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.
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.
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.
10. The article connects Sequioa with CITCO (not CITGO)
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 10:12 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.
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..
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/...)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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