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Please help out in this historic election!
Massachusetts voters - please take cameras and record every act of treachery you see. That ugly criminal machine is going into high gear, the individual can save America. That's you and me.More than 600,000 on Massachusetts Voter Rolls Had Died or Moved, Nonpartisan Analysis Discovered
UPDATE: WAYS TO MINIMIZE VOTE
COUNTING MANIPULATION IN MASSACHUSETTS TOMORROW (hat tip Carmen)
Here you'll find the straight scoop along with suggestions for effective actions everyone can take, whether you live in Massachusetts or not, to watchdog the controversial Tuesday Massachusetts senate election.
Massachusetts results will roll in from over 400 municipalities (they don't administer elections by county like most states); I've been poking around, and I think we'll might be able to get the full set of incoming results, municipality by municipality, through this Web page:
Remember that these will be media results, not governmental results, but they should be collected and compared with the governmental results.
Yes, the machines are Diebold/Premier, and are hackable*; yes, the machines were programmed by a firm with a member of its key management team afflicted with a criminal record and a history of driving around the state with replacement memory cards and voting machines in his trunk. And yes, this election is vehemently political, with the winner possibly holding a key vote on the controversial healthcare bill.
(* Did an update eliminate hackability?) Well, there's no point in taking anyone's word on anything; whatever is on the machines was put there by LHS Associates, the firm that programs all the machines.
NOTHING IS REALLY DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION
Except for the unusually high octane senate race, this election is no different than any other Massachusetts elections over the past 10 years. They've had tamper-friendly machines and a thuggish, centralized voting machine programming firm for many years now, the same situation that afflicts New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut.
When I say "thuggish" I refer not only to the narcotics trafficking conviction of LHS Associates' key management team member/voting machine support guy Ken Hajjar (photocopy of record here:
http://www.bbvdocs.org/LHS/hajjar.png ), but to the sometimes profane and very blustery and pushy interactions many of us have had with these characters. Here's YouTube video showing LHS President John Silvestro interrupting a New Hampshire legislative hearing:
Now, when I say there is never basis for 'trust', what I mean is this: Public elections are the method by which we choose our representatives. Some say we have chosen to trust, because we empower our representatives to make decisions for us, and that is somewhat true. But the process of CHOOSING our representatives can never be ceded entirely to insiders, whether they work for the government or not. The public must retain the right to see and authenticate every essential step of the choosing process; if any key step is concealed from the public, the election ceases to be public, and an inadvertent transfer of power (from the public to a handful of insiders) takes place.
WHAT EVERYONE CAN DO TO HELP WITH PUBLIC AUTHENTICATION
"Poll watching" is a good and important thing to do, but it does very little to protect results. Let's assume that the political parties and various members of the public will get out there and poll watch, to make sure that registered voters can vote and no non-legitimate votes get into the pool. Nowadays, with computerized counting and absentee voting, two key steps are removed from public right to see and authenticate: Computerized counting removes public right to see and authenticate the count. After the fact audits do not replace or restore this. One of the "essential steps" is the original count, and no "after the fact" procedure -- especially one which takes place after ballots are transported -- can replace public right to see and authenticate the original count.
(2) Absentee voting removes public right to see who actually casts each vote.
So what can we do? I say that citizens both in and outside of Massachusetts can help protect the election, because we can all help pinpoint municipalities that merit special vigilance.
THE SEA IS VAST AND EACH CITIZEN'S BOAT IS SMALL
Massachusetts has over 400 election jurisdictions. We can help Massachusetts residents pick locations to watch -- and "watch" does NOT mean just during the live election. Election Night and the days following the election are perhaps even more important!
Those of us who live outside Massachusetts can help locate possible problem areas. How? By Googling around to see where there were anomalies, allegations, election complaints, or irregularities in the past. Tune into local races, like past mayor, sheriff or town council elections. Flag locations of interest by e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org or posting information in the Massachusetts section of our Web site.
EXAMPLE: ACUSHNET - April 16, 2008: "As questions swirl around the shredding of absentee ballot envelopes just two days after the April 7 town election..."
Yep. Let's put Acushnet on the Watch List. I'd also add Methuen, where LHS Associates is located (and where a family member of an LHS guy was working for the city); and Lawrence. Please share your nominations for Massachusetts Watch List municipalities!
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QUICK PRIMER: UNIQUE ASPECTS OF MASSACHUSETTS ELECTIONS
1. They don't run elections by counties, but instead by municipalities. Massachusetts municipalities can be found on the Black Box Voting .ORG Web site in the Massachusetts section, here's the link:
This is an interactive site where you can help archive information you find within each municipality and for the state as a whole.
2. Massachusetts uses computerized voting machines (mostly the Diebold/Premier Accuvote scanners, with a few antiquated ES&S Optech scanners scattered around), they have a "paper trail" but do not allow the public to watch the counting of the paper ballots, and the state imposes restrictions on candidates seeking recounts which can block ability to recount if margins exceed a certain threshold.
3. Massachusetts does not have Wild West-style vote by mail, and places at least some restrictions on absentee voting, such as the requirement to request an absentee ballot. That said, in this election they've been pushing pretty hard for in-person requests and in-person absentee voting. That is somewhat troubling.
4. By and large, Massachusetts election officials don't use the Diebold/Premier "GEMS" central tabulator. LHS Associates DOES use it, to prepare the memory cards, and LHS sometimes lets certain election officials also have it and shows them how to make their own memory cards.
RECONCILING BALLOTS, POLL BOOKS, EARLY/FINAL COUNTS, AND POLL TAPES
This is the method used by Richard Hayes Phillips and Paddy Shaffer to spot impossible numbers in Ohio in the 2004 general election, and this simple kind of audit is still one of the best ways to spot problems!
1. The number of people who sign in to the poll book should match the number of votes cast. Sometimes it can be off by one or two, but in that case, you will always have one or two FEWER votes than the number of people who signed in. Any number off by more than one or two, or any time there are more votes than voters, you've got an anomaly (in the first case) or an impossible number (if more votes than voters). Such discrepancies merit a loud shout.
2. The results should not show a large variance from initial results to final results (which are certified several days after the election), at least, not without an explanation and documents to back it up.
3. The numbers on the poll tapes should: (a) have correct date and times; (b) match the initial results -- sometimes you have to add poll tape plus absentee plus machine-unreadable ballots; (c) should be signed by poll workers (d) should have header and footer information intact and (e) should have signed, time-stamped "zero results" attached. Any discrepancies need to be red-flagged.
4. The number of ballots delivered, used, unused, and spoiled should appear on a polling place reconciliation form signed by poll workers, and the numbers need to add up. Any location that fails to account for its blank (unused) ballots needs to be red-flagged.
MOST AMERICANS DON'T UNDERSTAND WHERE THE BIG RISKS ARE WITH VOTE BY MAIL
Picture this: Suppose you have people dumping REAL voters into the voter registration list, without their knowledge. This is possible by insiders, in states with Internet voter registration, and by outsiders, by copying names out of phone books or just finding lists of addresses. Some of these people will be duplicates and are weeded out. But after dups are removed, what will remain is a whole bunch of REAL names on the list for people who rarely vote (thus were not registered) and are unaware that they are even registered. This is the real risk for Internet registration, and for the so-called "voter registration modernization" which heads us toward dumping everyone on the rolls based on driver's licenses etc., and for the kinds of violations publicized with ACORN.
When you combine voter list stuffing with vote by mail, you open up a huge vector for fraud: Insiders casting votes in the name of real people who are
registered voters but unlikely to vote.
In other words, the risk for large, wholesale vote-by-mail fraud is not with some dead guys, nor is it with the non-matching signatures. The real risks are with the signatures that DO match and the voters who are REAL, but don't vote and who may not even know they are registered. As for faking the sig match: This is a surprisingly trivial process.
MASSACHUSETTS PUSH FOR ABSENTEE WALK-INS:
Now, when you start pushing people to come in personally to apply and drop off absentee ballots, you also add risks for an insider operation for counterfeit absentee voting, by eliminating post office records. You also don't have to deal with the tricky little detail of where to mail a bunch of unasked-for ballots. Absentee applications can magically appear (a bunch of people "dropped them off") and voted absentee ballots for the matching names can sprout like mushrooms (people "dropped them off", you know).
Absentee voting already has a rich and proven history of fraud, just ask any Appalachian state, and is being ramped up in Massachusetts for this election. And it's a bit troubling.
WHAT TO DO:
Here's one strategy that can be used to detect counterfeit absentee-dumping:
Because it requires an insider, there will be considerable variation among the over-400 municipalities as to whether insider absentee fraud is doable. So by comparing the percentage of absentee votes between municipalities, it should be possible to pick out locations with higher-than-normal absentee
VOTING MACHINE FORENSICS
For more detailed examination of voting machine and tabulator functionality, here are some of the diagnostic reports available by request. These are all
considered non-proprietary and fall under public records laws.
POLLING PLACE VOTING MACHINE AUDIT TAPES: Each polling place voting machine can print an audit tape. Typically they just print the results tape, but there are two additional options: The AccuVote machines can also print a
"long tape" which shows results in more detail, including blank ballots; and they can print an "Audit Tape", which shows important information like when the machine was turned off or on, whether someone pushed an override button, and so forth.
CENTRAL TABULATOR AUDIT LOGS: Most Massachusetts locations don't use the central machine that adds up multiple polling place results, but some jurisdictions, like Boston and Cambridge, may use the GEMS central tabulator. If so, GET THE AUDIT LOG. Get it in electronic form. This will show many different events, all of them important. This central tabulator runs on Windows, so also request an electronic copy of the Windows Event Log, the Windows System Log, and the Windows Administrative log. GEMS runs over 80 different kinds of diagnostic reports; here are links to examples:
One of the most useful reports is in sample 8, which shows whether duplicate memory cards were created. The example here shows one precinct that had an extra memory card (ballot box) created, but in Putnam County Florida after the 2004 election, every precinct had 2-3 memory cards (ballot boxes). This
is important information for tracking chain of custody.
For more information, such as how to request public records, or details on looking at audit logs or automating collection of preliminary results, go to our Tool Kit page: http://www.blackboxvoting.org/toolkit.html -- both the 2008 and the earlier Tool Kit contain many valuable suggestions.
The most interesting information will come out in the days and weeks following the election. Happy hunting, and you can use this link to share information:
WE NEED AND APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT FOR 2010 ACTIONS:
or mail to:
Black Box Voting
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Renton WA 98057
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UPDATE: Share this video with
you from Brown's rally yesterday. It was an amazing event. Click here to watch the video.
P.S. Our call from home application is also a great way to remind voters about Election Day and encourage them to vote! Click here to get your username and password.
UPDATE: Check out this Video of Coakley Phone Bank at Massachusetts Teacher Association.