can download and scope out in MS-Access a number of GEMS
>
> databases available for download since 2003.
>
>
> ALSO note that this county has a penchant for screwed up elections
>
> processes...they plug holes as we (outside observers) find them and
>
>
>
> scream bloody murder. The biggest so far is that we've proven these
>
> turkeys have been printing summary reports (showing who's winning and
>
> losing) up to 10 days before election day based on the mail-in vote.
>
>
>
> That's tracked in the audit logs. According to sworn testimony by
>
> lower-level Pima elections staff, these have been passed around the
>
> office like they were baseball scores, AND made their way into the
>
> hands of at least one elected official (felony per AZ law). We also
>
>
>
> (per two disgusted underlings) know that the Pima election dept's lead
>
> "tech" has been taking copies of the MDB/GBF on CD, in his briefcase,
>
> as "offsite backup". This is the same clown who was spotted with an
>
>
>
> open copy of an MS-Access programmer's manual while sitting at the
>
> central tabulator on election night, May of 2006, in a special
>
> election with a $2bil (yeah, billion) bond measure that had failed
>
> four times previously and won this time against all polling
>
>
>
> predictions.
>
>
> So overall, we damned well have a number of reasons to want to scope
>
> things out around here. We're about ready to pound the door down with
>
> a 20ft cactus (which are rather plentiful) but have instead gone to
>
>
>
> court.
>
>
> So which computer scientist does the county drag out here to the
>
> desert to talk about the urgent need for "Security By Obscurity" as an
>
> "expert witness"?
>
>
> Merle King, comp. sci. professor from Kenessaw U. in Georgia. This is
>
>
>
> the partner of Brit Williams who helped set up the Georgia Diebold
>
> system featuring all the worst possible ideas in electronic voting: a
>
> total conversion in '02 to the Diebold TS paperless DRE.
>
>
> So Professor Jefferson, don't you dare tell me there aren't
>
>
>
> "academics" who are adamantly opposed to "the little people" (those
>
> who don't have comp. sci. degrees and NDAs) being able to audit
>
> elections. Don't. You. Dare. We have ALL run into such critters if
>
>
>
> we've worked this issue long enough and if you had your eyes open or
>
> your "integrity flag" set to [/ON] you'd see it too.
>
>
> Nancy Tobi was anything but "hysterical".
>
>
> Jim March
>
>
>
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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:07 2007

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