Monday, August 10, 2009

Black Box Voting: Goodbye to Fair Elections in Wisconsin -- and elsewhere?

This long email is a shocker, and so well worth reading to the end.

MCM [Mark Crispin Miller]


Wisconsin is set to ratify a '5-year plan' which will advocate looking into forced mail-in voting, Etch-a-Sketch-style electronic voter registration tablets which eliminate the physical signature, and Internet voting. The combination of mail-in voting and physical signature removal pulls the wheels right off of mail-in voting checks and balances -- and safeguards for mail-in voting are already inadequate.
By the way, the primary architect of current mail-in vote authentication software is Jeffrey Dean, perhaps the most colorful character ever to hit the election scene; at one point he worked for the man who headed the White House Plumbers unit from the Watergate scandal. Jeff Dean has been to prison twice in the last 15 years, once on multiple counts of computer fraud used for embezzlement.

Wisconsin's new 5-year plan echoes new proposals and changes in many states (New York-failed this time, will be brought up again; Florida, part-way there; Indiana, part-way there, California, most of the way there, Arizona, most of the way there, Colorado, most of the way there...).

Wisconsin's plan, touted by Kevin Kennedy, director of the Government Accountability Board, would cost $17 million to make all the changes. Claims that mail-in voting increases participation, or is less expensive, are now being questioned by many researchers. Some data indicates that mail-in voting actually produces LOWER participation, and the high costs associated with authentication software hint that it may actually be more expensive than polling place voting.

The runaway vote-by-mail train requires that I bring this up, whether it's politically correct or not:

If you're concerned about bogus voters being entered onto the voter registration rolls by groups like ACORN, take a deep breath. With mail-in voting, an even bigger concern is dumping REAL voters who are UNLIKELY TO VOTE onto the rolls.

Black Box Voting research into the software used to authenticate votes indicates that people unlikely to vote can be targeted to have an insider vote for them. Traditionally non-mainstream populations like prisoners, the homeless, and low income may participate in elections at lower than average rates -- there is not enough data yet to know. We really don't have any adequate authentication mechanisms to determine whether the mail-in ballots submitted are real, from real voters, or counterfeit, cast en masse by insiders for specific target groups deemed less likely to vote. If insiders counterfeit votes for real people who didn't vote, it will be almost impossible to detect.


Black Box Voting has obtained this court testimony, by programmer Brian Clubb, pertaining to a software programming revision ordered by Jeffrey Dean:

"...if this voter showed up in the subsequent upload, then I need to find where he appeared in the first upload, tell them what envelope number, what ballot number he was assigned so they can pull it back out. "

One implication of the above programming change: It allows an insider cast votes for a selection of voters deemed unlikely to vote. If a voter actually does vote, it enables you to pull the bogus vote back out of the system. (see pp. 1-20 for more background on above quote; full transcript: - 1,007 KB)

By eliminating physical signatures, maximizing mail-in votes, and pushing real people who are less likely to vote onto the rolls, you set the stage for wholesale inside "VoteR" fraud which will be very difficult to detect.


Internet and mail-in voting conceal the counting of the vote, conceal who showed up to vote (and Internet voting eliminates the physical record for who voted). Both systems open the gate for removal of political privacy. Internet voting removes the hard copy evidence of the vote, just as the new Internet voter registration systems remove physical evidence of the signature. Both Internet and mail-in voting remove neighborhood polling places, a key battleground for restoring public right to know and public controls over elections. Once removed, it's difficult to restore them.

While well intended, many local officials are buying into a sales plan cooked up by think tanks and vendors. The evidence does not support the sales pitch that these tactics increase voter turnout or that it saves money. Here is the progression we are seeing nationwide:


1. Implement "no-excuse" absentee voting
2. Authorize Internet voter registration and "voter registration modernization" (have voters sign Etch-a-Sketch style electronic tablets instead of physical signatures on registration cards).
3. Authorize opt-in "permanent absentee voting" (further increases percentage of mailed-in votes)
4. Send press releases about the high percentage of mail-in voting, citing this as justification for moving to all-mail-in voting (forced mail-in).
5. Convert to forced mail-in voting for small elections; then convert state to mail-in voting.
6. Experiment with Internet voting.

Note that each step involves removal of physical evidence and concealment of more election processes from the public. These steps are being pushed all over the United States in cookie-cutter legislation. Local officials believe they are implementing just one step, but a review of national actions shows that once one step is achieved the next one is proposed. The steps are almost identical from state to state.

Signature matching is one of the key "checks and balances" cited to tell us mail-in voting is secure. Really? A dog's paw-print made it through signature checks in Washington State for two elections in a row. Yes, a dog named Duncan was registered to vote, using his pawprint for a signature. Most people do not realize that the physical signatures are not examined -- only the scanned computer image.

Using computers, one scanned signature can be stretched and colors changed. Scanned images can be imported and exported from the incoming absentee envelopes into the database containing scans of the voter registration signatures. Note that with Internet voter registration and electronic tablet registration, there is no physical copy of the signature on the voter card.


Well, you just can't make this stuff up. He developed VoteRemote, one of the most widely used signature authentication software programs. Jeffrey Dean's prison documents are posted on the Black Box Voting Web site - Here's the link:

Jeff Dean was sentenced to four years in prison on 23 counts of embezzlement, achieved by modifying a computer accounting program. He returned to prison in 2004 for contempt of court, and has been back in court since on civil litigation. Black Box Voting has examined over 900 pages of testimony from his various courtroom adventures, and we have learned that he personally ordered several modifications in the mail-in voting software which disable some of the checks and balances. His court transcripts are posted on our Web site.

You really can't make this up: Before his prison stint, Jeffrey Dean worked for the law firm where Egil "Bud" Krogh was a partner. Egil Krogh went to jail after being in charge of Nixon's White House "Plumber's" unit, the source of the Watergate scandal which led to the downfall of Nixon's presidency.

While still in prison, on work release, Jeffrey Dean was given a contract working for King County, Washington (together with his brother, Neil Dean), to develop mail-in voting software. Public records obtained by Black Box Voting show that Jeffrey Dean was given a key to, and 24-hour access to, the King County voter registration database, mail-in ballot program, ballot printing system and vote tabulation software. Jeff Dean sold his "Vote Remote" mail-in software to Diebold Election Systems (Now called Premier); his brother Neil Dean sold his company to Pitney Bowes. The other large mail-in software system is now made by Pitney Bowes.

Mail-in voting software is unregulated and uncertified, and under control of the handful of insiders who run the databases. Black Box Voting is one of the only voting rights groups investigating this.


If you like the idea of a neighbor rounding up access codes of the disinterested to multi-vote himself, you'll love Internet voting. The Internet voting mechanism used in Hawaii -- voting at home with a four-digit pin code mailed to voters -- was an open invitation to vote selling, coercion, and contamination by insiders. Some people voted more than once.


Only 6.3 percent of Hawaii's eligible voters cast votes on the new Internet system (as compared with 28 percent in a previous similar election), a record low. Vendor's response: "Our systems aren't really about turnout. They're more about accessibility to participation." Huh? The election commission leaped off the democracy boat altogether with this: "The technology side, it works."

Your self-cleaning oven probably works too, but it's not a democracy. For democratic elections to work, you need public controls, you can't have concealment of key processes, and you need participation.

Important steps -- I know, it's swimming against the current if you are a Democrat. But mail-in voting is just as concealed and undemocratic as paperless touch-screen voting.

Block mail-in and Internet voting efforts: Internet and mail-in voting systems violate your inalienable rights because they transfer control to insiders and conceal essential election processes. Help to kill these proposals.

This message was sent by: Black Box Voting, Inc., 330 SW 43rd St Suite K - PMB 547, Renton, WA 98057
* * * *
Black Box Voting is one of the ONLY voting rights organizations doing tough-minded research into the new vote-by-mail craze. If you believe our work is important, please consider support with a donation: or mail to:
Black Box Voting
330 SW 43rd St Suite K - PMB 547
Renton WA 98057
* * * *


No comments: