Liberty Bell Still Ringing

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Pennsylvania can yet again rise to defend the democratic ideals of the founders of the USA.

Concerned voting citizens have petitioned the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to re-examine the Danaher voting system which was associated with election failures in Berks and other counties in the May 2005 primary election.

Hundreds of people in multiple precincts had their votes discarded, and a number of races remain undecided. The vendors will blame the locals, but good systems are usable without such problems. Computer scientists are adamant about the security issues, and banks and merchants would never use a computer system so grossly inadequate that no paper records could be produced for transaction confirmation.

The system in use was incapable of producing the basic essential of a voter-verified paper ballot. Not only is there no way to prove that the votes 'counted' were accurate, there is no possibility for any form of independent audit or recount. The components will be faulty, the firmware/software flawed, the failure rates astronomical, the 'results' entirely unreliable, and there's no way to know, because these cheat machines are manufactured, programmed, tested, and operated in total secrecy by nonlocal parties not known and not sworn to guard elections, irresponsibly outsourcing critical public work. The vendors are not even bonded or insured, and use of their products has caused millions of dollars of taxpayer losses.

Electronic systems are not invulnerable. They require recordkeeping independent of the circuitry and software. They are not required by HAVA 2002 (Help America Vote Act). They are not required for the optimal accommodation of disabled voters. They fail due to poor design, electromagnetic anomalies, and poor management.

They are horrifically more expensive to buy and maintain.

They don't work.

Other groups from other counties had previously requested a similar re-examination of the defective UniLect Patriot DRE system. It was found to have caused undervote rates to soar to rates many times higher than the national norms. The state protected the rights of the voters in Pennsylvania by decertifying the UniLect. Other problems can be even more significant than undervotes, and the voters’ rights to polling accuracy require protection from all such flaws.

Danaher systems provide for no auditability. They allow no recounts. Danaher systems have frozen up. Danaher systems have produced fake votes: the only county in Ohio using the Danaher system was Franklin, in which a precinct with 638 voters produced 4,258 votes for one candidate in the 2004 general election. Danaher systems have discarded votes to an astonishing extent in New Mexico. Entire nations produce valid vote counts with hand-counted paper ballots in only a few hours. While rapid tabulation is advantageous, official counts should only be based on direct counts and recounts.

Pennsylvania has a rich tradition of hosting the efforts of our great nation’s founders, and today it is a critical force in the preservation of their ideal of representation in government.

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American Voter