10/20/08

Republicans Already Stealing Votes in West Virginia and Not Doing It Very Well in California

(Check out the voting technology in your state here. Also, check out stealbackyourvote.org.)

West Virginians have reported electronic voting machines flipping votes for Obama to McCain.

    Virginia Matheney and Calvin Thomas said touch-screen machines in the [Republican] county clerk's office in Ripley kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates.

    "When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain," said Matheney, who lives in Kenna.

    When she reported the problem, she said, the poll worker in charge "responded that everything was all right. It was just that the screen was sensitive and I was touching the screen too hard. She instructed me to use only my fingernail."

    Even after she began using her fingernail, Matheney said, the problem persisted.
These types of problems have been occurring since 2000; why haven't they been fixed yet?



Here's what another WV resident had to say:
    Shelba Ketchum, a 69-year-old nurse retired from Thomas Memorial Hospital, described what happened Friday at the Putnam County Courthouse in Winfield.

    "I pushed buttons and they all came up Republican," she said. "I hit Obama and it switched to McCain. I am really concerned about that. If McCain wins, there was something wrong with the machines.

    "I asked them for a printout of my votes," Ketchum said. "But they said it was in the machine and I could not get it. I did not feel right when I left the courthouse. My son felt the same way."
Republicans are responsible for election oversight in both of the counties where fraud has been reported. They are giving the media all the same snarky lying bullshit that they spewed in 2004 and 2006 about it being the voters' faults, the incidents being isolated, blah blah blah. We've all heard this before! and the consequences are no less dire.

But Ma'amselle, you say, maybe it's just a computing error and not anything intentional. Then why is it that there has never been an instance of GOP votes switching to Democratic in the 4+ years this has been happening?

Congress has been remiss in passing legislation to ban these pernicious electronic voting machines. My least favorite Democratic Senator next to Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein--who has voted recently for things like telecom immunity and unwieldy blanket copyright legislation--introduced this stupid bill in May that would force electronic voting machines to print out a record of your vote as some sort of receipt. Here are the problems with that:
  • The legislation would not go into effect until 2012 (2 years after I've voted Feinstein's dumb ass out of Congress and 4 years into the Presidency of whoever wins this November), so it doesn't actually do anything of any use to anyone right now. Way to posture on empty promises again, Feinstein, you jerk!
  • A machine's "source code" is the software programming that outlines, "When a user does this, the computer responds by doing this." The source codes of these machines are proprietary; that means that the companies who write these codes into the machines (like Diebold, owned and operated by Republicans) will not let anyone see the codes. Their defense is, "If we were to show you the code, someone might steal it, and then our company would no longer be competitive in manufacturing voting machines." (Heaven forbid.)

  • Hey, Dianne Feinstein, someone at one of these companies could write something into the code that said, "Change an Obama vote to a McCain vote, and then print out a receipt that says, 'Obama'," and no one would ever be able to catch it.
Now that I've worked myself into a good rage, let's talk about exit polling for a second. Exit polling is when someone goes out and asks voters immediately after they've cast their votes: "Who did you vote for?" and records the results. People tend to, well, not lie when asked about something they've just done, so these stats are remarkably reliable. Funny as it might sound, this simple technique is used internationally by organizations as big as the U.N. as a tool to gauge whether an election is rigged; if the exit polls don't match the polls themselves, something is amiss. For instance, let's say I won by 46% in the exit poll but only 39% in the actual election; that would indicate my opponent had stolen votes. You can see how even a seemingly small percentage--just a couple of points--makes an enormous difference.
I bring this up because 2006 saw the defeat of two incumbent Republican Senators, George Allen of Virginia (the "Macaca" guy) and Conrad Burns of Montana. These guys were defeated by very narrow margins--so narrow that they were entitled to state-sponsored recounts (i.e. they wouldn't have to pay anything for them). Even though they both could have asked for recounts--free of charge--neither accepted, each conceding the race to his Democratic challenger. Everyone wondered, why? Why would these morally bankrupt, thieving, lying scumbags who would stop at nothing to win suddenly have a change of heart and gracefully step into the shadows?

Well, because their exit polls were off! Challenger Jim Webb (full of awesomeness) beat Allen in the exit poll 52%/47%; the election itself yielded a victory of only 49.6%/49.2%--a five percentage point discrepancy. Challenger Jon Tester (full of super-uprising-awesomeness) beat Burns in the exit poll 53%/46%, while the election itself was 49%/48%--a six-point discrepancy. Just about everywhere else in the country saw accurate exit polling that year--a huge step up from the 2004 elections and partially the effect of the rejection of electronic machines in some places; however, these two places had voting machines, the only electoral tools that could have possibly produced errors such as those stats--errors far beyond the human capacity to have been that wrong by accident.

Here's my point: any recounts in those areas would have required the manufacturers of the systems to reveal their source codes. They would have had to go inside the machines to expose not just which votes were logged for whom but exactly how they got logged inside the system. Burns and Allen, Republican jokers both, knew this and couldn't concede fast enough to protect their shadowy conspirators from having to demonstrate exactly how their machines took all those Democratic votes and turned them Republican magically. (For a fantastic and in-depth look at this, please visit this truly awesome article on InTheseTimes.com.)

Are you still not convinced voting machines are a bad idea? Really? Fine. Watch this Princeton prof. hack into a machine in one minute:

This electronic machine monkeybusiness is still legal, everybody, because Congress has been sitting on its lazy ass passing things like making November National Methamphetamine Awareness Month. I mean, really! I am a total stoner, and I can only imagine if there were a "Marijuana Awareness Month" to alert people to the dangers of smoking weed. Let me tell you, hardly anyone is more aware of danky herb than I am, and if I were to hear people talking about awareness of the ganj day in and day out, I would compulsively have to smoke bowlz. Oh, Congress!

But I digress. Some places have been passing local resolutions to ban electronic voting machines, and we should all pressure our local elected officials to do the same. Check out what the Deputy Secretary of State in West Virginia (a Republican) had to say:

"Sometimes machines can become miscalibrated when they are moved from storage facilities to early voting areas," Bailey said Friday. "We get a couple of calls about this each election year."

Miscalibrated! Like one of those pesky zeroes in the software code accidentally flipped to a "1" when someone shook the machine too hard! That makes total sense! And even assuming that could happen, she obviously suspected it could happen and didn't care--didn't bother to recalibrate any machines or check to see if they were working beforehand. Well, exactly! She's a crooked-ass elected official!

Look, O.K.? you don't want this to happen:


Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

In other election fraud news, in the midst of all this ACORN bullshit is a real story--an actual arrest in California:
    SACRAMENTO (L.A. Times) -- The owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters this year was arrested in Ontario over the weekend on suspicion of voter registration fraud.

    State and local investigators allege that Mark Jacoby fraudulently registered himself to vote at a childhood California address where he no longer lives so he would appear to meet the legal requirement that all signature gatherers be eligible to vote in California. His firm, Young Political Majors, or YPM, collects petition signatures and registers voters in California and other states.
So please don't get distracted by the Republican crocodile tears about Democratic voter fraud. They are afraid they are going to lose, so they are trying to claim foul play in a desperate last-ditch attempt to garner sympathy (or something)--"Look, Obama stole the election before it even happened!" Give me a break. Look at the headline of this article. Go ahead, I'll wait. Now look at the data I've just given you. What can you infer? That's right, Republicans are covering up lies with more lies plus extra-special fake outrage. These crooks acting all offended make me sick.

So I said it up there but I will say it again: go visit Steal Back Your Vote.org. They can't steal the election if we all turn out!

2 comments:

Jul said...

This is no suprise...this whole campaign has been ugly on both sides. From McCain implying Obama is a terrorist (horrible personal attack) to Obama running ads that McCain can't email (can't type due to injuries - low blow).

If I had my way, I'd support a third candidate....likely a business person who thinks social issues should be judged on fiscal policy (thus, why almost all of the Forbes top 100 have partner-benefits - it makes financial sense and good hiring for talent).

Anyway...I think it sucks. All of it.

Ma'amselle Lezident said...

Jul: the McCain ads say things like Obama is a terrorist, which is false. The Obama ads say things like John McCain is erratic, which is true. That is the difference.

From Huffpost:
The Drudge Report and several conservative blogs are working themselves into a lather over the new Obama ad noting that John McCain doesn't know how to use a computer.

Their claim is that McCain is simply unable to use a computer because of his POW injuries, citing a March 2000 article in the Boston Globe that states, with no supporting evidence: "McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes."

Of course, this directly contradicts what McCain and his campaign manager have said. McCain told the New York Times in July: "I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don't expect to be a great communicator, I don't expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need."

Campaign manager Rick Davis said in June that McCain would grab Blackberrys from reporters and tool around on the internet: "He actually is, he always is grabbing people's Blackberrys on the bus. In fact, no reporter's Blackberry is safe from his prying eyes. He loves to tool around on the internet, he especially loves the videos that get produced that usually poke fun at him. I think that's his most entertaining part of the internet."

And in a Politico interview, McCain said again that he uses a blackberry and plans to go online: "I use the Blackberry, but I don't e-mail, I've never felt the particular need to e-mail. I read e-mails all the time, but the communications that I have with my friends and staff are oral and done with my cell phone. I have the luxury of being in contact with them literally all the time."

And if you don't believe their words, try these photos:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/12/yes-mccain-can-use-electr_n_126130.html

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