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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 03:21 PM
Original message
Indy Star: ES&S blasted for multiple mistakes, "don't care" attitude
Edited on Fri Apr-07-06 03:24 PM by Amaryllis
April 7, 2006

Counties dealing with ballot problems

By Vic Ryckaert
vic.ryckaert@indystar.com

"Marion County Clerk Doris Anne Sadler blasted a voting machine company this morning saying it supplied error-filled ballots for next month's primary election."

<snip>

(Article goes on to detail one major,serious problem after another)
-did not deliver absentee ballots in time and failed to program touch screen voting machines.
-did not print instructions on ballots
-Johnson County received its absentee ballots on Thursday, two weeks after the ballots were supposed to have been mailed to voters who submitted absentee applications
-failed to program Johnson County's touch screen voting machines.

This is the really disturbing part: "Sadler said she couldn't fire ES&S because there aren't many other options. Few voting machine companies are certified by the federal government, and Sadler said the others have similar problems."

And:
"I guess what bothered us the most is that it's like it's no big deal that they missed a statutory deadline," Jackson said of ES&S. "They're a big company and it's like they don't care, that they'll get (the ballots) to us when they get them done, and that's not acceptable. I'm extremely disappointed in the vendor."

These companies are peddling GARBAGE and election officials have no choice but to deal with them the way things stand! What if all election officials who are dissatisfied with vendors got together and did something en masse...The situation is getting ludicrous. How bad does it have to get before something is done?

"Two weeks ago, ES&S delivered its first batch of ballots for this election and Sadler said they were rife with mistakes. County officials found new errors in the replacement ballots and sent those back too. They received the latest batch late last week, Sadler said, and spent the weekend proofreading."

"They don't proof anything before they send it to us," Sadler said. "I would love to fire them. I've had three years of serious issues with this company."

"In Marion County, problems first surfaced in 2003 when ES&S provided software that was not fully certified by the Indiana Election Commission. The company compounded the problem by loading uncertified software on the touch-screen machines. It replaced the uncertified software with files that were incompatible with the programs that count the votes."

More: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/2006...

Star reporter Jason Thomas contributed to this story.
Call Star reporter Vic Ryckaert at (317) 444-2761.

Copyright 2006 IndyStar.com. All rights reserved
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louis-t Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. Instructions? Who needs instructions?
Votes won't be counted anyway. Least not the D ones.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. This is part of a very troubling pattern...outright failures.
25-33% of new registrations failing in California with 43% or so in the Los Angeles area!!!

Indiana's centralized voter registration database handled by a company that has to "out source" to a Texas firm owned by a Republican investor.

Florida (just the name says it all) tolerating vendors conspiring against Ion Sancho simply because he ran a security test that all others should have run.

Now this...in a nonpartisan race.

When I read it I was thinking about how election software/hardware vendors are really third stringers in the high tech world. But ESS was purchased not long ago by SAIC, a major "knowledge" and consulting form in the DC area know for very bright professionals. Maybe they've got their third stung on this but its unacceptable.

I see election 2006 as a crack up that we cannot avoid, even if the vendors wanted to, even if the Republicans wanted to! Things are way to screwed up now to turn around by election time. If the screw ups result in a Republican Congress, all Hell will break lose.

Recommended.
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Votergater Donating Member (91 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 08:11 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. ES&S bought by SIAC ?
Do you have a source for this as I haven't heard this before? Thanks.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. Oops, my error. Must be a prei-cognitive memory. Welcome to DU!!!
I'll have to check my new Sequoia memory pack ;)
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. what does "all hell will break loose" mean?
**this message is written to all, not to you personally, autorank

Do we really need to set some off in the distance line in the sand and say "ooh, when just one more election is not right, ooh, then there's really going to be trouble." Aren't we long past that? Peaceful Revolution is necessary, NOW!

If you don't want to have that conversation, as so many don't, then let's at least discuss what "all hell will break loose" means. What do you see happening then, exactly, that will be a positive conscious choice made by We The People. Whatever it is, it has to be well planned. Let's start here, NOW!

Last night I attended a meeting of the Humboldt County Election Advisory Committee, a citizen group open to all, convened by our registrar and elections manager. I have previously called for them both to resign and this has been news here. None of us has any idea what to expect when we're in a room together. In a very civil dialog, I had an amazing opportunity to say (paraphrasing):
If you want to promote voter confidence, and if you want to really show the community that you are hearing our concerns, you need a different attitude about our election conditions. You need to stop trying to explain why its really all ok, that you have it under control, and we should just go along. You need to come out with a strong acknowledgment of all that is common knowledge and you need to declare that your criteria for judging election conditions will now be whether they offer a basis for confidence. Until you stop telling people they should believe, and start showing us why we should believe, you are going to be struggling to gain voter confidence.
That felt awesome! I saw the registrar making notes and she didn't respond. The squirrelly elections manager was a little defensive and questioned what metrics should be used to decide if something is transparent enough. I didn't really say anything more. Another citizen then mostly backed me up, talking about security in banks which of course assume embezzlement threats from outside as well as within. The meeting continued along with the flow and there was no big deal that I had just dumped this out there. I promise you, it will come up again. Today's news just makes me more on point.

We Do Not Consent.

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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Guv, I don't think it's fair to say people don't want to have that
Edited on Fri Apr-07-06 08:32 PM by Amaryllis
conversation - we have discussed this several times. People (including you) don't know what to do to prevent another fiasco in 2006 elections! We are all doing whatever we know to do, and I like it that you are bringing up the question and asking people to think about what to do so we aren't just putting more not elected people in office, but it's not that people don't want to have the conversation; it's that they don't have answers.

BTW, love your approach at the meeting!
"You need to stop trying to explain why its really all ok, that you have it under control, and we should just go along. You need to come out with a strong acknowledgment of all that is common knowledge and you need to declare that your criteria for judging election conditions will now be whether they offer a basis for confidence. Until you stop telling people they should believe, and start showing us why we should believe, you are going to be struggling to gain voter confidence."

this is what we all need to be doing!
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Is there interest in doing a conference call about what to do?
Recently emlev suggested that I set up a free conference call. I haven't had time to organize it but I'm intrigued at the possibility of getting to interact with people in a new way. The original suggestion was to do a training session around how to develop the Voter Confidence Resolution in your community. There would certainly be value in that.

I am just as interested in discussing how we prevent unelected people from being bestowed with the power and authority of an office they didn't win. Notice carefully how I constructed that sentence. We have to start thinking about the transfer of power. At the most fundamental level, this is what elections are supposed to determine. Yet nowadays such power transfer is controlled through less formal and transparent means. How do we influence that? This is what we are discussing at all times, even when we don't frame it this way. I believe that we will make significantly more progress when we use this frame more openly.

So who wants to participate in a conference call? Is anybody willing to help organize it?
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. Guv try being civil. Don't take it, whatever it is, out on me. n/t
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Puh-leeze, I'm not taking anything out on anyone
And I don't think I'm being uncivil either. I'm struggling to get a particular conversation going, even though I keep seeing what I think are windows of opportunity. The only thing Amaryllis singled out was my noting that I've been struggling at this. autorank, I don't even know what I said that made you bristle, especially since I prefaced my post saying I was speaking to all. Look, whatever it is, no hard feelings. We do much to support each other here and I don't see that changing unless we're talking about a new degree of success at online organizing. Will anyone share this goal with me?
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 02:08 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. "I was speaking to all" ... I'm included.. so you were talking to me;)
Edited on Sat Apr-08-06 02:18 AM by autorank
"You talkin to me!"

Look,I posted something on the inevitability of a train wreck or three in this election. I read a lot of news on election fraud. I see a lot of really nasty things happening, things that may be very difficult to undo. You talk about keep in it local and now you're concerned about the issue national activism. That's great.

There have been corrupt elections from from the start in this country. The level of fraud varries over time. Both parties have participated. The Whigs bashed immigrants to stop them from voting then Boss Tweed, a man of rare orgnaizaional genius, made his mark. Now it's the Republicans and the "machine people."

First, we need to help unleash the big dog, Dean. He knows about election fraud, he was probably subject to some of that somewhere along the line, and he's a great spokesman. Whoever can get to him should and he needs to be motivated to mouth off. Nobody does it better. He now has a sympathetic audience...the American people who wishes he were President or that his views prevailed in some form. A national figure, comnanding, who says: "We know we'll have the votes to win. They had better be counted right and voters had better be able to vote or there will be Hell to pay. If you think people are angry now, try screwing up another election." Somebody figure out how to make that happen and we're about 80% there.

Second, we need to give people tools that they can use to make a difference in their localities. I have a position paper that needs one last section that would be a good way to get people on board. I'm posting tomorrow asking for practical things locals can do before, during and after the election.

Three through n, I'm all ears.

Given the very real possiblity that we're looking at at least some disasters in 11/06, we also need a post election strategy. That's where realism comes in. If you have strong reason to predict an event, you need to prepare a strategy to deal with that outcome.

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FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
3. These screw balls cant get it right. NJ has a primary in IIRC may
Edited on Fri Apr-07-06 07:38 PM by FogerRox
I cant wait to what goes down........



ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh shit

Knr
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Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
4. Thanks Amaryllis! I'm hunting ammo to take
to an ES&S demo on the 20th in NW Pa. I don't think their reps will like me much. :evilgrin:
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FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. give HELL vickiss, give 'em some hell for me
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Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. I figure if I can get the sweet older ladies
that always work the polls completely pissed off about the machines I will have done my job! Nobody wants to mess with angry elderly women! :evilgrin:

This is the battle for America Foger. 2006 is the last best chance we have to set things right through the vote, imo. If they steal it again I am hanging it up and will not vote again until we have a safe voting system in place.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. have you been reading Brad on the ES&S memory card messups?
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Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Yes, good stuff! Have been bookmarking like mad! n/t
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. And this:
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Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. Thanks so much for all the help Amaryllis. I hope I choose the
right info for the most impact. There is sooo much!
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Bushfire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
11. This is not new. They knew of these problems in 2004. Link...
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nicknameless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
16. Companies like ES&S are so connected with the cabal. They know they don't
have to obey laws, provide adequate service, or do anything else in good faith.

En Masse -- voting on paper ballots and hand counting at the precincts. :thumbsup:
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-07-06 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
20. K + R
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 01:13 AM
Response to Original message
21. "all Hell will break loose" --GuvWurld asks a good strategic question.
This is a very useful question to think hard about: If there are major breakdowns and screwups, and lots of suspicious results, and especially if the Dems don't do very well (with Bush at 30-40% all year, and scandal after scandal after scandal): What may happen of itself--candidates filing lawsuits, anger, protests, what are the possibilities? What do we want to have happen? What can we make happen? And--backup in time to now--what can we do now to create the best outcomes, under the circumstances--the greater good?

The premise is looking like it's inevitable--major breakdowns, screwups, suspicious results and Dems losing. Our primary goal when this all happens, it seems to me, should be to aim all the energy of what we might term "yet another Bush regime disaster" at ELECTION REFORM. So monitoring results, getting evidence, analysis and getting the word out, in order to motivate reform, will be very important. We should push www.UScountvotes.org, which actually has a plan for gathering info and analyzing it quickly. WE should have a plan for getting their conclusions around the internet quickly. They need DONATIONS. We should start maybe a regularly repeated thread here, pushing for donations. I know Ron Baiman is about to tangle to Edison-Mitofsky and Febble, and they need money to send him there.

There may be other such monitoring plans we can plug into.

I'll start the ball rolling here by checking around at the recommended voters' sites, and see what's up as to monitoring plans. I'll report back to the Election Forum in about a week.

One pre-election activity for now (current time--pre-planning) would be a campaign to put massive pressure on the Dem Party to fund independent exit polls. These are critically needed. E/M cannot be trusted. A concerted effort, here at DU, asking all forums to help--to get the Dems committed. Need to survey candidates on what's happening locally on exit polls. Need to talk to DNC maybe. Anybody with contacts there?

There are other things to deal with--peoples' demoralization, feelings of disempowerment (and disempowerment itself), defeatism, despair. I've always thought that THE TRUTH is the antidote to all these. People NEED to know the truth--they need to know WHY what seems to be the majority view keeps losing. WE KNOW THE REASON WHY. Many don't. How do we get the word out at the height of the crisis, to the max number of people?

And what do we do about the Dem Party in this respect? Their concerns are MONEY, and, secondarily (alas) votes. I imagine SOME of their mind-boggling avoidance of this matter--a fraudulent election SYSTEM--has to do with not wanting to dampen donations or reduce voter turnout (due to feelings of hopelessness).

This really needs to be countered. I like my bumper sticker: "Help us beat the machines--VOTE!" This should be a campaign in itself. This bumper sticker educates, acknowledges there is a problem, addresses the problem, and provides the info that the machines CAN possibly be beaten by big turnout. But the voters need to know what they are doing--know the facts, be realistic in expectations, and help identify problems (and hopefully get active). We engage them in BEATING THE ODDS. Make it game--and convey the message that, as it is, cannot be treated as honest, as having integrity. It does not. But we might beat it anyway.

A lot of energy among campaign workers and candidates will be going to specific elections, and what went wrong there--and dealing with specific situations, with even campaign workers and candidates having uneven levels of knowledge of what they're dealing with. It would be good to choose ONE internet site to direct people's attention to, when "all hell breaks loose" (election system meltdown). www.votersunite.org might be good ("MythBreakers"--their pamphlet on electronic voting). A site with specific info about each state's systems would be good.

"All hell breaking loose" could be citizen revolt--large protests, small scattered protests, anger, lawsuits, refusal to accept the results--and it could also mean just "election system meltdown" itself--"all hell" being, in this riff, massively UNVERIFIABLE results, many computer breakdowns, long lines, gross disenfranchisement.

If there is revolt, we want it to be knowledgeable and focused. If there is just quiet despair, we want to stir something up, get people energized.

One form of protest might be: ABSENTEE BALLOTS. L.A. county and Calif., for instance, have had a big surge in AB requests. I'm sure it is a form of protest against the machines. It will likely grow bigger and bigger, and could become a "thing"--a focus for investigation, news stories, evidence for what the people want, usable in anti-machine campaigns. Even corrupt registrars will have to take notice (and are taking notice) of what is a big threat to their $$$ and professional investment in electronics. And it IS a PAPER BALLOT, after all. A countable thing. (--even if counts are then computerized). It shouldn't be sold as a solution (or not a full one) but rather as a PROTEST.

The states/county are very uneven in their rules for AB's and for paper ballot options. I don't have facts on the overall picture, but have the general impression that some form of AB is possible in most places, but in some places is very restricted. Calif has a paper ballot option (at the polls--thank you, Kevin Shelley!), but bad registrars have been known to withhold or make it difficult, or substitute "provisional" ballots, even though the voter is duly registered and is present. Need some research on this.

Well, my typing fingers are getting tired. And my mind. So I'll break off. Stuff to think about, for getting a plan together, and then deciding what we can do, what we can farm out, or what others are already doing that we can help with.

:think: :bounce: :think:
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emlev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
23. Yeah, let's do a conference call!
Just to clarify, the conferencing part is free but the call costs each participant their regular long distance charges. (More about a call at the end of my ramble)

I do think it makes absolute sense to have a post-election strategy. Yes, to find out how to coordinate with the U.S.CountVotes post-election plan, setting up communication to get word out to people quickly, and also a plan of what people will do when they get that word. I also think we need to get to as many candidates as possible--not just Dems but also "third" parties--and talk to them about not conceding, though I'm not sure if that really has legal impact. (When I think about the impact of Kerry's concession on people's sense of hopelessness, I'm not sure how much the legal impact matters, though.)

I do think it's dangerous to believe all hell will break loose after the 2006 elections, as that's what lots of people thought in 2004 and hell stayed too tight! We need a plan to help break it loose. And we need to be thoughtful, as Peace Patriot discussed, to get the word out in ways that still urge people to vote. As someone (Jonathan Simon?) has said, if we hugely increase the number of votes that need to be stolen to flip elections, the "flippers" will have to take much more drastic measures and those will be easier to catch. But, of course, it's not just about gathering evidence but about getting anyone to actually heed the evidence. There's plenty of evidence of theft of recent past elections, but what the hell is happening with that?

How about this: PM me if you are interested in being part of a conference call. Include times that are good for you and times that are impossible for you, as well as your time zone. Let's aim to do the call the week of April 17. When I have three to five responses, I'll work to identify a time. Then we can post an invitation on the forum. Anyone who has energy to put into making this happen--recruiting callers, developing however much agenda we want to have, facilitating the call, etc.--let me know. I'm up for doing some coordinating of this, and maybe even most of it if I feel your support strongly. (I know some of you don't know me because I haven't been active on DU for awhile. You can look in the archives if you need to to discover that most of March 1000+ posts are in this forum. GuvWurld, Amaryllis, GaryBeck, LandShark, ModMom--I think all will vouch for me.) If someone else wants to organize this, great. But if not, I'm willing.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-08-06 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. There are two different goals, which I tried to distinguish: 1) challeng-
ing elections and getting the right people (the elected ones) into office (in '06); and 2) getting rid of the machines and non-transparency.

You said there is lots of evidence of fraudulent election results (including 2004), but nothing could be done with it (to right the wrongs). True, nothing and nobody could have gotten the elected president into the White House in '04, but look what that injustice has spawned? A major educational and activist movement to get rid of these machines.

We can't get rid of them before '06. That's a fact. Power and corruption too entrenched. But conditions now are VASTLY DIFFERENT from '04. There are challenges to the machines all over the map--from activists AND election officials. Many positive developments, many news articles, several great books.

My point was that '06 will VERY LIKELY be a disaster in every way--from breakdowns of the voting systems to the wrong candidates being declared the winner. We have done everything we can to prevent this from happening, but power/corruption has been too entrenched to achieve transparency this year. SO...we have to think AHEAD. What should we be doing AFTER election day '06, and how do we PREP for that NOW? (i.e., we cannot fix the election system on election day--nor in the remaining time--so how do we further this movement, and get it fixed AFTERWARD, using what is very likely going to happen on that day?)

The times they are a-changin'--very, very fast, actually. Political conditions. Suspicion of the machines. The question is, how do we use what is surely going to be a disaster in '06 as merely a temporary setback, and as a steppiing stone, to the LONG TERM GOAL of election transparency?

The long term goal could be assisted by good people taking their rightful offices, but it is not essential to that goal, and, in fact, their NOT taking their rightful offices can be used to ultimately achieve transparency. THAT's what I mean. It's like in the civil rights movement--blacks may have been denied eating at a segregated food counter, and arrested, and heads bashed--a TEMPORARY setback--but the repression and drama of their challenge to segregation ultimately ENDED segregation.

I'm not suggesting civil disobedience (not yet anyway). It's just an example. The bad can lead to the good.

We have to figure out how to use the bad to create the good. And part of this, I think, is to advise campaign workers and candidates, and voters, that what they are seeing--if they lose unfairly, and contrary to expectations--is a TEMPORARY SETBACK--in the bigger job of saving our democracy, long term, over the next several years, by restoring transparent elections (step one).

On conference call, I'll get back to you (PM you in the next day or so). Got to go to work now.
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