January 02, 2006
"Ignore the Seattle Times article claiming Black Box Voting supports mail-in voting"

The other day I was surprised to see Bev Harris of Black Box Voting quoted in the Seattle Times1 in support of all-mail voting. My surprise was well-founded. Today Harris posted this item on her bulletin board, and also left it as a comment on my earlier entry. "Ignore the Seattle Times article..."

Rest assured, I have not endorsed mail-in voting. The Seattle Times' Keith Ervin significantly misrepresented my position, which I made clear to him but he selectively reported.
Harris goes on to give several sensible arguments against mail voting, concluding that "Mail-in balloting is profoundly unwise." Indeed. Read the whole thing.

1 The city's other newspaper which is right about half the time.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at January 02, 2006 08:06 PM | Email This
1. Stefan - See Bev's interesting post on: http://www.soundpolitics.com/archives/005506.html

Posted by: alphabet soup on January 2, 2006 08:25 PM
2. See?....I told you so......(again..)

I know..I know...it's annoying.

Posted by: Deborah on January 2, 2006 08:29 PM
3. The fourth estate strikes again. MSM propaganda with the objective to tilt the public view toward supporting all-mail voting.
Typical cheap shot by these rags known as newspapers.

Posted by: KS on January 2, 2006 08:46 PM
4. That's about par for the course with Keith Ervin. Journalist, in the proper sense of the word, he is not.

Posted by: katomar on January 2, 2006 09:00 PM
5. Boy, the internet sure has made it harder for officials to sweep problems under the rug. I'd not seen this Blackbox site before, but between you and that one, the public has the potential to be way more informed than Logan or Sims would like them to be! Power to the people!

Posted by: Misty on January 2, 2006 09:02 PM
6. Like I said before...Just sweep it under a rug and no one will see the dirt!

Hello! Tehnology is here to stay and get better! Why not use it! My God my 86 year old uncle would love it since he can't get out to drive and just think the voting would be tamper free....oh but wait the defocrats would find a way to screw with that system too I suppose!

Posted by: dcat\ on January 2, 2006 09:06 PM
7. Misty,

I just read your comment! Very good!

I had to vote ab because of a trip out of the country.

I don't go with lame stream media and yes power to the people!

Posted by: dcat on January 2, 2006 09:10 PM
8. --> Here is the obove link just click here and it will take you there!

Posted by: dcat on January 2, 2006 09:15 PM
9. You know, maybe it's just time that we all simply ignore the Times and the PI. They are the enemy! More dangerous than the Democrats or the liberals, because they do the brainwashing that is convincing the moderates to vote with the Democrats. They convey the leftist agenda like it's the norm and dismiss or slant anything contrary to it.

The battle for the hearts and minds of Americans is lost if the leftist MSM isn't defeated.

If people need to mail in their ballots, then require them to be notarized. I don't trust government one iota to prevent my vote from being cancelled out, and no one else should. King County can't be trusted to anything on the up and up. Period!

Posted by: MJC on January 2, 2006 09:25 PM
10. No it needs to stop right now MJC not just walk away! We need good people to get involved! Make some changes. This is what government should be afraid of! We the people after all they are working for us so we should look at the progress!

The more people talk and know the more they just might mind their P's and Q's!

Posted by: dcat on January 2, 2006 09:56 PM
11. I sent an e-mail to all members of the king county council and Ron Sims conserning all mail voting. I told my story of my ballot arriving after the election. I sent them off the monday after the big announcement. So far only one responce. Kathy Lambert, God Blless Her. I sent them at 10:00 P.M. I got a responce 12 hours later from her. My own Councilwoman, Julia Patterson has not even responded. I think they do not want to hear that mistakes happen in all mail voting. Or they don't even care.

Posted by: RebbDawg on January 2, 2006 10:07 PM
12. RebbDawg,

That is why we should always stay on top of them! I posted my problems at my blog if you want to see. There are some here that want to shut me out. I think I will make more visits here now!

Posted by: dcat on January 2, 2006 10:19 PM
13. Calling planet Earth -- In King county - the vote in in. --and sure sound like Democracy. Fifty - five percent of voters already use mail in ballots.

Emd of any story. Done deal. The so called experts are smoking from the wrong end.

Every perosn I know and that means dozens and dozens, votes mail in. The benefits are manifest, including ease, time to research, don't wait in line, easy to schedule for work day, and on and on and on.

Mamy of you people are stuck in 1948.

Posted by: Mike McNamara on January 3, 2006 04:39 AM
14. Mike, don't forget ease of fraud.

Posted by: South County on January 3, 2006 05:41 AM
15. Mike.....

Your DOZENS and DOZENS of friends and yourself seem lazy to me. Your entire point of post was how Easy Mail Voting is. Not everything in life is EASY.

Try voting in Iraq. You should take a lesson from those folks. They take their voting seriously.

I doubt that you would want to go to work (after voting) with a purple finger now would you. That just might be a bit too much.

BTW, there are some days I wish it was 1948, at least most americans were proud to say they lived in AMERICA.

Posted by: Chris on January 3, 2006 06:42 AM
16. Looks like Mr. Tim E. is going to start on another initiative. And right he should! This is for road repair!? Isn't that what the gas tax is for that all of Seattle voted for! Seattle just loves paying taxes!!!


Posted by: dcat on January 3, 2006 06:43 AM
17. So Mike lets get into the futrue! You seem to be the one living in it to even bring it up!

Some of us "I know more then a dozen are out of the country durning some time of the year! I say on line and a secure site to vote is in order! You and your dozens can just say in the 40's Mike!

Posted by: dcat on January 3, 2006 06:49 AM
18. Mike, stuck in 1948? What is the significance of 1948?

I would say I am stuck in 1983 and doing everything in my power so "1984" never happens. Kapiche?

Posted by: swatter on January 3, 2006 08:06 AM
19. Mike,

If you don't value your franchise enough to get your lazy a** down to a poll, should you even be voting?

Posted by: JCM on January 3, 2006 08:38 AM
20. Agreed, JCM. If you value your vote, then it is no problem to go to the polls.

If you feel put out by the wait, having to get up and go to the polls, it means you don't really care who wins and who loses, do you?

A small confession, though. We recently moved and went absentee for the first time. It didn't feel the same nor as important. It took something away from my vote that I didn't have to go to the polling station.

I don't know what, but it could be that I didn't show my respect for those who died so I can have a vote. In other words, it was too, too easy. My vote felt cheaper.

Posted by: swatter on January 3, 2006 08:59 AM
21. I found the comments by Ms. Harris to be interesting and informative. However, when she uses Yakima County as an example of using the preferred precinct-based digital optical scanner, she may have been unaware that Yakima County is 100% vote-by-mail now. So, I cannot see the purported advantage of the equipment if there are other means of fraud -- and Yakima elections have been a bit fishy for a number of years...especially with absentee ballots. Maybe we need the "purple finger" approach to voting?

Posted by: Lightfoot on January 3, 2006 11:24 AM
22. I just read Bev Harris' statement, at Black Box Voting but went a step further. i clicked on "contact" and to the right on that page is something that says "Vote fraud 101: here is your primer". I read chapter 11 as it had diebold in the chapter title and I think that is what is used in King County. It is a bit scary. I plan on reading more chapters.

Where are the old clunker machines with the curtains? They may be the best of all!

Posted by: Marjorie Eilers on January 3, 2006 01:09 PM
23. Ha,ha,ha,ha, you people are funny do you really think your vote counted just because you went to the voting poll!!! Look who won anyway!

What about the uncounted ballots found stashed!?

On line is the way to go!

Posted by: dcat on January 3, 2006 08:42 PM
24. lightfoot: You are right that Yakima is all mail-in, and that is a problem. However, the machine they use that creates digital images is used in Boulder County Colorado as a precinct-based scanner.

The advantage of the digital ballots is that independent software can be created and given away for free to count the images and even do forensics on them. Because the images are public records, that would allow citizens to look at the ballot images, count them, analyze them for fraud, catch faulty machines, etc.

Our consultant, Harri Hursti, created software to do just that, and Black Box Voting is making it available for free to anyone who gets the CD with the files on it. That is better oversight than what we have now, where the data disappears inside a black box.

However, there are several attack points in absentee balloting. Some of the worst take place before the ballots are ever scanned, and unless those attack points are neutralized, the digital images will, of course, not reflect the right input of votes.

By the way, in Snohomish County, the absentee scanner is the Optech by Sequoia. We have just published a story with a recipe of how that machine can be hacked.

We have a long ways to go. For the most part, no one is even trying to mitigate risks. If anyone can find the hearing where Dean Logan was grilled about his failure to account for ballots -- I think it was on the King County public access channel -- we'd LOVE to have it. He admitted that he didn't have a system in place to account for the votes and said he would get one in place later (AFTER the Nov. 8 election).

I would really love to have the video of that.

Posted by: Bev Harris on January 3, 2006 09:40 PM
25. Bev.... Thanks for the info..

Regarding your request for the the video. You can bet your bottom dollar, that after Ron & Dean read your post that Video will no longer be available on the KCTV archive.

Just the way it works in KCE. Stefan may have a copy of it, he posted many links the past 14 months or so.

Posted by: Chris on January 4, 2006 06:55 AM
26. Bev, thanks for the information and your comment about Yakima's system.

The problem in Yakima is a nit-wit Auditor (along the same lines as Dean Logan). She has no clue what she is talking about most of the time -- let alone election processes. Her office (and that of her predecessor -- who is now going to work with the Washington State Auditor) have long been suspect of fudging the elections. There was even a worker at one time who reported that absentee ballots were counted before election day as they cam in the mail. If a particular issue or candidate not of their favor was winning, word would leak out to their supporters to get the vote out to counteract it.

I'm sorry, but folks who do this need to go to jail -- for a LONG time.

Posted by: lightfoot on January 4, 2006 03:10 PM
27. One fundamental problem with mail-in ballots that cannot possibly be solved is that it violates a key aspect of secret ballots: it is impossible for anyone to prove how they voted, even if they want to, except in unanimous or near-unanimous contests (if a vote is 99-1 for Fred Jones, the guy who voted for George Smith can have a pretty good idea how everyone else voted). This constraint is necessary to ensure that people can neither be bribed, nor coerced, into voting a certain way. In a polling place, this requirement can be met by requiring that people go into polling booths alone. But with mail-in ballots, there's no way of knowing who was looking over a voter's shoulder.

Of course, there are bigger problems as well such as the fact that there's no way of knowing that a ballot was in fact marked by the voter to whom it is credited. Even if forensic means were used to ensure that, however, there would still be no way of ensuring that a ballot was cast in secret.

BTW, the issue of "ballot interpretation" is rather intresting considering that in some states the issue is largely irrelevant: any improper marking placed on a ballot by a voter will invalidate it. Such a requirement may seem harsh, but it's part of assuring ballot secrecy. Without it, a voter could be "instructed" (i.e. bribed or coerced) to put a certain mark on his ballot to identify it; someone with access to the ballots could then look for one marked in that fashion and confirm that the person voted "correctly". Rejecting ballots with stray markings protects against this form of "instruction".

Posted by: supercat on January 4, 2006 05:41 PM
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