Who Really Won?

Friday, July 29, 2005

California Rejects Diebold!

Guess they didn't bribe them (enough) in California:

After possibly the most extensive testing ever on a voting system, California has rejected Diebold's flagship electronic voting machine because of printer jams and screen freezes, sending local elections officials scrambling for other means of voting.
"There was a failure rate of about 10 percent, and that's not good enough for the voters of California and not good enough for me," said Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.

If the machines had been used in an actual election, the result could have been frustrated poll workers and long lines for thousands of voters, said elections officials and voter advocates on Thursday.

"We certainly can't take any kind of risk like that with this kind of device on California voters," McPherson said.

Rejection of the TSx by California, the nation's largest voting system market, could influence local elections officials from Utah to Mississippi and Ohio, home of Diebold corporate headquarters, where dozens of counties are poised to purchase the latest Diebold touchscreen.

State elections officials in Ohio say they still have confidence in the machines.

"Absolutely," said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State's Office.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Exporting Rigged Elections

As if it wasn't enough to rig election results at home, BushCo rigged election in Iraq. Nancy Pelosi tried to block it...

The essence of Pelosi’s objection, the recently retired high-level C.I.A. official said, was: “Did we have eleven hundred Americans die”—the number of U.S. combat deaths as of last September—“so they could have a rigged election?”

Sometime after last November’s Presidential election, I was told by past and present intelligence and military officials, the Bush Administration decided to override Pelosi’s objections and covertly intervene in the Iraqi election. A former national-security official told me that he had learned of the effort from “people who worked the beat”—those involved in the operation. It was necessary, he added, “because they couldn’t afford to have a disaster.”

More from Seymour Hersh.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More Corruption In Ohio

A contractor who represents Diebold Election Systems arrived at the office of Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matthew Damschroder with an open checkbook on the same day the county was opening bids for voter-registration software.

Pasquale "Pat" Gallina arrived unannounced, Damschroder said.

"I’m here to give you $10,000," the elections director recalls Gallina saying. "Who do I make it payable to?"

"Well, you’re certainly not going to make it out to me," Damschroder says he told Gallina. "But I’m sure the Franklin County Republican Party would appreciate a donation."

Gallina wrote the check, and Damschroder says he took it on Jan. 9, 2004. That weekend, Damschroder said, he mailed the check to the county party. Damschroder had been executive director of the party until June 2003, when he was appointed director of the elections board.

Diebold, the highest of four bidders, didn’t get the software contract, and Damschroder says he never recommended the company.

Gallina said yesterday that the $10,000 was his money and had nothing to do with Diebold. He said he’s always supported county Republican parties in areas where he lives.

"I donate to Licking and to Franklin," he said.

The check incident remained between Gallina and Damschroder until late last month when an assistant county prosecutor called Damschroder. Election Systems & Software, a company that is suing Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell over the state’s policies for buying electronic voting machines, wanted to talk with Damschroder about allegations that Diebold was paying to play, the prosecutor told him.

Damschroder told him about the $10,000 check and had another story to tell.

In May, he said, Gallina called him and bragged about a $50,000 check he had written to Blackwell’s "political interests."

"Isn’t it great that Diebold and the county are going to do business?" he says Gallina asked him.

Rest here...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What Bush Money Gets Ya

In the months before the 2004 presidential election, a firm called Sproul & Associates launched voter registration drives in at least eight states, most of them swing states. The group--run by Nathan Sproul, former head of the Arizona Christian Coalition and the Arizona Republican Party--had been hired by the Republican National Committee.

Sproul got into a bit of trouble last fall when, in certain states, it came out that the firm was playing dirty tricks in order to suppress the Democratic vote: concealing their partisan agenda, tricking Democrats into registering as Republicans, surreptitiously re-registering Democrats and Independents as Republicans, and shredding Democratic registration forms.

The scandal got a moderate amount of local coverage in some states--and then the election was over. Now anyone who brought up Nathan Sproul, or any of the other massive crimes and improprieties committed on or prior to Election Day, was shrugged off as a dealer in "conspiracy theory."

It seems that Sproul did quite a lot of work for the Republicans. Exactly how much did he do? More specifically, how much did the RNC pay Sproul & Associates?

If you went online last week to look up how much money Sproul received from the Republicans in 2004, you would have found that, according to the party (whose figures had been posted by the Center for Responsive Politics), the firm was paid $488,957.

In fact, the RNC paid Sproul a great deal more than that. From an independent study of the original data filed by the Republicans with the Federal Election Commission, it is clear that Sproul was paid a staggering $8.3 million for its work against the Democrats.

Moreover, there are some big surprises buried in the paperwork. It turned out that the RNC paid Sproul not only for their pre-election work, but also paid them for work after the election. According to their Year-End Report, filed on Jan. 28, 2005, the RNC paid Sproul for "Political Consulting" in December--long after all the voter registration drives had ended.

And two months later, when the RNC filed their amended Year-End Report on May 3, the dates of those December expenditures mysteriously changed. A payment of $210,176, once made on Dec. 20, was changed to Dec. 22. A payment of $344,214, initially recorded on Dec. 22, was changed to Dec. 9.

As to why Sproul was being paid in December, and why the dates were changed, one can only speculate. But it may be worth noting that the Ohio recount took place from Dec. 13 through Dec. 28.

Rest here.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Modernizing Elections

The nation's election administrators say it's time to restructure elections to reflect the way Americans live, scrapping neighborhood precincts and Election Day for large, customer-oriented "vote centers" where people could cast ballots over a period of weeks.

In a new, sweeping report, state and local officials focus much of their attention on voters and poll workers rather than voting machines - the subject of so much debate ever since the 2000 presidential stalemate in Florida.

"We are looking forward, we are looking at ways to make elections better," said Dawn Williams, who oversees voting in Marshall County, Iowa. She co-chaired a task force of officials and former officials from 15 states that was set up by the Houston-based Election Center.

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.

"We've got to look at how we make this better for voters at all points. Don't try to fix the symptoms but say, `What is causing the problem and how do we fix them?"' said Doug Lewis, executive director of the Election Center, which trains election officials.

"Here are some concepts. They're not revolutionary concepts, they're evolutionary," Lewis said.

Another Third Rate Burglary

Thieves targeted the Ohio Democratic Party Headquarters this week, stealing a computer and a high-tech communications gadget belonging to party chairman Denny White.

Police said yesterday one or more burglars appeared to have climbed a wall Monday and crawled through an unlocked second-story window overnight at the party headquarters about three blocks from the Statehouse.

The break-in occurs at a time when the Ohio Republican Party is threatened by one of the largest scandals to hit the state’s government in decades.

Some Democrats also say the break-in is eerily similar to a burglary at the Lucas County Democratic Party Headquarters last fall, in which three computers were stolen.

Police, though, said it is unclear if the theft had anything to do with politics, or the investigations into investments at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

“Until we find the person, there’s no way of knowing that,” said Sherry Mercurio, a police spokesman, who said investigators lifted fingerprints at the scene.

Yesterday, posters celebrating John Glenn’s accomplishments still hung on the walls of the headquarters, a portable stereo sat on a desk, and a few Sony Vaio desktop computers with flat panel monitors remained untouched.

The items belonging to Mr. White were a Dell computer valued at $800, a flat-screen monitor valued at $250, and a $250 BlackBerry communications device.

The break-in occurred a week after the Ohio Democratic Party began airing a 30-second TV ad that links Republican office-holders with the state’s failed $50 million rare-coin investment with Tom Noe.

Lawyers for Mr. Noe, a Republican fund-raiser, have told authorities that about $13 million in assets are missing from the coin fund.

Jason Mauk, a spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, said the state GOP had nothing to do with the break-in.

“I certainly hope the implication is that this was not politically motivated,” Mr. Mauk said. “I can guarantee from our perspective that this is not the case.”

He added, “It sounds to me like Mayor [Michael] Coleman has a crime problem that they need to address.”

There were two other burglaries nearby on Monday night, both at restaurants.

In one case, someone smashed a window of a restaurant and stole $150 in property.

In another, someone used a piece of concrete to shatter a rear glass door of a restaurant, police said.

Dan Trevas, a spokesman for Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said every crime is taken seriously by police, and the burglary will be investigated.

Sandy Isenberg, who was chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party at the time of the break-in, said yesterday the latest burglary “sounds more and more like dirty tricks.”

“It’s no different than our break-in, through a window, [they] took three very important computers, and left everything else,” she said. “Come on — How strange is that? I find it extremely peculiar and suspicious.”

The former Lucas County commissioner said the computers nabbed in last fall’s break-in contained “loads and loads of information that could be used in many different ways.”

“I lived through the Nixon era and I’m living through this convoluted mess right now,” she said.

“And it would seem to me that the Republicans will stop at nothing to further their cause. That’s unfortunate because there are many Republicans out there who would and do find this situation that the state of Ohio is in abhorrent of their beliefs and values.”