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The HOLT BILL, major major problems in Election Reform-Land

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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 10:45 PM
Original message
The HOLT BILL, major major problems in Election Reform-Land
The following is why I think the Holt Bill (HR 550) does much more harm than good. Regardless of whether or not you are a "paper ballot" person, I think my arguments below apply with equal force. I've not heard most of these arguments before, myself, so I hope I'm not wasting anyone's time.

Please Understand: I'm not trying to rain on anybody's lobbying parade: But I would recommend that we lobby for our VALUES not for specific bill language subjected to future word-smithing and changes anyway....

I don't think one can fairly use the terms "floor" or "bulwark" or "first steps" to describe the Holt bill, at least not without any major qualification. My attack (if you will) is on the notion that the bill accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish, and also whether "gold standard" is a fair description. (I agree with the Holt bill's advertised goals, but I don't think the language meets the advertising) The fact that more and more people are getting involved in the movement and asking for most or all of the right things does not at all tell us whether a particular bill actually delivers those things.

Election systems are like systems that act kind of like kaleidoscopes, and amendments turn the kaleidoscope and force patterns to rearrange.

I think the Holt bill has vetted its 2% audit requirement with "computer scientists" which is great, but it also needs to be vetted from statisticians for sure and perhaps consumer fraud attorneys, and I think it fails in that regard. (My co-author Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman concurs as to the 2% opinions below, but isn't involved with the rest).

THE GENERAL PROBLEM SEEMS TO BE THAT ALTHOUGH MOST PEOPLE'S #1 GOAL IN PROTECTING ELECTIONS IS AN ANTI-FRAUD MOTIVATION, HOLT APPROACHES IT AS A QUESTION OF MAKING TECHNOLOGY WORK. This may be because we often don't want to insult the public officials, and it's hard for Congress to sit down and have a serious discussion about "how do we protect the people from the politcians and election crooks". But as Jon Roland said a wise man prepares for the probability of corrupt administration during a time of good administration, if that's what we have now. Plus, to make an analogy, I don't think security experts in banks stand for too much bullshit about "there's no risk of embezzlement from the inside, just bank robbery from the outside". Same with elections.

So please let me give some examples based on co-authoring a paper actually scientifically and statistically auditing an election result (I know others here have done so as well but I don't think everyone has), followed by some legalistic observations. With a little overlap, these are in addition to the 6 or so concerns I posted earlier, most of which I've not heard any response to. The first one below on the 2% audits is somewhat of a repeat and an expansion of the concern:

(1) SECTION 5 of Holt (Mandatory Manual "Audits"): The 2% audits on a precinct or polling location basis means that the samples are clustered, since all the votes in the entire precinct selected are counted. The problem with Holt is not the 2%; it is that it is 2% of precincts. One cannot do, with precinct-wide samples, what one must do with a true audit: establish a firm margin of error and a "tight" confidence level so that if the sample exceeds that, we can sound the alarms. So, it won't be possible or it will be very unlikely that even a cheating margin (in a reasonably close race at least) can come to a statistical conclusion that something was wrong. Press releases will issue, and it will simply be announced, or we will be forced to announce, that the results are 'within the margin of error' because the margin will be quite wide indeed.

Moreover, although the EAC can do more audits if "cause" appears for the same, when something is "within the margin of error" it is probably not "cause' for further investigation as a matter of law, so a court might well shut us down or shut the EAC down with the argument that UNDER ITS OWN STANDARDS AND RESULTS there is no cause to look further. The fact that citizens are invited to bid on the contracts in order to truly waste their time with a futile exercise (with the contract itself being a control mechanism and probably no access at all in any event to trade secret software) is not an improvement.

It gets worse. Section 5(b) requires at least one precinct in each (microscopic) county, which further forces small precincts to be selected, further making the 2% precinct selection problem even worse, though it the purpose of this provision appears to be to help spread the sample throughout the state, we simply have no rational interest in having statistics mimic the distortions of the US Senate, with 2 from each state regardless of size. Legislation simply does not alter the rules of statistics as to proper sampling, and should not attempt to do so.

In a nutshell, though an "official audit" be completed, nothing can be proven from it due to wide margins of errors created by precinct sampling, so that's the empty end result of the huge audit investigation, and anybody who continues to be unsatisfied is a wacko conspiracy theorist and attorneys will raise their prices and encourage you to reconsider your desire to check more. It will give audits a bad name, and the conspiracy theorists will be 100% correct: the audit proves nothing.


(2) Even if the audit could prove something, which it almost assuredly can not, all it proves is that there's a DIFFERENCE between paper and electronic, not where that difference comes from. It will be argued that the problems are with the paper, or in a real pinch even with the DRE printing an incorrect ballot that the voters (according to one claimed result in I believe an MIT study) don't really check any more than they check their paper receipts at the grocery store (a glance perhaps). Because the paper records under Holt are stored "in the same manner" as other paper records in the relevant jurisdiction, there's no improvement as to that (it may be good or bad with chain of custody issues).

In a nutshell, the audit is almost guaranteed to be within margins of error, and discrepancies (if any) can be blamed on the paper (with DREs, primarily). Although "inconsistent' results mean the paper prevails, the results will be very unlikely to be inconsistent, even in cases of actual substantial malfunction or fraud.

(3) Although in Section 5(a)(1) it says audits will be "random, unannounced, hand counts..." two paragraphs later the HOlt bill provides that the EAC shall determine the precincts "and then *announce* the precincts in the State in which it will conduct the audits." Sec. 5(a)(2)(A). This does not seem "unannounced" it seems "announced".

Even if the unlikely audit-proven discrepancy can not be successfully blamed on the paper records, the Holt bill requires the precincts or polling locations to be "announced" "no later than 24 hours" after the state posts final results. Now, presume that the elections officials have engaged in election fraud, since they are the ones with the access and if anyone in the past has been successful at hacking, they or their friends are now the insiders. Given as little as 4 hours I'm sure they can make paper match computers for certain precincts. This game was allegedly played in Ohio just recently. Maybe the officials aren't even guilty, they just are curious to see if they will pass the audit, so they check the ballots themselves, are horrified by getting caught seemingly with their pants down, and so they do the human thing and pull their pants back up, even though someone else caused the problem? Here again, paper matches result though the officials are innocent, at least of the fraud or irregularity, though not of the coverup.

If a crime has taken place, nobody announces in advance what the search warrant will be looking for. Jesus Christ. My Dad was an IRS auditor for 32 years and he'd be laughing his ass off at this procedure in a criminal matter. So, I can only assume that this bill does not consider either insider election fraud or insider CYA maneuvers to be a serious risk. I think that's deeply mistaken. Or perhaps "announce" has a meaning that I'm not getting, in the context.

(4) So we do all these audits, and they discover nothing because they are not designed to be rigorous enough. Now the whole idea of auditing gets a bad name and some people start rallying for the elimination of audits as a taxpayer waste. We are stuck with educating the public about statistics. Who wins? Even if audits aren't thereby eliminated, the elections are looking a lot cleaner than they are, artificially.

(5) Now, let's say that we somehow, against all odds, have the whiff of a smoking electronic gun. The public and the media is DEMANDING a recount! People are up in arms about these electronic machines. We're unlikely to get any electronic information because Holt provides in section (B)(iv) that the paper records "shall be used as the official records for purposes of any recount or audit conducted with respect to any election for Federal office in which the voting system is used." I'd still like to see those electronic ballots, though! While not saying that electronic records can't be accessed, the trade secrecy claims and the largest law firms in the nation will defend that territory if need be.

(6) The part about prohibiting wireless, power-line or concealed communications devices is GREAT. But then the next paragraph takes it away by saying these must be "certified" by the EAC according to EAC "standards". One of the central election fraud concerns is that people get elected President (or whatever) then "pull up the ladder behind them" by changing the election rules or cheating, or that for any other reason holes are left in EAC standards.

Let's say activists are really smart and spot a hole in the EAC standards, just like 30 "certifiers" failed to spot the Hursti hole, so it just might happen again. The EAC "certification" is nevertheless argued to preclude any suit. As they did in my case, they argue all day long that these certifications mean that the technology can't be questioned, except through the Secretary of State or the EAC's minimal and deficient comment process or litigation from there. This argument I would hope would not win, but it is a major barrier they erect. It is not without legal support. The "strength" of this argument specifically in elections cases has been that the government "estops" or prevents citizens from litigating under some circumstances because the issue has already been decided (i.e. by the certification and comment process). If the government is deemed to represent the people's rights, it is just as if the citizen had personally litigated and lost when the government did it, they can not do it again. Perhaps the Holt bill has planned around this legal authority, I don't know.

(7) The Holt bill basically says appearances of conflicts of interest. 247(11)(B)(iv). That's good. But you can make an office nonpartisan or make a manufacturer shut up, but that does not mean that we don't have partisans in nonpartisan office or at the manufacturers. The local auditor I basically sued though not by name, was a Democrat in nonpartisan clothing. REquirements like this are not disqualifications, they just force partisans into disguise.

(8) Holt says no component of any voting DEVICE upon which votes are CAST shall be connected to the internet. 247(c)(12) The headings use the word "system" but headings are usually ignored in statutory construction at least in Washington state. This language appears to mean DREs can't be connected to the internet, but tabulators can be. It might be different if it said "voting system" instead of "voting device".

(9) Holt says that manufacturers must disclose anyone convicted of election fraud. 247(11)(B)(ii) That's good, but what about a criminal background check? You mean a conviction for computer fraud, perjury, computer crimes and bribery need not be disclosed so long as it's not "election fraud"? Public school teachers have background checks, do they check only for "child molestation" and leave it at that?

(10) Providing all election codes to the Election Assistance Commission. 247(11)(B)(iii): the manufacturer must provide all codes to the EAC and not change them until recertified. I don't think anything like this should be centralized, it gives anyone who breaks into or is inside the EAC access to the entire nation's software. Decentralization makes things harder.

(11) Laboratories doing certification are not supposed to have a financial interest in "the manufacture, sale or distribution of voting system hardware and software". 231(b)(A)(i) They can, and do, have a financial interest in approval or disapproval of systems, and could even have a bonus in their contract for doing, let's say, "fast work", and this would not be prohibited.

(12) Section 401 is amended at (b)(1) to allow aggrieved citizens to "file a written, signed, notarized complaint with the Attorney General describing the violation". Let's say that hypothetically Bush cheated to get into office in 2000 or 2004, our remedy is then to file a complaint with John Ashcroft! (or any cheating person of the same party as this or any other AG, it's not a good remedy) And, let's say we have serious evidence of a democracy-stealing election fraud crime, that complaint will be rejected for insufficient notarization if you want to be an anonymous whistleblower. Stand up and be counted like the guy in Tiananmen Square with the tanks. Don't forget the notarization so we can be sure who you are. There's not a single jurisdiction in this country where even a multimillion dollar lawsuit requires notarization. This needlessly deters complaints.

In conclusion, we should lobby for our Values, not for specific bills. I'd say "I'm all for Holt's bill if it has rigorous audits but I have some concerns about whether it is strong enough to be a strong check and balance"

Paul R Lehto

Attorney at Law

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understandinglife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. Vote # 1. This belongs on the DU Homepage, imho.
Peace.
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windy252 Donating Member (742 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
2. Voter #2
Recommending this and kicking.
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 10:56 PM
Response to Original message
3. #3. First-rate analysis and explanation of the key voting security issues
and maintaining the focus where it needs to be.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 10:59 PM
Response to Original message
4. KNR- #4
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:06 PM
Response to Original message
5. Ivory Soap is 99 and 44 one-hundredths per cent pure. So...
Edited on Wed Apr-05-06 11:08 PM by bleever


what about that last 56 one-hundredths per cent? Is is rat hairs? Arsenic? Brain-eating fungus?


My point is that a system that might aspire to "99% Uncorruptibility" is pointless because the 1% corruptibility will be exploited to ruin 100% of the election.


Recounts that repeat the "statistics (that) mimic the distortions of the US Senate", and any other so-called protections, are irrelevant unless the final product is a fully transparent and verifiable election.

Which is just what you said, but it felt good for me to say it too.


:thumbsup:




ed: old time punctuation vs. html
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. I say I'm voter #5.

But there's no way to prove that.

All great points. LS. Some more than others.

The auditing, on a number of levels has been bugging me. Who selects the precincts, who counts, does 2% amount to a statistical sample worth the trouble?

Perhaps the most important point is the idea that this legislation, enacted, will suggest secure voting. We know that will not be the case, but we'll be told to "move along. Nothing to see here".

I hope Holt continues to work on this bill. Perhaps it SHOULD be reeled in to include only those passages we are comfortable with.

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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:14 PM
Response to Original message
7. Can't, won't argue
But we are damned if we do, and damned if we don't.

The feeling is that something has to be done, and if we get a foot in the door, we will gain a presence, at least.

Your points are well taken, and hopefullly insiders will take note and adjust the bill. But for us still on the outside, the 550 bill, IF we can get it passed will give us a bit of breathing room and allow some inspection of a well rooted corruption that until now has seen no inspection.

Frankly, I am happy to see such an analysis, it gives one much to ponder.

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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. If you're lost in the woods, it's wise to sit and think for a while
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Lost in the woods, eh?
Well, yeah. When it comes to bill making (they say its like making sausage) then, yeah, lost.

Things change. Bills change. 550 can change. Make it so, if you can. I hope you do.
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. I'm only rebutting tangentially the idea that we MUST do something
but some amendments would be good on HR 550.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
54. Suggest amendments if you like-but April 6/7 is call the Hill to pass Holt

On April 6 and 7, hundreds of citizen activists from across the country will join a coalition of organizations in Washington D.C. to ask their Members of Congress to cosponsor H.R.550, Rep. Rush Holt's Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act.
While our citizen lobbyists are meeting with Members of Congress in DC, let's get the phones ringing during the Lobby Days with the same message from constituents back at home! A call to your Representative during this time will amplify this message and multiply our voices immeasurably!
Call the Capitol Switchboard and Ask for Your Representative's Office.
Call 202-225-3121 on Thursday April 6 or Friday April 7

The Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121 will be able to connect you to your Representative's office even if you are unsure of his or her name. Urge your Representative to support HR 550, with this suggested sample message:

"Reports of e-voting computer crashes, glitches and malfunctions have come in from across the country, and a voter-verified paper ballot is just a common sense protection under the circumstances. It's the ONLY way we can confirm that the electronic voting machines have counted our votes accurately. I urge Representative _________ to co-sponsor HR 550, and safeguard our electoral system against computer errors."

HR 550 would:
● require a voter verified paper record of every vote,
● establish mandatory random hand counted audits to verify the accuracy of electronic tallies, and
● prohibit the use of secret software and wireless communication devices in voting machines.
Our current federal regulations permit computerized voting without requiring
a voter-verified paper record that would allow voters to confirm that a hard copy of their votes has been recorded correctly. The history of computer crashes, failures, and malfunctions that have occurred since electronic voting was first employed make clear the necessity of passing this common-sense legislation in time for the 2006 elections.

HR 550 has already earned the bipartisan support of more than 165 Congressional cosponsors. The recent change in leadership of the Committee on House Administration has created a new opportunity for passage of this vital election integrity measure this year.
Thank you for calling your Representative to urge support for HR 550
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
10. Hey LS: If all politics is local, why isn't the vote-counting?
Seriously.

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Well said. n/t
Edited on Wed Apr-05-06 11:31 PM by Wilms
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bleever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-05-06 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. We vote locally. I trust those good folks who man my precinct
when I cast my ballot. Why don't they hand count the ballots and report a total?

Any precinct could be recounted, again by hand.

Any malfeasance would be isolated and less susceptible to systemic manipulation, or at least verifiable in the event of such manipulation.

All of which is offered in light of the OP's emphasis on truly verifiable, repeatable, verifiable elections.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:30 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. This is the argument I find myself making.

It holds especially true for the many precincts that have relatively few voters.

In fact, small jurisdictions may well be waking up to the $$ DRE's (let alone OpScan) will really cost them.

I'm hoping that these folks, if they've already purchased DRE's, will abandone them if only for financial reasons.

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NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:38 AM
Response to Reply #10
20. I agree ...seriously ...why not?
Or, at least, Sequoia told us it was but somehow still, we had to have their hacks present on site in the primaries of 04 and then long distance in the general ...liars, liars, liars.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
14. Here are yet more reasons for caution:
http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/2243
TrueMajority's Holt Bill action alert should be reconsidered

Today many of you have received an action alert from TrueMajority, asking you to sign a petition in support of HR 550, also known as the Holt Bill. I would like to issue a counter alert.

The Holt Bill is well intended, but unfortunately, it is not just about paper ballots; it includes several dangerous provisions that are not good for our democracy at all.

Consequently, there are many election activists, including most of us on the DFNH Fair Elections Committee, who do NOT endorse the Holt bill as written. The movement of informed activists against the Holt bill is growing each day. This bill, like the Help America Vote Act, was borne from the grassroots but now seems to have been hijacked by special interests.

I have written three articles about this:
Go here to link to these:
http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/2243

What's wrong with the Holt Bill? Part 1

What's wrong with the Holt bill? Part 2

What's wrong with the Holt bill? Part 3

I have been in touch with the Holt office, and they have acknowledged but not addressed our concerns. The problem with the bill as written is that it sets us up for a handover of election control to the executive branch.

So, raise your hands if you believe the White House will do a good and honest job of managing our federal, state, and local elections.

Now raise your hands if you want a federal agency to send in hired contractors to conduct recounts in New Hampshire, even, under certain circumstances, for state and local elections.

OK - if you haven't raised your hands for either of these questions, call Holt's office and ask them to change the bill. Let them know that you support their efforts, and you want to support the Bill, but you can not do so until they address our concerns.

Ask them to revise it so that it ONLY CALLS FOR PAPER BALLOTS. And nothing else. No audits, and no federal agency taking over our elections.

Congressman Rush Holt
District Office
50 Washington Rd.
West Windsor, NJ 08550
Phone - (609) 750-9365 Fax - (609) 750-0618

Washington Office
1019 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone - (202) 225-5801 Fax - (202) 225-6025

Then, write to TrueMajority, and tell them your concerns as well: info@truemajorityaction.org

Provisions of the Bill we support:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2005.

SEC. 2. PROMOTING ACCURACY, INTEGRITY, AND SECURITY THROUGH VOTER-VERIFIED PERMANENT RECORD OR HARD COPY. (change "verified" to "verifiable")

Provisions we want stricken from the Bill:

SEC. 4. PERMANENT EXTENSION OF AUTHORIZATION OF ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION.

SEC. 5. REQUIREMENT FOR MANDATORY MANUAL AUDITS BY HAND COUNT.

SEC. 6. REPEAL OF EXEMPTION OF ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION FROM CERTAIN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING REQUIREMENTS
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 01:16 AM
Response to Reply #14
27. What's with Sec. 5, Amarylls?
A "requirement for mandatory manual audits by hand count" would seem to be a good thing. Do you mean the "requirements" as written? Not stringent enough requirement (the meager 2% audit Land Shark discusses)? (I think you should edit that one, because, on the surface, it seems like you're against handcounts.)

------------

For those who don't know, Amarylls, like Land Shark, is extremely knowledgeable and trustworthy, and an authority, on election reform.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #27
38. Someone else wrote this so I can't answer your question! But I think
Edited on Thu Apr-06-06 01:04 PM by Amaryllis
if you go to the link there will be contact info if you want to ask her.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:07 AM
Response to Original message
15. don't forget the Trojan Horse problem. Nothing good will come out of this
Edited on Thu Apr-06-06 12:07 AM by Amaryllis
congress. They will turn it into HAVA II and then tell us they gave us what we wanted, so go home and shut up.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:34 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. HAVA and HOLT here we go again


They are trying to sneak one by us.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. Is that a Sequoia Redwood touchscreen, kster? n/t
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 02:02 AM
Response to Reply #15
31. Once again, I'm with Amaryllis
I think what Land Shark has done, mostly, is sketch out the false alternatives in this bill, things that look good on the surface, but which also have negative consequences. We see such "choices" all the time. Collectively, we have a difficult time avoiding these traps because it would require the strength, courage, discipline and unity to say "no deal." When given false choices, the only response is no deal. This is where we draw a line in the sand.

I also see Congress as part of the problem, not the solution.
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NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:34 AM
Response to Original message
18. definitely home page, must read material!
Landshark, we are lucky to have you!
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:40 AM
Response to Original message
21. HR 550 appears to have several critically important, positive provisions...
...that, if passed, might have prevented the 2004 election theft. Land Shark knows A LOT MORE about this than I do, especially about how the bill will really work (what's in the fine print), but it seems to me that the following are all major improvements over what we have now, which is not just NON-TRANSPARENT--and, by definition, therefore NOT VALID--but is downright absurd and outrageous: Rightwing Bushite corporations control all vote 'tabulation' in this country with 'TRADE SECRET,' PROPRIETARY programming code, and virtually no audit/recount controls; and vast corruption and secrecy among election officials throughout the nation, wrought by the $4 billion "Hack America's Vote Act" boondoggle, designed by the two biggest crooks in Congress, Tom Delay and Bob Ney.

Here's what Holt's web site says about this bill in the easy summary:

The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 550) will:

1. Mandate a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election, nationwide; because the voter verified paper record is the only one verified by the voters themselves, rather than by the machines, it will serve as the vote of record in any case of inconsistency with electronic records;

MY COMMENT: It says a "ballot," not a "paper trail," and goes on to specify that it is the "vote of record." We've all been yelling about this--having a real, legal ballot--since at least Nov. 3, 2004. Further, currently, at least ONE THIRD of the country is voting with NO PAPER RECORD AT ALL. A defined ballot is a great improvement, no matter how you look at it.


2. Protect the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act for voters with disabilities;

NO COMMENT.


3. Require random, unannounced, hand-count audits of actual election results in every state, and in each county, for every Federal election;

MY COMMENT: Note the word "unannounced." Also, "random." Land Shark, is the summary false? Please inform me. I'm not arguing either way. I trust you. But this summary seems to be saying the opposite of what you say above. Are we being mislead? I am totally with you on the 2% audit--not nearly enough. Needs to be a minimum of 5%--and with "trade secret" programming, probably 100%!


4. Prohibit the use of undisclosed software and wireless and concealed communications devices and internet connections in voting machines;

MY COMMENT: I think it would be a stretch to say that "voting machines" does NOT include central tabulators. But I DO agree that it should say "voting systems" not just "voting machines"--just to be sure. (We are dealing with crooks who have packed the courts with yet more of their kind, so we have to try to make it air tight.) If this summary provision means what it says, then the private, rightwing, Bushite corporations that are currently running our "elections" behind a veil of secrecy will pull out of the election business--because they will not play without their "trade secrets". You are saying that "undisclosed" means "undisclosed to the EAC"? Please tell me that HR 550 is not as fraudulent as that! I BELIEVED this provision! It says what it says. Is it false?


5. Provide Federal funding to pay for implementation of voter-verified paper balloting;

MY COMMENT: God, if we could only RETRIEVE the $4 billion+ that has been squandered on these election theft systems, and the tens of millions in lavish lobbying of election officials and Congressmen, we could even pay for recycled paper ballots (at jacked up prices)! Damn, damn and damn! I WANT OUT MONEY BACK!


6. Require full implementation by the 2006 elections.

MY COMMENT: Don't we wish! A major point of mine--if we had these provisions in place for '06, things wouldn't look as bleak as they do.

----------

LandShark, I share with you GREAT TREPIDATION at this FRAUDULENT, ILLEGITIMATE, BUSHITE, "POD PEOPLE" CONGRESS going anywhere near "election reform" again. I also share MAJOR DISTRUST of the Democratic Party leadership who, a) let this happen, and b) have corrupt ties to electronic contractors of all kinds in government, not just voting. The Dem leadership's SILENCE on this matter has been APPALLING. So I see well what you are saying here. This bill LEGITIMIZES somebody "tabulating" our votes, at the speed of light, in hackable systems, over porous airwaves, out of sight of human beings, and without much possibility of human beings catching other human beings tweaking the percentages (because of inadequate audits, and the invisibility and speed of it all). Not just hundreds or thousands, but millions of votes can be changed in the blink of an eye--one hacker, a line of code, leaving no trace.

PAPER BALLOTS HAND-COUNTED AT THE PRECINCT LEVEL is the best option, at this point--if, for no other reason, than that we MUST CLEAN HOUSE. Our election system stinks to high heaven with money, power, lavish lobbying, "revolving door" employment and secrecy. Further, the old-fashioned method of hand-counting ballots severely LIMITS the potential parameters of fraud. You can try to "deep-six" or burn or steal or stuff hundreds, even thousands, of ballots--but the higher the number, the more people involved, the greater the chances of being caught--and, critically important, the TANGIBLE nature of the crime (people, ballots, ballot boxes, vehicles, various doors things have to pass through) all LIMIT the extent of the damage you can do, and make the crime observable and highly risky.

HOWEVER, we are STUCK with a highly hackable, insecure, PRIVATE, SECRET CORPORATE election system, at present. If we can undo a significant part of that secrecy and insecurity in one fell swoop, quickly, on a national basis, I'd say that we should do it--and take our chances on improving transparency at the state/local level. But I don't see much chance of that happening YET--not for '06. Possibly for '08, if Diebold and ES&S permit the Dems some gains in '06 (which they might do, for their own reasons--and which might combine with some races where the election theft machines are simply overwhelmed by voter turnout, to give the Dems some say in Congress). Also, the danger is extreme that the current Congress will amend this bill and make things worse. I've been pushing the bill for the FUTURE, not for now. I just think there's no way the Bushites will give up their 5% to 10% advantage (from Diebold's and ES&S's thumb on the scales), with things as they are (Bush at 30% and the Repubs imploding with scandals and dissension). Look what these S.O.B.s are DOING in California--illegally ramming Diebold touchscreens into place, because they CAN'T WIN if all the votes are counted.

So it's kind of a moot point. I don't think anything's going to happen soon (as to HR 550). Maybe we should save these arguments for later. But it's excellent to have a heads up from someone who KNOWS what he's talking about.

Thank you, Land Shark! And I'd like your opinion as to whether or not I should continue to include the HR 550 petition in my "Resources for American Revolution II"), or should leave it out as too flawed.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. LS isn;t saying there aren't some positive provisions, just that there are
also some potential land mines.
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 02:36 AM
Response to Reply #21
32. response to some of Peace Patriot's specific points
1. Holt says voter verified "paper record" to be used for audits and recounts (that's NOT a ballot, except perhaps in specified circumstances when it is "inconsistent" with electronic ballots in which case the paper record prevails...)

2. Like you said, NO COMMENT

3. Yes, it says unannounced at one point, then two paragraphs later provides for announcing those precincts to be audited. WTF?

4. when you look at statutory definitions, voting 'device' means the DRE, voting "system" refers to the whole package. At least arguments can be made here based on statutory construction rules...

5... Holt will also force disclosure of source code, but doing it this way means the vendors may have a takings claim because their trade secret "property" has been taken, they will almost certainly sue for it...

bottom line: no Holt without amendment of audit provisions because we can not possibly afford to have fake, discreditable audits. that's a KILLER provision, IMHO
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #32
42. Land Shark, is Holt lying to us? If so, we need to know if this is
deliberate.

The five points I site above are direct quotes from Holt's web site.

"1. Mandate a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election..."

It says "BALLOT." Is this defined elsewhere (in the fine print?) as not a "ballot," but only a "paper record"?

Let me repeat the full item:

HR 550 will: "1. Mandate a voter-verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election, nationwide; because the voter verified paper record is the only one verified by the voters themselves, rather than by the machines, it will serve as the vote of record in any case of inconsistency with electronic records;"

This summary uses the phrase "voter verified paper record" in the course of defining what a BALLOT is. It does not say that we will have ONLY a "voter verified paper record." It further states that the "ballot" (subject of the sentence) "will serve as the vote of record."

Is this outright deception? Some kind of inadvertent misinterpretation? Is there language in the bill that has you worried about the definition of "ballot"? And please admit it, if you have exaggerated a bit, to make the case against this bill. I'll forgive you! But we really need to know what this bill does with "ballot."

The audit issue is bad enough. If this bill ALSO waffles on "ballot," then we have to disavow it completely. It can't even be promoted as a compromise or temporary measure to get SOME significant transparency.*

----------

*(I see election reform happening in stages. It's not what I would like, but I think it's the reality of the situation--including my assessment of entrenched corruption, and of the election reform movement itself (a grass roots movement, strong in some places, not others, etc). We get SOME transparency--spotty transparency, by county, region, state, and imperfect transparency (say, a countable paper ballot, but with "trade secret" programming in the machines), but at least some power to frighten off fraud, to successfully challenge fraud, to make the case against the machines and move things along, and possibly to win some elections. We start electing good people who will protect and expand election reform gains. And the more transparency we get, the more good people we elect. It snowballs.

(There are certainly perils in this scenario--one of the big ones being that "imperfect transparency" will be sold as having solved the problem, with the non-transparency still lurking in the system, so that the fascists can strike at any time and flip any elections they want to. You are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT to cry foul on ANY government action that could be used to permanently embed "imperfect transparency" in our election system, by what a bill really says, or by the way it is sold, or by devious means (such as centralizing power). And I am more than with you on preferring that this Congress stay away from the issue. I have NOT promoted Congressional action in general, and have always been very wary of it. But HR 550's summary seemed to say we would have, a) a real paper ballot, and b) the end of secret source code and even of private corporate interest (by forcing disclosure of the code). I saw these as a transition out of complete non-transparency. So I started including this petition in my list of recommended actions.

(I still think we have to face the reality of a long term, messy struggle, with spotty advances, some defeats, some compromises, continuing public education, and continuing pressure in innumerable jurisdictions, hopefully with increasing transparency as we go--and that we will one day be able to say that we have actually restored our right to vote. I just don't see this Congress or any near-future Congress fully restoring our right to vote. I had thought, though, that we might get some quick help, on a national basis, for some broadstroke principles (like a real paper ballot, less secrecy, a ban on partisan vendors?)--say, after '08, if the fascists decide to install a War Democrat, who has to at least LOOK LIKE he/she is into good government.

(Anyway, these are vital strategic issues--whether to push on the federal front, or when to, or what compromises to tolerate, etc.--and I would appreciate any thoughts you have on them. Maybe it's time to say, "Repeal HAVA"--a bill written by the biggest crooks in Congress--eat the billions of dollars they've wasted, and go back to square one: PAPER BALLOTS. Say: It cannot be fixed; it is a disaster (just like Iraq). And oppose ANY bill that further institutionalizes electronic voting, even if it has good (or some good) provisions.)






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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #42
44. A spearhead/michael franti song line: U want rights? Ask 'em to READ 'em
the type of rights we are talking about don't depend upon the grace of congress, at least if the declaration of indendence means anyhting

the only reason to put them in statutes is to make it clear and less subject to debate potential

ANSWER ON HOLT: The paper record doesn't matter except in recounts or audits. And then only prevails as the "ballot of record" to the extent it is "inconsistent"

So, if you don't have a solid audit formula, you don't have Shit, basically. Because it will never be inconsistent so as to "prevail", especially when you consider all the resources the cheating side would throw at impeaching the audit, eh???

That being said, i'm working on a better proposal with some other folks, MAYBE it would be amended, I don't know.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:46 AM
Response to Original message
22. READ THIS
from our friends at Democracy for New Hampshire:

What's wrong with the Holt Bill? Part 1
http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/2040

What's wrong with the Holt Bill? Part 2
http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/2103

What's wrong with the Holt Bill? Part 3
http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/2249

TrueMajority's Holt Bill action alert should be reconsidered
http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/2243
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:50 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. That's what I posted on post 14. That's okay; people will be more likelly
Edited on Thu Apr-06-06 12:51 AM by Amaryllis
to see it with it posted twice.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. yup, i saw yours after I posted. we'll survive :) n/t
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 01:03 AM
Response to Original message
25. Well speaking for a state whose Election Law allows us to keep
Edited on Thu Apr-06-06 01:09 AM by Bill Bored
our lever machines pretty much forever, even though no one seems to know about or acknowledge this fact, I'd say we'll be sitting in the woods thinking about this for quite some time if Abu Gonzales & Co. can be sent packing.

Unfortunately though, HR550 as written would probably force us to get rid of these machines, even though they've been used less than 100 times.

Imagine having to trash your 1960 Chevy that hasn't even been broken in because it doesn't produce a paper receipt every time you buy a tank of gas! Meanwhile the newer model can't even start without its computer, which itself is the target of thieves every time you leave it unattended.

Once the bill is in committee though, there will no doubt be changes, both for better and for worse, just like the original HAVA.

Perhaps, LS, this is a good reason for supporting Sen. Ensign's bill, S330 and the House version HR704. All they do is require the VVPAT, in the correct section of HAVA to make it the ballot of record in any recounts or in the event of any discrepancies between the paper and electronic records. The rest is left up to the states. It's a huge yet incremental change.

I think HR550 stems from an honest desire to have the federal government do good -- not unlike the civil and voting rights legislation of the 1960s. It's kind of idealistic and a lot of folks buy into it having lost faith in the ability of certain failed states like FL and OH to run honest elections.

It's a tough decision whether to support HR550 or not. If FL, OH, PA and some other states can't get their act together with elections, the alternative to an HR550 sort of solution is to ask them to secede or something! Is there anything in the Constitution that even allows this? I doubt it and consider the repercussions the last time this happened. And in THAT Civil War, PA and OH were on OUR side.

I think a better way to go is probably to do exactly what NY is doing: resist the anti-Constitutional parts of HAVA and comply minimally with the rest of it, while educating everyone else about the reasons for this decision. (Of course the press will just continue to blame our lack of compliance on "partisan wrangling" in the state's capital and that sort of thing -- but what do they know?)
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 01:58 AM
Response to Reply #25
29. Audits very critical, can't afford Holt audits discrediting all audits
Edited on Thu Apr-06-06 02:02 AM by Land Shark
nor can we afford to have the feds pre-empt other audits through Holt saying there's an official audit, it might be held to preclude others. This may not be the correct result, but some elections officials will be much more than happy to argue it and make you go to court to get a different result
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 01:36 AM
Response to Original message
28. I am amending my "Resources for American Revolution II" as follows:
(Note: **)

----------

SOME RESOURCES FOR AMERICAN REVOLUTION II:

Hopeful signs - latest news:

California voters sue the state over Diebold:
www.VoterAction.org--just announced--is suing the state of California and 18 Calif county registrars on behalf of 25 California voter/plaintiffs, on the illegal Diebold "certification" by Schwarzenegger appointee Bruce McPherson.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Maryland rejects Diebold:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Florida - anti-trust accusations against Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia, re: heroic Florida election official Ion Sancho:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
http://www.tbo.com/news/politics/MGBKSY8W8LE.html

Utah county clerk fights back!
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

-----

More resources for American Revolution II:

www.votersunite.org (MythBreakers - easy primer on electronic voting--one of the myths is that HAVA requires electronic voting; it does not.)
www.verfiedvoting.org (great activist site)
www.votetrustusa.org (news of this great movement from around the country)
www.UScountvotes.org (statistical monitoring of '06 and '08 elections)
www.solarbus.org/election/index.shtml (fab compendium of all election info)
www.freepress.org (devoted to election reform)
www.bradblog.com (also great, and devoted to election reform)
www.TruthIsAll.net (analysis of the 2004 election)* :patriot: :applause: :patriot:
www.votepa.us (well-organized local group of citizen activists in Pennsylvania, where important legal issues are at stake, including state's rights over election systems)

The Voter Confidence Resolution
http://tinyurl.com/rlnr2 (We Do Not Consent)
http://guvwurld.blogspot.com (GuvWurld blog main page)
http://tinyurl.com/amryg (Voter Confidence Resolution

www.debrabowen.com (Calif Senator running for Sec of State to reform election system)
www.johnbonifaz.com (running for Massachusetts Sec of State on strong election reform and antiwar platform)

*Some tributes to TruthIsAll, who is very ill:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

**Congressional bills:

**Russ Holt's HR 550 requires a paper ballot, bans secret software in "voting machines", and has 169 sponsors, but the audit required is too weak, it promotes centralized power over elections, it promotes electronic voting, and the secret software might be permitted to continue in the central tabulators (the bill is not clear). To sign the HR 550 petition: http://www.rushholt.com/petition.html
**Discussion of the dangers in HR 550 or any bill by the current Congress:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
(Note: Senate Bill-SB 330 and House-HR704 simply require a "voter verified paper audit trail" (VVPAT), which may be best for the moment.)

Also of interest:

Bob Koehler (-- four recent election reform initiatives in Ohio, predicted to win by 60/40 votes, flipped over, on election day, into 60/40 LOSSES!--the biggest flipover we've seen yet; the election theft machines and their masters are now dictating election policy!)
www.tmsfeatures.com/tmsfeatures/subcategory.jsp?file=20...

Bob Koehler's latest: "Take this box and stuff it" (3/16/06)
http://commonwonders.com/archives/col337.htm

Amaryllis (Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia lavish lobbying of election officials - Beverly Hilton, Aug. '05)
www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=vi...

------------------------------------------------

Throw Diebold, ES&S and ALL election theft machines into 'Boston Harbor' NOW!

:think: :patriot: :woohoo: :patriot: :think:

-----------

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it." --Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 02:00 AM
Response to Original message
30. And here's more:
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 02:42 AM
Response to Original message
33. Let's apply the Holt "audit" provision to some place like Iowa
Edited on Thu Apr-06-06 02:44 AM by Land Shark
thanks to an Iowa activist for this one:

There are 2000 precincts in Iowa.

2% of 2000 is 40 precincts.

But, there are 99 counties in Iowa.

Holt requires at least one precinct per county.

Therefore, there can be no more than one precinct per county done in Iowa, Max.

Therefore, the cities and populous counties essentially don't get audited. one precinct.

PLUS, IF YOU THINK FOR ONE COTTON PICKIN' MINUTE THAT THIS IS A RANDOM DISTRIBUTION THAT WILL GIVE US SCIENTIFICALLY OR STATISTICALLY VALID RESULTS YOU ARE DOING THE ACTION INDICATED BELOW, IN YOUR RUBBER ROOM, PARTNER.

:bounce:
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #33
48. This is why
We need People's Audit Committees in every precinct we can muster.

No law is gonna solve the matter, except one... the people must be allowed to audit the votes. The paper 'trails' are treated as some special scroll that only a few are allowed to examine. These are our votes, we have the right to see them, in the open. Our votes should no longer be treated as secret documents.

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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 03:22 AM
Response to Original message
34. Thank you. I'm tired of second class solutions to world class problems.
Recommended, of course.

I had an interesting set of intellectual encounters this week.

1) I corresponded with GuvWurld regarding some log rolling for his online book, a well deserved endorsement from Michael Collins. I always enjoy the simplicity of his basic logic: if the elected cannot prove that they were elected then they're not legitimate; we do not consent!

2) I did some serious thinking myself about the end to which I saw my efforts on election fraud (we're so far from election integrity I can bear using the words too often). It occurred to me that the recent issues related to climate change (20' rise in sea level by 2100, no doubts...bye bye London, NYC, Miami, NOLA, etc.) While democracy and mutual respect of all citizens is an end in and of itself, the larger issue is that the fools who govern (who have not commented on this, no industrial leader has) are destroying the earth literally. I'm sick of being lead by fools. I want them out now.

The end product of this work should and must be preservation of society and the planet.

3) I just read David Swanson's email posted by Paineinthearse http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
Swanson says it's time for the left to stop intramural sniping and unite on a campaign of civil disobedience. Things are just that bad.

I enjoyed this post because it adds to my knowledge based. It also confirms why I've lost ALL PATIENCE with the approach of our "leaders" and legislators.

"Is this as good as it gets?"

I'm afraid so and it's really not very good. It's worthy of support. I support and work for candidates who are not in my spectrum of beliefs because the alternatives are not just awful, they're criminal. But I maintain a base of reality. There are no leaders with real solutions. Just a bunch of gibberish piled on more gibberish. "Oh, you don't like a public flogging? How about my alternative, consensual DBSM."

This nonsense won't fly anymore. It's gone, finished.

Why won't one Democrat stand up and say, "It's all a house of cards. The last two Presidential elections were STOLEN. Wake up America, we're now a tyranny."

I'll tell you why, they lack the guts to give up their place in the pantheon of panderers to a system that no longer works.

Enough of the nonsense, "The Emperor has no clothes."
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. thanks for your thoughts auto, always on point
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. DBSM?
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
37. LS, what about your argument that SECRET VOTE COUNTING is illegal
and unconstitutional, on its face? Why the hell are we talking about how to make an illegal system appear secure?
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #37
40. that's a good point, but we need to weigh in on what constitutes PROOF
on the statistical level of accuracy otherwise the floor will fall out from under it and bullshit will parade as truth, making our job 20 times harder.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #37
49. Can you guess which one is Diebold and which one is Holt 550?

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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #49
55. Great image, Kster! Lemme see....after careful deliberation I think I have
figured it out!
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. Yep, the Coyote " Holt bill" is trying to get the Road runner "Diebold"
and it will be the same outcome as in these cartoons come election day, but it won't be as amusing. The Holt bill does nothing for the REAL problem with e-voting except it gives us PERMISSION to count 2 or 5% of the ballots by hand, when we should be able to count all the ballots by hand if we so choose.

The Holt bill gives them cover so that we can only count 2 or 5% of the ballots on election day, because they know that they can't use their proprietary bullshit when it comes to us looking at the ballots. So, they are giving themselves cover now, when it comes to the ballots.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #56
57. I thought Diebold was coyote and Holt was roadrunner! Roadrunner is
oblivious to the danger, is how i read it but I forgot that the Roadrunner always escapes the clutches of coyote.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #49
58. Acme is Diebold, Road Runner is the Election and the Coyote is...
...Wyle E. Labs!
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #58
60. Meep Meep!! That's a good one.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #58
61. I like that one, wouldn't that make our Goverment be like



after all they are putting on the show.
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 02:39 AM
Response to Reply #61
62. funny thing is, once you realize the odds of this 2% audit catching
the statewide results are very low, the chances of catching a fraudulent CONGRESSIONAL election are much lower even than that.

Bipartisan support for this kind of "reform" I tell you.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 03:23 AM
Response to Reply #62
63. Right now there are states that
will let us count 100% of the VVPB and or the toilet paper trails, with Holt them same states would only be required to let us count 2% of the ballots. So they are trying to keep us away from 98% of the ballots throughout the entire country with the stroke of a pen.

If this is what this bill does it isn't better than what we have now, it actually takes away from what we have now. Please correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm not sure about this, its just the way I see it.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 03:55 AM
Response to Reply #63
64. No this is an exaggeration. I'm sure it says "at least 2%."
Edited on Sat Apr-08-06 03:56 AM by Bill Bored
Here are the odds of finding the first of X% corrupted
machines with a 2% audit in a 1000-machine jurisdiction:

Corrupt    Odds of finding 1st
Machines   corrupt machine
40.00%	   100%
35.00%	   99.98%
30.00%	   99.93%
25.00%	   99.70%
20.00%	   98.90%
15.00%	   96.25%
10.00%	   88.10%
5.00%	   64.51%
4.00%	   56.15%
3.00%	   45.94%
1.00%	   18.37%

As the number of machines increases, the odds get better, so
in a state which has several thousand machines, the odds are
better than this.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 04:30 AM
Response to Reply #64
65. Atleast 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and or 10%
the bill still keeps us from counting 90% of the Ballots, NO?
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 06:47 AM
Response to Reply #65
66. doesn't matter what the bill ULTIMATELY means, you can bet your life
that it will be used as an excuse by elections officials to deny access to the paper records.

WOuld be such a simple thing for the Holt bill to have said that after the EAC audits are finished and the election certified, if the (usually ten day) statute of limitations has expired on an election contest, then any person may request under the local public disclosure or freedom of information act request that the copies of the paper records be produced....

as it stands, holt says the paper records will be preserved "in the same manner" as paper ballots for that jurisdiction, which is to say, in a locked chain of custody & a "public can't see it" way.
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 06:51 AM
Response to Reply #64
67. it's true that it does say 'at least 2%' but since when do people go above
and beyond the call of duty? Rarely. Here's the bill's language. I've also marked with asterisks how the bill first says the audits are unannounced, then it announces them, just like it says they are random, then in another section not shown here, by requiring a minimum of 1 precinct per county, it is clearly not random at all. I really am puzzled by the internal contradictions:

---------------------
SEC. 5. REQUIREMENT FOR MANDATORY MANUAL AUDITS BY HAND COUNT.

(a) Mandatory Audits in Random Precincts-

(1) IN GENERAL- The Election Assistance Commission shall conduct random, ******unannounced*******, hand counts of the voter-verified records required to be produced and preserved pursuant to section 301(a)(2) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (as amended by section 2) for each general election for Federal office (and, at the option of the State or jurisdiction involved, of elections for State and local office held at the same time as such an election for Federal office) in *****at least 2 percent***** of the precincts (or equivalent locations) in each State.

(2) PROCESS FOR CONDUCTING AUDITS- The Commission shall conduct an audit under this section of the results of an election in accordance with the following procedures:

(A) Not later than 24 hours after a State announces the final vote count in each precinct in the State, the Commission shall determine and then ********announce********* the precincts in the State in which it will conduct the audits.

(B) With respect to votes cast at the precinct or equivalent location on or before the date of the election (other than provisional ballots described in subparagraph (C)), the Commission shall count by hand the voter-verified records required to be produced and preserved under section 301(a)(2)(A) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (as amended by section 2) and compare those records with the count of such votes as announced by the State.
------------------------------
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 03:43 AM
Response to Reply #67
75. One interpretation is that if the one-in-each-county requirement
Edited on Sun Apr-09-06 03:48 AM by Bill Bored
isn't met by the random 2%, then the 2% is increased randomly until at least one precinct in each county has been selected.

In fact...one could calculate the odds that in a state with X counties and Y precincts, there would have to be more than 2% of precincts to get one in each county.

It could be the audit that's actually conducted will always be larger than 2%. This could be a clever way of achieving a larger audit without coming out and saying it in the bill. Just a hypothesis of course. You'd have to run the numbers. Probably another hypergeometric distribution!
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Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 06:18 AM
Response to Reply #64
76. not 100%
you won't get 100% until the audit percentage is greater than the percentage of uncorrupted machines. Of course the odds of not finding a single corrupt machine with a 2% audit if there are 40% corrupt machines is very low, but it is not zero. And we are talking about thousands of jurisdictions.

I'm not knocking audits, just cautioning against thinking that some magic number will given you 100% confidence. It might be better to interpret your table as telling you how confident you can be that the percentage of corrupt machines is less than a given percentage. For example, if your table is right, you can probably interpret it to say tell you what level of confidence you can have that a given percentage of machines are uncorrupted if your 2% audit comes up clean. So, with a 2% audit, if you are happy with p<.05 (95% chance of being right), you can say that if your audit is clean, you can be statistically "confident" that no more than 15% of machines are corrupt. If you go down to p<.01 (99% chance of being right), you can merely say that you are confident that not more than 25% of your machines are uncorrupted. With many thousands of jurisdictions, I'd want my confidence to be at least 99% (1% chance of being wrong) that no more than, say 5% of machines were corrupted. That last percentage would, I suppose, depend on vote winning margin.

Looking at it a different way, if finding at least one corrupted machine triggers a full audit, then at least the 2% audit system will caution anyone trying to steal an election keep the percentage of corrupt precincts low. And also to do their best to make sure that the audit isn't random.

But I don't think 2% random audits are a panacea. I'd like someone to convince me.
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 06:51 AM
Response to Reply #76
77. Because of the nature of DREs allowing for multiple ballots to be
served by a single DRE, the most common arrangement of DREs is likely to be one DRE serving multiple precincts, at least that's how it was in my county before we got rid of DREs. This is the fundamental reason why early voting tends to favor (though not control) DREs, because a couple machines can have within them all of a county's ballot forms.

So, auditing a single precinct will not be able to audit even a single machine, if the DRE's capabilities are being used in terms of serving multiple precincts.

Thus, when it is said that this audit feature was vetted with computer scientists" it may be that there was not sufficient consideration of this feature of DREs, because no single DRE will be audited or checked if the jurisdiction decides to use the multiple-ballot features of DREs.
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 12:42 AM
Response to Reply #76
80. as far as the effect of "cautioning" folks to keep their fraud limited
Edited on Tue Apr-11-06 12:44 AM by Land Shark
in scope, it would appear that it almost always is limited in scope (the individuals involved only control a limited number of machines in the typical scenario). Therefore, it probably doesn't "caution" most election cheaters at all.

If truly widespread, then "vote shaving" is the norm. Depending on the amount of the shave one will know if it's a close, comfortable shave or one that is too close for comfort.

In either case above, concentrated and larger, or widespread shaving, the audits are much less likely to detect it.

In fact, knowing the general type of audit method to be performed helps LandShark's evil twin (enormously) to determine what methods to select, and how much to shave for an optimal "cut".

I know Febble could calculate what the "allowable" amount of shaving would be if done on a source code basis (eaffecting every machine) as well as the amount if done in a single urban county in the state (like Cook County Illinois or Polk County, Iowa). We can't imagine that votes would be stolen only in Chicago, could we? Or a single big city in Iowa? ; )

Also, don't forget the auditing contractor is trying to make a profit, so the incentive will be to take shortcuts. Another result might apply if a person whose salary or income was secure was doing the audit and had an incentive to find things.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
39. One of our county election clerks said "Be very careful what you ask for."
She was talking about HAVA and what can happen when well-meaning people get legislation passed without fully understanding the ramifications. She said that often citizen activists and legislators don't talk to the ones in the trenches (election officials) when they lobby for changes and they have no idea what impact the changes may have.

I don't know a single (and I am talking about the honest ones) election official who doens't view HAVA as a giant headache (while they may be in agreement with making voting more accessible to people with disabilities).
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. Another good point, I call that "turning the kaleidoscope" above
and the law of unintended consequences.

Here is particular counties have historically tended to resent state audits.

Now imagine (even though that resentment is inappropriate) how resentful they will naturally be when they are asked to cooperate in USELESS AUDITS THAT LEAD NOWHERE.

Giving audits a bad name, a serious risk here.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. think you have a typo in second sentence in above post, can you
correct so I know what you mean becasue you make an excellent point here.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
45. I certainly agree with your point about the audits
It's really not even a question that requires a statistician, but just common sense.

You can't tell ahead of time what is the likelihood that a 2% audit is going to catch the problem (if there is one) because you don't know what the margin of victory is, and you don't know how the cheating is distributed. If the margin of victory is small, your audit may correspond directly to the cheating, but since the cheating may be small, it may still be within the "margin of error".

But that's not the biggest problem. If the cheating is massive but is concentrated in 3% of the precincts, for example, it is highly unlikely that a 2% audit of precincts, or even a 10% audit of precincts will catch it.

And I most certainly agree that we NEED to be thinking about inside jobs, not outside jobs. I don't think that the 2004 election was an outside job.
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Joe for Clark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
46. Paul this is great -
Nice work.

And by the way, of course he is right.

Joe
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
47. kick + rec'd, nt
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-06-06 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
50. Can we take OHIO as an example?
They have VVPATs now. What auditing if any do they do?

Not to mention the fact that they had paper in most of the counties in 2004 too. There were of course issues with the punch cards not having machine readable precinct codes and so on. But they did have paper and they did NOT conduct proper random audits.

So what are they supposed to do with their VVPATs?
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rumpel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 02:29 AM
Response to Original message
51. I think we have to write our respective congressmen/women to talk
to Holt, in addition to writing him.

uscountvotes just send me an e-mail on HR 550
"HR 550 has already earned the bipartisan support of more than 165 Congressional cosponsors."

Thank you for pointing out these issues Land Shark. Do you think the changes can be done by ammendments?


I am so swamped right now with other urgent personal matters...damn I wish I had more time. :banghead:
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Imagevision Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 02:40 AM
Response to Original message
52. Imagine another Bush-styled election in November - which is likely
repugs more then ever would resort to election fraud especially as Bush's credibility goes down the toilet!
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 12:29 AM
Response to Reply #52
79. -
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #79
81. er, could you repeat that, again? : ) eom
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WeHoldTheseTruths Donating Member (143 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 06:11 AM
Response to Original message
53. I was minutes away from
finishing drafting a post for DailyKos urging people to call congress critters in support of the April 6-7 push for HR 550. (I'd just gotten an email from VoteTrustUSA.org, It's on their web page, basically.)

Then I ran across this excellent article. Damn... thinking is hard work. I'm very grateful that there are so many of you who are not allergic to either thinking or hard work.

Thank you, Mr Lehto. Makes sense to me.
:dunce:
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #53
59. I'm at the votetrustusa conference right now, and it's being discussed
There's no agenda per se, in fact 9 cosponsors got added today to make a current total of 177 as of Friday night. Good hard work is going into this by good people, the question is whether the bill will deliver on all of our hopes, which it won't, IMHO.
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
68. A Bev Harris Bot appears
-8-06: Why the Rush Holt bill (H.B. 550) is dangerous
There is a major push right now to pass H.B. 550, a bill put forth by Rep. Rush Holt to mandate a paper trail (along with a flimsy audit that no accountant would agree is adequate).

Election reform groups are split on whether they support H.B. 550. Black Box Voting normally does not weigh in on legislation, this time we will. Citizens need to be informed of the dangers as well as the benefits when being urged to support legislation.

Like an antibiotic that's too weak, we belive that H.B. 550 will create a more resistant strain of election infection.

Like a placebo, people may think the election system is getting well when in fact, the medicine is only a sugar pill that makes everyone think it's better. For a minute.

Paul Lehto, an attorney who is a leader in the election reform... More


A BEV BOT is REVEALED!
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-14-06 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #68
84. Damn I'm getting confused.
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
69. You're right, who needs voter verified paper ballots
Way to go, the republicans thank you much!

Keep up the good work, we didn't want to be able to verify the
ballots in those 23 other states.

Excellent work, of course I trust someone who identifies himself
as Landshark, far more than I do Dr. David L Dill or Congressman
Rush Holt, a physist.

Thank the heavens above that you can do all this figuring out of
the hard stuff, so I don't have to think.

You should be the next pretzeldent.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 08:25 PM
Response to Original message
70. kick.nt
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #70
71. How do you audit paperless voting?
How do you perform these amazing audits with paperless voting in the 23
states that folks seem to want to abandon?

Do people really prefer to see paperless voting in Florida, Virginia, Georgia,
etc for the next few years?

How do you think these states are going to get audits without paper?

How many of you have top notch audits in your state now?

How do you plan for folks to get audits without paper.

I think I will go with the computer scientists, and Verified Voting Foundation
on this one.

HR 550 was written by voting integrity advocates, not voting machine
salesman.
Verified Voting has posted their tax returns, and it is clear they aren't in this for the
money. (See www.guidestar.org if you want to check. While you are over there, look up
some of the other "election reform" non profits for their tax returns)
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 12:51 AM
Response to Reply #71
74. Better question, Why did my Government allow paperless voting
in the first place? A child would know better, And now that they have been caught in this criminal activity, What do they plan to do about it? Holt 550 isn't going to cut it.
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Steve A Play Donating Member (638 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 08:44 PM
Response to Original message
72. Thanks Paul!
It's funny how quickly people forget just who it is that will be in charge of conducting the 2% manual "audits" and how they've been conducted in the past.

Paper Ballots, Hand Counted.

When it comes to machines, ELECTION RESULTS = LIES, LETS RECOUNT :)
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Land Shark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #72
73. yeah, we just heard from Mr. Martinez of the EAC today at the DC conf'ence
It seems that WillYourVoteBCounted wishes she was in DC to join us at the conference but could not make it, and thinks there's some kind of war on, when in fact everyone's getting along just fine despite disagreements over proper strategy re Holt. that being said, no statistician that I'm aware of has approved of the non-randomness of taking one precinct per county no matter what.
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kster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
78. KICK.NT
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
82. The GOP, Diebold & Pres Jeb Bush are greatful to you
The GOP and Diebold are truly in your debt, landshark - for preserving
their proprietary right to have the only records of anyone's votes.

Your work is a monument to your dedication to maintaining the status quo.

President Jeb Bush has a cabinet position for you, in 2008.
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-11-06 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
83. your opposition completely deluded
Dr. Mercuri summed it up best in her note to Bev:

"Your opposition statement to Rush Holt' bill is completely deluded.
I'm fairly convinced that you've never read his bill, based on the
numerous erroneous remarks that you made. You really need to spend
some time with it."
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