Re: Donation plan? and more

From: Teresa Hommel <tahommel_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Wed Oct 27 2004 - 08:57:32 CDT

The major vendors make money forever from service contracts, since none
of the Boards of Election know how to "fix" the systems if something
goes wrong.

Many people think that for the big three vendors (Diebold ES&S and
Sequoia) that one reason for being in this business to begin with is
to control the outcome of elections, and that is why they have not
recommended to BoEs to have verification mechanisms. In fact it is the
vendors who sell the idea of "trusting computers" and "no verification
is needed." If you would like to know more about this, one good place
to start is www.ecotalk.org, on the pages with vendor information.
Conspiracy theories abound in regard to this equipment. Just change the
word "conspiracy" to "business plan." You could also scan the articles
listed at http://www.wheresthepaper.org/links.html#spi especially these:

 Diebold, electronic voting and the vast right-wing conspiracy
<http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/3/2004/834>Bob Fitrakis. The
Free Press, February 24, 2004.

All the President's Votes?
<http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1013-01.htm>by Andrew Gumbel,
October 13, 2003, lndependent/UK.

If You Want To Win An Election, Just Control The Voting Machines
<http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0131-01.htm>by Thom Hartmann,
January 31, 2003, CommonDreams.org

American Coup: Mid-Term Election Polls vs Actuals
<http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0211/S00078.htm>by Alastair
Thompson, November 12, 2002. Was the vote in some races in the U.S.
midterm elections fixed by electronic voting machines supplied by
republican affiliated companies? Scoop's analysis shows that - according
to the polls - the Republican Party experienced a pronounced last minute
swing in its favour of between 4 and 16 points. Remarkably this last
minute swing appears to have been concentrated in its effects in
critical Senate races (Georgia and Minnesota) where the Republican Party
secured its complete control of Congress.

A Very American Coup <http://scoop.co.nz/mason/features/?s=usacoup>,
Scoop's list of links to articles in the print and electronic media.

The origins of some voting machine companies involve funding from the
Ahmanson family, which also helps finance The Chalcedon Institute which
promotes Christian Reconstructionism
<http://www.serve.com/thibodep/cr/words.htm>.

Teresa Hommel

Ed Kennedy wrote:

> Hello Jim and Alan:
>
> These are excellent ideas. I urge you to keep working on them.
> I'm going to start practicing some of your suggestions myself. I
> think that it will be easier to get people's attention and rise above
> the basic noise level starting November 3, 2004. I know that many of
> us are committed deeply to either working in polling places, providing
> support to candidates or the fairness of the electoral system in more
> traditional ways. Events I expect to occur during November 2, 2004,
> will galvanize the nation into seeking a better approach to voting.
> Before that day I beseech everyone to take a few minutes to rethink
> OVC so we've got something to couple to this surge of energy and
> attention that I expect. It might be a good time to start examining
> some of our assumptions and checking them against the current
> situation. A lot of people are going to be pretty discouraged about
> the results of the elections of 2004 and we have the opportunity to
> provide them with hope for the future.
>
> Here's some of my thoughts along these lines:
>
> 1. I don't think we're going to have a product that we will be happy
> with by the middle of 2005 especially as the organization has
> effectively just had a visit to the emergency room.
>
> 2. I think a lot of the big 4 of voting equipment are going to be
> wondering if they might better be in another line of business. If I
> were on the board of directors of Diebold I'd be urging management to
> close out the voting machine product line as it has been nothing but
> bad PR. In general, I find it hard to believe that making voting
> machinery is even a long term viable business model. After a long and
> controversial development cycle, you sell your boxes to your customers
> and that is the major profit to be made. After that, there's no big
> money to be made. Yes, machines will break and the population will
> grow requiring some new machines over time. Officially though, that
> time only occurs once every ten years after the census. I think a
> number of these companies are going to fold.
>
> 3. However, as most HAVA money seems perishable I suspect a lot of
> states will end up buying equipment from the big 4. I predict that
> there will be a substantial after market in modifying these machines
> to run on open source software and to produce paper ballots. This is
> where OVC comes in. We need to become a R & D group and deemphasize
> product development for the near to intermediate future. I believe
> there is still of work to be done on the EVM. Also, we need to do a
> lot of human factor testing as well as usability/reliability work.
> While we have a system that might be ready for the mid 2005
> certification cycle, I think we're only going to break our hearts
> trying to make that date.
>
> 4. I think the earliest we should be looking at for having a product
> ready is 2008 or 10. I'm confident that in 4-6 years a lot of voting
> registrars will be looking for something better. Today they are
> probably being pressured to 'do something' while counties can lay
> their hands on this HAVA money. Quite a number of them will be
> pressured into buying something from the big 4 on the basis of, "Hey,
> it's computerized. It's got to be better. Yes, we understand your
> objections Ms. Secretary of State but we've got to do something and
> these are better than nothing. We can't just walk away from all that
> free money." After several problematic elections I'm sure a lot of
> this equipment will be heading toward scrap heap. After all, how long
> does computer hardware last? That's when we need to have our fully
> worked out product, system and services. A lot of the myths about the
> 'evils' of paper ballots will have been clear dispelled by then.
>
> 5. In the meantime (and I am really out of my depth here) I'd propose
> a project to look at adaptive reuse or rebuilding of the currently
> available voting hardware to work natively under Linux and print
> ballots. I'd see this as first a R and D effort and something that
> could be later spun off as a small company. It may not actually be a
> cost effective approach but it may provide valuable insight on how to
> make things better.
>
> 6. Not only do we need more funds, we need better public relations.
> A lot of people have put out great ideas and I can't urge them enough
> to move forward with them while reasonable asking for our support.
> Also, I think we need to approach the computer equipment industry
> including the software publishers and ask them for some sponsorships
> of their effort. It is in their best interest to have a democracy
> that functions well.
>
> Now that I have stuck my neck out, you're all welcome to massage
> it. Yes, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite throwing all these ideas out
> for someone else to do, but please make what you can of it and forgive
> me the rest.
>
> Thanks, Ed Kennedy
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Alan Dechert"
> <alan@openvotingconsortium.org>
> To: <voting-project@lists.sonic.net>
> Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 4:00 PM
> Subject: Re: [voting-project] Donation plan?
>
>
>> Jim,
>>
>>> How far could the project go with 1,000 donors who each do the $10/mo
>>> pledge thing off the site?
>>>
>> I like this idea a lot. 1,000 "supporting members" would be great.
>> That
>> would certainly keep me in play for the foreseeable future.
>>
>> Moreover, if we were able to get 1,000... why not 10,000? 10,000
>> supporting
>> members would mean we could complete our mission without much
>> institutional
>> support. It would give OVC tremendous independence.
>>
>> We have a board meeting scheduled for Nov 11. How about this for a
>> near-term campaign goal: "1111 by 11-11." (in other words, 1,111
>> supporting memberships by Nov 11.)?
>>
>>> If that'll keep it afloat...you know who we need to pitch? Howard
>>> Dean! That whole "Dean For America" structure still exists, Dean has
>>> been concerned about Diebold and company...jeez, they raised what,
>>> $3.5mil for his ass, OVC is a much better place to put money :) not
>>> that
>>> we'd say that...
>>>
>>> Still, point is a Dean blog-link to OVC and a mention that this is
>>> probably a good idea and...jeez, we're off and running!
>>>
>>> So who's got contacts with the major Deaniacs who could put a word in
>>> Howard's ear?
>>>
>> I don't know anyone right off. Besides Deaniacs, there are other
>> lists we
>> could hit.
>>
>> If other people are willing to put some effort into this, I am certainly
>> willing to work hard on this over the next couple of weeks. I'm not
>> working
>> on any other proposals right now! I think Laird could have a
>> thermometer
>> ready very quickly on the OVC home page.
>>
>> Who else could help with this?
>>
>> Alan D.
>>
>>
>>
>
>
>

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Received on Mon Nov 1 15:28:48 2004

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