[EM] [Fwd: [Formers] [Black Box Voting on H.B. 550]]
davek at clarityconnect.com
Fri Apr 14 01:52:37 PDT 2006
Black Box Voting gets overly wordy below, but the message is valuable and
they have proved value in their previous warnings:
HR 550 DOES NOT demand correct elections.
But, if passed, it becomes an excuse to walk away without fixing the
I would emphasize:
Paper trails are useless unless able to be, and in fact are, used to
insure against failure.
Still want the basic voting procedure designed to avoid failure.
DREs have an undeserved bad name:
Agreed the label has been applied to equipment NOT designed or
built for that purpose.
When those doing the design and build WANT computers to be
dependable they CAN and DO produce such. Look at ATMs, computers used in
-------- Original Message --------
To: <fairvote at yahoogroups.com>
From: Joe Liberty <joseph at patriotsaints.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2006 06:29:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [FairVote] Black Box Voting on H.B. 550
> There is a major push right now to pass H.B. 550, a bill put forth by
> Rush Holt to mandate a paper trail (along with a flimsy audit that no
> accountant would agree is adequate).
> Election reform groups are split on whether they support H.B. 550. Black
> Box Voting normally does not weigh in on legislation, this time we will.
> Citizens need to be informed of the dangers as well as the benefits
> urged to support legislation.
> Like an antibiotic that's too weak, we belive that H.B. 550 will
> more resistant strain of election infection.
> Like a placebo, people may think the election system is getting well
> in fact, the medicine is only a sugar pill that makes everyone think
> For a minute.
> Paul Lehto, an attorney who is a leader in the election reform movement
> and the plaintiff in a groundbreaking lawsuit related to electronic
voting, has a
> unique clarity in public policy issues. Lehto says:
> "[the] paper record requirement, combined with a worse than anemic audit
> feature, is so darn dangerous in terms of its ability to create false
> "Putting into the Holt bill a provision specifying the method of EAC
> (2%or more precinct sampling) simply telegraphs to cheaters how to
> not get caught..."
> Any major political movement has the inside game and the outside game
> The inside game involves writing letters, lobbying, cozying up to
> legislators,and in the case of a privatization issue like voting
> with vendors and working with regulatory groups.
> The outside game involves investigative work, communications on subjects
> even when they are considered impolite, exposés, agitation,
> disobedience, and an overwhelming push to give citizens power over those
> who govern them.
> The inside game resists the outside game
> Those who play the inside game tend to believe that the outside game is
> undisciplined, a bunch of mavericks, endangers the goal. The inside game
> is polite, conciliatory, respects authority and likes to tell others
> "Support H.B. 550 it's good push this button send this email now."
> Those who question and probe are painted as irresponsible.
> There is no doubt that Black Box Voting usually plays the outside
> know we'll be attacked from within the movement -- from the
> establishment-oriented inside game - for taking the position that
H.B. 550 is will do more damage
> than good.
> But here it is: Black Box Voting believes that H.B. 550 is unwise. It
> not be effective to improve citizen oversight or election integrity.
> dangerous, because the weakness of the antibiotic will create a more
> resistant strain of election manipulation.
> The likelihood is that, if H.B. 550 is passed, it will simply "prove"
> electronic voting works "fine."
> It was a "fine" election...
> As another blogger noted, notice the frequency with which elected
> officials are now using that word. I suppose it's an improvement over
a couple years
> ago, when they called us "terrorists", but I still scratch my head
when I hear
> the new talking point: "We had a fine election." Not "we had an accurate
> election." Not "we had a fair election." We had a fine election. What
do they mean by
> Well, rest assured that electronic voting will look just "fine" under
> Holt bill because, as Paul Lehto notes, the way the audits are set up
> won't catch anything to make the election look "not fine." To solve the
> inadequate auditing provisions in the Holt bill will require drafting
a whole new
> So if H.B. 550 is passed, everyone will pat themselves on the back
> home and not a damn thing will actually change, except that more
> will be expended for retrofitted machines.
> The inside game people want the current kinds of technology to work
> And -- note the players involved -- many of them will have no role in
> if they don't make the current kinds of technology work. Note the
> Labs transcript, where Systest Labs refers to the meeting in Nov.
2005 -- you
> know, the one where all the industry perps showed up but the public,
> the chair of the California Senate Elections Committee were excluded.
> reports that the academics seem to be heading toward creating an IV&V
> effort, another layer of testing and certifying.
> More taxpayer money, more scientists, more paychecks, more layers of
> complexity, more people to point the finger at when elections turn
out to be secret
> unsubstantiated messes.
> The inside game has tolerance for a much longer timeline
> You don't need to hurry if you don't think any crimes will be committed.
> The inside game is addressing what they percieve to be the problem by
> adding a "vvpat" and quibbling over just how to do a 2 percent audit,
> test labs into the process, or ponderously altering standards in
> critical security failures, while grandfathering old systems in for
> No major reform movement will survive without the outside game
> The civil rights movement would not have gotten very far without the
> outside game. Rosa Parks was outside game. The Selma-to-Montgomery
> outside game. The civil rights workers -- some of whom were killed --
> The anti-Viet Nam movement would have failed without the outside game.
> Viet Nam Vets Against the War were outside game. Burning draft cards
> The outside game knows it needs the inside game, because when the
> is sufficiently focused and the goals are sufficiently clear and the
> themselves are beginning to drive the train, it gets pitched to the
> gameand changes are made to legislation.
> But it isn't just legislation that is pushed down the tracks by the
> outside game. Media tends to gravitate towards coverage of the
outside game. The
> message of the outside game sticks in the public's consciousness better
> then legislative bill numbers. After the outside game succeeds in
> message into the mainstream, embedding it in the public psyche, change
> becomes more durable.
> The inside game doesn't necessarily think the outside game is necessary.
> Because the outside game pushes the envelope, opening up new
frontiers, it pushes
> concepts into the mainstream that are -- by definition -- not really
> accepted yet. When you depend on the establishment to do your
bidding, you have to
> distance yourself from the outside game. The smartest of the inside game
> folks recognize how the ecosystem works, though, and often provide
> support and/or intelligence to the outside game.
> Less savvy inside gamers allow themselves to be persuaded that the
> game is dangerous, puts the agenda at risk, endangers the country.
> helped along by disruptors (posing as part of the movement) who are
> working for the opposition. In the civil rights movement, and in the
> War movement, there were paid infiltrators who posed as activists,
> individuals persuaded many real activists over to a more controlled, less
> "dangerous" point of view. They also helped pit them against the outside
> It's all part of the play book.
> You don't catch criminals by passing a rule against it.
> The outside game defines the problem a bit differently. Let me give
> analogy to show just how ridiculous the current inside game is to
> us who start with the premise that there just might -- possibly -- be a
> criminal enterprise at work in certain election situations.
> Let's say it's small, localized, and simply mercenary. For $40,000 a guy
> with inside access will make sure a developer-friendly commissioner
gets in. To
> get the guy in, he arranges to exploit a known hole in voting machine
> Now, the Rush Holt bill will have you wait a couple years before it even
> gets to the rules committee, where the lobbyists step in and gut the
bill. So that
> won't do a thing to protect 2006, because it wont be in effect by then,
> and it probably won't protect 2008 because even if it makes it to the
> committee, it will be quietly tweaked behind closed doors.
> So the guy pockets his $40,000 and the commissioner gets into office. It
> will almost certainly never be discovered, because there are no audit
> provisions anywhere for electronic voting machines likely to catch
this stuff, but
> let's say it does get caught.
> If you're playing the inside game, you take this example of the $40,000
> cheat and spend nine months discussing it into new standards, then a
> years to grandfather the old voting systems, and finally, around
2009, you address
> what the guy did for $40,000 back in 2006.
> By this time, another guy is selling elections using a different back
> door. He builds a better hack, having learned from the NIST
discussion what they
> ARE looking at. All he has to do is go where they are not looking.
> If you're worried about national politics, listen up:
> In a time-critical situation, the inside game runs out the clock.
> Let's not call this dirty tricks or Rovian spin or pretend it is just
> way hardball politics work. If we can't substantiate the data in our
> systems (both voter registration and votes) these weaknesses will attract
> people who want to manipulate elections. Subverting election-related
> is a criminal act. If it involves more than one person, it is a criminal
> If criminal enterprises want to manipulate a national election by
> attacking the data, that criminal entity will be thrilled to see
activists derailed into
> sincere actions that actually just run out the clock.
> Efforts to steer everyone to the inside game a a bit insidious. Think for
> The idea that you can solve election fraud by making standards, putting
> machines into testing labs, and doing poorly defined, weak, and
> audits came about because the inside game thought it was impolite to
> define the problem accurately.
> It's not about a paper trail -- It's about banning SECRECY
> If we want a trustworthy system, we need to be unafraid to entertain the
> idea that if you make any facet of elections secret (other than who a
> votes for), it will attract criminals. Such a temptation may take
place inside a
> voter registration database or voting machine vendor's operation. In the
> case of a rogue programmer, management need not even know (if the
> positioned correctly). It may exist inside an elections office, or with a
> pollworker, or through a political operative.
> You won't stop it by passing a rule against it. We need to be
> end secrecy and re-enable citizen oversight. Lobbying for anything
> give us "fine" elections but we'll never really know whether our vote
> as we cast it.
> Save your lobbying for something that eliminates secrecy. And if only a
> computer scientist can understand it or only an elections official
can monitor it,
> it's still secrets. H.B. 550 doesn't do much of anything to get at
> Wishing you the very best,
> Bev Harris
> Black Box Voting
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Dave Ketchum 108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY 13827-1708 607-687-5026
Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
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