Tag Archives: election protection

The race for CD 44 isn’t over yet, and every vote counts!

(We owe Bill Hedrick a debt of gratitude.  We also need to study his race to figure out why it worked when others faltered. – David Dayen, I’m in for $25 for Bill and $25 for Charlie, who’s with me? You can give to both at the Calitics ActBlue Page. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We may be down, but we are by no means out.  This race truly is too close to call until every last vote has been counted.

That, however, is not stopping Ken Calvert from trying to end the counting before we can close the gap. Calvert’s lawyer is already challenging signatures and trying to get vote-by-mail ballots disqualified.

Today (two days after the election), Ken Calvert told the OC Register that he’s sure he won re-election.  We beg to differ.  With 100,000+ votes still left to be counted and a vote difference of only about 4000 votes, it looks like he knows he’s in trouble, and is trying to declare a victory before all the votes have been counted.  We can NOT let this happen.

We have assembled a legal team to make sure the process is fair and that all valid ballots get counted.  We have the best lawyer money can buy, but good lawyers are expensive.

Can you donate to the Hedrick Ballot Fund right now to help pay our legal costs and make sure every vote is counted?



Do not let Calvert steal this election.  We don’t need another Florida 2000 popping up here in Riverside.  We are making waves and even the national press has taken notice that the race for the 44th isn’t over yet.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s Huffington Post:

   Two days after the Nov. 4 elections, a congressional race in conservative Orange County, California that was dismissed by most observers as a lock for the GOP remains unresolved.  Democratic challenger Bill Hedrick is down by about 4,600 votes against 16-year incumbent Republican Ken Calvert in the 44th congressional district, but nearly 100,000 provisional and vote-by-mail absentee ballots have yet to be counted.

   GOP lawyers are descending on registrars’ offices in Orange and Riverside, the district’s two counties, trying to influence the vote counting which began today.

   Of the 200,000 Riverside County ballots to be counted, about half are from the 44th district. According to Rebecca Martine, Riverside County’s chief deputy registrar, 47,000 provisional ballots represent 38,000 on paper and 9,000 electronic provisional ballots.

   Calvert’s team has apparently been having private conversations with the registrar’s office in Riverside County, which was the last county in California to report its election results. There were numerous reports from Democratic Party officials, voters and even a poll worker in Riverside County that voters were “forced to use provisional ballots” or “denied ballots entirely” on Tuesday.

Our story of ‘too close to call’ has also popped up on DailyKos, the National Journal, Calitics, Swing State Project, Politicker, the OC Register, and the Press Enterprise.

The country is watching.  This race for the 44th is not over.  We have the chance to beat Ken Calvert, as long as we can afford the legal tools to insure every vote is counted.

Please donate to our legal fund today.


Election Protection: Stand Up For Debra Bowen

(because she really has been a strong defender of the voters here in California. – promoted by shayera)

In 2000 and in 2004, we saw what happened when election results are called into question. Citizens across the country reacted with outrage when they realized that their vote might not be counted. That’s why, in 2006, California Democrats worked to elect Secretary of State Debra Bowen — she promised to make sure that in our state, every vote would be protected.  

Bowen has fulfilled that campaign promise. Last year she had experts at the University of California conduct a thorough analysis of California’s electronic voting machines. When that review showed the machines could be hacked and results could be changed, Bowen promptly decertified the machines to maintain the integrity of California elections.

So how did Diebold and Sequoia respond to her actions? As you might expect, by putting their PR departments into overdrive. In the days and weeks leading up to today’s election, they have waged a media campaign to blame Debra Bowen for election delays, cost overruns, and teen acne.

And it’s worked. Newspapers and TV reporters up and down the state have been repeating their breathless assertions that today’s election results will be needlessly delayed because perfectly good voting equipment is not being used, with dire predictions that the winner might not be known for days.

Just last week, the SF Chronicle published an article predicting long delays in today’s vote tally.

“We’re estimating that it’s going to be 6 a.m. Wednesday before we get all the precinct votes counted,” said Elma Rosas, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County registrar of voters. “Our goal is to have 90 percent of the votes counted by Friday afternoon.”

That’s not good news for politicians and pundits who will be anxiously waiting to see who wins the presidential primaries in the nation’s largest state, which has 58 counties. If Santa Clara County’s problems are replicated in the other counties that are being forced to use new voting systems, final vote counts could be a long time coming.

Most of the problems stem from Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s decision in August to virtually bar the use of most electronic voting machines after a controversial state-sponsored review found that the systems were vulnerable to hackers and might not accurately tally votes.

Right.  Those delays wouldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that, according to today’s Field Poll, 4.1 million Californians are expected to cast absentee ballots, with most of them arriving at RoV’s offices in the last few days.

Nevertheless, on the very same day as the SF Chronicle published the article cited above, the LA Times piled on, not only predicting long delays but then publishing personal attacks by local elected officials that were aimed at Bowen:

“This was a shoot-from-the hip political maneuver to help her gain name recognition,” said Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone. “This is purely a waste of taxpayer money.”

To drive home the point, the LA times quoted the acting Orange County Registrar of Voters, Neal Kelly, who claimed that “There are a lot of grassy-knoll theories going on. Some of these people are on the fringe and will never be satisfied.”

It’s not hard to figure out that Diebold and Sequoia have had their spokesmen out in force influencing that media narrative. Now Debra Bowen needs ordinary California citizens to spread the word on her behalf, to tell the world that we are willing wait a little longer to get our election results if we know that it means our vote has been counted correctly.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicSo if you believe that we should take the time to count every vote as cast, you need to Stand up for Debra Bowen.

If you believe that we deserve to have confidence in how our elections are conducted, you need to Stand up for Debra Bowen today.

Stand up today and fight for your right to know that your vote is safe and secure.

Here’s how you can help. Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper explaining why you support Debra Bowen and her commitment to election integrity. The California Democratic Party has set up a web page that makes it easy to write letters to the editor on this topic.  Just click on this link or go to www.cadem.org/standup. We have sample letters, talking points, and some pointers to help you get started.

Debra Bowen has been standing up for us since 2006.  Today it’s our turn to Stand up for Debra Bowen.  Take a minute right now to show your support.


Online Organizing Director

California Democratic Party

Debra Bowen Conference Call Monday

Secretary of State Debra Bowen is looking forward to her hour long discussion with folks on Monday at 4 pm, judging by the note she left Bob on Facebook (yes, she is the coolest Facebook friend I have, especially since it really is her).  Courage Campaign is hosting a conference call with all folks interested in hearing from progressive hero Bowen.  She will give us an update on what she has been up to and her plans for the upcoming elections.

You can sign-up here and submit your questions in advance. The email that just went out to the Courage list is below.  And here is the Facebook group: We Have a Crush on Debra Bowen that Brian created, for this call and obvious reasons.

Dear Julia:

Join the Debra Bowen Confernce CallDebra Bowen was elected Secretary of State in November as a netroots/grassroots candidate, the only statewide elected woman and a true Courage Campaign progressive hero.

Now, Secretary Bowen is responsible for assuring that California’s votes count and are counted. She is already off to an incredible start and wants to tell you all about it.

This Monday at 4 p.m., please join us for an open discussion with Secretary Bowen, as she shares with us the historic work she has done to protect our vote as well as her upcoming plans.

Secretary Bowen has garnered headlines across the country for her “Top to Bottom Review” of California’s electronic voting machines.  The results, exposing gaping security holes, were so shocking that she moved immediately to decertify thousands of machines.  Since then, she has started an investigation into the illegal sale of non-certified voting machines to numerous California counties.

Debra Bowen has been working hard to ensure we have fair, safe and secure elections. This is a rare chance for you to hear directly from Secretary Bowen about her work protecting our votes and her plans for the THREE, count them THREE, elections next year.

Join Courage Campaign and Debra Bowen for a special conference call on Monday at 4 p.m. Space on the call is limited so hurry to reserve a phone line before we run out:


More details are below.


Courage Campaign conference call with the Honorable Debra Bowen


Secretary of State Debra Bowen and you

Monday, September 17, from 4:00- 5:00 pm.


Sign up now at Courage Campaign to receive the dial-in details:


This is a great opportunity for a follow-up to the call we did with Secretary Bowen back in March.

Again, space is limited. I hope you will join us for this unique opportunity to speak with one of our own, a true progressive leader, Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

Thank you for all of the work you continue to do with the Courage Campaign to protect our democracy by protecting our elections.

Rick Jacobs

P.S. In March, Courage Campaign launched a special “Election Protection California” group on our web site. The purpose of this forum is to stay in touch with Secretary Bowen as well as empower you to work with each other on election protection issues in California. If you would like to join Courage Campaign’s “Election Protection California” group, please click here:


Florida in 2000. Ohio in 2004. California in 2008?

(Courage Campaign’s working on the effort to push back against this right-wing power grab. Click HERE to sign the pledge opposing it. – promoted by Todd Beeton)

The Courage Campaign has launched a petition drive against the Republican power grab otherwise known as the “Presidential Election Reform Act.”  Click here to fight back against this transparent attempt to steal electoral votes in a move more brazen than anything Katherine Harris even dreamed of back in 2000.

As you may already have heard, a team of GOP lawyers have filed an initiative with the state attorney general for the June 2008 ballot that would reduce California’s voice in electing the president of the United States by moving California from a winner take all electoral system to one that allots electoral votes proportionally by congressional district.

They call it The Presidential Election Reform Act. We call it a rightwing power grab because the net result would be that the Republican candidate could win as many as 20 of California’s 55 electoral votes or the equivalent of Ohio.

Help stop this right wing power grab by signing this pledge to oppose it today.

MediaMatters: News Outlets Publish “Misleading Attacks” On Debra Bowen

(Bowen rocks no matter how much they lie about her – promoted by Bob Brigham)

Washington, DC based media watchdog group Media Matters has noted that articles appearing in several newspapers repeat misleading criticisms of Secretary Bowen’s “top-to-bottom” review of electronic voting machines.

Citing Courage Campaign Chair Rick Jacobs’ article in Huffington Post, Media Matters documents how the LA Times, SF Chronicle, Washington Post, AP, and other news outlets uncritically repeated the false accusation that the battery of voting machine tests in Bowen’s “top-to-bottom” review was “unrealistic.”  This accusation suggests that the computer scientists who were easily able to break in to California voting machines were given “too much” information about the voting machines in advance.  But the scientists themselves addressed this concern in their report: “the statement that attackers could not replicate what red team testers [computer scientists] do, because the red team testers have access to information that other attackers would not have, profoundly underestimates the ability and the knowledge of attackers, and profoundly overestimates the infallibility of organizations and human nature.”  In short, an attempt to compromise voting machine security could very well come from the inside with the same inside knowledge that the computer scientists had in their tests of the system.

The news outlets who uncritically reported the accusations against Bowen’s tests failed to provide the responses as given by the official report.  Media Matters notes that this is lazy journalism at best.

Support Secretary Bowen in the media now by writing a letter to your local newspaper.  Click here to get started.

Debra Bowen’s Top-To-Bottom Review of E-Voting Systems Underway

(cross-posted from Courage Campaign)

On May 9, Secretary of State Debra Bowen unveiled her unprecedented plan for a top-to-bottom review of California's elections systems. This is exactly what she promised to do as Secretary of State and she is delivering in a big way. Echoing language she used on the campaign trail last year, she said in a statement:

“California voters are entitled to have their votes counted exactly as they were cast. This top-to-bottom review is designed with one goal in mind: to ensure that California’s voters cast their ballots on voting systems that are secure, accurate, reliable, and accessible.”

The review, which began on Monday and will continue through late July, will test the Los Angeles County Ink A Vote Optical Scan system as well as systems by Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia among others, a total of 8 in all on a randomly determined schedule.

Details over the flip…

The review is being conducted in cooperation with the University of California and entails the following:

  • UC will provide specialists from its campuses, as well as experts from public and private universities and private sector companies throughout the United States to create three teams of experts to conduct the reviews.
  • Each system will undergo a thorough document and source code review, red team penetration testing, and a review to determine whether it’s accessible to all voters.
  • The review teams will provide an independent technical evaluation of the voting systems that the Secretary of State will use to carry out her statutory duty with respect to voting systems in determining whether the systems comply with current state and federal law.

In plain terms, the sitting Secretary of State of the largest state in the nation, which has to date spent $480 million on electronic voting systems, has enlisted a team of experts to hack into the voting systems  to determine whether or not they are secure. And who better to hack into these systems than those who've done it before including  Ed Felten from Princeton and Harri Hursti of 'Hursti Hack' fame.

Once the review is complete, there will be a period of public comment on the results, which, Bowen sees as falling into one of three categories:

"The first possibility is that a system will be found to be secure, accurate, reliable and accessible as it stands, so voters can have confidence when they use it on Election Day. Second, a system may be required to use additional safeguards, such as an expanded post-election audit process. The third possibility is that a voting system can’t be made secure, accurate, reliable and accessible even with additional safeguards, so that system may be decertified, which means it could not be used for any election in 2008.”

Needless to say, neither the system vendors, nor the county registrars of voters are particularly pleased with these tough measures, considering Bowen is required to announce if a system will be decertified by August 5 (6 months prior to the next election) and the review won't conclude until late July. It's easy folks, create (or purchase, as the case may be) a secure elections system in the first place and you have nothing to worry about, do you? The first sign of resistance on their part can be viewed in the public comments on Bowen's draft criteria for the top-to-bottom review, which she released in March. In a display of transparency that has marked Bowen's career, you can read all comments, by vendors, counties and public alike, HERE. Bowen is continuing to accept public comments on the top-to-bottom review even as it is underway at [email protected].

I applaud Secretary Bowen's top-to-bottom review and her unwavering commitment to transparency and free and fair elections. This is what happens when people rather than corporate interests propel a candidate to victory: she works first and foremost for us. Yes, elections do have consequences.

We'll be following the review's progress and will support her when she is attacked, which has already begun. If this issue is of particular importance to you, join us in our California Election Protection group.

To close, I think Debra herself put it best: 

“Democracy, by definition, is about free, fair and open elections,” concluded Bowen. “My goal is to have election results that are beyond question or doubt. Right now, far too many voters are wondering about the accuracy of California’s election results. We have three statewide elections next year, which makes it even more essential that our voting equipment be secure, accurate, reliable and accessible.”

California Election Protection Roundup

There’s a lot going on in election protection these days. I know for many the issue cooled once Debra Bowen was elected Secretary of State but while we can certainly breathe more easily now, there’s still plenty of work yet to be done.

  • Thanks again to Debra Bowen for headlining our public conference call earlier this month to discuss matters of election protection. If you missed it you can hear the entire thing HERE. And if this issue is of particular interest to you, please join our Election Protection California – Ask Debra Bowen group, which Debra Bowen’s office will be monitoring to gauge voters’ concerns.

Join me over the flip for a couple of updates from BradBlog whose new site design is mercifully, a lot less green.

  • Thanks to BradBlog for the heads up that this Friday, Harri Hursti of Hursti Hack fame will be appearing at Palm Desert City Hall council chambers for a public hearing where he will discuss, among other things:

    issues of how an electronic voting (e-voting) system may be undetectably compromised and vote totals easily modified to completely change the outcome of the election. He will discuss how the “Red Team”/”Blue Team” approach of security hack testing of systems, as newly proposed last week by Secretary of State Debra Bowen would work in testing the Sequoia Edge II equipment now in use in Riverside County.

    The hearing is Friday, March 30 at 9am at 73-510 Fred Waring Drive, PALM DESERT, CA 92260-2524.

  • Gee, what a shocker, looks like the voting irregularity lawsuit filed down in CA-50 has been thrown out by an appeals court for being “moot” since Billbray has been serving in Congress for six months.
  • Speaking of CA-50, remember the ridiculously partisan San Diego County registrar of voters, Mikel Haas. He got promoted.

SD 34: What the Bleep Happened on Election Day?

(good question – promoted by SFBrianCL)

Yet more problems out of Orange County! This time, there weren’t enough functioning machines at the polling places on Election Day… And to make things worse (and the wait EVEN LONGER), there weren’t enough paper ballots for the voters either! Now while Lou may still be able to win, what would have happened had there were fewer voters in SD 34 who were patient enough to wait in line for several hours in the evening?

Here’s a disturbing video from “Video the Vote” :

Now yes, these individuals were documenting machine meltdowns in Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, and Huntington Beach… Outside SD 34… However, others (including myself) can testify that there were similar problems WITHIN the 34th State Senate District. So why weren’t there enough working machines for all these people to vote? Why weren’t there enough paper ballots to give to voters once the machines broke down? Why were all these voters, especially the working-class people in SD 34 who COULDN’T AFFORD TO SPEND HOURS IN LINE, forced to do just that?

Was this just criminal negligence, or were there more sinister motives to swing the election a certain way? Check out Chris Prevatt’s post on The Liberal OC to see how the Registrar may have violated election law. My goodness, whatever happened, we need new leadership there to make sure that this massive failure NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN! : (

Election Protection Event With Debra Bowen and Maxine Waters

( – promoted by SFBrianCL)

(cross-posted at The California Courage Campaign)

On Saturday I attended an amazing election protection event here in Los Angeles. Co-sponsored by SoCal Grassroots, Velvet Revolution, and Progressive Democrats of America, the event brought together a veritable who’s who of the nationwide fight to make sure the votes we cast are the votes that are counted. The fact that it was held in the Immanuel Presbyterian Church seemed only appropriate considering the passion activists have for this topic, especially here in California.

More on the event over the flip.

It was only this past February that our Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, a Republican appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, re-certified Diebold machines for use in California’s 2006 elections despite having just released a report that cited serious flaws in the Diebold software. And it was this past June 6, primary day here in California, that this re-certification got its first real world application…and failed miserably. Not only were poll workers sent home with Diebold machines for days prior to the election in San Diego County (the now famous “sleep-overs,” ) which should have nullified the votes by definition of McPherson’s own “conditions for recertification,” but up in Kern County, the machines just plain didn’t work, leading to mass dis-enfranchisement. So yes, the timing of these events has made us quite sensitive to the issue. Luckily, we have a champion, a savior, if you will, in State Senator (and netroots all-star) Debra Bowen, who is challenging McPherson for his job. This is by far the most important statewide election Californians will be deciding this November and should be on all of our minds as we head into November.

As I walked through the nave of the church to find a seat, I was happy to see the Princeton University study video projected onto a small screen for our viewing pleasure (or horror) as we waited.

The event’s prime mover, Michael Jay of SoCal Grassroots, introduced the forum’s moderator, Brad Friedman of Brad Blog, who promptly took his place at the podium. He immediately brought up the Princeton study, which showed all too simply how a Diebold machine may be hacked and votes switched from one candidate to another without anyone knowing. Friedman spoke of The Washington Post article that actually deigned to report on the study, which said that “nobody knew” who’d sent the Princeton professors the Diebold machine they used in their test.

Freidman quipped with a smirk:

"Well, clearly they never checked with me."

The place erupted in applause.

"These machines do not work, they are not accurate, we need to do something about it. The media and politicians don’t seem to care. It is my job to be the media."

If you haven’t been to BradBlog, it’s the number one resource on the web for election protection issues and news. Check it out, he's doing great work.

Friedman spoke of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which provided funds to states to transition to electronic voting so that we wouldn’t have a repeat of 2000. The main architect of HAVA: Bob Ney, who recently pleaded guilty in Ohio. Friedman laughed that it is truly poetic justice that as an incarcerated felon in Ohio, which hopefully Ney will be very soon, the Congressman (yes, he still is one!) will have the right to vote stripped from him.

It wasn’t long before the marquee speaker at the event, State Senator Debra Bowen, California’s next Secretary of State, was introduced.

As her name was spoken, all of us in that church were on our feet. She always brings the house down at these events, her mere presence giving us the assurance that someone cares, someone understands how important this issue is to us. And the thing is, she truly does.

She spoke passionately of her mission on our behalf. 

“My campaign is about defending the simple idea of self-governance. By the people, of the people, for the people.”

The way we exercise this right, of course, is through elections, and it is only by ensuring the integrity of those elections that we can truly fulfill this most basic tenet of our democracy.

"I welcome you all to join me in an event on Nov 7. It’s called an election."

She was, of course, calling on us to vote, but that’s not all. She urged us to be poll workers on election day; to go to the registrar of voters office and learn the system. In her role as State Senator, she is fighting to make the election process in California as transparent as possible.

"So simple but so important."

She also spoke about an unconscionable deal struck by our current Secretary of State that required an exact match between ones voter registration on file and an alternate form of state identification, such as a driver’s license. Millions of people were purged from the rolls in L.A. County because of discrepancies in their information, whether it was the inverting of numbers in an address, a maiden name on one form of identification and married name on another or a mis-placed dash or period. This classic method of right wing disenfranchisement was clearly meant to target the working poor (who move more often) and new citizens, both Democratic voter constituencies. Debra Bowen fought successfully to lower the bar for what constituted a match, which put most of those stricken from the rolls back on.

"We are fighting to allow people to cast ballots."

Again, so simple, but so important.

She also spoke of changing the auditing procedures when a recount is called for. She carried  SB370 through the Senate, which demands that a paper trail will be used to audit electronic voting machines. McPherson opposed it. He also opposed that absentee ballots be part of the 1% audit during a recount.

"When I become Secretary of State…"


"We will not use voting systems that are not secure. We will be able to look at the software. It will be a matter of public record."


"This is not for me. This is all for you, this is your election, this is your state, this is your country."

Huge applause, standing O.

Bowen is such a class act. She is so sincere, so smart and so attractive as a candidate. She doesn’t come across as extreme yet still manages to tap into the conspiracy theorist within us all.

The next marquee name of the event is a hero to everyone in that church, a true darling of all Los Angeles activists: Congresswoman Maxine Waters. She is one of those rare speakers who you just can’t take your eyes off. She is so compelling a visual and aural force, she just captivates you. Add to that her genuine progressive credentials and you can imagine the response she got in that church.

She began by thanking us.

"Thank you for standing up and making mealy-mouthed Democrats speak up and say and do what we need to be doing."

She spoke of being up in Minnesota last week, where Keith Ellison won the primary in Minnesota’s 5th, which means he will be going to Congress in January. She was struck by the fact that Minnesota has same-day registration.

 "We should have same day registration in every state in the country. California needs same day registration."

She spoke of the re-authorization of the voting rights act and the remarkable fact that it’s being contested by conservatives.

 "I thought we’d already fought this fight."

And she spoke passionately about the need for us to take over the voting process from the government.

"We need a delegation to go to every county registrar of voters office to walk us through the system. Scrutinize every aspect of the system so that we can get corrections and file suits if we must to make sure these are systems we can count on."

We need to take over the polling places on election day.

 "Recruit polling workers. In the churches, labor unions, bars, social clubs. Let’s get these polling places manned."

She also spoke of consolidations whereby polling places in certain precincts are consolidated, making fewer and fewer polling places requiring people to go further and further from their homes to vote. She called on Debra Bowen to outlaw these consolidations when she is Secretary of State.


Huge applause.

Then something surprising happened. It seemed to surprise even Congresswoman Waters. Michael Jay, of SoCal Grassroots, got a woman manning the assignment desk at Fox News on the phone and began to tell her about the event. Jay then gave Maxine Waters the phone. We could hear both sides of the conversation. It went so quickly I didn’t get it all but this is how it began.

Waters: Are you going to help us get the word out?

Fox News: This is the assignment desk and we have a lot of things going on.

Waters: Is there anyone you can assign to this story?

Fox News: No, all reporters are out reporting on stories.

Laughter. Some boos.

There was then a sort of confusion where the woman on the other end of the line was like “I don’t know what this event is.” So Waters explained it to her in her inimitable way and asked her several questions with growing volume and passion, which culminated in: 

Waters: Are you going to help us get the word out on this important issue!?

Fox News: (beat) Yes.

Which of course led to huge applause. They videotaped it so hopefully it will be up on You Tube soon. It was classic.

Michael Jay then took the podium again and drew our attention to flyers that had been placed on all of our seats. They included phone numbers to members of the media and we took 5 minutes to make phone calls to the numbers on the sheet to inform them of what we were doing there and the importance of securing the integrity of our elections. It was such an ingenious grassroots thing to spring on us. In a flash, people were on their phones calling the media without even blinking. Offline grassroots activism at its purest.

Friedman returned to the podium and spoke a bit about the primary election in Maryland last week and urged all Democrats to do what Donna Edwards is doing:

 "Do not concede until every vote is counted."

He then spoke of the bi-partisan support we have on the issue of election protection.

 "It’s not about right and left, it’s about right and wrong."

He said that even Lou Dobbs said these machines be removed completely until their security can be guaranteed. Friedman then played a clip of Southern California wingnut radio personality Roger Hedgecock ("he makes Ann Coulter sound like Cindy Sheehan." ) expressing solidarity woth Friedman on the issue of election protection.

Friedman then introduced Holly Jacobson of VoterAction.org. She is fighting to reverse the trend toward election privatization all over the country. Voteraction.org has filed law suits to halt the purchase and certification of Diebold machines. In fact on Thursday, a judge here in California refused to grant an injunction against the use of Diebold machines for use in our November elections.

Voteraction.org’s hope is that states all over the country will follow the example of New Mexico. Governor Bill Richardson was so outraged by what happened with Sequoia voting machines in the 2002 mid-term elections there that he introduced a bill requiring the state to use nothing but paper ballots in their elections. The legislature passed it and it is currently in effect.

Friedman then introduced Mimi Kennedy of Progressive Democrats of America and Nosleepovers.org (you know her better as Dharma’s mom on Dharma and Greg.) She spoke eloquently on the current reality of the state of electronic voting here in Los Angeles. We currently still use “InkaVote,” where we place an ink spot on a card. But early voting is via Diebold machines.

Kennedy then introduced Connie McCormack, the L.A. County Registrar of Voters. She had in her arms a stack of poll worker applications. She urged us all to become poll workers. She also invited us to come to her office. She said it’s open to the public, we should all feel free to come and learn the election process so that it’s open and transparent.

McCormack was aparently an early adopter of Diebold machines. She now is a believer that more security precautions need to be taken. She assured us that she is on our side.

She also gave us a good piece of advice:

"If you vote absentee, Xerox the outside envelope where you have the number and signature. They might need to audit that."

Kennedy then introduced Marcy Winograd: "the woman who kept Jane Harman honest."

She urged us to all demand that our candidates have an election protection platform and to put it on their website. She also urged support for making election day a holiday and same-day registration.

"When I was a candidate, I was in touch with county registrar of voters office. I wanted to make sure that working class communities are given equal access, make sure there were no problems, make sure there are no modems connected."

She then adamantly urged us:


She called on us to hold our candidates accountable, demand that they

"pledge that if there are irregularities arise that you will not concede the vote."

Huge applause.

The final speaker of the event was the inimitable Gore Vidal. I can’t express how amazing it was to be in the presence of such quiet confident brilliance. Despite hobbling in on a cane and with the help of a young man, once he sat and began to answer questions from members of the audience, he exuded such a strong sense of quiet rebellion against the status quo, against the current administration, he was definitely heroic.

Before he began speaking, you could hear a pin drop. Some highlights of his responses:

"The media simply recreates the president’s view of the world."

"When 2 elections in a row are stolen, you no longer have a republic."

"I’ve never had this feeling before…that there’s nowhere to turn. You’d go to the press, the politicians."

"You are not a wartime president because there is no war. You can’t have a war without a declaration or a country that we’ve waged war against."

"I’d be tempted to support the death penalty for white collar criminals but no I wouldn’t because I’m opposed to the death penalty."

"This president's lack of judgment is majestic."

"I have a dream that Dick Cheney is sitting in a grandstand and I’m passing by in my car with a giant magnet. And since he’s half metal anyway…Is there a problem officer? I was just passing by with my magnet."


ACTION: Diebold Fails Another Security Test — Demand Answers From S.O.S.

( – promoted by SFBrianCL)

(cross-posted at The Courage Campaign)

On Wednesday, the Center For Information Technology Policy at Princeton University released a report that proves that the Diebold Accuvote-TS voting machines can be easily infected with an untraceable malicious virus that steals votes and gives a result different than the true vote tally:

This paper presents a fully independent security study of a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its hardware and software. We obtained the machine from a private party. Analysis of the machine, in light of real election procedures, shows that it is vulnerable to extremely serious attacks. For example, an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities — a voting-machine virus.

Go here for the full paper.

UPDATE: The video that accompanies the study is below:

I contacted Chuck Hahn, Assistant Secretary of State Policy & Planning to get Secretary of State Bruce McPherson's response to this latest indictment of the very technology that he himself certified for use in California's elections. Remember that McPherson certified Diebold even after a study that his very own office conducted found "serious flaws" in the Diebold software. His certification was "conditional" apparently on their insistence that they would fix the vulnerabilities.

At the CA GOP summer convention, I asked McPherson directly what reassurances Diebold had given him that these flaws would be fixed. He simply said "I wouldn't have certified them if I didn't think they were secure." And when I asked if there's anything online or in the public record that can reassure voters of Diebold's good faith efforts, he told me that they held public hearings that anyone could attend. That's when Hahn stepped in, gave me his card and asked me to give him a call and he swept McPherson away.

So in the wake of this new revelation I did call him and e-mailed him to make sure they were aware of the report and to get the Secretary's response. I received a return e-mail from Hahn not long after that, which, while swift, was still quite dismissive UPDATE:he prefers not to be on the record so I’ve taken down the text of the e-mail. He’s been helpful and responsive so far. Hopefully we’ll get a swift response from McPherson soon. This is about keeping pressure on him to answer for his decision to re-certify these machines. As I say in the comments, it appears from his certification announcement that CA may not even be using the machine tested. But that’s not the end of the story, nor is it the end of the explaining we must demand from McPherson.