Columbus, Ohio (PRWEB) February 29, 2008
During its Election Education Forum in Dayton, Ohio this month, the Ohio Election Justice Campaign (OEJC) unveiled its citizen action election initiative, Quarantine That Machine, for use during Ohio's primary election this Tuesday, March 4, 2008. Developed by an Ohio pollworker for use by other pollworkers and voters, Quarantine That Machine is a simple-to-follow initiative. As explained by Paddy Shaffer, Director of the OEJC, "If the voting machine you use behaves in an illegal manner, it should be treated as part of a crime scene. The theft of your vote is a crime by the voting machine and its vendors against YOU. Treat it as such."
As outlined by Ms. Shaffer, voters should watch for the following problems when voting on the touch screen machines:
1. Vote Hopping - This is when you vote for a candidate or an issue, and your vote visually hops and goes to another candidate or issue on the screen. We are generally told it is a calibration problem. For the voter, this means your vote is not recorded for who or what you intended. You have been robbed.
2. Paper Tape Does Not Match Your Vote - Please take the time to read the paper tape when you vote. The paper tape should correspond exactly with your vote on the touch-screen machines. This paper tape is called the Voter Verified Paper Trail (VVPT). In Ohio, the VVPT is your official ballot for an audit or recount.
Note: If you wear glasses, bring them as the paper tapes are hard to read. The typeface is small, and some tapes are printed very light.
The above problems are not "glitches." There are evidence of significant problems with the machine. As Project EVEREST, the state-sponsored study of the electronic voting machines demonstrated, the machines are extremely vulnerable to sabotage, whether accidental or intentional, http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/info/everest.aspx.
If either of these problems occur while voting, the voter should
1. Tell the poll worker what happened;
2. Inform the poll worker that the machine must be immediately pulled from use in the election;
3. Instruct the poll worker not to manipulate the machine in an effort to correct the problem; and
4. File a police report with local law enforcement. Remind law enforcement to record the serial number of the machine.
As explained by Ms. Shaffer, it is critical that the machine not be harmed or manipulated in any way. It needs to be in the "same condition" for any forensic investigation. In previous elections, pollworker response to these problems has ranged from inaction to shaking the machine, canceling the vote and suggesting a revote, or pushing the reset button. These actions do not correct the problem; in some cases they simply result in more lost votes.
Pollworkers, when informed of the above problems, should
1. Have the voter move away from the machine. Thank the voter for catching the discrepancy and explain what just happened.
2. Place an OUT OF ORDER sign on the machine. Treat the problem voting machine as evidence in a possible crime scene.
3. File a police report with independent law enforcement and notify the Board of Elections of the problem.
4. Restart the voter on another machine or on a paper ballot that will be counted, not a provisional ballot that "may" be counted.
As explained by Ms. Shaffer, "Poll workers are the public guardians of our elections. We are confident they will take the steps necessary to address these severe problems with the appropriate action. These machines should not be returned to local election officials but rather quarantined by independent investigative authorities."
All citizens are also encouraged to report the problems through the new mobile blogging community, Utterz. With utterz, voters can blog the machine problems immediately from their cell phone with audio, video, images, and text. Utterz provides a phone number for people to call in and "speak" a blog entry, which appears as an audio file.
Utterz provides a way for voters to immediately document their machine problems, share them with others, and create a public and transparent archive of voting machine problems. Please tag your entry "Ohio Voter Mugging 2008" and identify the scene of the crime. For more information on this blogging community and to join before the primary, visit http://www.utterz.com.
On December 17th, 2007, the OEJC met with Michael W. Deemer, Chief Deputy Attorney General for Government Affairs of the Ohio Attorney General's (AG) office, and two other legal staff members, informed them of the Quarantine That Machine program, and asked them to develop a plan for law enforcement to follow in implementing this program. As discussed during that meeting, Chapter 3599 of the Ohio Revised Code includes numerous provisions which would authorize such an action by either a poll worker or a voter since the above problems may represent a violation of this chapter.
For more information on the status of the Ohio AG's plan for the upcoming Ohio primary, contact Michael W. Deemer at (614) 728-5462; firstname.lastname@example.org; Christopher Geidner, Counsel to the Attorney General, (614)-752-4332; email@example.com; or Ben Espy, Executive Assistant Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ohio election justice videos by Jeff Kirkby, Vocab Video: http://www.vocabvideo.com.
Video footage of meeting with AG during Funeral for Democracy by Bruce Duncanson, Redpeacecross Media: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1349662229528021316.
Background info: "Ohio Holds Funeral on Anniversary of 2004 Elections," http://www.prnewsnow.com/TextNews/168067.html; "Lobbyists Hack Your Elections: The OEJC Calls for Voting Systems Recall, Return, and Refund," http://www.prnewsnow.com/Public_Release/Legal%20And%20Law/170544.html; "Thugs Gag Your Vote: OEJC Calls for Day of Silence on Sunday, January 6th, 2008," http://www.prnewsnow.com/TextNews/175189.html.