Thursday, November 24, 2005

Diebold & GOP in California

California's duly elected Secretary of State, Kevin Shelley, resigned under pressure and Schwarzenegger appointed a Republican, Bruce McPherson, to replace him. Shelley decertified Diebold electronic voting machines before the 2004 election and ostensibly he made some powerful enemies.

Not suprsingly, the Repugnican replacement seems less concerned about protecting our right to have our votes counted:

The Raw Story:

"On Monday, November 21st, California's Voting System Panel (VSP) was slated to hold public hearings on whether to recertify Diebold TSX touchscreen machines. The California Election Protection Network (CEPN) issued a press release inviting concerned citizens to speak at the 10 a.m. hearing and attend a rally at Secretary of State Bruce McPherson's office to encourage state officials to send Diebold packing before Turkey Day.

But when CEPN spokesperson Sherry Healy called to verify the hearing date and time, she received startling news.

"I asked Bruce McDannold in the Secretary of State's office if the hearing is still on for Monday," she told Raw Story. "He said, 'You're half right. The VSP has been disbanded.' I asked why. He said, 'I can't speak for the Secretary of State."

According to Healy, McDannold stated that a stenographer and recording device would be on hand to record any public comments.

CEPN issued a blistering press release criticizing the Republican Secretary of State, for the last-minute change in procedures. The release questioned the sincerity of those in government to publicly discuss issues with their constituents. "Is this the new government trend for public hearings. just give the people a room and a tape recorder?" the release asked.

Activists also contend that McPherson's office failed to provide the 30-day notice required by law for a public hearing.

"We had to be full time detectives to find out when this hearing would be held," Healy stated, adding that CEPN discovered the hearing announcement posted on an obscure portion of the Secretary of State's website, not the usual location for public meeting notices.

Election reform experts who had filled out cards at prior meetings asking to be notified of future events received no notification, she added.

Healy expressed concern over a “secret” test done recently on Diebold TSX systems, without the public present. That test found only a 2% error rate, Healy said.

According to an analysis done in July of this year by Dr. David Jefferson of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory at the University of California, however, the error rates were much higher.

Jefferson, who is also a member of California’s VSP, found that software crashes and printer jams totally ten times higher than permitted by federal standards.

"They’re trying to slam dunk this hearing, the certification. They’re just going to ram it through,” Healy fretted. “The prize is 2006. We don’t trust this manufacturer. They are the worst in class. They are the Enron of voting systems."
Schwarzenegger's attempt to pull-off a Texas-style redistricting scheme in California was clearly defeated in the special election earlier this month so the GOP cabal apparently wants to insure that they can win the 2006 election, regardless of the will of the people. Bastards!