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What my Secretary of State says about election transparency

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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 10:55 AM
Original message
What my Secretary of State says about election transparency
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 11:01 AM by garybeck
2 weeks ago as many of you know, Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz was on the radio to address concerns about the voting machines. I am working on posting the audio of the entire interview, along with the full transcript and an article about problems with some of the things she said.

In the meantime I have to share this one excerpt with my DU friends. It is so absurd, what she is saying about why our elections are transparent, I'm dumbfounded:

--

Caller: You mentioned something about the possibility of random audits of the machine tabulated ballots, just to check the accuracy of the ballots. Did I hear recently that we are going to be doing that in Vermont?

Markowitz: Yes we are, that's part of the, sort of, security procedures ... It may be helpful for me to describe the security with respect to our optical scan machines from the life cycle of the vote ... What happens is we have a machine ... but the machine itself is meaningless. It's the memory card that is what counts. And what happens is that the memory card gets configured by a company that's in, I can't remember if it's in Massachussettes or Connecticut ... but it's called LHS. And the way it works, the security begins at configuration, because that's the first place that there could be funny business. The card itself is empty, and there can't be code there that changes outcome, because you don't know how that card is going to be configured. .... There are six machines where these cards are configured. They are not networked, they are completely independent, they are not wired to the internet. They are in one room, so everybody configuring is with eachother ... so if you're manipulating computer code, other people could easily notice. In addition, the manager is right there as well, just kind of watching what's going on ... Every card is linked to a machine so you know who has configured every town. So remember the goal is transparency, and accountability. You've got transparency because it's all happening in an open room. You've got accountability because we know who configured each card. Then it goes right into ... the Federal Express package where it's sent and can only be accepted by signature by the town clerk.

---

Tell me... Am I losing my mind or is this completely absurd? Can someone tell me how the fact that the cards are coded in a room with 6 people on computers that are not networked makes it transparent? What the heck, does she think we're idiots? If it were transparent, I would assume that means that I (or anyone interested) could walk right into that room and watch them, right? Or better yet, we could put a video camera in the room? Or how about the source code and the memory cards, can we have a look at them? The truth is, once they drop that memory card into the fedex box, NO ONE has any idea what's on it. Not even her. This is ANYTHING BUT transparent. It is secret. I don't care how many people are in the room. AS long as it's a private company and the door is locked, it is being done in secret. Her description is of a secret operation not a transparent one. WHAT THE...? I can't believe this person is getting paid to administer our elections and to keep them secure.

Not to mention, she DOESN'T EVEN REMEMBER WHICH STATE THE COMPANY IS IN?????????

Keep in mind: Markowitz is the new PRESIDENT of the assocation of Sectretaries of State, and she's a DEMOCRAT.
:wtf: :crazy: :shrug:
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. Apparently, she doesn't know what 'transparency' is nor that it's supposed
to be transparent to the voters...not the private company doing the 'coding'!
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zeemike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
2. Six people who we do not know control the election
Oh that makes me feel more confidant.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
3. ?
:wtf:
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
4. There is a lot of things there that don't appear transparent
"card gets configured by a company that's in, I can't remember if it's in Massachussettes or Connecticut" You had better know lady and it had better be public information.

"The card itself is empty, and there can't be code there that changes outcome, because you don't know how that card is going to be configured" She just said the were configured somewhere outside the state but they are empty????


"They are in one room, so everybody configuring is with eachother ... so if you're manipulating computer code, other people could easily notice. In addition, the manager is right there as well, just kind of watching what's going on ... Every card is linked to a machine so you know who has configured every town" That just sounds strange.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
5. And can someone PLEASE explain what this means:
"The card itself is empty, and there can't be code there that changes outcome, because you don't know how that card is going to be configured."

is that pure doublespeak?
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hpot Donating Member (359 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Code can be easily hidden
There are many methods for hiding code in storage devices. Looks can be deceiving. Unless there are bit by bit images of every card and hardware/OS code for public inspection, I see no basis to trust them.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. right, I just don't understand the sentence.
i've read it 20 times and I still can't undestand what she's trying to say. What does she mean "and there can't be code there that changes outcome, because you don't know how that card is going to be configured."

I just don't get it. there absolutely CAN be code on there that changes outcome. Who doesn't know how the card is going to be configured? the folks at LHS/Diebold certainly do, that's what they're doing - configuring the cards. How could they configure them if they don't know how they're going to be configured? This statement is just mind boggling.
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hpot Donating Member (359 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Just a guess
She probably meant how the races and candidates are entered into the cards via the application interface, ie: Diebolds's "vote template maker"(I made that up). They should be able to test & review the candidates, forms, and menus before public use. Once they are done designing the "templates", the files can be transferred to blank memory cards.






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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. OK, but how/why does that mean
that it's impossible to put malignant code on there? it just seems like a really lame and twisted way to make up a reason that people could not put something on there to rig the election. Hursti showed us - they CAN. There is nothing to stop them, not even a weird strange excuse that doesnt' make sense, like this.
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
6. Picture this
I keep getting an idea about contrasting images - this is transparent, this is not. One involves photoshopping a see-through nightie onto the SoS. The others relate more to actual election conditions. Use your imagination. Visuals work better than words for propaganda. And make no mistake about it, the tactics of successful propaganda can and should be applied by the progressive movement, provided that we are truthful.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. well you know, I'm having to really weigh a big decision about this
part of me wants to put this up on the web, scrutinize everything she said on the radio, and expose her blatant misinformation. question her integrity, ask serious questions.

the other part of me knows I represent Vermonters for Voting Integrity and I don't want to burn the bridge any more than I already have.
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GuvWurld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I understand the dilemma
Obviously you have to make your own decisions. But if what you want is to hold her accountable, then realize what concerns positively preclude this. It may be like the adage "you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs." Doesn't she already have egg on her face? More visuals for ya.

BTW, FWIW, when directly targeting the goal of holding someone accountable, I think you can be explicit about saying that you don't want to burn bridges but you also can't simply "play nice" at the expense of accountability. Perhaps you can flip it around so you are the good guy doing education to keep your SoS on track, not just for VT but the whole association she heads.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. yes, I can also tone it down somewhat
it's not all or nothing. I can give her credit for agreeing to do an audit this fall, and in that context mention that we still have some concerns about some of her comments, and we invite her to respond so that we can lay our concerns to rest. better than an all-out attack, although that would be much more fun.

i guess it's all about the spin and the presentation.
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LuckyChoice Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-05-06 04:58 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. good luck in finding
the right tone. It's not an easy task.

It's mighty tempting to go for the jugular; at least you have the wisdom to see that might not be the most effective response. You can always play hardball later if required.
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hpot Donating Member (359 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
12. I can hack your computer in 5 seconds while you thank me for fixing it
Everything I do may only seem transparent. As long as you are dealing with electronic data there are many ways to hide your actions.

As a precaution, I'd suggest getting those cards imaged.
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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
13. She desperately needs to talk to Debra Bowen...or Kevin Shelley.
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