Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Fear of Fraud
Some states, worried about the potential for abuse with voting machines that leave no paper trail, have banned their use this November. But Florida, which may well decide the presidential race, is not among those states, and last month state officials rejected a request to allow independent audits of the machines' integrity. A spokesman for Gov. Jeb Bush accused those seeking audits of trying to "undermine voters' confidence," and declared, "The governor has every confidence in the Department of State and the Division of Elections."
RIVERSIDE – Late Monday, word came that Mischelle Townsend, Riverside County’s Registrar of Voters, had abruptly quit her job mid-term. She said she wanted to spend more time with her family, and nurse her father-in-law through his impending knee surgery. Worthy sentiments, for sure. But she didn’t mention anything about a controversial March 2 election for county supervisor that was still being contested, and the recount that had become entangled in problems attributable, in part, to the county’s electronic voting machines. Nor did she mention anything about potentially explosive new details regarding the possible manipulation of those machines. Likewise, no mention of the big list of questions to this effect from Los Angeles CityBeat sitting on her desk since last Saturday.
Instead, the state’s most outspoken champion of e-voting machines, who was leading a lawsuit against Secretary of State Kevin Shelley to try to revoke a list of 23 improved voting security measures imposed last month, is stepping down and vanishing. Townsend leaves not only a mass of unresolved questions about the contested supervisor seat, but also about the fate of e-voting in this state.
Down for the count
There is a MetaFilter thread on this topic.
How To Lose An Election
CNN has posted a story to their site about electronic votes from Miami-Dade County's first widespread use of touchscreen voting machines that were lost due to a computer crash
The Globe and Mail reports an AP story Computer eats Florida votes
A computer crash erased detailed records from Miami-Dade County's first widespread use of touchscreen voting machines, raising again the spectre of election troubles in Florida, where the new technology was supposed to put an end to such problems.
The crashes occurred in May and November of 2003, erasing information from the September 2002 gubernatorial primaries and other elections, elections officials said Tuesday.
As voters continue to express concerns about possible problems with November presidential election procedures, members of Congress are asking Secretary of State Colin Powell to make an official request for United Nations election observers, particularly for swing states.
Last week, a group of thirteen Congress members, headed by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), sent a letter to Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, asking for observers. "As legislators, we should guarantee the American people that our country will not experience another nightmare like the 2000 presidential elections," Congresswoman Johnson said.
The letter also pointed out the "dangers" of paperless, electronic voting machines, saying that they "could become a standard to be exported and emulated [and] should be of concern to the United Nations and the international community as a whole."
The United Nations, however, turned down the request. "The policy and practice is that the United Nations responds to requests made by national governments, and not the legislative branch," said UN spokeswoman Marie Okabe, according to the Trivalley Herald.
Fight Over UN Election Monitors Continues in Congress