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United States Government Politics Raises Vote-Audit FOIA Request 1023

aacool writes " has raised the largest Freedom of Information request in history. At 8:30 p.m. Election Night, Black Box Voting blanketed the U.S. with the first in a series of public records requests, to obtain internal computer logs and other documents from 3,000 individual counties and townships. Networks called the election before anyone bothered to perform even the most rudimentary audit. Among the first requests sent to counties (with all kinds of voting systems -- optical scan, touch-screen, and punch card) is a formal records request for internal audit logs, polling place results slips, modem transmission logs, and computer trouble slips."
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  • Ohio and Florida (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StudyOfEfficiency ( 826511 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:23PM (#10713327)
    I understand made use of electronic voting machines manufactured by Diebold. Their CEO pledged to do whatever was in his power to swing the election towards George. Interesting... Plus the exit polls seemed to suggest a different winner.
    • They do? (Score:4, Informative)

      by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:32PM (#10713499)
      First, no, the exit polls do not suggest that []. They perfectly mirror the results.

      Secondly, Diebold's CEO, Walden O'Dell, said that about only Ohio, because he lives and works in Ohio, and is a GOP backer.

      Bad taste? Yes. "Interesting" that a CEO of a company is a Republican? Nope. Do I wish he would have had the scruples to stay out of politics since his company is making voting machines? Yep.

      But please, take off your tinfoil hat. When he said he was committed to delivering Ohio to Bush, he meant that as a GOP campaigner, contributor, and backer. Not that he was going to secretly have a 13,000-employee company rig a presidential election.
      • Re:They do? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:40PM (#10713629) Homepage Journal
        I wish I had some mod points for you, but instead I'll just have to second you. The national results pretty well match the exit polling results, and the national polls for the past few days. Kerry lost largely on high voter turnout for those who opposed him on moral grounds, especially gay marriage.

        I still wish that there were some way of doing a recount, even though it doesn't appear to be necessary in this case. It wouldn't entirely surprise me if there were shennanigans; I've heard of various ugly games played to influence voters. But here it seems that the Deibold machines did their jobs. I stil don't trust them but I'm not going to dispute the results.
        • Re:They do? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:56PM (#10713888) Journal
          Mentioning the gay marriage thing I find it amazing that a state like Mississippi which voted to ban gay marriage by huge majority still had a comparably close race for president. So it must be something else.
          • Re:They do? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by GOD_ALMIGHTY ( 17678 ) <curt.johnson@gmai l . com> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @06:07PM (#10716615) Homepage
            Mississippi is 40% black, 60% white. Only Washington DC has a higher concentration of black folks (61%, <cynic>no wonder they can't get representation in Congress</cynic>). Nationally, Blacks voted for Kerry 10 to 1, whereas Whites voted for Bush 2 to 1. Black populations tend to be social conservatives who vote based on economic and civil rights issues. While most black churches tend to focus on economic and social justice issues, white churches focus on social issues like abortion and gay rights.

            If you'd like to see how well this works out for the Republicans, check out these jokers [].

            It's a lot easier to be worried about white church issues when you don't have to worry about putting food on the table. Mississippi has a poverty rate approaching 20% whereas the national average is nearly half that for all races but 23% nationally for blacks. Quite frankly, it's also the reason I think hypocrite whenever I hear white folks getting all uppity about "values" when black communities are still stuck with the same statistical difference on lifespan, education, home ownership and business ownership, infant mortality that they've always had with white people.

            This country has never properly compensated it's black population for 300+ years of racism and slavery and the statistical numbers show it. The GOP will never increase it's vote among the black population until it quits playing lip service to these issues and actually does something about it. Bill Clinton was America's "First Black President" for a reason.

            Hell, you couldn't pay Republicans enough to walk the neighborhoods I have to get the vote out. The most poignant satirical illustration of this I've seen was the faux South Park cartoon in Bowling for Columbine. White America seems to pretty much be oblivious when it comes to how other people live and running scared because of ignorance. Racism in this country isn't dead, it's just gotten a hell of a lot more subtle.
            • Re:They do? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by mainlylinux ( 825237 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:55PM (#10717899)
              "It's a lot easier to be worried about white church issues when you don't have to worry about putting food on the table. Mississippi has a poverty rate approaching 20% whereas the national average is nearly half that for all races but 23% nationally for blacks. Quite frankly, it's also the reason I think hypocrite whenever I hear white folks getting all uppity about "values" when black communities are still stuck with the same statistical difference on lifespan, education, home ownership and business ownership, infant mortality that they've always had with white people."

              Dude, your above statement is a racist generalization. Lumping "White Folks" or "Blacks" together when making blanket statments is the definition of a stereotype. Next are you gonna say that white folks can't dance and black people love chicken?

              _PEOPLE_ are concerned about things that are important to them - it doesn't matter what color they are.

              The people who have to _distinguish_ the color are the ones with the problem. Every person is an individual. When the whole world starts to think like that, we won't have a need for the word "Racist".

              Do all Black people want the same thing? That's what it sounds like when you say, "Only Washington DC has a higher concentration of black folks (61%, no wonder they can't get representation in Congress".

              I didn't realize that Black people were a new Borg Collective! Support all people, rich, poor, from any background. Promote that.

            • Re:They do? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @09:02PM (#10718530) Homepage Journal
              You had me until the compensation/reparation bit.

              "Compensation and Reparation" and the general backward-looking "but your great-great-great grandparents were bad to our great-great-great grandparents" thinking is what leads to things like "ethnic clensing" TWELVE HUNDRED YEARS after one ethnic group invaded another in the general area of the world we know today as Bosnia.

              Remember it, Resent it, whatever, but every time you bring it up you lose market-share. Ask the IRA.

              White people became world invaders because for century after century the different white countries were invading eachother and taking eachoters candy. It was all an accident of geography and erosion (great farmland right next to very-old mountains with easily accessible coper and tin).

              Don't fish for reperations. The (us) white people wont buy it. If we generally subscribed to the doctrine of reperations we would spend so much time paying eachother for slights going back thousands of years that your three-hundred would barely make hay.

              Ask the Scotts.
              Ask the Irish.
              Ask the Slavs (from which the word SLAVE is derrived for a reason which you can rather easily guess.)
              Ask the Jews.

              And it isn't that white people are evil, but with generation after generation of this struggle for the verdant lowlands of europe they were just *bound* to come up with "might makes right."

              Let's face it, if Africa or India had such easy access to metals, and if their farmland was better, then their older cultures would have totally owned Eurpoe and Asia long before the Greeks decided that gravity was explained by "the fact" that apples contained little spirits that wanted to be closer to the earth.

              Dont say "we deserve better treatment than we are getting because of the last 300 years" (etc) it makes you sound craven and helpless.

              Say "we deserve better treatment than we are getting" and leave it at that.

              This white culture that you blame is pretty tied up in "god helps those who help themselves" and "might makes right" and all sorts of things like that.

              Exercise your power, demand fair pay for fair work (and then some 8-), speak to the future. Stop talking about what you deserve because of past events. Look to the future. Own today.

              Any white person who thinks reparations would be a good idea, is thinking it (secretly at least) in a "give them a pat on the head and they'll go away" way. You don't _want_ a pat on the head... trust me.

              Really, Ask a Scott, they were taking it from behind 700 years before Britton even knew there _was_ an Africa. They haven't forgotton, but they did figure out quite a while back that there never would be thirty acres and a mule.

              Ask yourself why English is a pollyglot of French and German.

              It would be nice to imagine that "Manifest Destiny" was the last gasp of that sort of thing, but it wasn't.

              Every day you are doing, through your government, to Iraq and the middle east AND Isrial, the EXACT SAME THING over Oil, that Dibers did to Africa over diamonds and "peices of india."

              It would take a little less than a glance through a good encyclopedia to make most of this stuff evident. /sigh
          • Re:They do? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by macdaddy357 ( 582412 ) <> on Thursday November 04, 2004 @12:55AM (#10720257)
            All this "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" shit got the fundies out to the polls. To save us from gay marriage, they voted for the man who has us teeterning on the brink of a second great depression, and may yet lead us into the third world war. Thanks a lot, you religious nuts! The world may yet end in your lifetime, but you won't be flying up into the sky to meet Jesus, while the rest of us stay behind to suffer. If the world gets blown up, we all die.

            Think I'm being sensational? The Iranian parliament just voted unanimously to resume uranium enrichment. Thanks to Bush and Co. going around the world like the Roman Empire threatening everyone, nuclear proliferation is now inevitable. The whole world is terrified of the U.S. and sees mutually assured destruction as their only ticket to security.

            If in addition to the silly "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" shit, there was also rigging of the elections, maybe we all really deserve to be a-sploded with "nucular" weapons.

        • Re:They do? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GeckoX ( 259575 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:07PM (#10714048)
          Not disputing the results, sure, that's entirely reasonable...once standard auditing has been performed and suggests there is no reason to dispute the results.

          The problem I have is that you have NO IDEA whether the Diebold machines did their job do you?

          I have no interest in disputing the results, at this time, either. HOWEVER, I most certainly retain the right to dispute the results should an audit suggest anything was out of line.

          I most deffinately want to see the results of the audits. Then, and only then, will I form a solid opinion on whether these machines 'did their jobs' or not.
        • by fair_n_hite_451 ( 712393 ) <crsteel @ s h a> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:35PM (#10714511)
          Kerry lost largely on high voter turnout for those who opposed him on moral grounds, especially gay marriage.

          As a non-American, that is what boggles the mind.

          With everything going on, the election is decided on "moral issues"? Me no understand...although, you gotta hand it to Bush's campaign people for realizing near the end that it was the only type of campaign they could win.
          • by QuasiEvil ( 74356 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @08:07PM (#10718001)
            Don't worry, it's lost on a great number of us Americans, too. I'm an old-school right wing nutjob - concerned about excessive government intrusion on personal freedom, size of government powers and entities, wastes of tax money, and making sure of transparency and openness in government because I don't trust it one bit... you know, all that good stuff. I don't want my religion, your religion, or anybody else's religion driving the government, and I damn sure don't want it legislating things any of those religions think is "the will of God/Gaia/Satan/Allah/Budda/Zeus/Deity-of-Choice"

            The sitting Prez has done everything but be a good old-style Republican, aside from some tax cuts that I'll argue were largely misplaced and mistimed. (Unlike most people think, not all of us old-style Republicans would cut taxes to zero - most of us would rather see the debt paid off than lower taxes right now, as we think its a greater risk to the country's fiscal stability.) We've gotten government bloat on a grand scale (Dept Homeland Security, TSA, etc.), loss of personal freedom (pick any moral legislation that's been attempted, or the trampling of the law on freedoms we still enjoy, hoping we won't know the law) loss of controls over government intrusion into our lives (PATRIOT and secret warrants), and general dishonesty and disregard for evidence at hand when making important decisions (environment, Iraq, pick any two). As they said last night "God, Guns, and Gays" is what the new Republican party is all about, and aside from guns, I don't think any of that is the government's business.

            To tell you the truth, I don't know where my side of the Republicans went. I think we've been 0wn3d by the militant, puritanical Christian right-wing. I'm incredibly liberal when it comes to keeping government out of purely personal issues, especially those that are only despised because of someone's religious beliefs. So I voted for all sorts of things yesterday in four different parties (including one Republican), including John Kerry for president. As a lifelong conservative, that hurts a bit.

            One of dying breed of Republicans
        • Re:They do? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by drew ( 2081 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @04:04PM (#10714960) Homepage
          But here it seems that the Deibold machines did their jobs. I stil don't trust them but I'm not going to dispute the results.

          I'm not so sure about this. I've heard enough stories about people hitting kerry on one of these touchscreens only to see it say bush when it asked them to confirm their votes. And I've heard them from a variety of places and states. Of course even a paper trail wouldn't help us in this case unless the voter took the time to look over the choices made by the machine. It's possible that these stories are the exceptions rather than the rule, but they still make me wonder.

          Personally I liked the ballots that we used here in Boulder, Colorado. Big printed paper ballots with a square next to each option. You fill in the square with a blue or black pen. It's about as easy as you can make it, and I know exactly how my votes got counted. On the downside, they take longer to count (as of noon today only about 5% of Boulder's precincts had reported in) but personally, I would be perfectly happy to wait until the Friday after election day to see the results if it meant I wouldn't have to worry about whether my vote counted.
        • Re:They do? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by schmaltz ( 70977 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @06:50PM (#10717161)
          Kerry lost largely on high voter turnout for those who opposed him on moral grounds, especially gay marriage.

          Which is strange, considering that Kerry was and is against legalizing gay marriage. Ah, hey, were you one of those Republican trolls who stood outside Democratic precinct polling places, falsely claiming Kerry wanted to legalize gay marriage []?

          Republicans taught us more ways to lie and cheat this past election season.
      • Re:They do? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:00PM (#10713949)
        First, no, the exit polls do not suggest that. They perfectly mirror the results.

        Um, you weren't up last night were you? CNN and most of the other major networks *REVISED* their exit polling numbers to match the election around 1 or 2:00am (PST). The poll numbers all day indicated Kerry was going to win almost all of the swing states. Then he doesn't, then the poll numbers were revised... I don't get it either

      • Re:They do? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by iwadasn ( 742362 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:03PM (#10713989)

        They only mirror the results because CNN adjusted them to remove this little embarrassment.

        If you saw the exit polls when the polls actually closed (9-10 oclock or so) they favored John Kerry by a significant (2-4%) margin. Only later (around 1:00 am) did the exit polls start to drift towards the actual numbers reported by the polls.

        Where did these numbers come from? Were there more exit poll results reported at 1:00 AM? It seems odd that this little discrepency was silently corrected once it was determined who would "win". I'm not a conspiracy thorist, but presumably the exit polls that were inaccurate at 10:00 when the polls closed should still be inaccurate this morning, but that is not the case.

        Something odd happened here, don't accept cnn's exit poll numbers.
        • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:14PM (#10714177)
          (See my other post here [])

          So, are you, too, alleging that CNN falsified its exit polling numbers? Because that's what i get from your allegations.

          Is it that hard to believe that polling might have indicated one thing in certain areas and another thing in others? The exit polling dipped and rose with the actual election returns, and there was always a ~+/-5% margin of error.

          But the final, aggregated numbers more or less match the actual results. Are you saying that CNN has fudged these to match, i.e., lying about the numbers, meaning they are manufacturing artificial exit poll data? And if you are, what possible motivation would they have to do that?

          If there was a big discrepancy, they'd (not to mention the $300 million Kerry campaign) want to be all the fuck over it...ESPECIALLY in the state that is deciding the election.

          So I hate to break it to you, but Bush won, and there was nothing fishy to speak of going on.

          (Disclaimer: I didn't vote for Bush.)
      • Re:They do? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:13PM (#10714138) Homepage
        But please, take off your tinfoil hat.

        Marginalizing those of us who have done our research on Diebold with your tinfoil hat references just serve to show how little you understand the risks posed by Diebold and their voting machines.

        Let's list some facts about Diebold and their machines:

        • They have used uncertified code in prior elections and covered it up.
        • They told one of their developers to "Print 'System tests passed'" on bootup in lieu of actually performing any tests.
        • One of their main developers has a prior felony conviction.
        • Their database contains two sets of voting books. A secret key combination enables the hidden book and the machine will report on it.
        • etc, etc.

        I've highlighted the really important bit. It's the giant pink elephant no media organization wanted to touch, and there's no logical explanation for it except to enable vote tampering.

        People arguing for the use of voting machines seem to ignore all our warnings because they seem unable to grasp that any company/person would be capable of doing something like this. Once you get rid of that childish notion, you'll be buying your own roll of tinfoil mighty fast.

      • by phliar ( 87116 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:43PM (#10717786) Homepage
        It now appears CNN changed their exit poll numbers [] when it looked like they didn't match the vote counts. It also seems interesting that FL and OH were the states with the exit poll discrepancies []... and they use the Diebold "blackbox" voting machines, the ones where vote totals can be changed without leaving a trace.
    • Re:Ohio and Florida (Score:5, Informative)

      by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:38PM (#10713587) Homepage
      Here's [] one of the articles which talks about this case of fraud.

      I can't believe they didn't require a paper trail. Simply can't believe it.
    • Re:Ohio and Florida (Score:5, Informative)

      by Radar Guy ( 827922 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:57PM (#10713894)
      I'm not so sure you understand correctly.... My family is from Ohio (Akron) and they didn't use the Diebold machines, but rather old punch card style machines. Friends in the Columbus area said the same thing. I voted on a Diebold machine in Maryland, which did not produce a paper receipt (well, it didn't produce one that I saw, anyway). However, []Ohio state law *requires* a paper trail for electronic voting machines. This would seem to imply no Diebold machines in Ohio....
      • Re:Ohio and Florida (Score:5, Informative)

        by mdfst13 ( 664665 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @06:48PM (#10717141)
        I did vote on an electronic machine in Ohio, and I didn't see any paper trail. Elsewhere, I read something that suggested that they print the paper trail at the end of the night. Since the printed paper trail is never reviewed by the voter, this is essentially worthless IMO.
    • Re:Ohio and Florida (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:09PM (#10714088)
      People lie in exit polls. There are people in certain ethnic groups, cliques, etc. who maintain one public persona, but who cast ballots a different way in the privacy of the voting booth. This is true of both sides, but particularly of the left.

    • by drekmonger ( 251210 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @04:50PM (#10715609)
      Diebold and friends have in all likelihood stolen the most important election of our lifetime. We never know for certain, because the real results of the election may have deleted forever, with a few presses of a backspace key.

      Others have already said the obvious: the exit polls don't match up to the Diebold tabulations. The record number of new voters all casting ballots for an embattled incumbent seems incredibly unlikely. In my mind, this portents a new era in American politics: the most cunning cheater always wins. And with the Republicans gaining more and more ground thanks to Diebold and other dirty tricks, they'll be the ones in the best position to cheat.

      We can be certain that the Republican's new electronic apparatus will entrench itself further and grow in sophistication--unless it is stopped right now. Diebold will be emboldened by this victory, and the people Diebold put in power won't lift a finger to stop it. In few short years, even the Supreme Court will probably be stacked with men who essentially owe their jobs to Diebold.

      The media is filled with cowards will we now shift to the right in response to the wind. If the Diebold story doesn't make huge headlines now, then it never will.

      What difference does it make it you can get record number of people to the polls if an evil nazi-nerd can push a button and erase all those votes?

      Reform of the election process should become everyone's #1 issue. Protests of epic proportions are needed, because as of right now, all the suffrage gained since the dawn of the Union is in peril.

      Right now, no one aside from Diebold has the right to vote. Not even the white landowners.
  • by general_re ( 8883 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:23PM (#10713330) Homepage
    We call on every candidate not to concede.

    So much for that....

    • Illegal! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anusien ( 705743 ) <anusien@hotmail. c o m> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:30PM (#10713451)
      I don't think it should be legal to concede. Screw checking out the voting machines, and have all the uncounted voters sue Kerry, Bush, and whomever else. By conceding the race and not counting those votes, it's effectively denying the right to vote for those individuals. This includes overseas (military and civilian), uncounted provisional votes, and absentee ballots. Every vote counts, so count every vote!
      • Re:Illegal! (Score:5, Informative)

        by general_re ( 8883 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:40PM (#10713618) Homepage
        A concession speech is not a legally binding construct - it is a political move, not a legal one. All the votes must still be counted, including the ones that haven't been counted a half-hour from now, when Kerry is in the middle of his speech. All Kerry is doing is signaling that he is not planning on pursuing recounts or legal strategies designed to bring about his victory - his campaign for president is ending as of 2:00 PM today.

        If, however, it should turn out that he has won Ohio, for example, when all the ballots are counted, then he will still gain Ohio's electoral votes and, presumably, the presidency, in spite of the fact that he has conceded defeat. That is not going to happen, as a practical matter, but it is at least theoretically possible. Elections boards don't stop counting just because one candidate or the other admits defeat - they still have to have a final count for the records, if nothing else.

        • Re:Illegal! (Score:5, Funny)

          by Ioldanach ( 88584 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:47PM (#10713722)
          If, however, it should turn out that he has won Ohio, for example, when all the ballots are counted, then he will still gain Ohio's electoral votes and, presumably, the presidency,

          As a Red Sox fan, I'm entirely confident that it WILL HAPPEN.

          Fortunately, as a Red Sox fan, I'm also used to dissapointment.

  • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:23PM (#10713335) Homepage Journal is a non-profit supported by donations. Screw the FSF and the EFF. Give your money now to these guys and shine the light on the roaches.
    • by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:37PM (#10713581) Homepage Journal
      I just sent in my $100 donation. Put your money with your mouth is.
    • by mapmaker ( 140036 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:59PM (#10713932)
      I'm right there with ya, poop.

      My $50 won't help all that much toward such a huge task, but it'll still have more effect than that one measley vote I cast yesterday.

  • by Tlosk ( 761023 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:23PM (#10713345)
    Assuming that enough fraud is uncovered that it could have swung the election the other way, what recourse is there? Would we have to rehold the election? Or could the current winner be undone?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:29PM (#10713430)
      The electors haven't voted yet, so there is nothing to be "undone".
    • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:31PM (#10713464)
      Fortunately Diebold software comes with multiple undo capacity. All thats required is for the Election Officer to select the 2004 presidential election tab hit the undo button and time will roll back to Nov 1.
    • by Glendale2x ( 210533 ) <slashdot.ninjamonkey@us> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:31PM (#10713470) Homepage
      Assuming that enough fraud is uncovered that it could have swung the election the other way, what recourse is there? Would we have to rehold the election? Or could the current winner be undone?

      What should happen, if there was fraud, is to invalidate the election and schedule another one. In the new election, throw out (or make illegal) whatever machines were used to create the fraud. Plug the holes and do it right. You can't declare anyone a winner if any fraud was involved without holding a new election. Yeah, it would be a pain in the ass, but it would be the right way to go about fixing it.
  • by phoebusQ ( 539940 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:24PM (#10713352)
    Out of curiosity, can anyone expect to process and audit that data in a reasonable timeframe? Especially on a volunteer basis?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:31PM (#10713483)
      Public Records Request - November 2, 2004
      From: Black Box Voting
      To: Elections division

      Pursuant to public records law and the spirit of fair, trustworthy, transparent elections, we request the following documents.

      We are requesting these as a nonprofit, noncommercial group acting in the capacity of a news and consumer interest organization, and ask that if possible, the fees be waived for this request. If this is not possible, please let us know which records will be provided and the cost. Please provide records in electronic form, by e-mail, if possible -

      We realize you are very, very busy with the elections canvass. To the extent possible, we do ask that you expedite this request, since we are conducting consumer audits and time is of the essence.

      We request the following records.

      Item 1. All notes, emails, memos, and other communications pertaining to any and all problems experienced with the voting system, ballots, voter registration, or any component of your elections process, beginning October 12, through November 3, 2004.

      Item 2. Copies of the results slips from all polling places for the Nov. 2, 2004 election. If you have more than one copy, we would like the copy that is signed by your poll workers and/or election judges.

      Item 3: The internal audit log for each of your Unity, GEMS, WinEds, Hart Intercivic or other central tabulating machine. Because different manufacturers call this program by different names, for purposes of clarification we mean the programs that tally the composite of votes from all locations.

      Item 4: If you are in the special category of having Diebold equipment, or the VTS or GEMS tabulator, we request the following additional audit logs:

      a. The transmission logs for all votes, whether sent by modem or uploaded directly. You will find these logs in the GEMS menu under "Accuvote OS Server" and/or "Accuvote TS Server"

      b. The "audit log" referred to in Item 3 for Diebold is found in the GEMS menu and is called "Audit Log"

      c. All "Poster logs". These can be found in the GEMS menu under "poster" and also in the GEMS directory under Program Files, GEMS, Data, as a text file. Simply print this out and provide it.

      d. Also in the Data file directory under Program Files, GEMS, Data, please provide any and all logs titled "CCLog," "PosterLog", and Pserver Log, and any logs found within the "Download," "Log," "Poster" or "Results" directories.

      e. We are also requesting the Election Night Statement of Votes Cast, as of the time you stopped uploading polling place memory cards for Nov. 2, 2004 election.

      Item 5: We are requesting every iteration of every interim results report, from the time the polls close until 5 p.m. November 3.

      Item 6: If you are in the special category of counties who have modems attached, whether or not they were used and whether or not they were turned on, we are requesting the following:

      a. internal logs showing transmission times from each voting machine used in a polling place

      b. The Windows Event Viewer log. You will find this in administrative tools, Event Viewer, and within that, print a copy of each log beginning October 12, 2004 through Nov. 3, 2004.

      Item 7: All e-mails, letters, notes, and other correspondence between any employee of your elections division and any other person, pertaining to your voting system, any anomalies or problems with any component of the voting system, any written communications with vendors for any component of your voting system, and any records pertaining to upgrades, improvements, performance enhancement or any other changes to your voting system, between Oct. 12, 2004 and Nov. 3, 2004.

      Item 8: So that we may efficiently clarify any questions pertaining to your specific county, please provide letterhead for the most recent non-confidential correspondence between your office and your county counsel, or, in lieu of this, just e-mail us the contact information for y
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wandernotlost ( 444769 ) <slashdot AT trailmagic DOT com> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:25PM (#10713377)
    I'm glad someone's on this. The scariest thing about all these new voting technologies is the idea that if something were to go wrong, intentionally or otherwise, we wouldn't even find out about it.
  • by Andr0s ( 824479 ) <> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:27PM (#10713396)
    A most... daring move, I have to say. The very perspective and magnitude of task such as doing independant audit of complete US presidential elections is... staggeringly humongous. I am afraid that the does not posess facilities, technology and manpower to handle the avalanche of raw data that might hit them as the result of this request - obviously, to do a proper audit, they'd need to start from individual ballots... all 110+ million of them, plus all the disqualified ballots, duplicate ballots, questionable ballots?

    In the aftermath, I am afraid that, if the audit indicates there are irregularities or foul play involved in the elections, reply might simply be 'It is counting error on your end, you don't have capacities for competently performing an audit of this size.' Besides, I just might think not enough of Americans will actually care.

    Bottom line... I sure do hope the audit works out. I sure do hope it proves elections were rigged (being from a former communist eastern european state myself, I saw a number of those :). But I'm afraid it'll be a wasted effort.
  • We failed America (Score:4, Interesting)

    by exmet paff dexx ( 824084 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:27PM (#10713406)
    Every Slashdot reader knew going into this election that the Diebold machines were unaccountable, had no unalterable audit logs, no paper to subpoena, no WORM media to recount from. They are rewriteable and they are in the hands of the GOP. Now, suddenly, only two states have a vote count which is wildly divergent from the exit polling. Those states are Ohio and Florida. They were polled entirely by Diebold machines.

    There is no accountability, no log, no going back. And it's OUR fault. We knew, and we didn't take action. We KNEW this would come.

    It's not about who votes. It's about who counts them.
  • Favourite quote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:28PM (#10713410) Journal
    I R'd TFA this morning (UTC). My favourite quote is:
    The central servers are installed on unpatched, open Windows computers and use RAS (Remote Access Server) to connect to the voting machines through telephone lines. Since RAS is not adequately protected, anyone in the world, even terrorists, who can figure out the server's phone number can change vote totals without being detected by observers.
  • by Altus ( 1034 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:28PM (#10713415) Homepage

    they could find all the evidence they need of record tampering... of votes being miscast... of these machines being totally unfit for the democratic process....

    and you would never see anything about it in the mainstream media....

  • Fishy? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by riggz ( 516733 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:29PM (#10713439)
    It seems fishy to me that the two states with computerized balloting and no paper trail, had Kerry winning in the exit polls, but the outcome was decidedly different. In fact these two states had the highest discrepancy in exit poll vs. final poll numbers.
  • No secrets... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:30PM (#10713459) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully everyone will comply with this order.

    There are too many questions about electronic voting, and the legitimacy of the election in question. If these requests are not filled, it will really help to calm down the cries of voting fraud.
  • by Leto-II ( 1509 ) <.slashdot.4.toby ...> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:32PM (#10713502)
    Who are these people, requesting so much information?! They must be terrorists!
  • Touch Screen Voting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whiskeypete ( 305461 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:32PM (#10713505)
    The election yesterday was my third experience with the new-improved voting machines. And for the third time, I walked out of the booth wondering if my vote would really be counted.

    After tapping my choices with a stylus -not really that easy for a left-handed-choice-tapper on a right-handed machine, I had to re-do a lot of them- I pressed the vote button. And the screen flashed something like "vote recorded" and then it went blank.

    There was nothing to drop in a ballot box, nothing to show me that the machine was really hooked to anything, and of course, nothing that anybody could re-count if there was a question of fraud.

    The friendly octogenarian on duty assured my that the it was all run by computer and that we didn't need a paper trail, since they could recount the computer records if they needed to do a recount. And since it is impossible for hard drives to die and memory chips to fail...

    Yeah, it probably worked this time but the empty feeling I had as I walked out of the polling station left me strangly envious of those days when I could look at my punch card to make sure that none of the chads were hanging.
  • Voting machines? (Score:4, Informative)

    by palad1 ( 571416 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:33PM (#10713520)
    I live in a country where 36.6 million people are registered as voters.

    Every 5 years, we vote for our president and sometimes mayors / deputies as well.

    It takes roughly 3 hours after the closing of the voting offices before we know the name of our president, without room for contestations over the regularity of the vote.

    How come we can achieve that by using such a primitive method as ballot-paper-goes-into-ballot-enveloppe-goes-into- sealed-urn ?

  • national security (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acvh ( 120205 ) <.moc.sragicsm. .ta. .keeg.> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:34PM (#10713531) Homepage
    Don't be surprised when these requests are denied on the grounds that providing this information would compromise our ability to prevent vote fraud. (my head spins just typing that)

    The radical right now control the White House, the Senate and the House. Some of the senators voted in last night make Barry Goldwater look like Ted Kennedy. This faction will not allow anyone to look behind the curtain.
  • by Neil Blender ( 555885 ) <> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:37PM (#10713576)
    4 MORE YEARS! Wait a minute, before you mark this troll or flamebait. I'm talking about 4 MORE YEARS OF SLASHDOT! Slashdot has been on the verge of death lately and probably couldn't survive a Kerry victory. With another 4 more years of Bush, Slashdot is virtually guaranteed an extra 2-5 stories per week that generate 1300+ comments and thus traffic and ad revenue. Look in the HOF [], all the top stories are politically related. Thanks to Bush's victory, Slashdot will generate enough add revenue to continue. We should all be happy.
  • What I don't get... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Coppit ( 2441 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:48PM (#10713744) Homepage
    One thing I find worrying is the disparity between pre-election polling [] and exit polling [] compared to the actual results of the election. Pre-election polling had Kerry winning Florida but losing Ohio, and exit polling had Kerry winning Florida and Ohio both. (All the other exit polling predictions were accurate.)

    I also find it surprising that Florida was so clearly for Bush given how tight it was last time. (Maybe retirees care more about terrorism and Iraq than I thought?)

    Much of Ohio uses Diebold voting machines, which leave no paper trail. Early in the campaign, Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell, a GOP fundraiser, promised [] to deliver [] Ohio to Bush. :(

    Question: If someone committed fraud, would it be better to make it a decisive victory in order to avoid scrutiny?

    These guys should start with the big counties in states such as Florida and Ohio that seemed to turn out contrary to prediction.

  • Consistent Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by canfirman ( 697952 ) <.ac.oohay. .ta. .52ivadp.> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:49PM (#10713770)
    Well, this may be regarded as flaimbait (or redundant, as it's all been said before), but hey, I've got some karma to burn...

    If America is the greatest country in the world, with it's freedoms and the right to vote, why can't they decide on a consistent form of voting? It seems to be, watching from the outside, there were so many different ways to vote, depending on where you were, whether it was electronic voting machines (and each of those were from different vendors)or paper ballots. In addition, the whole confusion and legal challenges to "provisional" and "absentee" ballots just muddied the waters even further. I also find it scary that something so important as voting can be done using hap-hazard machinery which is unauditable and unreliable. Hearing some of the stories coming from the different news agencies (CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, etc.), it almost sounds like the voting system is a 3rd world style system.

    What's needed is a voting system that's consistent across the country with checks and balances to ensure audit trails. I know that Americans take pride in the fact they vote for their government. Their system needs to be first class to ensure their vote doesn't become a circus. The American government need to ensure validity of the vote by ensuring voting is done in a consistent manner across the country, and if that is electronic voting, then they need to ensure the voting results are NOT subject to fraud or manipulation.

    Please note this is not a "bashing America" rant, but the zaniness about electronic voting has to stop!

  • by tinrobot ( 314936 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:04PM (#10714015)
    There's a lot of people who are arguing that the election was 'stolen' by Diebold others who say that things are just fine...

    The bottom line is -- until we look and until there's a paper trail we just don't know.

    For all we know, Diebold could be sucking votes out of the system like a cancer sucking the life out of a body. Do we just turn our heads and not go to the doctor for a test? We do need to know what happened in an objective, non-partisan manner. Perhaps Bev Harris is the one to do that, maybe not, but it needs to be done.

    Additionally, we need to fix the voting system. We need to form a true non-partisan grass roots effort to get accountability back into the system. I don't want people to ever question the results of an election. We need to have ballot initiatives lawsuits, whatever. I'm not an expert on how to force these changes on the voting system, but I'm willing to learn and it needs to be done.
  • Civics lesson? (Score:4, Informative)

    by JCMay ( 158033 ) <> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:13PM (#10714145) Homepage
    I don't think these guys are going to get very far with a Federal FOIA request. As many people do NOT remember, the United States is not one country; it's fifty little countries that have bound themselves together to further the common good of commerce and defense.

    There are no Federal elections in the United States; all elections occur at the State level or below. Since the Federal Government doesn't run elections, they won't have any documentmation about them.

    As a matter of fact, it's a historical accident that the People vote for President at all:

    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

    Perhaps it would be better for everyone if the State legislatures just nominated the Electors themselves instead of leaving it to the People.
  • by Lulu of the Lotus-Ea ( 3441 ) <> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @04:14PM (#10715098) Homepage

    Bev Harris and BlackboxVoting are certainly doing great work in exposing fraud and corruption among DRE voting machine makers (and other types, for that matter).

    But the real solution to the problem, long term, past the current election, is to get electronic voting machines based on open source code, and that produce voter-verifiable paper ballots. It just so happens that there's an organization for that purpose that could really use some assistance (financial and otherwise) right now: the Open Voting Consortium [].

    Just to be extra-sexy, our reference system uses Linux and Python :-).

    BTW. Some readers will think: "What's wrong with plain old paper and pencil?" Actually, there's not so much wrong with that. I just used a pencil to vote in Massachusetts yesterday, and it worked great. Paper ballot. Zero line at the polls. Perfectly transparent. Great security (just look at that padlock on the ballot box).

    But electronic machines do have a few good things, as long as their source code is open and the print out paper ballots after selections are made: Multi-lingual; blind accessible (using audio interface) and special interfaces for motor-impaired voters; large fonts for vision impaired voters; prevent overvotes and unintentional undervotes.

  • by jdreyer ( 121294 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @05:04PM (#10715831) Homepage

    Seems to me we could fairly easily do a pretty good job of verifying the vote. Here's how we'd handle a single vote for a single community of voters (whether a precinct or the whole country):

    1. Each vote gets stored in a database, and voter information gets stored elsewhere in the database, but no connection is made in the db between vote and voter
    2. Every voter gets handed an electronically signed copy of his vote and the database index of his vote
    3. After the election, the database becomes public and freely redistributed

    Here are some consequences:

    1. Using any copy of the database, anyone can add up the votes themselves
    2. Any voter can verify that his vote was counted by looking it up with his index, and can prove his vote to a third party by using the signed copy
    3. Anyone can proofread the list of voters for dead or otherwise illegal voters, e.g. by comparing with other databases like phone books
    4. Your vote remains secret unless you choose reveal its key

    There are a few problems with this; for one thing I don't know if whether a given person has voted is supposed to be public information; for another it would be hard to look for illegal voters. But I think this is a big improvement over the black box we have now!

    • by adb ( 31105 ) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @05:13PM (#10715953)
      Giving the voter proof of who they voted for defeats the purpose of secret ballots: you can coerce somebody to vote in a certain way and to present you with the proof that they did. It generally is public information whether or not a person voted in a given election. They check you off in a great big book, and if you're a politician and haven't voted, they hassle you for it.
  • Electronic voting fraud is more than possible, it's inevitable. Did it occur in this election? Unless a group with a lot of skill can get unlimited access to each sort of machine and acquire the source code used in the machines for this election (not the old Diebold source that was leaked), we will probably never know.
    As for fraud, it wouldn't have to be a conspiracy at all. A conspiracy means a group of more than one. Yet in a case like this, a single coder with access to the voting machines, say, someone working for Diebold, could throw an entire national election.
    If the code were self modifying and obfuscated it could be very difficult to detect. Especially as the Diebold code used in this election has never been publicly scrutinized and may never be. And as the system is running Windows, it will have nearly endless areas in which an illicit bit of code could be inserted.
    This single hacker could write a very small bit of code with any number of tests and checks to insure it only ran during an actual election. It could also have tests to insure it only skewed votes in districts with little oversight. I've only given it a moment's thought, but I've come up with a few good tests, I'm sure a bit of thought and intimate knowledge of voting procedures could devise even better ones.
    Most obviously, these systems certainly have clocks, so the illicit code could wait until November 2nd. Then it could check for very complex schedules of events that only occur during an actual election. For example, the machine being turned on for many hours, yet only being asked to record a vote once a minute or less, on average.
    A simple test like that could get past most quality assurance testing efforts. Most tests would fail to activate the hidden application because QA testers usually run through a testing process much faster than actual users (voters) use the machines. The hidden application could combine those tests with a bunch of other tests.
    The illicit code could be designed to only skew the voting when the votes for a certain candidate (Bush) were overwhelming. Meaning it would never skew results in the districts strongly the other way, or districts with close finishes. So the districts with most of the monitoring would never have their votes altered.
    But in each strongly republican district, this sort of check would change the tally to give Bush just a slightly larger percentage of votes than were actually cast.. I suspect few people would give a moment's thought to Bush winning a strongly republican district by 65% instead of 60%.
    Yet skewing results exclusively in strongly republican districts could shift state-wide election totals by a percentage point or more. A close election such as those seen in any number of states this year could be stolen by just such an effort.
    The system could have further checks to insure it was never activated when being tested or monitored. It could wait to skew results until it was uploading data back to the source. That source machine could have an otherwise innocuous vendor setting that the illicit application would recognize as the trigger to skew results.
    Such a system could even potentially print extra paper receipts to cover its tracks in the case of a cursory audit. But that would probably not even be necessary. Because recounts cost candidates a lot of money. And I can't imagine a democratic candidate paying for a recount in an uncontested, heavily republican district.
    This is not some nightmare scenario, if it hasn't happened yet, it is bound to happen sometime. Only by returning to some sort of user fulfilled ballot can we prevent a single hacker from fixing a national election.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @07:18PM (#10717483)
    The encumbent President who

    * lost the popular vote in 2000 (winning by a hair on the basis of some very sketchy events)

    * started a War on false pretenses (WMDs?)

    * sent over 1000 young Americans to their death.

    * and many thousands more mamed and disabled.

    * not to mention many thousands of dead innocent Iraqis.

    * who's Vice President's (prior?) employer received gigantic government contracts on a silver platter.

    * Putting the nation into the Largest Debt ever. (20% and 420 billion dollars over budget in 03!)

    All the while...

    * Millions of Illegal Aliens have flooded into the country --over 12 million now make up the general population.

    * the nation's Economy lost more Jobs than it has in over 70 years. Hundreds of thousands!

    * average Wages are down.

    * the Stock Markets have stagnated.

    * Education, Health Care and Energy costs have risen multiple times more than the normal inflation rate.

    * and plenty of other nasties.

    And now you're telling me that he honestly earned _more_ of the popular vote? Why?

    * Because homosexuals want to get married?

    * Becasue he gave you a few dollars back on your tax return --and a whole lot of YOUR dollars to _millionares_?

    * Becuase scientists want to use unviable fertility clinic embryos (_not_ abortion embryos) in order to try to save lives like Chris Reeves?

    * Because he'll protect us better? Funny I think two big buildings were blown up on _his_ watch.

    Again, you're telling me this President got _more_ of the popular vote this time around?

    In an election where

    * _all_ the exit poles are 5-10% "wrong"?

    * in which more of the youth voted --voters well known to lean to the left.

    * a larger turn out translated into more Republican votes, which has _never_ happened in history.

    * thousands of new unverifiable e-voting machines have been used in, guess what, mostly Democratic and Africa American strong holds. Huh, that's odd.


    If you haven't realized by now that this election has been rigged again, even better than the last time, then you are a dope.

  • OSCE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @08:58AM (#10722222) Homepage Journal
    These are the guys who have massive experience in observing elections. Their report is due later today, but from what has leaked through, I expect it to be damning.

    Some things the observers from OSCE said:

    * In some areas, they (as official observers!) had less access to the polls than during the elections in Kasachstan.

    * The computer systems in many places were less secured than in Venecuela.

    * A polish observer said the polls in Serbia(!) were easier to watch and more transparent.

    That's a bunch of slap-down from professionals with years of experience. The US has, election-wise, officially fallen to the standards of a third-world country.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.