Has LHS Director Challenged Brad To A Debate?

Do I seem to be irate? You bet and it has nothing to do with the legitimacy of electronic voting, which I have also questioned.”
– Ken Hajjar, Director of Sales & Marketing, LHS

Brad Friedman, a nationally know election integrity advocate has received an e-mail allegedly from Ken Hajjar, LHS, Director of Sales and Marketing. (LHS is the New England distributor of Dieblod equipment responsible for the sale to Connecticut).

Given the foul and ranting nature of the attack I would hope the letter is a fake. I would question the wisdom of relying on the author to be involved in any way in running our elections. I’ll spare the not so nice parts of the letter, you can read the whole thing and Brad’s response here.

I used to think that all of the looney idealogues(sic) were on the right. There are just as many on the left and you are one of them. … It’s not the machines that are the cause of our problems, it’s the people…Pick a forum and I’d be happy to discuss how we run elections in New England and how difficult, if not impossible it is to game the system. Bring it on.

The author of the letter does not represent the voters of New England and should not be telling anyone how we run elections.

Unfortunately, here in Connecticut we are about to have our 1st election entirely run on Diebold equipment purchased through LHS and to add to our risks the state has contracted with Diebold to program all of our elections. So in that sense Ken Hajjar, LHS, and Diebold will be running our elections, and not letting us in on how they are programmed.

Brad has accepted the challenge. We will keep you updated.

Update: Ken Hajjar responds to Brad

I will quote the entire response, emboldening the parts I will comment on.

Well, I guess I got everyone’s attention. Please note that I talk about elections here in New England which is 100% optical scan/paper ballot. I am not now, nor ever have been a huge fan of DRE’s, whether Diebold’s or anyone else’s, for many of the reasons that most people have. Frankly, my basic contention about DRE’s has been that it’s overkill. You don’t need that much technology for the simple purpose of counting votes. That being said, I find it interesting to note the types of conclusions your “followers” jump to concerning me, my politics, my motives, whether I have recently won or lost a sale, etc. Those are the people I referred to as ideologues and they obviously have drunk the Brad kool aid. But, I digress. My challenge to the estimable Bev Harris still stands and it refers to the so-called “Hursti hack” for optical scan only. That was a scam and she and Harri Hursti both know it. Hursti, in fact, admitted as much in a letter to the previous CA Secretary of State. She or anyone she chooses can provide a scanner, a pile of ballots and a memory card programmed to tally those ballots. I will do a pre-election test count and then will seal the card in the machine. The scanner will then be locked into the ballot box and I defy anyone to then mess with the count. It can’t be done. Now if some of you want to claim that it’s POSSIBLE for A single clerk, registrar or other official to rig the count, I say no. It would take MANY people from BOTH parties to even try. Here in New England, especially in Connecticut, there are at least two pairs of eyes involved in each step of the process. Rules are in place and the scanners are sealed after testing and the seal number is part of the record. It would take a lot of people to play around with this. Could LHS or Diebold rig the count? Not after we ship the memory card to the customer and anyone who claims otherwise just doesn’t know what they are talking about. Is GEMS hackable? Sure, given enough access and time. For that matter, is anything UNhackable, given open (I prefer the term “unfettered”) access? Of course not. That’s the basis of the objection of the CA county election officials; that the Secretary’s test was not a real world application. By the way, I told my boss about my post right after I wrote it. So those of you who want me “busted”, don’t waste your time. Do I seem to be irate? You bet and it has nothing to do with the legitimacy of electronic voting, which I have also questioned. It’s the blind acceptance of many people to automatically accept what they read, as long as it fits with their existing biases. That is why I used the word ideologue.
A lie or an exaggeration gets repeated enough times and it becomes the truth. I would probably buy into this conspiracy myself if I were not in the industry. There have been many things written and dispersed that I KNOW just are not true. Finally, what I found most amusing were the comments from several people who automatically assumed that I must be a Bushie, or references to FOX or some other assumptions as to my politics or motives. Well folks, sorry to disappoint you but my “progressive” credentials go back to before many of you were born or able to vote, starting with Gene McCarthy and George McGovern. I marched at Nixon’s Anti-Inauguration in ’72. I was always proud of the fact tht nobody I voted for ever won. I even believed everything Greg Palast wrote until he started writing about the e-voting conspiracy. Now, to me, EVERYTHING I read or see is suspect until it’s been confirmed from several angles. Which brings me to my final point. I think the Blogosphere is great, true freedom of speech in an uncensored forum. But there is a responsibility that comes with it and that is to be accurate as much as possible. I said that Brad was full of shit for a good reason. I was in Allen, TX last week at Diebold. Even I had trouble getting in. So, while Brad would like to give the impression that he had the run of the place, I know otherwise. And when he begins his diatribe talking about the “lying, liars” at Diebold, he betrays his agenda. He’s no journalist, merely a muckraker. I’m still available for an optical scan hack challenge, debate or test as I described above. Otherwise, I probably won’t waste much more time here.
OH, BTW, to Nancy Tobi, I’m not the only one in NH that thinks thinks you are clueless, many of the town and city clerks feel the same way, but I guess none of them are to be trusted, either.

It is quite instructive to learn that Mr. Hajjar is in favor of optical scan voting and believes that DRE’s are too expensive. That certainly did not prevent LHS from offering DRE’s to Connecticut and proclaiming their benefits directly to voters at public demonstrations held by the Secretary of the State.

With regard to the Hursti attack and the Secretary of the State of California, here is a report to CA at the Secretary’s website verifying the Hursti attack. Mr. Hajjar’s thinly disguised technique to avoid the Hursti attack is to propose a test where the card is pre-election tested and not subsequently altered. Hursti always claimed a modified card and never claimed it would pass a pre-election test.

Once again, we can agree that in theory it would be difficult for Diebold or LHS to rig a memory card after it left their hands. This is another straw man. The real risk, proven over and over, is that someone rigs the card somewhere in the process. This usually would require knowledge of the code and access to the card. Access could be provided by penetrating security, collusion with voting staff or cooercion of voting staff. Knowledge could be gained from Diebold employees, former Diebold employees, or analysis of the code as has been proven to be possible over and over in tests and reports by various technical researchers.

Connecticut is perhaps a special case, where the cards are programmed for each election by Diebold. Thus even if procedures were strong enough and always followed, the memory cards could easily be modified before leaving Diebold’s hands.

Finally, it should hardly give us real confidence in the ethics of buying electronic voting equipment from someone who has questioned the legitimacy of electronic voting.

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