Wed 8/29 5:00 PM – Dori Smith Interview with LHS President – Don’t Miss It

Dori Smith, Producer of TalkNationRadion will air an interview with LHS President John Silvestro, Wednesday August 29th, at 5:00pm on the air and online at WUHS. She has also provided a preview and extensive background.

LHS is the distributor of Diebold Premier election equipment and services to Connecticut. Once again, hats off to Dori for great reporting and great service to the voters of Connecticut.

There is a lot to absorb in the preview, I will be reading it and listening in tomorrow. Let me provide a couple of teasers:

The post starts with a comentary on the Meriden Record Journal article covered here yesterday and a recap of some irregularities by LHS staff, during the recanvass of the 2nd district which, she reported and brought to the state’s attention last fall. Here is a recent development:

The State confirmed August 27th that there will be no consequences against any LHS staff or against the company for their 2006 violation of the State’s protocols. The Secretary of State’s Managing Attorney for elections Michael Kozik said he did not wish to speculate on any consequences should the updated protocols be violated too during the 2007 and 2008 elections.

Mr. Silvestro:

The whole process of what goes on in a machine, and you know I’m not a technical person by any stretch of the imagination. And I’m not a computer science expert. I’m the President of a computer services company that provides services. We don’t do software development here? None of my employees have computer science degrees, graduates, graduate students or anything like that. We’re just people who do a job based on a software that we have that allows us to code an election and create that coding on a memory card. And it’s really a fill in the blanks.

I certainly have no reason to question his description of his staff. As we covered here previously one of his employees does have some pretty strong opinions. Director of Sales and Marketing, Ken Hajjar:

“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”

Mr. Silvestro also has a suggestion that I can partially agree with:

And that’s the beauty of post election audits is that you can take situations that arise on election day and say OK. We want to do 10% of 793 with whatever that comes to, 79 or let’s call it 80 precincts. But we had problems in precinct you know A, B, C and D or E and F and whatever. Eight precincts? Those eight are already included and the other 72 are going to be randomly withdrawn. And thatâ’s how I believe you would do this.

With all the states in New England as customers I can’t expect Mr. Silvestro to know the details of every law. However, right now the law in Connecticut specifies a 10% random audit. To do what he suggests would both further weaken the already inadequate law and be illegal since the state requires that 10% be chosen randomly. I do however endorse adding to the mandatory audit an automatic hand count of the ballots of any machine with problems which resulted in changing the memory card etc.

Here is the beginning of another interesting exchange:

Dori Smith: Do you think that it is sound protocol for a state to purchase a machine from a vendor that is in this for profit and then also hire them to do training and then also hire them to be present at the polls and then to get information from them on which, you know, maybe certain numbers of results could hinge, and then at the end of everything, work with them on continued evaluation of those protocols and machines and so on. I mean do you think this is a kind of privatization of elections?

John Silvestro: No it’s not. It’s totally public. Everything is done in a public venue.

Except somebody is programming the cards and as far as we can tell by contract, law, and regulation none of that is in public.

Good reading and listening.


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