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Calif. Official Bans Some Voting Machines [Calls for Criminal Investigation of Diebold]
Associated Press ^ | May 1, 2004 | Jim Wasserman

Posted on 05/01/2004 6:03:36 AM PDT by AntiGuv

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The state's top elections official called for a criminal investigation of Diebold Election Systems Inc. as he banned use of the company's newest model touchscreen voting machine, citing concerns about its security and reliability.

Friday's ban will force up to 2 million voters in four counties, including San Diego, to use paper ballots in November, marking their choices in ovals read by optical scanners.

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley asked the attorney general's office to investigate allegations of fraud, saying Diebold had lied to state officials. A spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer said prosecutors would review Shelley's claims.

Diebold issued a statement saying it was confident in its systems and planned to work with election officials in California and throughout the nation to run a smooth election this fall.

The ban immediately affects more than 14,000 AccuVote-TSx machines made by Diebold, the leading touchscreen provider. Many were used for the first time in the March primaries and suffered failures.

In 10 other counties, Shelley decertified touchscreen machines but set 23 conditions under which they still could be used. That order involved 4,000 older machines from Diebold and 24,000 from its three rivals.

The decision follows the recommendations of a state advisory panel, which conducted hearings earlier this month.

Made just six months before a presidential election, the decision reflects growing concern about paperless electronic voting.

A number of failures involving touchscreen machines in Georgia, Maryland and California have spurred serious questioning of the technology. As currently configured, the machines lack paper records, making recounts impossible.

"I anticipate his decision will have an immediate and widespread impact," said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation and a frequent critic of the machines. "California is turning away from e-voting equipment, and other states are sure to follow."

Activists have been demanding paper printouts — required in California by 2006 — to guard against fraud, hacking and malfunction.

Diebold has been a frequent target of such groups, though most California county election officials say that problems have been overstated and that voters like the touchscreen systems first installed four years ago.

At least 50 million voters nationally were expected to use the ATM-like machines from Diebold and other companies in November.

California counties with 6.5 million registered voters have been at the forefront of touchscreen voting, installing more than 40 percent of the more than 100,000 machines believed to be in use nationally.

A state investigation released this month said Diebold jeopardized the outcome of the March election in California with computer glitches, last-minute changes to its systems and installations of uncertified software in its machines in 17 counties.

It specifically cited San Diego County, where 573 of 1,611 polling places failed to open on time because low battery power caused machines to malfunction.

Registrars in counties that made the switch to paperless voting said Shelley's decision to return to paper ballots would result in chaos.

"There just isn't time to bring this system up before November," Kern County Registrar Ann Barnett said. "It's absurd."

Diebold officials, in a 28-page report rebutting many of the accusations about its performance, said the company had been singled out unfairly for problems with electronic voting and maintained its machines are safe, secure and demonstrated 100 percent accuracy in the March election.

The company, a subsidiary of automatic teller machine maker Diebold, Inc., acknowledged it had "alienated" the secretary of state's office and promised to redouble efforts to improve relations with counties and the state.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: California
KEYWORDS: california; diebold; electronicvoting; evoting

1 posted on 05/01/2004 6:03:37 AM PDT by AntiGuv
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To: AntiGuv
IMO after all is said and done, the punch card ballots are less expensive, less complicated and more accurate than any touch screen voting machine.
2 posted on 05/01/2004 6:11:23 AM PDT by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1/5 1st Mar Div. Nam 69&70 Semper Fi http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnkerry.com)
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To: kellynla
I like optical scan voting myself, but I don't disagree with you either.
3 posted on 05/01/2004 6:15:51 AM PDT by AntiGuv (When the countdown hits zero - something's gonna happen..)
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To: AntiGuv
Cross-linked:

-The Vote Fraud Archives--

4 posted on 05/01/2004 6:17:42 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the TrackBall into the Sunset...)
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To: AntiGuv
Activists have been demanding paper printouts — required in California by 2006 — to guard against fraud, hacking and malfunction.

Those selfish activists! Don't they realize how many hackers are going to lose their jobs at the DNC because of this decision? < /sarcasm >

5 posted on 05/01/2004 6:27:42 AM PDT by ABG(anybody but Gore) (Wolfgang Puck does not belong on Iron Chef America, no matter how funny his accent is.)
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To: kellynla
the punch card ballots are less expensive, less complicated and more accurate than any touch screen voting machine.

Yep, we use punchcards here, (Virginia Beach,VA), I've yet to see a chad of any sort. It's simple, quick and easy.

6 posted on 05/01/2004 6:35:32 AM PDT by csvset
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To: kellynla
Why in heck don't we just use the ATM's?

Simple, quick, easy, leaves two paper records - one in the machine, one to the customer.

The things are everywhere, too - no need for absentee ballots.

And the banks execute billions of transactions a day, with very, very, few errors.

And they would be happy to do it - for a buck a vote. Much cheeper than our current efforts.

7 posted on 05/01/2004 6:45:08 AM PDT by patton (I wish we could all look at the evil of abortion with the pure, honest heart of a child.)
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To: patton
Simple, quick, easy, leaves two paper records - one in the machine, one to the customer.

Such machines can easily support two databases, report one, print the other.

And the banks execute billions of transactions a day, with very, very, few errors.

An ATM is just your checking account. A ballot is your freedom. The stakes are just a little different, no?

Paper ballots.

8 posted on 05/01/2004 6:53:32 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: patton
I'll tell you why:

Cameras.

Vote fraud by illegal aliens and other ineligble (i.e. felons) voters is the backbone of Democrat get out the vote efforts.

And system that could actually catch illegal voters would be opposed to the death by Democrats.

So know this: Democrats are literally stealing the country from YOU. Democrat governments lack legitimacy. They are musch more evil than your worst fears.
9 posted on 05/01/2004 6:53:39 AM PDT by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending)
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To: AntiGuv
Let's hear it for Jim March!!
10 posted on 05/01/2004 6:54:41 AM PDT by mvpel
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To: Carry_Okie
But it gives you a paper receipt - look at it! If it is different from your vote, challange!
11 posted on 05/01/2004 7:01:22 AM PDT by patton (I wish we could all look at the evil of abortion with the pure, honest heart of a child.)
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To: eno_
Camaras! even better - I had not thought of that.

The very fact that we DON'T use ATM's convinces me that someone has a vested interest in cheating.

12 posted on 05/01/2004 7:03:03 AM PDT by patton (I wish we could all look at the evil of abortion with the pure, honest heart of a child.)
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To: patton
But it gives you a paper receipt - look at it! If it is different from your vote, challange!

You won't know what your vote really was, because what the screen says and what the paper says may be the same, but that isn't necessarily what the machine will report to the tabulating computer upline. The way these systems work, it's easy for an administrator to get into it from a remote location and change your vote after you've left the polls.

Paper ballots.

13 posted on 05/01/2004 7:23:15 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: patton
Here's a pertinent piece I wrote in December 2002.

Ballot Transparency to Eliminate Fraudulent Counts

Voters have read and seen all sorts of assurances that the new touch-screen balloting systems are fool proof, tamper proof, and nothing to worry about. Many, including those who are familiar with the technology, are not at all reassured.

The concerns are on two levels. First, from the perspective of those not familiar with the technology, it is a device whose inner workings and inherent security they cannot possibly understand. If they can't understand it, how can they be assured that it is honest? Second, those who DO understand signal processing, software, and communications technology know that is far too easy to defraud the system in a way that would be irreversible and undetected. Either way, touch-screens are a loser.

Now, as users of ATMs, cell phones, the Internet, and other electronic media, it might at first seem a little strange that so many people have such concerns. Upon further consideration however, the key distinctions between voting and a service handling mere money become obvious:

  • Customers have a choice of banking vendors. Citizens don’t have a choice of governments.
  • There is a major difference between mere financial assets at risk, and a risk to individual liberty.

Governments are monopolies. One can go down the street to another bank and take the offending bank to court. An evil government can land you in prison (or worse) because they ARE the court. The stakes associated with voter fraud are far higher than with an ATM and so is the temptation to defraud the system.

Necessary and Sufficient

So, given that we are still smarting over hanging chads, what are the alternatives? Let’s begin to answer that question by looking at the requirements.

  1. The system has to be simple and familiar to the voter.
  2. There must be NO SOFTWARE involved, because it is too easy to change.
  3. The system must be capable of completely manual operation.
  4. The count must be capable of being validated by all parties involved and each count must be separate and distinct.
  5. There must be no possibility to count a ballot twice or "lose" counts along the way.

Electronic sensors and interlocks are permissible as long as they can be duplicated manually.

Here is my proposal for a system that meets these requirements:

At the Polling Place

  1. Ballot boxes are preprinted, serialized and tracked by a physical chain-of-custody document.
  2. The box must be destroyed to be opened.
  3. The box is locked under a ballot receiving machine.
  4. The ballot receiving machine at the polling place reads the box number and records it on the ballot in Scantron form on the back side (fill in the dots). Note that one could do the same manually under observation.
  5. The voter completes the standard optical ballot and delivers it to the receiving machine.
  6. The machine prints the box number on the back of every ballot it accepts with a Scantron dot pattern. This too can be both read and performed manually. Then a dry film coating (basically an adhesive or heat activated tape) is applied to the ballot on the way into the sealed ballot box.
  7. The coating is transparent but reveals a "watermark" when exposed to UV light. The ballot is now tamperproof.
  8. The receiving machine totals the number of ballots in every box. The total is read manually and a receipt is delivered to each political party and candidate detailing the box numbers, precincts, and tally of ballots in every uniquely identified box.
  9. Representatives of all Parties check the box tallies before the boxes leave the polling place.
  10. If they agree on its accuracy, they record the ballot tally on the box using Scantron dots, initial it, and put a similar dry film over the number.

Note that the Scantron pattern is the perfect bridge between human and machine. It is readable by people for manual counting but does not require an optical character reading machine that needs cameras or software.

Both parties thus know the EXACT number of ballots cast in every precinct and in every box. Every box is signed. All parties can thus run check sums at the processing centers and verify the chain-of-custody.

At the Ballot Counting Center

  1. The total of the ballots on the box is read by the counting machine. It would be very similar to the existing optical reader and might only require very minor modifications.
  2. The counting machine reads the box code for precinct and ballot count or accepts that data input from a keypad read off the box by at least two witnesses with keys. The machine will not count the ballots without the UV visible watermark on the ballot over the votes AND matching precinct codes on the box and the ballot.
  3. The machine halts and will not display the vote totals if the number of ballots recorded on the box and the number it counts do not match.
  4. The ballots leave the counting machine get a NEW ballot box. Counted ballots are stamped again with output box number, recoated, and then deposited into the new sealed ballot box.
  5. The new coating was applied in case of a recount, thus each ballot maintains a recount history.

14 posted on 05/01/2004 7:29:10 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: AntiGuv
Optical scan has probably the least number of misvotes and is pretty easy to use. Not to mention its in paper. Of course these California people when they decided to ban punchcards, they didn't really think things through about what exactly they would replace them with. New flashy technology doesn't always mean better.
15 posted on 05/01/2004 7:31:55 AM PDT by the right side jedi
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To: patton
The very fact that we DON'T use ATM's convinces me that someone has a vested interest in cheating.

The Diebold system uses Microsoft Access as a database (appropriate choice, don't you think?). When the Diebold system was first audited for security, one reviewer reported in Wired Magazine that the operating system was so open to manipulation that, "It's not just a bug, it's a feature."

According to election industry officials, electronic voting systems are absolutely secure, because they are protected by passwords and tamperproof audit logs. But the passwords can easily be bypassed, and in fact the audit logs can be altered. Worse, the votes can be changed without anyone knowing, even the County Election Supervisor who runs the election system.

You might want to read the source article for this quote.

Great system. Perhaps you should restrict your grousing to something you understand a little better.

16 posted on 05/01/2004 7:37:41 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: the right side jedi
Of course these California people when they decided to ban punchcards, they didn't really think things through about what exactly they would replace them with.

Oh somebody thought it through all righty, It's worse than you realize. See the link in Post 16.

17 posted on 05/01/2004 7:39:09 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: patton
lol, neat idea. However, my issue with giving a paper receipt is that some people can be thugged (or, Unioned - same difference) into voting a certain (democrat) way and have to show the evidence to keep from being beat up or loosing their jobs.
18 posted on 05/01/2004 7:41:49 AM PDT by FreeAtlanta (never surrender, this is for the kids)
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To: AntiGuv
The reason they don't like the touch screen voting is because they haven't found a wayto cheat the system yet. When GA and FLA got touchscreen voting machines, the Rats lost. The Rats only win when they cheat.
19 posted on 05/01/2004 7:41:51 AM PDT by faithincowboys
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To: Carry_Okie
Something I understand a little better? LOL.
20 posted on 05/01/2004 7:45:53 AM PDT by patton (I wish we could all look at the evil of abortion with the pure, honest heart of a child.)
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To: FreeAtlanta
hmmmm...good point. I could see that happening.
21 posted on 05/01/2004 7:47:21 AM PDT by patton (I wish we could all look at the evil of abortion with the pure, honest heart of a child.)
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To: Carry_Okie
As the results come in, they should be burned to a local permenant optical disk for verifying the records and the results should be transmitted through ssl to a central state database that is mirrored and insert only. I don't see what the big deal is in making this system hacker proof, secure and highly auditable. I think it could be made much more reliable than having a bunch of punch cards or optical cards that can be manufactured and stored in democrat warehouses, imo.
22 posted on 05/01/2004 7:47:23 AM PDT by FreeAtlanta (never surrender, this is for the kids)
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To: AntiGuv
...the company had been singled out unfairly for problems with electronic voting and maintained its machines are safe, secure and demonstrated 100 percent accuracy in the March election.

How do you prove 100% accuracy on a voting system that has no mechanism for verifying accuracy? I've always been a vocal advocate for paper receipts on electronic voting machines because it provides such a verification mechanism.

23 posted on 05/01/2004 7:48:07 AM PDT by randog (Everything works great 'til the current flows.)
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To: csprof
Ping.
24 posted on 05/01/2004 7:51:47 AM PDT by Shermy
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To: FreeAtlanta
I think it could be made much more reliable than having a bunch of punch cards or optical cards that can be manufactured and stored in democrat warehouses, imo.

So that they can just switch optical disks? LOL!

That's why the paper trail for chain of custody on the ballots has to be required. It's also why observers at the polls should have access to the tallies to report them in a parallel count. It's a lot easier to catch somebody trucking in boxes than it is to detect a hacker.

I don't give a damn if the count takes a few hours longer.

25 posted on 05/01/2004 7:53:12 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: the right side jedi; All
New flashy technology doesn't always mean better

Actually, the Software is where the Problems are likely to be.

Take New Mexico in 2000. In Albuquerque, the Presidential line was NOT counted for Bush-Cheney if the Ballot was cast Straight Republican. If the ticket was split, it did.

Thus, so-called Broken Glass Republicans were disenfranchised as to the Presidency.

NO such "glitch" occurred for Yellow Dog Democrats!

Yet no one went to Jail for rigging the Software!!

Luckily, the problem was caught and corrected [paper trail].

Electronic voting is a SCAM!!!

26 posted on 05/01/2004 8:26:17 AM PDT by Lael (Patent Law...not a single Supreme Court Justice is qualified to take the PTO Bar Exam!)
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To: Lael; All
BTW, New Mexico went for Gore by just 385 votes!!
27 posted on 05/01/2004 8:27:38 AM PDT by Lael (Patent Law...not a single Supreme Court Justice is qualified to take the PTO Bar Exam!)
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To: AntiGuv
It's a long article, but I didn't see any mention of what the alleged fraud was.

Is the journalist who penned this piece intentionally not providing the most basic of facts, so that people won't understand why this type of voting machine should be banned? Is the unskilled journalist (or editor) intentionally trying to make it a "he said/she said" rather than providing information so that I can make up my mind myself? Am I missing the obvious?

FWIW, I'm against electronic voting. I'm a software developer. Enough said.
28 posted on 05/01/2004 8:33:28 AM PDT by Theo
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To: AntiGuv
Thank God!
29 posted on 05/01/2004 8:35:43 AM PDT by null and void (Sarcasm, just another service I provide.)
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To: csvset
Yep, we use punchcards here, (Virginia Beach,VA), I've yet to see a chad of any sort. It's simple, quick and easy.

The only way to get dimpled, dangling and preggers chads is to hold a stack of ballots, place a pen on the vote you wish to multiply and pull the stack up. If the stack is too thick, not all the chads will break loose.

In other words - EVERY DANGLING CHAD IS CLEAR EVEDENCE OF ATTEMPTED FRAUD!

30 posted on 05/01/2004 8:39:49 AM PDT by null and void (Sarcasm, just another service I provide.)
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To: AntiGuv
I'll give Kevin Shelley credit for doing this. I expected him, as a Democrat, to try to push the touch-screen machines through in order to facilitate fraud. I'm glad to see that he's bucking my expectations and standing firm on this.

-PJ

31 posted on 05/01/2004 8:57:50 AM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's not safe yet to vote Democrat.)
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To: csvset
There is no foolproof system for an idiot that cannot follow directions. I rather liked the punchcard system myself, but apparently there were enough dummies that couldn't figure out the easy way. There will be ongoing controversy about any machine.
32 posted on 05/01/2004 9:09:21 AM PDT by freeangel (freeangel)
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: civil discourse
Oddly enough, the Diebold software has provisions for "negative votes"...
34 posted on 05/01/2004 9:24:28 AM PDT by null and void (Sarcasm, just another service I provide.)
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To: patton
Simple, quick, easy, leaves two paper records - one in the machine, one to the customer.

Printed receipts enable vote-buying schemes: Bring you John F'n Kerry receipt down to the AFL-CIO hall for a promotion or vacation day or cash bribe. Don't think it wouldn't be happen.

Optical scan paper ballots.

35 posted on 05/01/2004 9:28:15 AM PDT by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: Carry_Okie
"Why in heck don't we just use the ATM's?"

Actually Diebold makes ATM's as well as the voting machines in question. Why they didn't use the same type setup(without the cameras of course) is beyond me. It could print out a receipt that you could double-check and then put in the old style boxes in case a manual recount is needed.
37 posted on 05/01/2004 9:40:52 AM PDT by novalogic (Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.)
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To: civil discourse
You tell me.
38 posted on 05/01/2004 10:06:00 AM PDT by null and void (Sarcasm, just another service I provide.)
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To: FreeAtlanta
They can do better than that: each ballot can have an electronic signature. That signature (a number) can be printed on your paper reciept. Votes and paper reciepts can be inconrovertably linked.
39 posted on 05/01/2004 10:39:17 AM PDT by eno_ (Freedom Lite - it's almost worth defending)
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To: Carry_Okie
absolutely right. ANYONE who has ever made a computer program can tell you how simple it would be to spit out a paper record that "looks good", but in fact after it issues that paper record can easily change every 10th vote or so. [They wouldn't make it "too" obvious....] Chikd's play. And of course, since all the damn programmers are now in India, it shouldn't be too hard to wave a little Al-Qa'eda money in front of a few of them.
40 posted on 05/01/2004 11:04:24 AM PDT by gemoftheocean (geez, this is all straight-forward and logical to me....)
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To: Carry_Okie; gemoftheocean
You don't keep your receipt. You verify it and drop it in the ballot box, which is stored separately and used as an audit trail against the electronic tallies.

Another question though: do these electronic machines retain information about which candidate individual voters voted for? That would be dangerous if they did.
41 posted on 05/01/2004 3:32:22 PM PDT by gitmo (Thanks, Mel. I needed that.)
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To: gitmo; calcowgirl
You don't keep your receipt. You verify it and drop it in the ballot box, which is stored separately and used as an audit trail against the electronic tallies.

Already understood. You do know that the error rate of electronic voting exceeds that for paper ballots?

Another question though: do these electronic machines retain information about which candidate individual voters voted for?

Not to my knowledge. There is no connection between the issuance of a ballot and the name of the voter of which I am aware. Still, it wouldn't be hard to institute in the name of "preserving the integrity of the voter rolls."

We do have a precedent for violation of the secret ballot in tax elections in Silicon Valley for the Mid Peninsula Open Space District bond sales. They hustle consultants, issue statements advocating bond sales, issue the ballots by mail, and count them. Totally corrupt. They even keep records of individual votes WITHIN the household and the consultants use that data for solicitation purposes elsewhere.

There are people who belong in jail for this kind of crap.

42 posted on 05/01/2004 3:52:30 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: AntiGuv
I believe all the "counties" the AG is concerned with are "republican" leading counties. At least I know San Diego County is.

Also .. IIRC the dems were upset about the company making the machines, Diebold - BECAUSE THEY GIVE BIG DONATIONS TO REPUBLICANS; claiming the company would set the machines to favor the repubs.

Hmmmm? I wonder ..??.. if Diebold had made contributions to the dems would that have made a difference in how the machines were accepted ..??
43 posted on 05/02/2004 2:33:39 PM PDT by CyberAnt (The 2004 Election is for the SOUL of AMERICA)
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Here's the work that Jim March, a California activist, did on the Diebold issue - work that undoubtedtly led to this ban: http://www.equalccw.com/voteprar.html
44 posted on 05/03/2004 5:58:29 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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