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MICHIGAN CITIZEN ALERT! Michigan voting equipment vulnerable to attack. Demand hand audits!

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bfealk Donating Member (420 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-05-06 04:38 PM
Original message
MICHIGAN CITIZEN ALERT! Michigan voting equipment vulnerable to attack. Demand hand audits!
Michigan Volunteers, please dispatch widely to your e-lists, contacts and the media. Email version is formatted so names/organizations at the end don't jumble.

For Immediate Release


Jan BenDor 734/484-1744 or 734/ 822-3122

Bruce Fealk 248/652-8781

Jayne Hamilton 248/335-0021 or 248/909-1493


Michigans Voting Equipment Can Be Hacked in Minutes

Random Hand-Counted Audits Recommended by Experts


Demand that the Michigan Secretary of State Comply with Random Hand-Counted Audits

Urge your County Board of Canvassers to Honor Their Oath

Your action is needed to protect the integrity of the Michigan vote count on Election Day and afterward, before the certification of the election by County Boards of Canvassers.

Contact the Michigan Secretary of State at

Call your County Clerk to find out contact information for the Chairperson of the four-member County Board of Canvassers.

< Sample letter and additional reference information follows; photos demonstrating hacking available at >


Fair and accurate vote counts are at risk in Michigan, and I urge you to fulfill your Constitutional responsibility to protect the integrity of our elections.

Michigan is relying on extremely vulnerable 1970s-era optical scan devices, programmed by private companies, to count our votes. Computer scientists at numerous universities have identified security flaws that allow these tabulators to be opened and manipulated in minutes, leaving no trace. In addition, programming errors by overworked private contractors with little understanding of Michigan elections could cause false results. Every study has concluded that the single most important preventive measure is a manual audit count, conducted in randomly selected precincts at the close of voting, or prior to the certification of the vote by the Boards of Canvassers.

Fourteen states will conduct random, hand counted audits of this November election. Michigan isnt one of them, and should be. According to Warren Stewart of VoteTrustUSA, an audit count is the single most powerful action that an election administrator could take to demonstrate their commitment to accuracy and security. Conducting a public hand count of a meaningful percentage of paper records is a win-win proposition. If the audit shows that the electronic tallies were accurate, then voters are reassured. If the audit uncovers irregularities, then further audits should be undertaken and the cause of the irregularities should be investigated.

Current Michigan law empowers both local clerks and county boards of canvassers to conduct manual counts. The federal Voting Rights Act requires that officials acting under color of law must not willfully fail or refuse to count every vote. We urge that all such officials fulfill their duty to protect the counting of votes, and await your pledge to support and implement this defense of our democracy.


1) Authority of local clerks to conduct a manual count in the precinct:

MCL 168.798b Electronic tabulating equipment; unofficial and official returns; manual count.:

Act 116 of 1954

Before the conduct of the official count, the clerk may conduct an unofficial count in order to provide early unofficial returns to the public. Upon completion of the count, the official returns shall be open to the public. The return of the electronic tabulating equipment, to which have been added the write-in and absentee votes if necessary, shall constitute, after being duly certified, the official return of each precinct or election district. If it becomes impracticable to count all or a part of the ballots with tabulating equipment, the clerk may direct that they be counted manually, following as far as practicable the provisions governing the counting of paper ballots.

History: Add. 1967, Act 155, Imd. Eff. June 30, 1967 ;-- Am. 1990, Act 109, Imd. Eff. June 18, 1990
Popular Name: Election Code

2) The Board of Canvassers also has the authority to conduct a manual count of the vote:

MCL 168.823 Board of county canvassers; power to summon and open ballot boxes; correction of errors; summoning of election inspectors.

If it is found, upon the convening of the board of canvassers, that the returns from any of the boards of election inspectors of the several election precincts are missing, incomplete or incorrect, or for any other reason it is found necessary, then the board of county canvassers shall have power to adjourn from day to day until the returns shall have been procured or corrected. The board of canvassers are empowered to summon the persons having the boxes containing the ballots cast at the election and the keys and seals of the boxes, or having the returns or the poll lists or tally sheets used and made at the elections, to bring the boxes, keys, seals, returns, poll lists and tally sheets before the board, and the board of canvassers are authorized to open the boxes and take therefrom any books or papers bearing upon the count and return of the election inspectors of the election precincts, but they shall not remove or mark the ballots therein. The board of canvassers shall correct obvious mathematical errors in the tallies and returns and, when deemed necessary for a proper determination, may summon the election inspectors before them, and require them to count any ballots which they failed to count, to make correct returns in case, in the judgment of the board of canvassers after examining the returns, poll lists or tally sheets, the returns already made are incorrect or incomplete, and the board of canvassers shall canvass the votes from the corrected returns. When the examination of the papers is completed, or the ballots have been counted, they shall be returned to the ballot boxes or delivered to the persons entitled by law to their custody, and the boxes shall be locked and sealed and delivered to the legal custodians thereof.

3) On October 30, 2006, a University of Connecticut team of researchers released a report which exposes the Diebold AccuVote Optical Scan (AV-OS) Voting Terminal to be vulnerable to hacking including that it can be unlocked by a paper clip, bypassing the security seal on the program memory. The report's bottom line recommendation is that we conduct manual audit counts.

Michigan uses the Diebold AV-OS in 1244 precincts and the model serves 1,727,131 registered voters. By extension because of the similarity of the equipment, the ES&S M100 is equally vulnerable. The M100 serves 4,130,618 million people in 2,961 precincts. In Connecticut, the Secretary of States office asked the University of Connecticut to conduct a security audit of the M 100 optical scan machines so that any security issues could be addressed.

4) Stewarts statement of October 29, 2006, can be seen at

Jan BenDor

State Coordinator

Michigan Election Reform Alliance (MERA)

734-822-3122 or 734/484-1744

Bruce Fealk


Citizens for Fair Elections


Jayne Hamilton


Michigan Volunteers for the 2004 Ohio Recount


Research Source

Contact Lesley Mara (Connecticut Deputy Secretary of State) through Dan Tapper (Communication Director for Connecticut Secretary of State)


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blue4barb Donating Member (367 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-05-06 09:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. Last week I attended a Public Accuracy Test on the ES&S M-100.
Though the test ballot count matched the ballots that were put through the machine that morning, I had a queasy feeling in my gut that there's a lot of room for "mischief", or as I usually call it, election fraud. There are many steps along the way, some I could observe, some I couldn't, that are vulnerable to fraud and errors.

I'll make your suggested contacts tomorrow. Very, very important to keep shouting as loud as possible about random hand-counted audits.
Thanks for your post.

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