BLOGGED BY Brad Friedman ON 6/4/2008 8:04PM
My Own Votes, Four of Them, Were Flipped Yesterday Before My Very Eyes
4 Out of 12 Ballot Selections Printed Out Incorrectly, Myriad Other Laws Violated
ES&S InkaVOTE Plus System Fails Miserably, Mars What Should Have Been a Simple Voting Experience During L.A. County's Very Low Turnout State Primary Election...
— Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG
As a fairly well-known Election Integrity journalist who has personally covered, for years, the myriad election woes of thousands (if not millions) of voters around the country who have tried to bring seemingly endless stories of votes flipped on e-voting systems to the attention of officials, these stories always continue to be remarkable to me, even if not to many others in the rest of the mainstream media.
It's even more troubling when one realizes that so little ever seems to be done in light of so many of these horror stories, as those very same failed systems are still deployed across the nation, with little or no modification to correct the mountains of documented problems even now, as we head towards an election likely to be of historic proportions this November.
What follows is yet another one of those stories, where a voter had vote selections flipped by the electronic voting system, such that candidates were chosen other than the ones intended to be selected by the voter, though no fault of his own.
But this time, the voter is me.
Though I've covered so many of these stories, it was nonetheless remarkable to see it happen before ones very eyes, as occurred yesterday when I voted here in Los Angeles during our very low turnout California state Primary election.
The ES&S electronic voting system that I used to try to vote on yesterday, ended up flipping a total of 4 out of the 12 contests and initiatives for which I had attempted to vote.
Right before my very eyes, the computer-printed ballot produced by the voting system I was using, incorrectly filled in bubbles for four of the races I was voting in. Had I not been incredibly careful, after the ballot was printed out, to painstakingly compare what was printed to what I actually voted for, I'd have never known my votes were being given to candidates I did not vote for.
Had I been a blind voter —- as the system I was using is largely intended for use by the disabled —- I would have cast my ballot without having a clue that a full 40% of the votes I'd tried to cast for various California Superior Court judges were flipped to other candidates...
After speaking late last night about the problem to Dean Logan, the current acting Registrar-Recorder for Los Angeles County (the country's largest voting jurisdiction) and officials from the CA Sec. of State's office, I can report the failed e-voting machine in question is now being quarantined for testing to try and determine what happened in this, just the latest in a mounting string of failures by voting systems made by ES&S, the country's largest supplier of voting equipment.
While the machine is being sequestered for examination —- and one wonders if the same swift action would have been promised to someone not as well known to both the Registrar's and Sec. of State's office —- we'll call that point the "good news" for the moment.
In addition to the stunning error-rate of the failed ES&S InkaVote Plus voting machine I had tried to use, my day at the polls yesterday additionally revealed an amazing number of apparent violations of federal law, the California state Election Code, and a number of local, Los Angeles County provisions.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)