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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 07:59 AM
Original message
U.S. digs for vote-machine links to Hugo Chávez
Oct. 28, 2006

In the debate about the reliability of electronic voting technology, the South Florida parent company of one of the nation's leading suppliers of touch-screen voting machines is drawing special scrutiny from the U.S. government.

Federal officials are investigating whether Smartmatic, owner of Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems, is secretly controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, according to two people familiar with the probe.

In July, a Treasury Department spokeswoman disclosed that a Treasury-led panel had contacted Smartmatic, and a company representative said his firm was ''in discussions'' with the panel. At the time, those discussions were informal. The government has now upgraded to a formal investigation, the two sources said.

Sequoia's electronic voting machines operate in 17 states. In Florida, the machines are used in four counties: Palm Beach, Indian River, Pinellas and Hillsborough.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/15869919.htm


:rofl:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:05 AM
Response to Original message
1. That's Bizarre! Straining at Gnats, or Trying To Eliminate Diebold's Competitor?
If this is what passes for government and journalism nowadays, we are doomed.
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. The article is definitely bizarre
They are trying to spin it that Chavez is going to help DEMS win this time, while the company is owned by anti-Chavez Venezuelans, who more likely manipulated the results in 2004 to help Bush win.

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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. They are probably trying to obfuscate voting theft and countering
any claim of Diebold corruption with Sequioa corruption. Any claim of corruption will plant itself on the periphery of someone's memory and will stick with the reverends'lemmings who will call it into Wash Journal. We'll be left with the damage of many people thinking that both Parties are trying to steal the vote. Plus, they get to kick Chavez by building a case against him for their next invasion (using our kids) since in the opinion of our CEO's, the people of Venezuela don't deserve to have all that oil - our CEO's do.

This is total ROvian. Add it to the list of how they ruin our country.

Notice the timing - this plan was in the works for months. They plant the story last summer. Now, in very interesting timing, they bring it out and they can say that the company has been under investigation for months - making it appear legal - rather than popping it out a week before the election.

Funny, I always thought that Sequioa was one of the Republican companies. Perhaps they agreed to this - they're probably holding an offer for a buyout in exchange for being used. That's the way I'd write it if I were writing a novel about corruption and the implosion of a nation (ours).

Unfortunately, only news followers smell something fishy.
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:06 AM
Response to Original message
2. Projecting much?
And how do we get smartmatic to replace Diebold and ES&S?
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:16 AM
Response to Original message
4. Let me guess...if Democrats win, it's because Chavez was behind it
Nothing this administration does would surprise me.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. If Chavez was only about power he would want Bush to stay in as long as
possible. Bush's presence does wonders to make any other world leader look like a saint in comparison.
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jayfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:18 AM
Response to Original message
5. Oh Noooww The Government Is Interested In Vote Fraud.
Because big, bad Hugo Chavez is involved. Gimme a frickin break. ...and I'm sure that Treasury is going to have to personally inspect a bunch of Sequoia machines. ...only where crucial races are of course. :eyes:

Jay
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Eugene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
6. Uh, don't private enterprises exist in Venezuela?
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 08:22 AM by Eugene
The Herald's big complaint against the Venezuealans is that they won't state
their allegiance either for or against Hugo Chavez. Otherwise they have
no visible relationship with Chavez.

Sequoia needs to be much more transparent, but black boxes only seem
to be a problem with BushCo when it's not their box.
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pauldp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:23 AM
Response to Original message
7. Well well. So if it's a leftist controlled company then it's a problem...
but if they are connected to the fundie right there is no need to investigate.
Hey I got an idea..hand counted paper ballots!
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 08:43 AM
Response to Original message
9. This from the regime who gave no bid contracts to companies like Diebold
And sold our ports to a middle easter nation.

What the f@$#@ are they going to try next?
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
10. The article connects Sequioa with CITCO (not CITGO)
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 09:12 AM by higher class
"CITCO is an old Dutch financial services firm based in the building Smartmatic lists as its Curacao address. (I am adding - Curacao, Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean close to Venezuela). CITCO specializes in financial services for wealthy clients who seek confidentiality.

Smartmatic's Amsterdam address is also CITCO."

(The above is from the linked Miami Herald article).

So I entered CITCO and CITGO in a search engine and find lots of right wing rants against CITGO, but some combine both spellings in the same blog or entry.

CITCO does not appear to be CITGO.

CITCO - a separate wheel and deal foundation/organization.
CITGO -the gas company now owned by the people of Venezuela, not the rich people of Venezuela and the U.S./Europe friends as it was for decades - I use 'owned' as in owning the Venezuela rulers and striking deals for the benefits of corporations.

This accusation against Sequioa is going to be interesting. Maybe our government treasury department is also confused between the two. Or maybe they are conveniently playing with us on behalf of the right wing WH.

In any case, it looks like the ownership of Sequioa is so secretive that they won't break the case before the election. Also convenitent.
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. It sould be against the law
for any company making equipment for US elections to hide their ownership and/or be owned by a foreign company. This is worse then giving control of security for our ports to foreign countries.

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maryallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. And against the law to use PROPRIETARY codes that ...
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 10:29 AM by maryallen
ONLY the CORPORATION manufacturing the machine/program can use to check the accuracy of the voting.

No nasty citizens wanted ...
Participatory government? Huh!

ONLY DEMOCRACY in the world "outsourcing" its elections to "BIG BUSINESS:"

USA!
USA!
USA!
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goforit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
12. Yes and Hugo is going to rigged to win Repuglican.
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Toots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
15. Seeds of doubt
I have been propagating this bit of news for some time now. I have mentioned several times that
Sequoia was owned by Venezuela in hopes that it would create some fear in the GOP base. The only way we will stop the voting machines is if the right begins to fear them as much as we do. Sequoia happens to be the largest supplier of voting machines in America. Get the right up in arms and we may see the damn machines thrown in the bay where they belong..
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
16. Please take a look at the difference between our systems
and the ones used in Venezuela, posted by DU'er Peace Patriot. The difference has been public knowledge for a long time:
Well, here's another contrast between us and democratic Venezuela: They have open source code in their electronic voting system, that is, the electronic voting system vendors are required to disclose the programming they use for tabulating votes, whereas, in the U.S., two companies with close ties to the Bush Cartel "count" all our votes with "trade secret," proprietary programming code--code so secret that not even our elected secretaries of state are permitted to review it.

How this happened was through a $4 billion appropriation by Bush's and Tom Delay's Congress to "reform" the election system, after the scandal of Florida 2000, which was used to entice the states to purchase "lemon" voting systems from Bush's buddies at Diebold and ES&S electronics companies (and a few others). These are extremely insecure, unreliable, shoddy and, above all, hackable electronic voting systems--with Bush's buddies insisting that the innards of their machines remain a "trade secret" and that their machines do not need a "paper trail" or any means of recounting or auditing the "results" that they produce, and furthermore requiring the states to sign on to permanent and highly expensive "servicing" contracts, whereby private company personnel, who are in the pay of major Bush and far rightwing funders, have continual easy access to the machines, and are the only ones who know how to keep the machines running.

Who would be so insane as to buy such voting systems? Republican election officials who don't believe in democracy, and Democratic election officials who are corrupt (i.e., are being lavishly lobbied*, are getting future job offers, etc.).

Our entire political system--and all of our political representatives--are now beholden to these election officials and to the choices that Diebold and ES&S make for our political system when they tweak their SECRET, PROPRIETARY programming code inside their machines (easy as pie--one hacker, a couple of minutes).

This is why Venezuela has a president and a legislature that are representing the majority of Venezuelans--including the vast poor population which has never before been represented in government--while we have criminals, mass murderers, massive thieves and congenital liars ruling over US (and NOT representing us).

If we want to be rid of the extremely corrupt and diabolical "drug war" here (and as perpetrated by the U.S. against others), and if we want to be rid of Bush's war on Iraq, Iran and Syria, and of rule by the rich and murderous, and of DLC Democrats and War Democrats, we MUST try to repair our election system in the only venues where it is still possible--the state and local jurisdictions that still retain the power over election systems, and where ordinary people still have some influence. We need...

Paper ballots hand-counted at the precinct level (--Canada does it in one day, although speed should not even be a consideration, just accuracy and verifiability)

or, at the least...

Paper ballot (not "paper trail") backup of all electronic voting, a 10% automatic recount, very strict security, and NO SECRET, PROPRIETARY programming code! (...jeez!).
(snip/...)
Post #10

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. You can have fair and free elections
when you know that you don't have to cheat in order to win.

And Bush calls Chavez a dictator. Someone needs to look in the mirror.
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MrPrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. Bit of a misnomer...
Canada does it in one day, although speed should not even be a consideration, just accuracy and verifiability

This is mentioned a lot by Americans, but this is, as a Canadian, an unfair comparison. US elections have multiply candidates -- federally, Canadians make a single mark on a piece of paper usually every four to five years (government's discretion) in a single riding in a simple first past the post system. In other words, there is NO national vote in Canada unless there is a special referendum -- and even then, under legislation, these very rare referendums are NOT binding on the government.

In other words, if Elections Canada NEEDS anymore than a few hours to count these ballots (done almost exclusively by local scruntineers with an official representative present to collect them and tend to 'materials') or if there are voting irregularities -- then there is a serious problem with Elections Canada.

But there are still problems with electronic voting in Canada when they are used for multi-balloting in local municipal elections.

The Quebec government just ban their use in local municipal elections.



Plug pulled on electronic voting

October 25, 2006

Quebec's chief electoral officer gave a vigorous "nay" to electronic voting in future municipal elections yesterday, in a report dissecting last autumn's problem-plagued electronic vote in 140 cities and towns.

Not only did the glitches that delayed results and gave conflicting vote counts in the Nov. 6 elections in Montreal and elsewhere erode the confidence of many voters, the high-tech elections wound up costing as much as 25 per cent more than regular voting, chief electoral officer Marcel Blanchet said in his report.

The report, tabled in the National Assembly, criticizes everything from the voting machines, which were provided by three suppliers and made by different manufacturers, to the personnel who handled them and the training they received.

Montreal Gazette

Additional link of interest; Democrat blogger in Virginia noticed the Quebec ban...and approves because it looks like they might be 'jacking' Webb -- cites a KOS contributor NetWorld




Ironically, given that the US is a republic, their 'multiple candidate balloting' elections are much closer to the type of elections held in Venezuela (or Iran), rather than a commomwealth country under the Westminister model, like Canada.

Sorta apples and oranges really IMHO
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bobbie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 03:55 AM
Response to Reply #16
30. Open source, whatta concept
Must be nice to live in a civilized country.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 04:30 AM
Response to Reply #30
32. The heck with open source. I don't want a single solitary electronic voting
machine used in this country (or any other country, for that matter).

Open source doesn't help. The whole idea of a computerized voting booth should be trashed. There is no possible way to secure these things.
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bobbie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 04:34 AM
Response to Reply #32
33. U R totally right
They just make cheating more efficient.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 04:08 AM
Response to Reply #32
40. With open-source it is practically impossible to hide any malicious code
Though that would require that the whole thing: software, hardware and the procedures are open source - that it is transparent as it is (or used to be) required by law.
When everything is proprietary as it is now, it is in fact easy to rig the system.
It is probably impossible to make any voting system completely fraud-proof - including any paper system.
Election fraud is as old as elections. From the movie "Nixon" i recall some adviser commenting to Nixon that JFK "stole the election fair and square" - implying that both sides were involved in election fraud, but that JFK did it better (which in my mind doesn't mean that JFK would have lost if neither would have engaged in fraud).
The only thing practical that can be done to limit election fraud is to make sure that neither party can dominate control over the system.
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leesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
18. So if the Dems win, they're going to blame it on Hugo!! That's hysterical!
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Pastiche423 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. It's called fear and desperation!
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ronnie624 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
19. "Stoller said the company is 97 percent owned
by the four Venezuelan founders -- two of them dual citizens: Mugica (Spanish and Venezuelan), Anzola, Roger Piñate and Jorge Massa (French and Venezuelan). The remainder of the company, Stoller said, is owned ``by employees of Smartmatic (past and present) and family and acquaintances of the founders.''

Stoller did not identify any of them, and their names are not listed in records obtained by The Miami Herald.

The four top owners have not said whether they support or oppose Chávez."



Even if there are elements of truth to this obvious propaganda, I think it would be a very safe bet on who these owners support - Chavez or a corporatist oligarchy.

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HuffleClaw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
20. *snicker snicker* BWHWHAHHAHAHHAAAAaaaaaa
hmmmm. i can't imagine WHY they'd resurrect this tale! could it BE because they are in danger of LOSING???
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stepnw1f Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
22. The Right Wing is Withering Away As We Speak
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 01:00 PM by stepnw1f
They will wish they never got into power.

Just think of all the Republicans invested in voting machine companies here in the US... wouldn't that turn off some of their already withering support. Imagine Republicans realizing their political party never had a mandate for anything in the last several years. What a blow to their egos.
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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
24. The same government that is in power thanks to Diebold & ESS
is complaining about voting machines? This article belongs on The Onion!

The capacity of Republicans to cry foul, or is it fowl, is astonishing!
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NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:54 PM
Response to Original message
25. A REPUG SOS made Nevada go Sequoia in time for Bush re-election
go figure that one out. And now the asshole is running for Congress.
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. Smartmatic bought Sequoia after 2004, btw.
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
26. Remember when Diebold prez said he'd do anything to help Bush?
It sounds like the US government couldn't find a conflict of interest with owners of vote machine manufacturers if it was right in front of their face.
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Up2Late Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 02:51 AM
Response to Original message
28. Here's the NYT and Reuters reports on this, this is really an old story...
<http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/29/washington/29ballot.h... >

<http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=dom... >

I remember this being a topic of discussion here months ago, maybe even before the summer.
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bobbie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 03:44 AM
Response to Original message
29. Prez Chavez is public enemy #1 to the BFEE
They must hate Venezuela for their freedom. :evilfrown:
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 04:23 AM
Response to Original message
31. SEQUOIA VOTING SYSTEMS RESPONDS TO VENEZUELA-RELATED RUMORS AND MISINFORMATION
Edited on Sun Oct-29-06 04:23 AM by rman
SEQUOIA VOTING SYSTEMS RESPONDS TO VENEZUELA-RELATED RUMORS AND MISINFORMATION

http://www.sequoiavote.com/article.php?id=74

Sequoia Ownership - Sequoia Voting Systems is a subsidiary of Smartmatic, a private company incorporated in Delaware with principal offices in Boca Raton, Florida. While a private firm, Smartmatic is and has always been open about its owners. A controlling interest is held by its founder and CEO Antonio Mugica, a dual Spanish and Venezuelan citizen.

====

So much for this "secretly controlled by Hugo Chavez" crap.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. Thank you, rman. I just caught your excellent link.
Very determined to stash that one away, myself, for future reference. Very important info. It will probably be needed again and again here, especially after any Democratic wins, right?

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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 04:12 AM
Response to Reply #34
41. You're welcome,
I think it's going to take a lot of hard work to have people accept the reality of how governments operate, regardless of who is in power.
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maryallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #31
35. But another part owner is the Carlyle Group ...
According to a blogger at Kos who spent 7 hours researching the owners of Smartmatic.

Very convoluted ...
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 03:53 AM
Response to Reply #35
39. For all i know that Venezuelan owner may be a RW-er

It is interesting that the mere association with Venezuela prompts republicans to come with a conspiracy theory about Chavez personally controlling that e-voting corporation, and that all of a sudden any kind of possible party affiliation is perceived to be a problem. They see no such problem with US voting corporations being affiliated with the RW.
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angryxyouth Donating Member (174 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
36. I can feel it, our Oct. Surprise.... "Cancel the Elections"
Voter's rights are in jeopardy. Voting will be postponed until all voting machines can be verified to be accurate. Which means forever.
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goforit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. yep! my thoughts exactly.
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NotGivingUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
37. they are pushing this BIG TIME on ALL the networks.
this way when the dems do a clean sweep, repukes can refuse to accept election results.
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