Friday, March 2, 2007

The 11/06 Election "Independent" "Expert" "Audit" That Never Happened...

To close the loop on the 11/26/06 post on this site, "Will An Independent Expert Audit of Cuyahoga's November Election Be Independent? Expert? an Audit?"
and the film posted therein,"independent"audits/index.html
showing the Cuyahoga board repeatedly promising the citizens who came to the 10/2/06 meeting that there would be an "independent", "expert" "audit" of the 11/06 election by a "certified" agency, I note here:
It never happened, folks.

So goes the as-usual, complete overlooking, and/or if asked, later acting as if NOTHING ever happened, or was ever said, or that "they-just-changed-their-minds" - "committed" "promises" of the CCBOE. (That's the value of video...)

But let's be frank about it.
1. It's way too late for November now. (And with no one asking, there have been no mentions of necessary audit of the recent 2/07 special election.)
2. From what I saw of the chaos of "counting" even the night before the 11/06 election "certification", there would be NO way to even find out how many ballots we really had, let alone to properly audit the processes and results.
Thus, to hire a really expert, independent company would just give us yet another taxpayer-paid expert report telling us how unreliable the BOE staff and Diebold machines and company are - only to be greatly and selectively ignored, to downright bashed by "the deciders".
In a normal setting, under normal, rational thought, the ESI and the Cuyahoga Election Review Panel reports would have been enough to begin the major changes needed, including the work of getting rid of the Diebold machines. But our board is still buying millions from them, and defending them, and considering Diebold their "partners". ( eg. See EMP Folly, below.)
3. And if you watch the above-linked film, you'll see that "normal" definitions of "independent" and "expert" were also not meant to apply here either.
So maybe that the "audit", as "promised" never occurred is a good thing.
From Bennett's statements, the board would choose the "independent experts" who would be under the authority of managers of the board - ie. taxpayers would be buying more foxes, to control the "watching" of more taxpayer-paid foxes, to supposedly watch the hens - who in this scenario, ends up again, to be us.
That sure does, however, make for easier PR to "boost voter confidence" though - or, I should say, "conning the voters" into thinking that all is well with democracy's most sacred trust.

Though a group of dedicated citizen activists worked hard and long through the beginning of '07, on developing an RFP to get an independent audit company to Cuyahoga , and implored the County Commissioners to take over the oversight of a such a study, the matter has become, DOA.

Holt's HR-811 and Nelson's S559
But what about the necessity of really independent, expert audits in future elections?
This is a hotly discussed topic now among voting integrity activists, especially as the Holt bill, HR 811, the "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007" and Nelson's S.559, "A bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified permanent paper ballot under title III of such Act, and for other purposes" are gaining traction in the federal legislature.
Both of these bills are completely insufficient attempts to both keep the machines - massively expensive, completely insecure, undetectably riggable (especially by insiders), non-validly auditable, proprietary*
electronic voting systems (*secret - no one can see inside at the code that runs the supposed "recording and counting" of our votes, and other "gathering of our voting data"); and to make them safe enough to be able to accurately and accountably count and decide who will be our next "leaders".
Impossible, especially as presented.

See the very salient discussion at

Holt, for instance suggests mandatory audits of "paper ballots" - which then allows that to be construed as "paper trails" that come out of DRE machines - if they have them, and when they don't chew, tear, jam. etc.

Every computer scientist nationally, however, alludes to "paper trails" as nothing more than fools' gold. We, as "citizen- outsiders", have no more idea that what any supposed "vote results" any DRE machine is printing is what the human voters have entered - than if we were forced, like in a game, to look from a distance at 1,000 powered-off computer enclosures, and had to guess which one actually had a hard drive inside. But in this case, the stakes are who becomes our next president, councilperson, judge, etc.
Also, those "toilet paper rolls" are very easy to "reproduce" and create; and for instance, they also have all kinds of little bar codes on them thatwe, as humans, can't read - except supposedly - with another proprietary vendor piece of equipment. Just what do those bar codes attached to each of our votes, say?

I could go on... and on. But check out the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) '07 report to the Election Assistance Commission, recommending that this nation's votes must be humanly generated, and must be able to read, counted and recounted by humans, independent of any software, especially proprietary software.

That means only one thing will do for our democracy folks - hand marked paper ballots - able to be hand counted, checked and rechecked by citizens with no machinery necessary - in order to preserve any rudiments of our democracy, corner-stoned by our ability to express our will at a voting booth and have it counted accurately.

Another audit discussion:
Holt 811 has also sparked other discussions among activists about the necessity of election audits, what would make them viable safety measures, and whether audits might be properly considered as a safety measure with electronic machines.

A Columbus, Ohio activist, Marj Creech, wrote "Audits are like condoms."
to which Attorney Paul Lehto replied:
If audits are indeed like condoms, it's not like the public can whip one out and just plunge in with an audit any time the spirit moves. Instead, the government retains anything from total control to a major role in whether and how the audit proceeds, so let's check out this metaphor further.............
(1) Presuming an audit condom is going to save the day, one must presume that one has already been electorally screwed, and one intends to put the condom in place several days to several weeks AFTER said screwing, as is the case with all proposed electronic audits these days
(2) Having been electorally screwed already, the government has nevertheless found it a good screwing or failed to detect it the first time around, and yet we must obtain the government's partial or total cooperation in the use of this condom and the method of its execution (since there are usually government appointees, involved, let's just say that the government gets to put the condom on We the People, and decide precisely when and how to do so, since there's no penalty attached even when a particular time for this ceremony is suggested by law.
(3) The condom has only one of two possible functions, neither of which results in unwanted presidency protection: (a) the x% audit is simply a look-see, more like a pregnancy test, that allows us to see that mistakes were made but nothing happens OR (b) the x% audit actually does change the results of some or all of the x% audited, in which case it acts just like a partial recount of x% of the precincts, but in that case it is unconstitutional just like Al Gore asking for only 4 counties in Florida to be recounted was unconstitutional, so in this case the audit condom fails precisely when it is needed the most.
(4) Thinking a bit more clearly about this, the audit is not like a condom, it is more like an abortifacient, but the most important decisionmaker is the government, which will have already decided intentionally to get pregnant, or at least certified that it received a 100% free and fair screwing the first time around, and the Constitution seems to require that we have a new baby in the White House every 4 to 8 years.
So you see, all of this happens in the dark late at night and the press is calling it an immaculate conception full of democratic wonder, and there you are Marj hawking your abortifacient services, but the new mom doesn't even want you around during the upcoming Thanksgiving Day holidays in which you propose to "audit" and perhaps abort, and would, as in Cuyahoga County, prefer to commit recount rigging felonies than to allow your medication to have its proper effect.
CAUTION: The medication will only detect a known percentage of certain known types of fraud, it will not detect a stuffed ballot box with pollbooks made to match, for example. Even if the medication detects an improper election, any further impact depends upon an entire range of expensive and convoluted legal maneuvers thereafter. Use this medication/condom for entertainment purposes only as it has been used for years and has not been observed to prevent any major unwanted pregnancies, and in numerous instances is statistically incapable of doing so.

Seems like Lehto has seen our "audit procedures" in Cuyahoga...

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