Frying Pan into the Fire
From her yet to be revealed testing that has defied inclusion of any citizen oversight, from testers selections on down - only BOE officials, politicians, testers (some with seeming conflicts of interest,) the vendors themselves, and even a former lobbyist for ES&S - now she wants Cuyahoga to jump into using another, from the non-luminary list of current vendors, before anyone has a chance to think or stop the slippery slope again - as with HAVA 2002. This is NOT a decent solution for citizens and democracy. It's not even a good management one! (But alas, one she can virtually ultimatum, especially as Cuyahoga, since her seating of new board in early '07, remains under her "administrative oversight," projected through, "coincidentally," the end of the March primary.)
After all of her testing delays, until after the vendor-unfriendly California report came out, and despite years of research both in labs and in the field indicating that they should have been eliminated years ago, she now wants to suddenly eliminate Diebold DRE's and force a huge decision and change, all implemented before the March primary? Just what all is going on here?
See the November post: Opinions: High level strategies about OUR elections?
And Tim Hagan, Cuyahoga County Commissioner's statement does not make the situation any better. In fact it just diverts attention from the priority real issue: even before we consider who's going to pay for such a new system, first, no one should be buying anything else until citizens decide what system is worthy of our fair elections, of our democracy, of our vote, and of our being able to SEE and properly MANAGE that our vote is handled fairly for US?
We've been down that road before, which brought us to today. It's not pretty. Neither is the list of current vendors to choose from. They all are private companies with secret software, which can easily aid undetectable, inside manipulation, and with terrible operational track records, charging exorbitant amounts. None of them allow citizens to actually get proof with our own eyes, that who we're told are our "winners" really are. And may I remind Mr. Hagan and all - whether it's state, county or federal dollars - they're still OUR dollars; and despite continuous myths and diversions saying they're not - elections are still ours too.
The PD today,
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner wants new voting system for CuyahogaFriday, December 07, 2007Ohio's elections chief has no confidence in Cuyahoga County's current voting system and has suggested dumping the more than $20 million touch-screen voting system before the March 4 presidential primary.Joe GuillenPlain Dealer Reporter
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is pushing the Board of Elections for a quick decision because of the time needed to roll out a new system.
"We all understand there is not a lot of time to delay," said Sandy McNair, one of the four members on the elections board.
Brunner asked the members this week to consider an optical-scan system, which reads paper ballots filled out by voters, McNair said.
The board, however, is reluctant to dump its touch-screen voting system because it is gathering information about its reliability.
Brunner and the board became concerned about the touch-screen machines during the Nov. 6 election, when vote-counting software crashed twice, delaying results. The machines were made by Diebold Inc.
The board expects answers about the software crash next week. And, Brunner is expected to share a report about the reliability of voting equipment throughout the state.
County board member Rob Frost said, "I'd be hard-pressed to say that we can be expected to reach a consensus when we know we're going to have a whole lot more information next week."
Although the board is under Brunner's administrative oversight, the secretary of state said its members should ultimately decide the future of touch-screen voting in the county.
But she said, if the board decides to keep the current equipment for the primary, "I would have great concerns."
Even if the board decides to switch to an optical-scan system, no one is sure who would pay for it or the cost. Estimates range from $10 million to $20 million.
Cuyahoga County commissioners, who have urged a switch to optical-scan equipment since November 2006, wrote to Brunner last week, suggesting she get money from the state to pay for new machines.
"What I fear is that the people of Cuyahoga County will have to pay more money for the new system," said Commissioner Tim Hagan.
Brunner and the board will discuss the issue today during a conference call.
Adding to the county's time crunch is poll worker training and voter education for a new system.
The Summit County Board of Elections had four months to prepare for its first election using optical-scan equipment, which was in May 2006, director Bryan Williams said.
"It was difficult, I won't kid you," Williams said. "But it was doable."
Summit County paid $4.6 million for its optical-scan equipment, made by Election Systems & Software, of Omaha, Neb.
Summit County, with less than 500 voting precincts, uses one optical-scan machine per precinct during elections. Cuyahoga County has more than 1,400 precincts.
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