Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Press Release: Vets For Peace Ch. 56 Circulates Open Letter on Election Conditions
PRESS RELEASE: FOR RELEASE TUESDAY FEBRUARY 28, 2006
HUMBOLDT BAY VETERANS FOR PEACE ENDORSES VOTER CONFIDENCE COMMITTEE'S CALL FOR
ANSWERS FROM COUNTY AND CITY LEADERS -
VFP concerned over questionable voting machine software, departmental
accountability, lack of voter confidence
Tuesday, February 28, 2006, Eureka, CA - Humboldt Bay Veterans for Peace
(VFP56) is officially endorsing the Voter Confidence Committee's appeal to
the Humboldt County elections department to take responsibility for ensuring
transparent and verifiably accurate election conditions. Among the
recommendations noted, VFP urges local city councils and the County Board of
Supervisors to adopt the VCC's Voter Confidence Resolution, which outlines
conditions likely to ensure conclusive election outcomes and create a basis
for confidence in the results reported.
In this recently released letter to county government leaders, VFP declared
that "current election conditions guarantee inconclusive outcomes. The
Humboldt elections department needs to be responsible and proactive in
creating transparent and verifiably accurate election conditions."
Regarding the call to action, VFP Secretary Jim Sorter stated; "We need to
have the illegal Diebold machines seen for what they are. We need paper
ballots to have an election or else it is just a selection and our voices
According to the letter, VFP56 is recommending the following:
1. Investigation of Diebold uncertified software installation in voting
2. Election department officials acknowledge and affirm their understanding
of the GAO's findings, and to act in accordance with those findings.
3. Diebold be declared an unfit business partner, ruling out any further
use of Diebold voting equipment and any future contracts with Diebold.
4. Conduct town hall forums to involve the public in discussing preferred
election conditions, and to educate about current conditions.
5. Require the county's new election advisory board to detail steps and
costs for establishing voting processes owned and operated entirely in the
6. City Councils and County Board of Supervisors adopt the Voter Confidence
Resolution outlining conditions likely to ensure conclusive election
outcomes and create a basis for confidence in the results reported.
VCC EXPECTS MORE CITIZENS DEMANDING ANSWERS
Dave Berman, author of the Voter Confidence Resolution, the GuvWurld blog
and co-founder of the Voter Confidence Committee of Humboldt County, says
"I'm glad to have the support of VFP on this matter and expect to see more
citizens and community groups demanding answers and consequences."
Berman added that local media and law enforcement have an obligation to
determine what government official(s) allowed Diebold to install uncertified
software in Humboldt's voting machines. According to Berman, the Board of
Supervisors is long overdue to take responsibility for replacing the
County's illegal Diebold voting machines with a transparent, secure and
verifiably accurate voting system: hand-counted paper ballots.
"Public office holders in Humboldt County should know that personal
accountability comes with the job," he said.
Gordon Anderson, a member of VFP, added; "Vets For Peace is very concerned
about the election process. We want it to be a truly documentable and
accurate representation of citizens' vote choices. Hopefully the election
advisory board and the elections department can find a way to resolve the
discrepancies that still exist with using illegal and questionable
The full text of the open letter follows this release.
Phone: (707) 845-3749 for an immediate live interview
An open letter from Veterans For Peace Chapter 56
February 2, 2006
To the Humboldt County Elections Department, Board of Supervisors, and all employees of our local government.
As Veterans For Peace, our commitment to peace is equal to our devotion to justice. Over the last five years, both peace and justice have eroded. It is not just illegal and immoral wars; our most precious rights have been sacrificed to “free speech zones,” the suspension of posse comitatus and habeas corpus, and disenfranchisement that has become universal and guaranteed.
The Supreme Court decided the 2000 presidential election; the voting public did not. When paperless electronic voting was introduced, votes could not be recounted. Unverifiable votes ensure inconclusive outcomes that will never receive unanimous acceptance from the public. Arcata took notice of this and adopted the Voter Confidence Resolution(1) stating:
“When elections are conducted under conditions that prevent conclusive outcomes, the Consent of the Governed is not sought. Absent this self-evident source of legitimacy, such Consent is not to be assumed or taken for granted.”VFP56 has twice endorsed this resolution. We seek not to accept election conditions that will continue to guarantee inconclusive outcomes. Vital to this effort is increased awareness of the report(2) released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in October 2005. More than 100 pages meticulously document insecure and unreliable conditions of U.S. elections. Perhaps the most revealing comment occurs on page 38:
“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.”The official non-partisan watchdog arm of Congress has determined that votes were lost and miscounted in recent elections. This necessarily means that the true outcome cannot be known from those “elections.”
The GAO report also cites an April 2004 CA Secretary of State (SoS) Staff Report(3). On page 3, the SoS report confirms that in 2003, Diebold installed uncertified software in voting machines in 17 California counties, including Humboldt. The report indicates this violates state law, and that Diebold confesses to this crime. VFP56 is calling upon the Humboldt County District Attorney and Grand Jury, as well as all local government and media to investigate who is accountable for Humboldt’s voting machines having uncertified software installed, and whether those responsible were complicit in this action or simply negligent?
One other essential reference from the GAO describes problems inherent with using modems for data transfer (vote tallies, from precincts to a “central tabulator”). Page 25 of the GAO report points to a Trusted Agent Report(4) prepared for the Maryland General Assembly. This Maryland report describes (p.20) successful efforts to alter election results by exploiting vulnerabilities in Diebold’s GEMS central tabulator, the same software used for counting votes in Humboldt County. A successful “hack” of GEMS has also been conducted under the supervision of Leon County, FL elections officials, resulting in two Florida counties terminating their relationship with Diebold. The GEMS hack was also demonstrated on national television (CNBC) with the footage immortalized in Votergate the Movie, available for free download on the Internet(5).
Current election conditions guarantee inconclusive outcomes. The Humboldt elections department needs to be responsible and proactive in creating transparent and verifiably accurate election conditions. We know that it is a difficult time. To exhibit our understanding, here is one last citation from page four of the 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.Perhaps this “untenable situation” remains. Before it is too late we are depending upon you as county officials to solve this illegal and immoral dilemma. There are options available. A legitimate system must be in place that creates conclusive and verifiably accurate results. Priorities must be accuracy and transparency rather than expediency. Hand counted paper ballots may be a real option for now.
VFP56 recommends the following:
- Investigation of Diebold uncertified software installation in voting machines.
- Election department officials acknowledge and affirm their understanding of the GAO’s findings, and to act in accordance with those findings.
- Diebold be declared an unfit business partner, ruling out any further use of Diebold voting equipment and any future contracts with Diebold.
- Conduct town hall forums to involve the public in discussing preferred election conditions, and to educate about current conditions.
- Require the county’s new election advisory board to detail steps and costs for establishing voting processes owned and operated entirely in the public domain.
- City Councils and County Board of Supervisors adopt the Voter Confidence Resolution outlining conditions likely to ensure conclusive election outcomes and create a basis for confidence in the results reported.
In Respect and Peace,
Veterans For Peace Humboldt Bay Chapter 56
(1) http://guvwurld.blogspot. com/2005/04/voter-confidence-resolution.html
(3) http://www.ss.ca. gov/elections/ks_dre_papers/diebold_report_april20_final.pdf
NOTE: This letter is archived here: http://tinyurl.com/rvks6