December 31, 2005
No it won't

Headline in today's Seattle Times1: "All-mail voting may cut fraud". That claim is almost as accurate as suggesting that smoking Camels may be good for you.

The article quotes Black Box Voting activist Bev Harris and focuses on the one type of potential fraud that Harris is most concerned with: tampering with the software in computerized voting equipment. The article does not mention that this potential fraud has never actually been documented to have taken place in a real election, that the solutions to protect against it do not require all-mail elections, nor that there are many other forms of fraud that can occur more easily with mail voting (double voting, voting in other people's names, voting by ineligible individuals) all of which have been documented and little of which has been reported by the Times.

1The city's other newspaper which is right about half the time.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at December 31, 2005 10:01 AM | Email This
1. King County Elections Assistant Director Sherril Huff Menees said it is "a pretty far-fetched supposition" to suggest that anyone could throw an election without getting caught.

Maybe so. It all depends on what the meaning of "caught" is. (It also is important to have remedies available to correct the situation once the irregularities are "caught.")

Posted by: Micajah on December 31, 2005 11:10 AM
2. "King County Elections Assistant Director Sherril Huff Menees said it is "a pretty far-fetched supposition" to suggest that anyone could throw an election without getting caught."

A true statement. However, even when they ARE caught, if nobody in the local, state, and federal legal departments have the gonads to DO anything about it, I suggest that it really doesn't matter, now does it?

Seems to me, truth cuts both ways.

Posted by: elmo on December 31, 2005 02:05 PM
3. Did anyone notice the bit about how the system proposed by the Black Box person would store a digital image of each voter's ballot so that voters could check that their vote was recorded correctly?

Has King County done away with the secret ballot and not told anyone?

Posted by: Heartless Libertarian on December 31, 2005 02:49 PM
4. "Heartless" (in Seattle?),

It doesn't say that individuals can recognize their own ballots or identify the ballots of others. It says:

Harris likes the new digital technology because the counting machines would record an electronic image of every ballot cast images she said citizens could review to verify the vote counts reported by the county.

In other words, if you took the time to do it, you could conduct your own recount.

Posted by: Micajah on December 31, 2005 03:35 PM
5. The democrats would make it a felony to review these unless you had absolute proof each and every one of them was bogus.

Posted by: GS on December 31, 2005 03:57 PM
6. heartless - ballots don't have identifiable information on them.

electronic voting has a lot of flaws and can be fraudulent. the software they use is proprietary so the public doesn't even own the ballots if we use their systems. I would be okay with electronic voting machines that printed out an actual ballot that was counted rather than having a count of what the hard drive on it says.

Posted by: patrick on December 31, 2005 05:37 PM
7. I can't believe Bev Harris actually gave this type of interview!
She, more than anyone, should know how corrupt our State elections are and how All Mail voting will launch a flood of fraud!

I'm going to be looking for a correction in the newspaper over the next few days....I can't believe she said what they printed...

Posted by: Deborah on December 31, 2005 07:51 PM
8. when one reads the Pee Eye simply mentally replace the word 'may' with 'may not' every where it appears in every article you read. In as much as any thing that may happen also may not happen this is entirely fair and will not change the story one bit however it will defang it. 'May' arguments are quite similer to nonsense arguments and this link

pretty well covers why they should not be given credence.

Posted by: JDH on December 31, 2005 08:28 PM
9. Voting fraud is so easy with mail in voting.

The party boss (or whomever) just tells people to sign the ballot and hand the empty ballot to him to fill out.

That would give the party boss lots of power because he would directly control a decisive amount of voters in smaller races.

Posted by: Gene on January 1, 2006 11:18 AM
10. They are investigating right now for voter fraud in Oregon, stemming by the all-mail voting. There will undoubtedly be more voter fraud uncovered. Due diligence must be implemented if there is any hope of this belief holding true.
How realistic is that ? Judging by the regulatory body, slim to none. The Pee-Eye is full of excrement !

The reality is that more fraud will accumulate with time. Remember, the cheating and corruption will serve to benefit the Democrats, who attract the derelicts, low life, felons and illegal aliens. Republicans and those in contrary high level positions would be served well by throwing out as many roadblocks as possible. You know, like the congressional Dems have been doing to the Repubs since Bush came into power. However, the Republicans will need to do something new - band together and be aggressive. Stefan could be an advisor - above all, don't give up !

Posted by: KS on January 1, 2006 02:03 PM
11. Do they belive cows can fly too?! just wondering after hearing the scewed logic about mail in voting not being prone to fraud.Sounds like wish fulfilment to me!!

Posted by: Laurie on January 2, 2006 05:45 AM
12. Stefan,
The Seattle Times is never right 50% of the time. More like 20%.

Posted by: pbj on January 2, 2006 10:57 AM
13. Rest assured, I have not endorsed mail-in voting. Keith Ervin significantly misrepresented my position, which I made clear to him but he selectively reported. My position is:

1) Digital optical scanners are preferable to the older kind because they take a digital photograph of each ballot, a public record we can examine. However, digital scanning need not be mail-in. Hart Intercivic makes precinct-based digital scanners, and they are used in Yakima County and Skagit County.

2) Mail-in voting is extremely insecure and tamper-friendly as it is practiced in King County, for the following reasons:

a. The GEMS central tabulator is known to be easy to tamper with -- even Diebold admits this now. The traditional protection for this is the poll tape. All mail-in systems do not have a poll tape, and thus leave GEMS tampering with no safeguard except "trust us."

b. King County uses PSI Group to process both outgoing and incoming mail-in ballots. This firm is not sufficiently secure. We recently obtained a staff list, and found convicted felons and families full of immigrants, most likely some without proper paperwork, since the payroll register lists some with no last name, like "jack jack"

The accounting for incoming ballots is simply not there and until it is, mail-in voting will be the preferred place to enact election fraud.

c. The signature comparison model is a very weak way to authenticate voters, made worse by procedures and technology. The Diebold "Vote Remote" system allows subjectively selected standards for automated comparison, which can be changed from precinct to precinct. State law appears to be leaning toward ditching the paper record of the signature in favor of an electronic image. The Vote Remote signature comparison module has never been certified, and never will be, because it escapes through a loophole and certification is not required. Functions that export data back and forth from the voter registration database are therefore never examined by anyone.

d. The ballot printer, Diebold, has too many unaccounted for ballot floating around. Financial documents we have obtained indicate that they plan for a 25 percent "spoilage" (overprinting) rate. While King County supposedly accounts for its ballots, there seems to be no requirement for the Everett-based ballot printing plant to do so. What happens to all the extra ballots?

e. The concept that insiders should be trusted is fundamentally flawed. Would you put your diamonds in a safe deposit box, where the contents are supposed to be secret, if a lone bank employee could access your box when no one is looking, without any log of that activity, and no videotape? That would surely lead to he-said, she-said arguments. "Trust me" is a ridiculous concept in elections. "Oversee me" and "verify me independently" are better concepts.

I've seen the recently installed video cameras at one of the King County facilities. They are insufficient. Who reviews them, anyway?

Mail-in balloting is profoundly unwise.

I will be meeting with Ron Sims this week, and will ask to tape record the meeting so it is not misrepresented, and will file a full report on

Thank you all for your vigilance on these matters.

Bev Harris
Black Box Voting, Inc.

Posted by: Bev Harris on January 2, 2006 04:34 PM
14. Dear Seattle Times:

Whale excrement!!!!

Posted by: Doug on January 3, 2006 12:01 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?