Re: Ms. Tobi's overheated rhetoric

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Sat Nov 03 2007 - 15:38:42 CDT

Hi, Brent. Our emails crossed, so please ignore my request for a
reference, since clearly there is none.

You said that Lofgren said that "there was two enemies to the open
voting movement - Microsoft and Accurate." Did she actually say that
ACCURATE was an "enemy" of the open voting movement? Did she put
ACCURATE in the same equivalence class as Microsoft?

I'd like your permission to forward your response to a member of
Lofgren's staff.

Regards,
Barbara

Brent Turner wrote:
>
> It was verbal- Alan D and I were both there- She said that Capitol
> Hill “ was under the impression Accurate was working towards an open
> source system “
>
> She then pointed out that Accurate had cited OVC in their requests for
> the dough- and thought the two were working together- BT
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> *From:* Nancy Tobi [mailto:nancy.tobi@gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Saturday, November 03, 2007 11:31 AM
> *To:* brent@openvotingconsortium.org; Open Voting Consortium
> discussion list
> *Subject:* Re: [OVC-discuss] Ms. Tobi's overheated rhetoric
>
> 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
> <mailto: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
> <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
> <mailto: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 <mailto:d_jefferson@yahoo.com>
> _<d_jefferson@yahoo.com> <mailto: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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>
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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:08 2007

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