Sunday, January 18, 2009

Carpet Baggage

Some of the leaders of the Election Integrity movement ("EI") currently in vogue are struggling to make it appear that they are in it for the money.

They make movies about themselves, appear on talk shows about themselves, promote themselves, fight with other EI movement leaders, fight legislation that would improve things, and above all seek to generate a following. A following to support them. "Follow me to truth" is their mantra.

Since that style is not bottom up, it has gone "bottoms up" in its effectiveness and impact on the problems they whine about. If you get my drift, they give new meaning to grass roots or bottom up movement.

Like the infamous "Decider" they have generated a top down mechanism and the results have yet to trickle down to electronic voting machines.

They likewise have failed to explain why their demands for paper ballots is the way to election heaven. After all, the people of the United States and the whole world in general are happy with the November election results.

And the only election still mired up in recounts and lawsuits in the style of Bush v Gore is a paper ballot election in Minnesota. That state uses paper ballots by law. But that election is the only undecided election in the happiest election in decades.

The origins of the movement began with more integrity. In 1985, for instance, they were getting the attention of the New York Times through meaningful articles, and they had a type of influence that would get things done more for the voters than for themselves.

Even the evil empire's DRE machines were eschewed long before the current crop was born (1989 Electronic DRE Hoodwinks).

The electronic voting machine (EVM) watchdogs twenty and more years ago were saying what was said before congressional committees in the past few years:
He pointed a thumb at the floor. "When we first started looking at this issue, back in the middle seventies, we found there were a lot of these systems that were vulnerable to fraud and out-and-out error," he said.
(1988 Article by Dugger, emphasis added). You can shock the hell out of the EI audience (who think they started the movement yesterday) with these quotes from a 1988 official report:
4.13 Summary Of Problem Types

4.13.1 Insufficient Pre-election Testing
4.13.2 Failure to Implement an Adequate Audit Trail
4.13.3 Failure to Provide for a Partial Manual Recount
4.13.4 Inadequate Ballots or Ballot-Reader Operation
4.13.5 Inadequate Security and Management Control
4.13.6 Inadequate Contingency Planning
4.13.7 Inadequate System Acceptance Procedures

Concern had been heightened by a series of articles published in the summer of 1985 in the New York Times. The articles cited statements by two computer experts reporting that a computer program widely used for vote-tallying was vulnerable to tampering. Several elections were identified in which losing candidates claimed that it would be possible to fraudulently alter the computer programs that were used in their contests.
(NIST Report 1988, emphasis added). No one mentioned that twenty years is enough to have more than "suggested rules" which are admittedly inadequate ... which election war lords are ignoring anyway.

It seems that no matter what company one goes to to have an EVM certified, one person does the certification. How large of a "conspiracy" is that anyway:
There are currently three certified laboratories that collectively constitute the “Independent Testing Authority” or ITA: Ciber, Wyle Labs, and Systest. Arguably this designation is a triple oxymoron. Their “independence” is compromised by the fact that the testing that takes place is paid for by the vendors, in effect making them the ITA’s “clients”.

The testing process that does take place and the standards to which voting machines are tested are considerably weaker than other accepted standards for the security of computer-based products. The testing is done in secret and detailed results of the testing are not released for public scrutiny. As for the ITA being “authoritative” there’s little to support such a designation.

While the testing of voting system software has been done by several different companies over the past decade the one consistent element is that the testing has always been done by an individual named Shawn Southworth … operating out of Huntsville, Alabama and currently employed by Wyle Labs. Who is Shawn Southworth and what are his qualifications? We are not allowed to know. Like the rest of the process, Mr. Southworth’s credentials are shrouded in secrecy.
(The Lone Tester, bold added). Doesn't it appear that the movement related to the EVM world has failed to help congress?

All federal bills designed to improve the situation failed because of factions within the movement which have been engendered by these so called leaders.

Even though some of their websites are prospering (Velvet Revolution, Black Box Voting), their election integrity results are not. It seems so less than yesterday.

The grass roots folks in the EI movement deserve better, because the movement is still valid. Throw the bums out.

1 comment:

  1. The neoCons do not even begin to get it, because it is the one essence that puts them in their place ... servants of the people.

    The EVM companies have made EVM's in their own image ... and being neoCons ... accountability, which comes in the form "verifiable" for EVMs, is not even considered. I remember The Lone Tester Shawn Whitworth saying it was not relevant to testing the machines ... so they do not consider security.

    It is little wonder, then, that CACEO chaffs at the prospect of having to become accountable to the voters, the people.

    Since they did not rejoice with us we can conclude that they are not of, by, or for the people.