Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Have We Learned ...?

Voting systems without voter-verified permanent paper ballots for official hand counts and recounts are unacceptable for use in polls because they are failure-prone and unable to offer accurate election results.

(PRWEB) April 11, 2005 -- The laws of physics themselves had been transcended, by the superhuman forces of UniLect, yet in quaint and sleepy Beaver County, Pennsylvania. For the first time in history, reports were made of an electronic processing system which was impervious to both electromagnetic and mechanical forces, not subject to the known vagaries of manufacturing and programming, and even immune to mismanagement and human error.

Never before had anyone managed to conceive, design, engineer, or manufacture such a computer system, yet this marvel was said to be present in all the Beaver County polls every election, in the form of the miraculous 'Patriot' paperless direct recording electronic voting system. Described as the world's only known paragon of printed-circuit-board perfection, in effect, and it was found in Beaver County, Pennsylvania of all places ...

For a not-particularly-prosperous, smaller, suburban and rural region, this was truly an amazing discovery. The scientific and technological worlds had experienced, somehow, an unprecedented and monumental upheaval, and it had occurred in relatively humble and obscure circumstances in a place where it would never be expected.

It turned out to be a total hoax.

The Commissioners and Director of Elections said they'd never had any problems. They said that even after they'd received numerous formal complaints, from candidates, from pollworkers, and from voters, for years. They knew they were using a faulty system.

It refused to accept touchscreen inputs, and changed the inputs, and refused to start, and gave the people that creepy feeling any other piece of mysterious technology gives them, especially when it wants them to trust it with the very currency of their democracy.

It didn't count their votes.

The officials said, at every turn, things which confirmed their ignorance, their willful deceit, and their intentions of thwarting valid elections. They'd been told that what they were doing was obvious to the public and, moreover, that it was wrong.

Finally, the state confirmed what the people had told them: the UniLect Patriot paperless voting system was throwing away the votes. There could be no excuse for using such a system. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania decertified the UniLect Patriot voting system on April 7th, for which they earn the admiration of the people.

The officials would have to give up their wonder. They'd have to quit trying to blame the vote losses on the apathy of the voters.

Citizens had gone to court to try to stop the use of the fake voting system prior to the election last November, but a judge spewed misinformation because he hadn't learned that university studies had shown paper ballots to be more reliable than the secret electronic systems. The people were forced to give up their right to vote in that election.

Another nearby county had thrown away as many as 7 or 8 out of every 10 votes in one precinct, and the Director of Elections had been forced to resign after he finished trying to clean up the crime scene. 41 precincts there had serious losses of the votes. The same system had failed spectacularly, and it had failed to some degree everywhere it was used.

In another state the system had caused an election to fail, and when the people there told the vendor that it would cost them millions, he shrugged it off and rejected the notion of his own responsibility.

Local elected officials are responsible for the quality of their decisionmaking and for the costs to the public of their mistakes. In this case, the state is picking up the tab because they'd originally approved the system. The primary election only weeks ahead is a relatively light one without a long complicated ballot. It is a prime opportunity to do the right thing and do it well.

Instead, the Commissioners specifically stated that they were 'shocked' (despite years of very specific warnings). They're trying to claim it'd take half a million dollars to do twenty thousand dollars' worth of ballot printing. They're going to charge the state for all they possibly can, complaining rather than working for valid elections. They're refusing to hand-count the votes, and forcing their technological ineptitude and fraud on the people with yet another flawed tabulation method featuring unchecked computers.

They're also going to try to buy another flawed system.

Undervote rates per se are only one problem known to exist with paperless direct recording electronic voting systems, and these other problems must not be ignored.

The public must not tolerate a mere upgrade/switch to systems which merely hide the undervotes and other problems infesting this equipment.

Nonrecorded voting systems also tabulate thousands of nonexistent votes. They fail from mechanical glitches and electrical anomalies and user errors, among many other things. They fail undectably in many instances, with only the most extreme of the failures becoming apparent.

These cheat machines are more expensive to operate. They're not better for disabled voters. They're not required by HAVA.

They're not acceptable to the voting public.

Not in my America ...

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