|Truth, Lies, & Politics
When is a coincidence too much of a
coincidence to be one?
Is this your State? Will Your Vote Count?
SysTest Labs: Why it matters to you as a voter,
as a conpiracy.
|Does Your Vote Count?
If your voting system is one of these, SysTest Labs may have tested your
system using the same undocumented test methods and unqualified/untrained
testers that led to its suspension by the National Institute of Standards and
Technology: Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Diebold Election Systems,
Sequoia Voting Systems, Barden Technologies, Danaher Controls, Dominion
Voting Systems, Hart InterCivic, Inspire Voting Systems, MicroVote, NEDAP,
Populex Corporation, SmartMatic, Unisyn, Vote Here, Wintergreen Research.
In other words, your voting machines may be certified and operating under a
false sense of security.
If you vote on ES&S iVotronics touch-screen voting machines and live in one
of these states, your vote may not have counted in 2002, 2004, or 2006. And
your vote may not count this November. Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, North
Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas.
Considering the multiple tiers of professional evaluations and testing of our
voting machines, from the vendor’s own quality assurance processes to the
independent testing authorities, the Secretary of State certification process,
the County Election Supervisor and then to the final preparation for each
election, it is difficult to fathom that so many of the same computer failures
rear up election after election.
Will your vote count? As the optical ballot scanner sucking in my ballot
groaned and chattered this year, I wondered if my vote will count this election.
Clearly as shown in ES&S iVotronic Error Highlights at the end of this
report, in the states and elections documented votes were not counted.
However, there’s another aspect to the SysTest Labs’ revelation, in that it adds
one more company and another politician to the growing list of hands-on
players named in Conspiracy, coincidence, or skullduggery.
SysTest Labs is the independent testing authority that led to the 2002 ES&S
iVotronics touch-screen certification in Florida and other states. However, the
iVotronics failed in several states and in several elections, including Florida’s
2006 election. At least 89K votes were lost statewide and 18K votes were lost in
Sarasota’s contested Congressional District 13 race. GAO Sarasota D-13: Blood
on the floor, bullet in the head, where did that smoking gun go?
Vern Buchanan “won” 2006’s District 13 race by 369 votes against Christine
Jennings. When the race was contested, Buchanan hired SysTest Labs during
the post-election testing in which the iVotronics were given a “clean bill of
health,” adding “credence” to Buchanan’s win. (1)
But the iVotronics weren’t clean and they weren’t given a clean bill of health.
After citing several bad practice faults against Florida’s Secretary of State,
Sarasota’s Election Supervisor, and ES&S, the Government Accountability
Office (GAO) investigation concluded with an inconclusive verdict of
insufficient evidence following a final touch-screen hardware test of two
working machines. While the GAO reports make no reference to SysTest Labs
directly, an “independent testing authority” is references several times.
And Buchanan? Buchanan’s funneled nearly $1.25 million of his own cash into
his campaign, money he earned at least in part by bilking his customers, if you
believe the lawsuits filed against him. Of course Buchanan denies the lawsuits
that charge Buchanan and his car dealerships of defrauding automakers and
consumers, and of violating campaign finance laws.
As for conspiracies, one company’s lapse in quality and another politician’s
dubious win do not remotely rise to the level of conspiracy or even mischief.
However as the list of questionable circumstances grows while continuing to
roil around the common ES&S core, it is worth noting. So to the growing band
of shady hands-on players that includes George W. Bush, Florida Governor Jeb
Bush, Michael Connell, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Florida
Secretary of State Katherine Harris, Florida Secretary of State Sandra
Mortham, U.S. Representative Tom Feeney, and ES&S, add SysTest Labs and
Rep. Vern Buchanan.
ES&S iVotronic Error Highlights
The following summary highlights some of ES&S iVotronic failures during the
past several elections. Except where noted, the information was pulled and
consolidated from VotersUnite.org’s Malfunctions and Miscounts report.
The Malfunctions report is well referencing in its more user-friendly format on
VotersUnite, especially if your state is not included on this list and your voting
system is one of the other voting systems tested by SysTest Labs.
Arkansas, 2006. (1) Voting machine malfunctions in three counties
affecting 10,000 voters. (2) Optical scanners jammed, touch screens ran
out of paper, and there weren't enough back-up paper ballots at the polls.
(3) ES&S election software malfunctions, and ES&S programmed the
ballots incorrectly. 2000. More than two dozen voters reported that
the Touch screens register votes incorrectly, displaying the wrong
Indiana, 2004 – four counties. ES&S installed an uncertified version of
firmware in the iVotronics in four counties. The certified version didn't
tabulate the votes correctly.
Indiana. 2004. (1) 50,000 voters eliminated when the electronic voting
machines reported 300 voters in every precinct. (2) 2004. Paperless
iVotronic voting machines recorded phantomballots, that is more ballots
than the number of voters signing in to vote. At others, there werefewer
ballots than voters.
North Carolina. 2004. Touch screen register incorrectly on the touch
screen. 2002. Machines lost 436 ballots in early voting.
Pennsylvania. 2006. Unofficial tallies differ by nearly 6,000 votes from
official ballot counts.
South Carolina. 2006. Problems occurred in 13 precincts, machines
locking up, drained batteries and incorrect closing procedures. 2005.
Initial results for the County Council seat showed 2440 phantom votes —
3208 votes, 768 voters. The corrected results overturned the Democratic
primary. 2004. Officials can't retrieve 200 electronic votes from a
malfunctioning iVotronic electronic voting machine.
Texas. 2004. Touch screens register votes incorrectly on the screen.
2002. A ballot programming error tallies 18 results incorrectly; Machines
register incorrect choices on the screen.
Ohio. 2006. May 2 primary elections encountered many problems,
including poor training and malfunctioning equipment. 2004. 20 to 30
machines registered votes for the wrong candidate. About a dozen
machines needed to be reset because they essentially froze.
Florida, 2006. 89K votes missing on ES&S touchscreens in the
Attorney General race. (This is a calculated number based on
information provided by Florida Fair Elections Coalition: ES&S
touchscreens recorded an undervote rate of 8.65%, while ES&S Optical
Scanner recorded an undervote of 3.04%; Diebold Optical Scanner
2.272%, and Sequoia touchscreen 3.0%.) Miami-Dade, Florida, 2005.
Computer error failed to count votes during the March 8 special election.
2004. (1) Both phantom votes and lost votes in the November election.
The number of voters reported by election workers didn't match the
number of ballots cast in 260 (35%) of Miami-Dade's 749 polling places.
Some showed more votes than voters ("phantom votes"); others showed
significantly more voters than ballots cast. (2) Voters filed 14,253
complaint forms about election-day problems. (3) Audit log failed to
account for 162 ballots cast. (4) The central database machines used to
tabulate votes are incapable of holding all the audit data at once. 2002.
8.2% of the votes were "lost" in 31 problem precincts. Significantly more
votes were lost in predominantly black areas; The order of the order of
candidates' names were changes as results were computed, initially
showing wins for two candidates who actually lost the election.
Florida, Broward County. 2002. A software error caused 103,222
(22%) votes cast on ES&S iVotronic paperless voting machines not to be
counted in the initial tally; Touch screens register votes incorrectly.
Machines register votes for opponents instead of the candidate selected;
Machines showed 134 blank ballots. The winning margin was 12 votes.
2005. One of the two items on the March 8 ballot failed to appear on the
screen for many of the voters who participated in the Parallel Election
Florida, Sarasota County. 2006. 18K votes missing in an undervote
rate of 12.92%. 2004. 189 votes were never counted.
1. Bradenton Herald, Duane Marsteller, “Buchanan Funds Campaign
Again,” The Herald, 10/31/08
Bradenton Herald, Duane Marsteller, “Feds move to suspend company that
certified electronic voting machines that Sarasota County used in
contested 2006,” 10/30/08
2. GAO Elections: Results of GAO’s Testing of Voting Systems Used in
Sarasota County in Florida’s 13th Congressional District:
. . Not if, but when and how often.
Fiction Stops Here
What does SysTest Labs have to do with you and why does it matter? If
you vote, SysTest Labs may be at least partially responsible for ensuring
your vote counts … or not.
Consider SysTest Labs as the judge who in effect “blesses” your voting
systems as pure from bugs and other nasty defects. They’re hired to serve as
independent, impartial quality test experts in an effort to protect you from
shoddy manufacturers and slapdash elections. In a sense they serve as a
protective buffer between a voting machine manufacturer and your state’s
certification of quality voting machines that count your vote every time.
But that didn’t happen and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission notified
SysTest Labs that its accreditation for testing voting systems will be
suspended. SysTest Labs accreditation from the National Institute of Standards
and Technology has already been suspended.