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A Tale of Two ESIs: Election Science Institute (ESI #1) and Empathic Science Institute (ESI #2)

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-01-10 09:34 PM
Original message
A Tale of Two ESIs: Election Science Institute (ESI #1) and Empathic Science Institute (ESI #2)
Edited on Mon Nov-01-10 10:00 PM by Bill Bored
ESI #2 promotes unverifiable Internet Voting as a way to "facilitate humanity's pursuit of happiness." See:

ESI #1 showed that the 2004 Ohio Exit Poll could not "prove" election fraud occurred there (which doesn't necessarily mean that election fraud did NOT occur there). See:

But ESI #1 later showed that Cuyahoga County's DREs really sucked! See:

And ESI #1's leader identified Ballot Definition Files to be "most likely at the root of the problems in" the 2006 FL CD-13 DRE debacle. See:

ESI #1, formally VoteWatch, seems to have disappeared. A domain name broker owns

ESI #2 is not only promoting Internet Voting, but is also floating conspiracy theories about the recent hacking tests of D.C.'s open-source Internet Voting system. See:

ESI #1 tended to pooh-pooh most conspiracy theories, at least publicly.

I have no reason to think that the 2 ESIs are related, but both of their leaders have posted here on DU. I would not expect ESI #1 to be in favor of Internet Voting, having been so skeptical of DREs.

However, there are also many conspiracy theories about ESI #1's founder, which I do not choose to repeat here.

ESI #2's founder speaks for himself:
He's got more faith in techno-elections than anyone in recent memory, and he uses the founding fathers to justify it. :shrug:

Let's get out and vote tomorrow, shall we?
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-01-10 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
1. ESI #2 reminds me of The Emperor who wears no clothes
He has no background in tech but attacks those who do.

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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 07:43 AM
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2. Let's not forget that Steven Hertzberg worked for the Dept of Defense:

"Hertzberg, the project director of Election Science Institute (ESI), received a contract in 2005 from the Franklin County commissioners to monitor and certify new voting machines. Hertzberg's website is dedicated to disputing any scientific claims of election fraud in Ohio. Oddly, Hertzberg's biography posted at the ESI website shows he has no advanced degrees in political science, only a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from Purdue University. As Hertzberg explains it, he "spent the first several years of his career as a civilian within the U.S. Department of Defense" also " . . . serving as a Project Manager and Test Director for highly visible military development programs. . . ."

Hertzberg launched an organization called Vote Watch in 2002 before renaming it Election Science Institute in 2005. Recent ESI publications seek to discredit real social scientists with Ph.D.s who claim there was election fraud."


"Fake Voting Rights Groups Tied to the White House

In March 2005, Congressman Bob Ney held a U.S. House Administrative hearing at the Ohio Statehouse where a general counsel for the brand new voting rights group, the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), told the congressional committee that the voting problems in Ohio were the result of the NAACP paying people with crack in order to entice them to register to vote. ACVR's general counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, turned out to be the former national general counsel for Bush-Cheney '04, Inc., with no history of working in a voting rights organization. Hearne relied on a lawsuit filed against the NAACP in Wood County, Ohio, "alleging fraudulent voter registration under the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act."

Hearne wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice in March 2005 claiming there was "substantial evidence to suggest potential criminal wrongdoing by organizations such as Americans Coming Together ("ACT"), ACORN and the NAACP -- Project Vote."

Long-time TPMmuckraker readers might remember Hearne, who previously went from being a top lawyer for President Bush's 2004 reelection campaign to creating the American Center for Voting Rights. That was the bogus "voting-rights" group that, as election-law expert Rick Hasen has written, was created in 2006 to "give 'think tank' academic cachet to the unproven idea that voter fraud is a major problem in elections," in order to "support the passage of onerous voter-identification laws that depress turnout among the poor, minorities, and the elderly--groups more likely to vote Democratic."

ACVR was an integral part of the broader GOP scheme to restrict voting rights which lay behind much of the U.S. attorney firings scandal. For instance, Hearne reportedly complained to the White House and top DOJ officials about the lack of commitment to voter fraud issue shown by Todd Graves, then the U.S. attorney for western Missouri. Graves was fired not long after.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Yeah, Hertzberg worked for DoD, but now we've got an ex-"hippy"-commune guy pushing Internet Voting!
Edited on Tue Nov-02-10 01:42 PM by Bill Bored
Which do you think is a greater danger to democracy?

An ex-DoD guy trying to discredit DREs in Ohio and Florida, or a self-described "progressive" and self-appointed expert pushing Internet voting everywhere?

It doesn't trouble me in the least that exit poll discrepancies, which are among the weakest "evidence" for election fraud, may have taken it on the chin as a result of some of Hertzberg's work.

If you want a conspiracy theory, here's one:

A bunch of right-wing COINTELPRO folks get together and decide to get the left all jerked up about exit polls so they ignore any real evidence of miscounted votes and obviously unverifiable votes (e.g., Ohio's 2004 punch-card ballot-order rotation scam), and any plausible suggestions about how to deal with those problems. Divert attention from real election fraud (and fraud waiting to happen) and any potential reform by getting everyone chasing their tails over exit poll discrepancies.

Then once the DREs are finally discredited, as they have been in most states (esp. paperless DREs), bring on the Internet voting!

Meanwhile, make sure no one hand-counts enough of the original optically scanned PAPER BALLOTS to find out who won any rigged elections. This can be done by systematically killing any legislation that would require this kind of audit, and by making such audits so complex that they can no longer be understood by anyone who'd have to implement them, and could not be conducted soon enough after an election to prevent paper-ballot tampering because of the amount of data required to initiate the maximally complex audit.

The result: even with paper ballots, elections remain unverified, while Internet voting is seen as a viable option and is actually being seriously considered.

Whether it's a conspiracy or not, that's what's been happening since 2004 and the only ones to benefit from it are voting system vendors and anyone who does NOT want verified electoral outcomes.
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