Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bowen Hearing Illuminates Voting Problems

As reported last week, State Senator Debra Bowen held hearings regarding transparency of voting systems in California and compliance with HAVA deadlines. As usual, Brad Blog submitted an entry which covers all the salient points. Concerning, though not at all surprising, were problems that were highlighted by the hearings (as reported by Ian Hoffman):

-Sequoia Voting Systems' computers don't reliably add in certain rare primary votes.

-Election Systems & Software's computers sometimes count more ballots than voters and can record the wrong choice for voters with long fingernails.

-Optical scanners made by Diebold Election Systems can be hacked (and so possibly can scanners sold by other vendors.)
What is even more concerning, but, again, not surprising, is the attitude of a number of registrars across the state, as evidenced by rather idiotic comments by Debbie Hench, San Joaquin Registrar of Voters:
"These meetings are tearing the (voters') confidence apart. They're saying every system is bad," complained Debbie Hench, San Joaquin County registrar of voters, in a legislative hearing.

"I'm sorry you feel scrutiny and transparency is bad," said Debra Bowen, D-Marina del Rey, chairwoman of the Senate Elections and Reapportionment Committee. But, she said, making a clean breast of voting problems is essential for fixing them and regaining the voter trust that has been in decline since the 2000 presidential elections.

"If you just tell people, 'Trust us, we'll make it all go away,' that's not the way you establish confidence," said Bowen, a Democratic contender for secretary of state.
From my own experience with watching L.A. County's Registrar of Voters, Conny McCormack, deal with the same sort of attempt to shed light on the truth about Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S, such petulance from many Californian registrars is quite common. How dare we, in an attempt to make certain fair elections are the rule and not the exception, make their lives difficult! Debra Bowen and all concerned voters are just bad people!

Debbie and Conny, I've got one thing to say to you: can't handle the heat? Get out of the damned kitchen and let real chefs take control. We don't need no cooking school dropouts.

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