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election fraud

Optical-scan is best system using machines

MoveLeft.com has what they call "Voting Rights Tuesday" -- each Tuesday featuring stories on voting rights. Here's their story from today --

Voting Rights: AutoMARK Chosen by Bowie County, TX Committee

Optical-scan (fill-in-the-oval) ballots are the best voting system which uses machines.
As a New York Times editorial last month noted (Mar. 9, 2005), "Optical-scan machines produce a better paper record than touch-screen machines because it is one the voter has actually filled out, not a receipt that the voter must check for accuracy."

For states to receive federal funding for 2006 under the "Help America Vote Act," they need to provide a way for blind voters and limited-mobility voters to cast a secret ballot at polling places on Election Day.

The AutoMARK machine lets voters with disabilites fill out the same optical-scan ballots as other voters.

In January, I wrote approvingly about a demonstration of the AutoMARK I attended in St. Paul, Minnesota.

This Friday, Bowie County, Texas decided to keep their optical-scan ballot system, and to supplement it with the AutoMARK ("Bowie County committee picks e-voting vendor" by Greg Bischof, Texarkana Gazette, Apr 23, 2005:)

NEW BOSTON, Texas-After a full month of study, the Bowie County Voting Systems Committee voted Friday to select...AutoMARK mainly because the county is more familiar with the use of the vendor's paper ballot and scan-in method.

Committee member and Precinct 4 Commissioner Carl Teel said having a tangible paper ballot offers more reassurance and security than electronically recorded ballots.

The Bowie County Commissioners Court is the next step in the voting machine purchasing process for that Texas county.


 http://www.moveleft.com/moveleft_blog.asp
optical scan: some dissident views 26.Apr.2005 23:22

brian

Optical scan amchines have been indited in swings towards Bush. So:

'More visual analysis of the results can be seen at  http://us together.org/election04/FloridaDataStats.htm, and www.rubberbug.com/temp/Florida2004chart.htm. Note the trend line - the only variable that determines a swing toward Bush was the use of optical scan machines'
...
'Even more significantly, Dopp had first run the analysis while filtering out smaller (rural) counties, and still found that the only variable that accounted for a swing toward Republican voting was the use of optical-scan machines, whereas counties with touch-screen machines generally didn't swing - regardless of size'
 http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1106-30.htm
==========================================

'
Vote suppression/voter intimidation and deception. Shortages of voting locations and ballot forms. Foreign monitors barred from polls. Unmatched exit polls/actual results - actual results always skewed to Republicans. Masses of e-Voting "glitches". Computers lost votes. Presidential votes miscast on e-Voting machines throughout the US. More recorded votes than voters. Republicans gained 128.45% in Florida counties using optical scan voting machines while Democrats lost 21% - some districts showed gains of over 400% while one, Liberty County, gained over 700% for Republicans.Warren County officials locked down the county administration building on election night and blocked anyone from observing the vote count as the nation awaited Ohio's returns. Bush had 'incredible' vote tallies. 7% turnout reported in Cleveland precinct. In Cuyahoga County different towns had the exact same number of "extra" votes. And on, and on...'
 http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/2004votefraud.html

=======================================================
'And note this: In those Optiscan counties Bush received just over 600,000 votes more than other data suggest he should have. This by itself is far more than his margin of victory in Florida'
 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0411/S00124.htm


etc etc

brian 27.Apr.2005 13:11

Voter Revolter

brian --

I hope you are not saying that touch-screen without a paper trail has produced more reliable results than paper ballots properly counted by machine (or by hand)? If so, just look at what has happened in Georgia since that state went over entirely to touch-screen!

For sure, all the problems you list are real -- "Vote suppression/voter intimidation and deception. Shortages of voting locations and ballot forms. Foreign monitors barred from polls. Unmatched exit polls/actual results - actual results always skewed to Republicans. Masses of e-Voting "glitches". Computers lost votes. Presidential votes miscast on e-Voting machines throughout the US. More recorded votes than voters." And on and on.

No one is proposing that just by having paper ballots and counting them by optical scanning machines that's THE solution. However, optical scan is a part of the solution.

Looking in detail at Thom Hartmann's analysis, what you see is that the problems were not with the system or concept of optical scan counting of ballots but with the central tabulators. Hartmann identifies the key question -- "why several states using electronic voting machines or scanners programmed by private, for-profit corporations and often connected to modems produced votes inconsistent with exit poll numbers?"

"Be they Diebold Opti-Scan machines, which read paper ballots filled in by pencil or ink in the voter's hand, or the scanners that read punch cards, or the machines that simply record a touch of the screen, in all cases the final tally is sent to a 'central tabulator' machine. That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC."

Hartmann then reviews Howard Dean's famous demonstration of how easy it is to hack a central tabulator, especially if it's modem connected.

I suspect that the reason for the supposed accuracy (conformity with polls) results of the touch-screen votes is that those votes were rigged to conform with polling data so as to divert attention and point the finger at the paper ballots.

BUT THE PROBLEM WAS WITH THE CENTRAL TABULATORS --

As is always true with computers, "garbage in, garbage out" -- BUT it can also be, like shredding a paper trail, "information in, garbage out". The ONLY way to control that is by having recountable paper ballots. The question is whether or how to count such ballots by machine.

FIRST: ballot scanning machines must be thoroughly tested before the election to assure that the tabulation functions of the scanning machines are reliable.

SECOND: all software involved in ballot scanning machines must be opensource and transparent.

THIRD: all ballots can easily be counted by two (or more) different counting machines so as to preclude bad hardware or software in the scanning process, including tabulation at the scanning machine level.

FOURTH: there must be random samples taken of all the ballots and then hand-counts of those random samples.

FIFTH: the ballots themselves must be placed in secure storage for later recounts, if necessary.

SIXTH: results from each machine and from each run on each machine must be manually observed by everyone and recorded on certified tally sheets.

SEVENTH: NO MODEM-CONNECTIONS FROM SCANNING MACHINES TO CENTRAL TABULATOR COMPUTERS! (It isn't rocket science -- it's simple addition and the numbers to be added up should be available to EVERYONE.)

Also, we have to keep in mind that the Fourteenth Amendment (as interpreted by the Supreme Court) requires that there be just on vote-counting method in any one state. So, we have to be very careful which method we choose. Optical scan with paper ballots that can be recounted manually, and from which random samples can be taken, is OBVIOUSLY SUPERIOR to touch screen with modem connections to central tabulators.

(The method used doesn't have to be the same from one state to another. So, I understand that in New York state, voting integrity activists are looking at keeping their tried-and-true lever type of machines.)

ABOVE ALL -- while the scanning equipment can be manufactured by any company that can meet engineering specs, the operation of the equipment MUST be done by public employees with witnesses and observors. Just look at how Republican controlled corporations were actually operating, stopping and changing the equipment used in Ohio in 2004 DURING THE ELECTION!

Here in Oregon, we will have to have a single type of ballot -- it will almost certainly be optical scan. Then when the votes are counted in each county, there needs to be scanning equipment that is substantially identical throughout the state. After that, the ballots need to be securely stored, and recounts should be done in Salem.

Optical scan alone cannot guarantee a good count, but it is hard to see what would be a better alternative. Optical scan CAN work, if it is used properly and watched carefully.

vote revolter 28.Apr.2005 15:56

brian

' hope you are not saying that touch-screen without a paper trail has produced more reliable results than paper ballots properly counted by machine (or by hand)? If so, just look at what has happened in Georgia since that state went over entirely to touch-screen'

no, im not, The solution is to return to paper ballots,a s suggested by Bradblog:
 http://www.bradblog.com/ see his left hand column. OR ro use machines with a paper trail. BUT machines can be tampered with. Witness the case of Clinton Curtis:
 http://residentbush.com/Aftermath-2004_BradBlog.html

a story few americans know anything about.

Further, make sure that People like Blackwell of Ohio DONT control the voting proceess. That amn waw part of the committee to reelect Bush...a nice and perhaps unintended but very apt allusion to Nixon and Watergate.

Optical Scan Ballots plus Hand Count 14.May.2005 09:37

Eric Jaffa

Hi, I'm from Move Left.

I consider the best system to be paper-ballots-publicly-hand-counted. That is what Canada uses in federal elections.

I support optical-scan ballots on my blog as being much better than electronic voting machines (even those with printers), though not as good as paper-ballots-publicly-hand-counted.

When optical-scan ballots are used, as least some of them should be hand-counted at the precinct to double-check.

We use optical-scan ballots thoughout Minnesota.

Unfortunately, we don't currently have even a partial automatic hand-count.