Sunday, November 26, 2006

Will An Independent Expert Audit of the Cuyahoga November Election Be Independent? Expert? an Audit?

In addition to agenda items on the Monday 11/27 meeting, (see entry directly below,) a group of election reform advocates of which I am a part, who have been working on getting an independent expert audit after this election, I think will be at this meeting again requesting one - a truly independent audit.

It was after I kind of "hounded" the Cuyahoga County Commissioners for a few months at the end of 2005, that they decided, before May's election, to do an independent audit for May - to check out on their own the lack of security inherent in electronic voting systems and the enormous, and constantly rising costs of it. (I did not suggest any vendors for that audit.) That resulted in the very enlightening Election Science Institute report, (see postings below) bringing to light many critical questions - that still remain - about the accuracy, operability, transparency, security and others in Cuyahoga's election system - about the Diebold system and some of the BOE leadership running our elections.

An actual audit - including not only comparing "somethings" from unknown software inside of black box machines to other such machines, but also to the voters' will - after every election - needs to be built into every county's election system after every election, so real voter confidence may truly ensue, or not.

What could be more important to democracy than knowing that the people in office as "the deciders" - even the deciders of election laws and systems - are the people that "we, the people" have chosen?

The "rub now?
On October 2, at the that meeting, Mr. Bennett said they certainly would do this "independent" audit. But the board decided that this "independent" audit will be owned and oversighted by the CCBOE! An inherent conflict of interest.

And Mr. Bennett announced that THEY will hire a firm, that will be under the direct direction of some of the same people causing all the confusions noted in earlier posts here, and the same people so scared and vested with keeping their jobs - and that the so-called "independent" firm will be hired through the 2008 presidential election! (see video link at bottom of this post.)

If one just takes a look at what happened to ESI, for saying honest things that put the board and its methods in less than perfect light in this video , you can see readily, that "the perfect light" to supposedly "maintain voter 'confidence'" is Mr. Bennett's at least, very highest priority - not the truth.

The small group of election reform advocates who have looked over the CCBOE audit RFP have made some "suggestions", like not just comparing machines to machines, and declaring "all is very well in Cuyahoga," but really trying to make our entire election system - one of the largest voting districts in the nation - a REAL democratic election. There are many specifics added to theirs, about absentee ballots, provisionals, etc. - as well as an imploring to let the Commissioners again own it and lead it.

I was at the Commissioners meeting on November 16, and they seem to have no interest (things are thick in the "dealings" of Cuyahoga.)
Their reason? They've already spent more than $14 on this election...(!!! and I add that a true looking at all expenditures would show the vast majority of that money has flowed directly from worthy taxpayer interests into Diebold's pockets. See "Mr. Vu's Next Gig?" below)

Commissioner Dimora even suggested that citizens get together and "pool our money" for such an audit! Hard to believe, but it's on tape.

I've suggested to the "RFP for independent audit advocate group" that since the CCBOE claims they have the funds for their form of "independent" audit, and since the money (to use in our best interst, not in Diebold's/or the CCBOE's) is being presented as the issue for actual independence - then we need to let the Commissioners know that since THEY appropriated those/our funds to the CCBOE, THEY need to ask for them back, and take independent ownership/oversight of this important election function.

To see the 10/2/06 CCBOE decision/version of "independence" for yourself, and some reform advocate speakers for security, immediate and post-audits - about 35 minutes in all- (I'm at the end of this one) click here. It may all sound reasonable, but if you follow along through these posts, it will become clear that what you see is not always what you get in Cuyahoga. The buzzer you hear is the 5 minute kitchen timer they run on citizen speakers. What you don't hear is the loud ticking behind us as it goes along.

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