Skulduggery and Errors

Book Review: Down for the Count

Down for the Count: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America
by Andrew Gumbel.  An updated version of Gumbel’s earlier Steal This Vote.  A lot has happened in 12 years!

I highly recommend, for an overview of the history of voting issues in the United States.. I can add a small caveat the to the description on Amazon:

Down for the Count explores the tawdry history of elections in the United States—a chronicle of votes bought, stolen, suppressed, lost, miscounted, thrown into rivers, and litigated up to the U.S. Supreme Court—and uses it to explain why we are now experiencing the biggest backslide in voting rights in more than a century…

Voter Suppression is not just Southern, Intentional, and Advantageous to those in charge.

Typically the Justice Department goes after Southern states, alleging intentional voter suppression by Republicans against voters who would be expected to vote predominately Democratic. To me, it usually quacks like that duck. Not so in Connecticut, we apparently do it through incompetence at our “legend in its own line”, DMV.

Hartford Courant, Jon Lender: Officials Tense, Tight-Lipped On Feds’ Probe Of State ‘Motor Voter’ Program <read>

Bloomberg Businessweek: A Decade Hacking Elections

From Bloomberg Businessweek: How to Hack an Election: <read>

Rendón, says Sepúlveda, saw that hackers could be completely integrated into a modern political operation, running attack ads, researching the opposition, and finding ways to suppress a foe’s turnout. As for Sepúlveda, his insight was to understand that voters trusted what they thought were spontaneous expressions of real people on social media more than they did experts on television and in newspapers. He knew that accounts could be faked and social media trends fabricated, all relatively cheaply. He wrote a software program, now called Social Media Predator, to manage and direct a virtual army of fake Twitter accounts
“Having a phone hacked by the opposition is not a novelty. When I work on a campaign, the assumption is that everything I talk about on the phone will be heard by the opponents.”

We note that similar issues have been raised in our current primary season. With charges and verifications that Twitter followers of at least one candidate appear to be largely fake accounts, along with unverified accusations that campaigns and their databases have been infiltrated, web access disrupted at critical times.  Given the current state of web  security, we see no reason that the same has, is, and will go on in our U.S. Elections.

It is best to be skeptical of anything you read in any media.  On the campaign trail assume the video is always on and every keystroke is captured by the opposition, media, and Government.  As always authenticity makes life simpler.

Arizona should not go away.

Certainly the officials in Arizona would like the interest in what happened in the primary to wane. It should not.  Democracy deserves better than this.

It is typically a high bar to re-run an election, maybe too high.  Typically you need to prove that enough voters would have been disenfranchised to change the result.  Sometimes as far as proving they would have voted for the looser.  Arizona’s Democratic Primary is near that bar.  In fact, if we consider the number of votes that would have awarded one more and one less delegate to either campaign its not that high a bar compared to the disenfranchisement.

Here is a video of the 5.5 hours of hearings. And comments from a Connecticut advocate.

Editorial: We didn’t “Fix this” or was it Fixed? We all lose anyway.

After the long lines in some states in 2012, President Obama said “We Have To Fix That“. Four years and a Presidential Commission later, it seems, at least Arizona is going the wrong way.

The results, entirely predictable, were endless lines akin to those that await the release of new iPhones.

We say:

  • Any disenfranchisement, disenfranchises every voter in the United States.  Our vote and democracy is distorted by the disenfranchisement of others.  We could have a different President and different party in power next January based on a distorted result.
  • Even if there was no disenfranchisement, (unlikely from what we see at this point), our democracy suffers from the lack of credibility unless the issues are investigated and effectively fully resolved.

 

No transparent recount; No public access to ballots; No confidence

Sadly, Dorothy We are still in Kansas Kentucky. Many are concerned with the accuracy and result of the election for Governor of Kentucky, many are not.

once again — on Election Day yesterday. We see, again, the nightmare scenario I’ve warned about for so many years: a U.S. election where all of the pre-election polls suggest Candidate X is set to win, but Candidate Y ends up winning by a huge margin instead and nobody even bothers to verify that the computer tabulated results accurately reflect the intent of the voters.

That’s exactly what happened in Kentucky on Tuesday, where Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway was leading by a fair margin (about 3 to 5 points) in almost every pre-election poll in his race for Governor, but then ended up being announced as the loser to ‘Tea Party’ Republican candidate Matt Bevin by a landslide (almost 9 points) — according to the state’s 100% unverified computer tabulation systems…

What would be good for Kansas and Kentucky would be good for Connecticut.   As just one example, recall the 2010 Citizen Audit of ballots in Bridgeport.

Because the City of Bridgeport gave the CT Post access to the ballots, we were able to recount them all and assure the state that the declared Governor was actually the choice of the voters.  If Bridgeport had not agreed, we would still be wondering and questioning the legitimacy of Governor Malloy.

Unfortunately, the official Connecticut system was not able to recount those votes, and has never recognized or counted the votes of some 1,500 citizens of Bridgeport.

Marks questions marks: Colorado democracy black and blue

“Where their is smoke there is fire”.  We say, “Where there is black and blue there is a victim” and “When it quacks like a cover up, suspicion is justified”.  In this case we have ballots filled-in in black and blue with cross-outs. We suspect Colorado democracy is the victim.

Once again, a blow to those who claim there  is no voting fraud.  A further justification of counting votes by scanner in public in polling places, limiting mail-in voting, and  limiting central scanning, while  arguing for requiring adversarial election officials in every operation.

“Who Could Have Imagined” System rigged to make tests look good.

Over the years, we an others have pointed out that voting systems cannot be tested to assure performance before an election.  Not the system itself before it is setup/programmed for a particular election.  Not a setup and programmed system either.  Not even if a system is completely secured and is somehow proven to run approved/certified software.

Here is some proof, not from a voting system – from a crime by an automaker.  In this case it only puts the environment and lives in danger, rather than Democracy.

The Selfie Threat To Democracy

What could be more patriotic in our narcissistic social-media age than posting a picture of yourself on Facebook with your marked ballot for president? Show off your support for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) or former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.  Last week, a federal court in New Hampshire struck down that state’s ban on ballot selfies as a violation of the First Amendment right of free-speech expression.

That might seem like a victory for the American Way. But the judge made a huge mistake because without the ballot-selfie ban, we could see the reemergence of the buying and selling of votes — and even potential coercion from employers, union bosses and others…

Lottery better pay-off than witch hunt

Iowa spent a lot of time, money and rhetoric on a witch hunt for illegal immigrant voting.

If I were an illegal immigrant, my goal would be to stay under the radar. I would avoid speeding, drunk driving, and doing anything that might get me caught.

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