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VT Sec. of State 'responds' to security problems found in voting system

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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-31-06 03:03 PM
Original message
VT Sec. of State 'responds' to security problems found in voting system
Edited on Thu Aug-31-06 04:00 PM by garybeck

Folks, this is somewhat of a bombshell. We've scrutinized a recent radio interview with the Vermont Secretary of State, and found some misleading statements that need your attention. NOTE: Ms. Markowitz is not only the SoS of Vermont, she's also President of the Association of Secretaries of State.

Below find a complete recording of the interview, as well as a partial transcript and our commentary on key statements made by Ms. Markowitz which are misleading at best.

VT Secretary of State Deb Markowitz responds to security problems found with state's voting system

Brennan report finds security vulnerabilities in Diebold optical-scan system; Markowitz promises audit this Fall, but some of her recent statements raise serious questions


Markowitz: What was really great about this (Brennan) study that came out is that it showed that Vermont's on track and that our procedures and the procedures we have in place are the recommended procedures and, so, we can feel really confident here; it was affirming.

VVI Commentary:
This is simply not true. Vermont does NOT have several of the recommendations of the Brennan Report in place. The very first recommendation of the Brennan Report is "CONDUCT AUTOMATIC ROUTINE AUDIT OF PAPER RECORDS." The audit that will be conducted this November is not automatic or routine. The audit is at the discretion of the Secretary of State, and she (or a future Secretary) could just as easily decide not to have an audit in the next election. As the report states, we need automatic audit procedure in place for every election. We call on our legislators to enact legislation to this effect, and for Deb Markowitz to support such legislation, which we do not currently have.

Another recommendation Vermont is not in compliance with is #5 which states "ENSURE DECENTRALIZED PROGRAMMING AND VOTING SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION." This refers to the fact that the greatest vulnerability exists when the election is set up by a small group of people at a single company. In Vermont this is a very real problem because all the memory cards for the optical scan machines are sent to one centralized location before each election, where they are programmed by a small number of people at a single company.

And recommendation #6 states "IMPLEMENT EFFECTIVE PROCEDURES FOR ADDRESSING EVIDENCE OF FRAUD OR ERROR." This refers to the importance of having guidelines and procedures in place ahead of time for if the random audit finds a "red flag." Vermonters for Voting Integrity has requested such information from the Secretary of State's office, concerning the procedures and guidelines of the audit. With 2 months to go before the election, the office has not released any details of the audit, what percentage will be counted, or what would happen if a discrepancy of the vote count is detected. Without specific guidelines in place ahead of time, it is possible a problem could be found but no corrective action be taken.

We feel it is misleading to say Vermont is in compliance with these recommendations because we simply are not.

Are we trying to attack Deb Markowitz?

Absolutely not. We are only printing her own words and being as objective and respectful as possible. As we have stated many times, we applaud her decision to conduct an audit this November. But we are still very concerned that there are several important recommendations we do not have in place, to ensure the integrity of our election system. We do not accuse Deb of intentionally misleading the public about how secure our election system is. It is possible that her statements are the result of being misled by Diebold, which is in fact facing a class action lawsuit for falsely representing their products.

Regardless, it is clear that just conducting one audit is not enough. We need mandatory random audits on all elections. We need specific guidelines to be in place before the audit takes place. We need to have real transparency with our elections, with "open software code" on the machines.


hear the interview, which just might make your blood boil, and get the full story here:

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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. 4 recommendations and not a one comment? :)
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emlev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Glad to hear you're paying attention to specifying what would happen
if an audit shows a discrepancy, because I was recently told there's nothing in the California law that says anything about what percent would trigger specific action, nor what that action would be! If you're working on getting audit legislation passed, make sure you check in with Einsteinia about the project she's been working on.

Who is VVI? Maybe I read too fast.

Does seem important to note that the VT SoS is up for re-election this November.

Thanks for posting! K&R.
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. yes, and an UPDATE...
SoS is up for re-election. this may be an issue, for one thing, if her opponent decides to make note of her lukewarm concern for election integrity. we may have to point it out to her opponent. :)

VVI is Vermonters for Voting Integrity.

yes, the key issue here is what happens if there is a discrepancy. which brings me to an update.

I received an email back from her office. I had asked a question about the procedures of the audit. guess what. the answer is, they are not releasing any details about the audit until just before the election. what the? now we have secret audits? one thing they did say is that there are no specific rules about acceptable discrepancy tolerances, or what happens if they find a problem. only to say that the SoS will decide if there is "evidence of possible fraud" at which point she will turn it over to the Attorney General for investigation. That's it. Nothing like, if they find a small discrepancy, it triggers a larger audit, or anything. Just she decides is it's bad enough and if so she turns it oo the AG. This is ridiculous, especially since she claims to be in compliance with the Brennan recommendations. So in other words ,we're in the same boat as you. there are no guidelines.

well next week i'm going to my town's civil authority meeting and I'm doing a presentation. at the same meeting, our Director of Elections will be presenting right after me. It's going to be an interesting meeting. I'm not one to allow people to spew lies without being challenged. I'm going to try to record it...

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rumpel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 03:39 PM
Response to Original message
2. must be a friend of Connie
beware - VT
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garybeck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. no doubt, there is a pattern here
i'm thinking more like Cathy Cox than Connie, since this is an SoS. big Diebold contracts, Democratic SoS's. Misrepresenting the facts.

keep in mind, Deb is the PRESIDENT of the SOS association.
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