Re: 60 minutes

From: laird popkin <lairdp_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Oct 29 2004 - 08:00:58 CDT

In the OVC section of this wonderful email, there are two minor suggestions:

1) "[link]" that should be replaced with the actual link to the San
Jose Mercury News article's URL: .

2) The section explains why the OVC is concerned about DRE's, but
doesn't actually say what OVC does. I'd suggest adding the mission
statement: "The Open Voting Consortium (OVC) is a non-profit
organization dedicated to the development, maintenance, and delivery
of open voting systems for use in public elections".

That being said, the email is fantastic! Yay!

- LP

On Thu, 28 Oct 2004 19:18:37 -0700, Patricia Gracian
<> wrote:
> 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
> vote.
> 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
> links:
> 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
> Option
> 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
> secret...
> 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
> already.
> - 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
> disclosure

- Laird Popkin, cell: 917/453-0700
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external 
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain    
Received on Mon Nov 1 15:28:55 2004

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