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Mark Crispin Miller: Secret ballot compromised in Georgia!

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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 12:58 AM
Original message
Mark Crispin Miller: Secret ballot compromised in Georgia!
The 'secret ballot' is the foundation of the modern democratic process.

snip....

Not so in the state of Georgia. In the 2004 election, 367,777 Georgia voters-more than 10% of the state's electorate-unknowingly gave up the secrecy of their ballot, by taking advantage of the new early-voting process. This new procedure, which uses Direct Record Electronic (DRE) equipment-or, to put in plain English, touch screen machines does not require voters to justify their decision to to vote early. So anyone can cast a ballot in the five days preceding the election, no questions asked. Sounds fair, easy and convenient.

But there's a crucial difference between traditional absentee ballots, i.e., the paper kind, and the electronic absentee votes cast last year in Georgia. The paper ballot comes in an envelope, which is discarded prior to that ballot's getting counted, in order to protect the balloter's identity. With these electronic absentee votes, there is no such protection. In fact, the new ballot is directly traceable to the person who has cast it.

After the July 2004 presidential primary in Georgia, Fulton County Election Superintendent, John Sullivan admitted to the Board of Elections that "early votes are marked with a numbered identification in case they are later challenged". Ironically, while electronic voting equipment does not supply voters with paper receipts to confirm who they cast a ballot for, it does allow the Board of Elections to access and store that information.
http://markcrispinmiller.blogspot.com/
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
1. Ahhh, and we wonder why Ga has it's first Pub Gov since reconstruction
or why Max Clealand lost!!!

Oh man, I'm trying so hard to get some auditable paper trail here, but I'm losing the fight!!!
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 07:59 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Coming to a state near them
Edited on Sat Jun-25-05 08:04 AM by Boredtodeath
So-called "universal vote centers," introduced two years ago on a limited basis in Colorado, could end some of the biggest flaws in the way Americans vote if widely implemented, administrators said.

Such centers eliminate confusion over where to vote, since everyone in a county can vote at any center; reduce lines by allowing for more equipment and staff at fewer locations; and prevent mistakes by better marshaling well-trained election officials along with day workers.

"It addresses what happened in Florida in 2000 better than the (federal) Help America Vote Act" - the law Congress passed to fix elections three years ago, said Larimer County (Colorado) Clerk Scott Doyle, who came up with the idea. "It's the way America lives. Why shouldn't America vote that way?"

Doyle sought and won a change in state law that allowed him to replace 143 precincts with 20 vote centers. Larger facilities - hotel ballrooms and state fairgrounds - allow easier access and parking for voters, and more efficient concentration of resources for administrators.

"There's an opportunity here to better meet our voters' needs and save millions of dollars," Doyle said. With vote centers, the county can save several hundred thousand dollars by buying fewer handicapped-accessible voting machines, since the new federal law requires one at each polling location, he said.

The report, to be officially released Tuesday, also backs a growing trend toward voting over days and weeks, rather than just Election Day.

At least 30 states have already broadened their balloting rules, expanding absentee voting to "no excuse" voting _ so anyone who wants to vote absentee is allowed. In some places, residents can also vote early, in person, as much as a month ahead of Election Day.
http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050607...
----------------------------------------------
I guess when it's a done deal and too late to stop it, DUers will wake up and understand that we got beat again.

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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Am I just naive, or would it not be easier to monitor the activities
at 30 Centers than at 140+ precincts? I'm trying to think logicaly here. It would be easier to get an auditable voting record if you only had to do a few. I would think ONE per Center should be sufficient. Monitors from both parties could be scheduled to work at a few centers, including volunteer lawyers to take care of what problems arise.

Is this REALLY a bad thing???
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. You gonna take a month off work?
To pollwatch?

You going to make sure they keep machine distribution so that long, unmanageable lines aren't a part of the process?

You going to allow them to set up precinct based voting for rich, white republican communities and warehouse voting for african american communties?

Think it ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Did they have that system in your State? Did those probs show up?
You brought up some very valid points, but I think they could all be worked out as long as they were anticipated in advance.

The pollwatching thing could be worked out via a schedule using people who work shifts, are retired, etc.

The machines already exist, and even distribution based upon population should not be difficult at all.

I was under the impression that the entire State would be converted to Vothing Centers, thus eliminating precincts completely. No favoritism for the rich over the poor.

It sounds also like people could vote either where they work or where they live, which should eliminate the folks who work long hours and just don't have time to get to their pricinct when they get home.

The biggest problem I can think of is how to cover rural areas where people would have to find a way to get to a Center. I suspect the absentee vote would answer that.
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. 30 states
Yes, those problems all showed up in those states with early voting.

Pollwatchers weren't allowed.

Long lines prevented voting, especially in African American locations.

Laptops didn't/couldn't connect to state voter registration database (particularly reported in Florida) and voting had to be shut down.

Yes, they were reported........but no one was paying attention.

The problems were so numerous and unfixable, those states canceled use of the statewide voter registration database for election day and went back to paper records.

Paper absentee votes aren't allowed in Georgia, unless you aren't going to be in the state on election day. Georgia is doing everything in their power to eliminate ALL PAPER ballots permanently.

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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I can't knowledgeably respond to the other states, but you're
wrong about absentee voting in Ga. I thought aobut that, and decided not to, because I heard Jeb was urging the Fl voters to vote absentee. I realize it might have been a stupid reason, but I figured if Jeb wanted it, something was WRONG! I suppopse it could have been the other way, if I believed him, but then...I don't!

I spent my last 40+ years as an accountant, and technology has been a God Send! I hate to admit it, but I really question wether things such as touch screen computers can ever be made reliable as a voting machine. When you "account" for things, you always have a "source document"! A check you put into the ATM, a bill you used to enter an expense, etc. With voting, all you have is a voters mind! There is NO source doc. Because of the "secret ballot" principle, there jiust isn't anything you can use!

As much as we all are very anxious to hear results, have a machine hold the voter's hand so they don't make an unknown error, and have everyything happen at the speed of light, I really wonder if we don't have to go back to optical scaners, just to get integrity back into our elections.
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. No, I'm not wrong
Following are the only reasons for a paper absentee ballot. And, if you go into the office to request one anytime during the 180 day period before an election the request will result in a DRE vote.

As used in this article, the term absentee elector means an elector of this state or a municipality thereof who:
(1) Is required to be absent from his or her precinct during the time of the primary or election he or she desires to vote in;
(2) Will perform any of the official acts or duties set forth in this chapter in connection with the primary or election he or she desires to vote in;
(3) Because of physical disability or because of being required to give constant care to someone who is physically disabled, will be unable to be present at the polls on the day of such primary or election;
(4) Because the election or primary falls upon a religious holiday observed by such elector, will be unable to be present at the polls on the day of such primary or election;
(5) Is required to remain on duty in his or her place of employment for the protection of the health, life, or safety of the public during the entire time the polls are open when such place of employment is within the precinct in which the voter resides; or
(6) Is 75 years of age or older.
http://www.countthevote.org/evote_docs/georgiatitle21-2...
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Please note something.........
In 2004, the "people" became more involved in the voting process than ever before.

They registered voters.

They knocked on doors.

They took to the streets to organize pollwatching organizations.

They took to the streets to organize election protection.

They took to the internet to organize and create a reporting system for errors and manipulated machines.

Now, read the R. Doug Lewis article and look at what the National Organization of Secretaries of State under the leadership of R. Doug Lewis are trying to stop. http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/0605/16edele...

Then, go read the 3 page memo from your illustrious Secretary of State attempting to stop the pollwatchers:
http://countthevote.org/rogers_memo.htm

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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. OK, I read both. realize it shounds like Cathy is trying to prvent
poll watchers from being present, but I really don't see it that way. I can understand why they need to limit the # of unauthorized people from being inside the polling location. Why do you find it a problem that watchers be authorized and wear an ID badge?

When I voted last year, I had to wait in line for about 1 3/4 hours, and that was the third time my husband & I had gone to the polling place, saw very long lines and said, oh, lets come back tomorrow. Finally, we realized it didn't matter what day we went and just parked the car and waited. Our polling site is a decent sized building, but after putting all the machines inside, tables for the folks who check your registration info and all, there was very little room left for many "visitors".

We didn't encounter any problems while there, but I've heard of some really dumb ones that happened there. Screaming matches that erupted while waiting in line when one side called the other stupid for voting they way they were going to. I wouldn't want that happening inside the building, and if you allowed too many "visitors" that's what you'd have.

I haven't heard anything about Voting Centers yet here, but I'm going to a picnic in the next few weeks where all the Dem candidates are going to be attending, and Cathy Cox is one of them. I will ask her about this, AND what's going on with the audit trail. I'll be sure to report it on DU.
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Sounds like?
I went to Georgia to participate in pollwatching.

There wasn't any "sounds like" to it. I SAW it.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
14. Outrageous.
Edited on Sat Jun-25-05 08:26 PM by Bill Bored
One of the main arguments against not having re-votes, such as might have reasonably occurred in FL 2000, was that a re-vote would not be held at the same time as the rest of the country had voted. Somehow this was seen as being unfair. Why should some voters have more information on which to base their decision than others? Suppose Bush was caught snorting coke (again) the day before the Election, or the day before a re-vote? Might change some folks' minds, right? But that would be unfair to anyone who had already voted.

But now it's become perfectly fine to let anyone vote whenever the spirit moves them. (I know, I know, not ANYONE, but that's another issue.)

Bush has a good day by evading reporters' questions in the rose garden on TV? Heck, let's run right out and vote for him!

Bin Ladin shows up on the TV the day before Election Day and reminds us Bush still hasn't caught him? Oh well, too late to change that vote! Maybe they'll get him next time!

Early Voting is a scam! It trivializes the electoral process by making it akin to a trip to Walmart. Voters deny themselves access to new information that might emerge only after they've cast their vote.

There should be an Election Day Holiday and enough machines and/or ballots to give everyone a chance to get to the polls, and registration can be made easier too. But having what is in effect a separate election from the one held on Election Day is a corruption of the process that's worse than the designated hitter! (Sorry, but I had to make a sports analogy so even Bush voters would get this.)

With today's fast paced flow of information, we really should all vote on the same day as much as possible. If that's too much trouble for these BOEs and our fair-weather voters, then let them start their own democracy (if you can call it that) somewhere else.

On edit:

One more thing: Think of what Early Voting does to those EXIT POLLS! If you're not worried about the actual election, at least let's make sure the networks can still sell soap based on those all important demographics! Mitofsky can't pay people to hang around vote centers for months asking those questions! Suppose someone never goes to church, votes, takes the exit poll and then becomes born again a week later? (Just a hypothetical.)
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Exactly
Exit polls don't add up to the votes?

Well, hell, just cancel EXIT POLLING!

So what you think Bill? How were the Mitofsky exit polls so "right" in Georgia when 10% of the voters cast their ballot a week BEFORE the election? Wouldn't you think the exit polls would be off by AT LEAST 10%? But noooooooo, they WERE PERFECT in Georgia.

Help me understand........10% of the Georgia voters went to the polls before the exit pollers arrived to poll the exiting (reluctant Bush) voters, but the polls were perfection personified. Do I have that right?

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Something like that.
But I'd have to dig into that awful report, or the methodology statements, to find out exactly how they handled early voting.

To me it just adds another layer of complexity and uncertainty to an already complex and uncertain process: vote counting.

I wonder if early voting correlated better with pre-election polls than election day exit polls.

Do you have a list of the 30 states handy?

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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. I don't have the list handy
But I can find it........looking.

Maybe Mitofsky only polled in some of the 30 states? Not defending them, but do they poll in every state? I really don't know.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. They said something about a 15% Early/Absentee threshold.
Edited on Sun Jun-26-05 09:01 PM by Bill Bored
If the Early/Absentee vote is that high, they still used the precinct to make their "projections" but left it out of the analysis of the exit poll discrepancy. It does seem as if the error/fraud was lower in these precincts, but perhaps not significantly. It could be that the absentee/early voting polls came closer to the actual result too, but I don't think we've shown this yet from the numbers.

This could mean there was more fraud/exit poll error on election day, which you'd expect if someone were using the early results to decide to shift votes on E-day.

Off hand, do you know if their are any safeguards against viewing the early voting results partially or completely in either DREs, Op Scans or GEMS itself? (I doubt it, but stranger things have happened!)
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. From reviewing the records in Georgia
The early voting went Kerry 70/30 but election day was the exact opposite - for Bush. We are working on the data to pin down this anomaly.

There are no safeguards for viewing, altering or otherwise affecting the early voting ballots. All one has to do is gain access to the PCMCIA card and there is no logging of this kind of access.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Speaking of the devil,
I just read a PM from someone that said this:

The E-M FAQ says this:

"How do absentee votes affect projections?
In a number of states significant numbers of voters cast their ballots before Election Day. They either cast an absentee ballot or they vote at precincts set-up for voters in the weeks leading up to the election. These absentee/early voters cannot be included in the Election Day. Instead, they are interviewed by telephone shortly before the election. They are asked the same questions as voters interviewed in the exit polls. For the 13 states where absentee voters will be sampled by telephone their results will be combined with those of Election Day voters"

Combined? Oh, that says a lot. But you say there were 30 states. How come Mitofsky thinks there were only 13?

And in another thread we were talking about how the error in the 210 precincts excluded from most of the exit poll analysis was a little less than the other 1250 precincts. I'm trying to find out if those 210 are the same as the ones that represent absentee/early voting.

Hey, it could be that telephone polls are more accurate than exit polls, as long as they poll people who have actually already voted!
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
18. ".,,we got beat again." Hell, we were probably a no show!!!!
Excellent post. This explains a lot, like how a buffoon like Boy Scout Field Marshall Chambliss can get elected. Ralph Reed will have to be indicted and sentenced in order to work up a sweat in his race with this sort of crap going on.

Our party doesn't even show up in most of these places, I suspect.
Were they there at the hearing in CA? No, it was citizens.
Were they there in Ohio before or on election day? No, it was citizen groups and Conyers Commmittee after the fact (oh, and DNC 7 monthslater, thank you very much).

BoredToDeath, what's the GA Democratic Party doing about ths?

I'm afraid to read the respons but thanks for the post.
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Protecting their rising star
The GA Democratic Party has a single purpose - to protect Cathy Cox, the SoS who brought these machines to Georgia. She staked her career on these machines and they'll go down with her.

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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 02:44 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. Thanks! Gee, I wonder if she'll benefit from this?
:sarcasm: Well, that's just me being cynical!
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
7. "in case they are later challenged"
Edited on Sat Jun-25-05 02:11 PM by Bill Bored
Oh come now! Why would anyone ever want to challenge thousands of electronic ballots left unattended in e-votin' machines for a week before what used to be "Election Day" in our fair republic? It's not like the results of e-voting are ever any different than "Election Day" voting are they?

(Yeah, it's sarcasm. Deal with it.)

On edit, forgot to also mention that the EXIT POLLS were pretty close in GA, so what are you worried about? (Also EXTREMELY SARCASTIC!)

Sarcasm ends here:
Y'all keep up the good work down there!
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-05 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. No, no, no Bill. Try unattended for MONTHS!
Edited on Sat Jun-25-05 02:18 PM by Boredtodeath
Early voting in Tattnall County, Georgia began on September 20, 2004. Check out this document Roxanne posted on another website:

Tattnall County Early Voting Recap (pdf file - look at Page 2)

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LightningFlash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 12:33 AM
Response to Original message
21. Anyone know about the scourge of Georgia?
Thy name is Ralph Reed, and he's on the ultimate fundie network:

http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=3381
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Boredtodeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 12:42 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. All you need to know
Edited on Sun Jun-26-05 12:42 AM by Boredtodeath
Is that he's counting on these machines to get "elected" Lt. Governor.

You think it's a coincidence that Ralph Reed became the head of the Georgia Republican Party at the same time these machines were put in place (2001)?

And, now that his election is assured, he's running for office.



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LightningFlash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-05 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. And if the DNC's corrupt Richardson allows him to be selected....
Edited on Sun Jun-26-05 12:56 AM by LightningFlash
Georgia is doomed. He's been using Diebold brand GEMS since day one, and has the coup de fraud down to a science. If Reed isn't arrested, Votergate will not end.
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