Monday, December 12, 2005

A Campaign To Unite California Election Reformers

A recently released report by the non-partisan watchdog arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), has laid bare the unsecure and unreliable conditions of U.S. elections. Beyond just what could happen, the GAO has meticulously documented what has happened in the past few years, concluding:
Nevertheless, there is evidence that some of these concerns—including weak controls and inadequate testing—have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes. (p.38)
When votes are lost and miscounted, there is no way to be certain what the true outcome should be from an election. We can thus say that current election conditions ensure inconclusive outcomes, and provide no basis for confidence in the results reported. Among the many citations, the GAO report refers to an April 20, 2004, Staff Report from the California Secretary of State's office which reported that Diebold had admitted to violating state law in each of its 17 client counties (listed below):
[T]he VSPP [Voting Systems and Procedures Panel] initiated an audit of all 17 California counties using Diebold voting systems. The audit discovered that Diebold had, in fact, installed uncertified software in all its client counties without notifying the Secretary of State as required by law, and that the software was not federally qualified in three client counties. Diebold eventually acknowledged that it had failed to notify the Secretary of State of its proposed system modifications, and that its failure to obtain certification for those modifications violated state law. (p.3)
In response to that revelation, GuvWurld recently pondered:
Who allowed Humboldt's voting machines to have uncertified software installed in them? Was someone in the Humboldt County elections department complicit in this crime or merely negligent? Is this person still employed by the elections department, and if so, why?
These questions have been referred to the Humboldt County District Attorney and Grand Jury. These same questions are valid in each of the 16 other California counties using Diebold touch screens and/or scanners. GuvWurld hereby calls for a coordinated effort among election reformers to make this an issue throughout the state. Why? Look what appeared on page four of the same CA SoS report:
Diebold's conduct has created an untenable situation for both county and state elections officials. Some county officials have felt compelled to defend untested, unqualified and uncertified Diebold voting systems, having authorized large capital outlays only to find out on the eve of or during an election that the systems do not function as promised. Before the March [2004] Primary, county officials repeatedly warned that, without certification of particular voting system components, the election could not be conducted because it was too late to devise and implement back-up plans.
If elections officials were or are in an "untenable situation," then voters are in an even worse position. We are trying to draw a line in the sand demonstrating our refusal to accept election conditions that will continue to guarantee inconclusive outcomes. Necessary to this goal is a similar line in the sand laid down by elections officials. After all, if they say elections "could not be conducted" under certain circumstances, why have we not seen a cancelled election? Where will elections officials draw their line in the sand?

Many elections officials will never do that. Such people do not warrant the trust of the public and must be the first to resign or be removed from office. Try this line: "If you are resigned to the status quo, you must resign your office and make way for someone determined to improve election conditions." Anyone who continues defending, excusing or apologizing for current election conditions has no business in election administration or in any other public office.

Action Steps:
  1. Forward this message to District Attorneys, Grand Juries, County Supervisors, City Councilmembers, and local media in each of Diebold's 17 CA client Counties (listed below), requesting investigation of Diebold's crimes and any possible involvement of local elections officials.

  2. Follow up with phone calls requesting:

    • Election department officials be asked to acknowledge and affirm their understanding of the GAO's findings, or submit their resignation;

    • Diebold be declared an unfit business partner, ruling out any further use of Diebold voting equipment, any future contracts with Diebold, and all privately owned, proprietary voting systems;

    • City Councils and County Boards of Supervisors adopt the Voter Confidence Resolution outlining conditions necessary to ensure conclusive election outcomes and create a basis for confidence in the results reported.

  3. Turn to those around you and discuss how else to draw a line in the sand. In particular, we greatly need the leadership of California's many established election reform groups acting in solidarity with this call to action.
CA Counties Using Diebold:
San Diego
San Joaquin
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
Click HERE to see which CA counties use which voting systems.


CA election code:

CA voter complaint form:

CA newspaper contacts:

CA Grand Jurors Association:

CA District Attorneys:

CA Boards of Supervisors:



Excellent work! Thanks for your unflagging efforts at saving Democracy! With a little more pushing, we might just be able to get at the truth of these rigged elections.

The latest on Diebold is very good news (go, Brad, go!)- too bad the damage is already done and that hideous monster lives in the White House.

Keep up the great work, GuvWorld!

By Anonymous Alicia, at 4:27 PM  

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