Monday, August 22, 2005

1, 2, 3 Who are we voting for? Don't ask me, I voted on a Diebold machine.

Following the 2004 election, I didn't believe that there had been a systematic attempt to alter votes. Certainly Black Box Voting had reported potential problems with electronic voting, but the evidence - both direct as well as statistical - was equivocal at best. Since then however, new facts just keep rolling in. In a story about the special election for San Diego Mayor:
Nearly 50 percent of all voters participated in the parallel election, which included five polling places representing 11 precincts. The sample included more conservative than liberal precincts, with participation as high among Republicans as among Democrats. The tandem election results showed what most feel to be startling results. "There is a shift of four percent of the vote, consistently," Joe Prizzi, (engineer and physicist,) reported at a press conference held by CAPE [Citizens Audit Parallel Election] in front of City Hall. Frye received 50.2 percent of the votes cast in the parallel election - enough for an outright victory if those results reflect the outcome citywide. CAPE also found that the official count added approximately 2 percent to each of Frye's two Republican opponents, Jerry Sanders and Steve Francis. In addition, CAPE examined the only other ballot measure, a proposition over a war memorial cross on public land. The proposition's vote total also appeared to have been padded by 4 percent in the official election tally, which was certified Friday August 19 by San Diego County's newly appointed Registrar of Voters, Republican Mikel Haas. A team of statisticians from California State University- Northridge - have analyzed the data from CAPE, concluding that the probability of luck or chance as the cause of the observed four percent deviation is less than one in 1,300 - or .000678.
CAPE isn't the only group to accuse [San Diego Registrar Mikel] Haas of withholding public information. Jim March of Black Box Voting and a Republican maintains that the Registrar refused his request during the election to obtain audit logs, which would show whether records were kept of each user who accessed the Diebold GEMS central tabulator. In an interview with the East County Californian before the election, Haas stated that he would allow citizens to observe the central tabulator counting votes. But on election night, March found the tabulator screen had been placed eight feet away, behind glass and readable only through binoculars, literally. According to March, an activist who was with him brought binoculars and was able to clearly make out the screen. March's request to have the screen moved closer was refused, so he entered the secured tabulating room.
This is just riduculous. If we can't have faith that our ballots will be honestly counted, then democracy is nothing but a pretty word.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is nothing less than astonishing that the cheaters would go ahead with their program when they know someone is checking up on them.

1:10 PM  

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