Re: 60 minutes

From: Patricia Gracian <patricia_gracian_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Thu Oct 28 2004 - 21:18:37 CDT

Here's what I'm sending out:

We have all worked very hard at getting the vote out.

Now we are faced with having our votes miscounted or thrown away when we

I am hoping that we can still get out this very important notice to voters
so I am sending this message to all of the organizations that are trying to
get out the vote and achieve an honest election.

Please post this on your webpage and also send it out through your action
alerts so that all volunteers working to get out the vote and to protect the
election get it NOW!

Thank you for all you do!

- Pat



ALL of the these organizations agree that to make sure your vote will count
and can be verified:

1. Use the voting option that has a paper ballot that you get to look at and
verify during your voting visit.

2. Avoid the use of electronic voting and most of all avoid the touch-screen
voting machines that have no matching paper ballot that you can look at and
verify your vote.

3. If you are only allowed to vote on electronics, go back to verify that
your choices you made at the very top for President and Congressmen have not
changed from the time you entered them, before you press the SUBMIT button.



Here are the supporting excerpts from these organizations and their webpage

We advocate the use of voter-verified paper ballots (VVPBs) for all
elections in the United States, so voters can inspect individual permanent
records of their ballots before they are cast and so meaningful recounts may
be conducted. We also insist that electronic voting equipment and software
be open to public scrutiny and that random, surprise recounts be conducted
on a regular basis to audit election equipment

Counties, boroughs, parishes, and even entire states are purchasing digital
electronic recording (DRE) voting machines without a voter-verified paper
ballot (VVPB) capability. A VVPB is a paper ballot that voters can see and
verify that their votes are recorded accurately and stored in a secure
ballot box so that election officials can use the ballots later for
mandatory audits and meaningful recounts.

This Voters' Guide to Electronic Voting provides voters with summary
information on the voting machines used in their local polling places with
pointers about the voting technology and how to vote successfully. We also
cover how to investigate and get help when something goes wrong with the
voting process.

You can learn what choices are available to you as a voter. For example, in
California, if you vote in one of the counties using electronic voting
machines, you have the right to ask for a paper ballot if you prefer. In
Hawaii and in Washington, D.C., voters may have the choice of using a paper
optical-scan ballot instead of an electronic voting machine.


On November 2, tens of millions of invisible ballots created with secret
software might or might not be counted! Ask for a recount and someone'll
push a button and get the same number. The vast majority of computer
scientists say we should not entrust democracy to these voting machines
(called Direct Record Electronic or "DRE").

Will those votes be handled correctly? Vendors and election officials say,
"trust us." But why should we? Any advantages DREs offer can be improved
upon by using computerized ballot-printing machines that leave people in
control of elections.What if we could print out our completed ballots
on-the-spot in the voting booth using an inexpensive computerized machine
with the advantages of paperless DREs (no need for a pre-printed ballot,
assistance for voters with disabilities or non-English languages) but none
of the disadvantages?

Major newspapers from coast-to-coast have endorsed the concept of public
software and paper ballots that the Open Voting Consortium is promoting. The
San Jose Mercury news called the OVC system the "Holy Grail." [ link ] .


EFF Launches "Paper or Plastic 2004" to Educate CA Voters About Paper Ballot
San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation today launched a campaign
to inform California voters of their right to vote on a paper ballot in the
upcoming election. The website and animation for Paper or Plastic 2004 are
available at: Ten California counties-including
Orange, Alameda, and Riverside-will use electronic voting machines on
November 2nd, but these systems don't provide a voter-verified audit trail
and they cannot be used in a meaningful recount. That's why Secretary of
State Kevin Shelley ordered each of these counties to give voters a choice:
on election day, voters can choose to forego an electronic ballot and
instead vote on paper. However, election officials in at least three
counties are instructing poll workers to keep this "paper or plastic" choice
Full Release,
October 27, 2004


Could Democracy be stolen from us in 2004?

- We've developed safeguards to prevent tampering with ballots. We've
figured out ways to impede tampering with the voters themselves. But we DO
NOT have adequate safeguards to prevent the most dangerous election-rigging
of all: Tampering with programmers, vendors and technicians! Why has
everything changed, and what are the dangers to Democracy?

How does the integrity of our voting system change when we use machines to
count the votes?

- Machines are more inaccurate than hand counting. The machines lose some
votes (up to twice as many as hand-counts) and count some votes for the
wrong candidate. Human error compounds the mistakes. Election officials must
be trained, and software programming errors have resulted in mistakes as
high as 100 percent.

- The machines produce new tampering and vote-rigging vulnerabilities. We do
not have adequate systems to protect against tampering with programmers,
vendors and technicians.

- Voting machines create hidden changes in the way our voting system works.
Using the machines, in effect, replaces sworn, elected officials with
unsworn, unelected technicians. In most states, elected officials can no
longer look at the voter-verified evidence. Many state laws prohibit
officials from looking at the paper ballots, and only allow them to look at
the counts coming out of the machines, even when there is a recount.

- A safe voting system is one that many eyes can view. Machines eliminate
transparency in vote-counting. The newest machines eliminate the paper
trail - the only voter-verified evidence of how votes really were cast,
effectively saying "trust us" - voters and local election officials no
longer have any way to verify that votes were counted accurately.

- It used to be that we knew who our elected officials were and the names of
local election officials were a matter of public record. Manufacturers, who
now count our votes, are not required to reveal the names of owners or key
people. The codes counting our votes are considered "proprietary" and
outside officials are not allowed to examine them.

- Some voting machine manufacturers are salted with vested interests. Among
the owners of voting machine companies and testing labs: active politicians,
corporate lobbyists, former CIA directors, and people who have been involved
in prosecutions for bribery, kickbacks, and fraud. Our "watchdog" groups are
also influenced by special interests. Voting machine companies are using
lobbying and political influence to influence purchase of machines,
specifications and regulations.

- Vote-rigging on computerized machines may be possible on a grand scale,
not just a local scale. It's hard to stuff more than a dozen ballot boxes in
your trunk, and it's nigh-on impossible to get 100,000 dead people to vote.
But with these machines, we sometimes lose hundreds of thousands of votes in
a single city!

What are the risks to Democracy?

- As long as we've had elections, we've had people trying to rig results.
Now, vote-rigging is possible on a massive scale, by tampering with the
computer programs that count millions of votes.

- Sooner or later someone will start stealing elections. If they haven't

- At some point, the balance of power in Congress may shift to the party
that was not actually elected, "mandates" will not be mandates, and we may
get a president whose votes were augmented by a handful of programmers,
instead of an accurate vote "of the people, by the people and for the
people." ...

Although every method offers vote-rigging opportunities, only the optical
scan, touch-screen and Internet systems enable high-volume vote-rigging on a
national or international scale. And the optical scan, touch-screen and
Internet systems give the smallest number of scoundrels opportunities to
find ways to tamper with the greatest number of votes. It may take only ONE
programmer to tamper with literally millions of votes at once.

What can we do about it? Get a paper trail, LOOK AT the paper trail, require

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Received on Mon Nov 1 15:28:54 2004

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