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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Survey says. . .

Despite a directive by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner ordering all county Board of Elections members to respond to a survey about voting systems by a Friday deadline, Brunner's office has not received responses from 98 of the boards' 352 members as of today.

Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for Brunner, said it's unclear what legal or punitive action board members could face. The office's election division is calling tardy members -- which make up about 28 percent of all board members today, Ortega said, adding: "Just fill out the survey.''

Brunner's survey found 61 percent of Republican board members are not concerned about a scientific report last month that all of Ohio's voting systems "carry serious risks to voting integrity." About 71 percent of the Democratic respondents, however, said they are concerned about the study's findings.

The survey also reflects a split within county boards when asked if they wanted to keep touch-screen voting machines -- which Brunner recommends replacing. If funding is available, about 31 percent of all respondents favored switching from touch-screen to optical scan -- which uses paper ballots.

Of the optical scan counties, only 13 percent said they'd agree to counting ballots centrally instead of at the precinct level.

Preliminary results indicate a general resistance to change, even if funding is provided, Brunner said.

254 total respondents out of 352 (72 percent of total)
133 or 53 percent Republican
121 or 48 percent Democrat

Do you have concerns as a result of the EVEREST findings (Direct Recording Electronic & Optical Scan counties)?
Total respondents 254
180 responded no (71 percent of total)
110 or 61 percent Republican
70 or 39 percent Democrat

68 responded yes (27 percent of total)
20 or 29 percent Republican
48 or 71 percent Democrat
(Four Democrats and two Republicans did not respond)

Do you wish to change your county's voting system to Central Count from the current precinct-level count? (Optical scan counties only)
Total respondents: 97
80 responded no (73 percent of total)
41 or 51 percent Republican
39 or 49 percent Democrat

14 responded yes (13 percent of total)
10 or 72 percent Republican
4 or 29 percent Democrat

7 did not respond

If funding is available to cover costs, do you wish to switch from touch-screen to Optical Scan or Central Count? (touch-screen counties only)
Total respondents: 158
92 responded no (58 percent of total)
44 or 48 percent Republican
48 or 52 percent Democrat

50 responded yes (31 percent of total)
26 or 52 percent Republican
24 or 48 percent Democrat

16 did not respond

"Change is difficult for many people, and our election officials seem to be struggling with our recommendations to move to optical scan paper ballots to provide more security and accountability for Ohio’s election system," Brunner said in a news statement. "We must move forward now to prepare for November."

Since the results of Brunner's EVEREST report were made public last month, Brunner said her office "has been barraged with unsolicited calls and e-mails from individuals in the voting public who are mostly in favor of the need for the study and the proposed recommendations."

The running tally of responses is nearly 4-to-1 in favor of Brunner’s plans to move to a paper ballot optical scan system to protect the integrity of the vote, according to her staff.

"Most voters seem to be asking why the controversy over a change to paper ballots that will provide for greater accountability and confidence that their vote will be counted," Brunner said today.

For readers able to access an Excel spreadsheet of all respondents, go here



at 3:30 PM, January 24, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be obvious to anyone with a 4th-grade education that the Repugnicants are scaredto death that the true depth of their voter fraud and manipulations will be revealed. They are also scared to death of how badly they will get beaten once the votes are counted honestly and their criminality comes to light.

The next Dem President should seriously consider prosecuting the entire Repug organization as a corrupt organization under RICO.

at 6:19 PM, January 24, 2008 Anonymous Kitty said...

Dear Jon,

Thank you for covering this story and updating us on the survey results. This is the historic role of the media in a democracy, and I only wish more media outlets would take their vital role seriously.

Mr. Bennett, as the former chair of the ORP, is fighting tooth and nail to retain his party's chokehold on the state of Ohio, which they have nearly destroyed.

Oh, please do not think I think the Dems will be whole lot better -- Washington has been a big disappointment -- but simply having our votes counted fairly and transparently is a start.

Calling Brunner a dictator is laughable. She was born to be mild. But certainly she deserves some respect. I think she should have investigated the funnystuff from 2004 - especially in Southwest Ohio -- that's how she would have gained EVERYONE's respect.

Please keep up the good work.


at 12:11 AM, January 25, 2008 Blogger Teresa Blakely said...

I encourage your readers to view the DVD's "Hacking Democracy"and/or "Invisible Ballots" which are available for free on the Internet. Citizens please get involved here this is our democracy that is at stake. If you find the DVD demonstrations of how easily these voting machines are hacked alarming, please raise Holy Hell with any Board of Election member who advocates jeopardizing another presidential election to fraud-friendly voting machines.
Those who defend touchscreen voting (DRE) cite a scarcity of documented evidence of electronic voting machine tampering in actual elections. There certainly have been a lot of suspicious election results including impossible exit poll discrepancies, under votes for only one race, more votes than registered voters and documented vote flipping to name a few. What is perhaps most disconcerting is the ever present possibility that there are computer malfunctions or manipulations that we do not know about. The EVEREST report simply confirmed what numerous credible studies of electronic voting machines have found over the past few years. Computer viruses that we now know to be easily introduced to electronic voting machines are written in such a way that they can alter election results and then erase any evidence of their existence. It is difficult to document that which was designed to be undetectable especially when the software code is proprietary.
Furthermore there is a low probability of fraud detection when there are no audit procedures in place. These extremely insecure and unreliable machines were hastily sold into a market where election officials, much to my amazement, do not mandate an audit of the machine totals against the paper ballots. Computer security expert, Rebecca Mercuri, has demonstrated that DRE's can be compromised in such a way that it is possible for the paper receipt generated by the (DRE) to show one candidate while the computer memory records a different candidate. Faith based voting with a false illusion of verifiability.
Poll workers simply cannot see the workings of a computer virus or programming error. Thousands of votes can be altered undetected with little effort by a few insiders. This is why vote counting that is observable by the human eye is the only method of vote counting that is safe for a democracy. Hopefully we will eventually return to the only truly transparent method of vote counting, which is to hand count the votes at the precinct with the press and observers welcome. Our Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, does not want to have insecure, defective voting machines in use in Ohio for the next presidential election. Any attempt to thwart her attempt to protect the integrity of our next presidential election is suspect.

at 1:33 PM, January 25, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the Republican party want elections that can be verified? What are they afraid of?

Read they GAO Report of Electronic Voting to find out why they are pushing these hackable machines whose source code is controlled by private partisan corporations.

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