Washblog

Updated: Citizens Group Needs Help With Recount Effort

Voters for Democracy in America taking on `city hall'

Update

The Canvassing Board is meeting tomorrow (Thursday) to reconsider our request for a recount of the two precincts in the 8th districts.

The Canvassing Board of King County Elections
Thursday Dec. 7, 2006 at 4:30 PM
Temporary Election Annex
9010 E. Marginal Way S, 3rd Floor, Endeavor Room

The issue remains being charged for security. Estimates range from $10,000 to $20,000. To recount 945 ballots.

[Updated by Zappini 12/6/06 10:35pm]

The purpose of our current campaign is to highlight the need for greater election integrity by pushing for a `citizens audit' in the form of a limited 2 precinct hand recount in Issaquah for the Reichert/Burner race. Weather or not we succeed in having our re-count, we still succeed in making the public aware of the need for greater election integrity.

King County Elections has agreed to re-consider our request for a hand recount at a Canvass Board meeting on Thursday Dec. 7, 2006 at 4:30 PM.  We are using the time before that to enhance our legal representation.  

We are currently engaged in countering the claim by King County Elections that we must pay $10,000 - $20,000 for `security' provided by armed police officers being on duty 24/7.  This claim is a placebo since the security procedures currently in place are sufficient.  Our elections would be far more secure if our ballots were not being counted by secret software.  

Please consider joining this exciting campaign.  We need more people communicating our views to the King County Council, Ron Sims, King County Elections officials and the media.  This can be done via email, regular mail, fax, phone calls or hand delivered letters.  

To get involved please contact Voters for Democracy in America.  Contact: Hannah at 206 526-1941 or email at writehm@comcast.net

< King County Re-org meeting -- the REAL story! | "It's Vietnam. That's what it is." >
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Elections are being stolen.  This citizens group
is trying to stop it, and needs your participation.
This should probably be a story as well as a diary entry.

by carlc on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 02:21:38 AM PST

I got a call back from KC records and licensing services and Sheril explained why the group will be charged the exorbatant securtiy fee of $2,500/day for counting a mere 925 votes - which they say will take a week to do!!!  She said the WAC states the group that requests the recount accepts all costs incurred.

If the WAC is that nebulous, the county could tack on  just about any charge they want and call it a cost of the recount.  

Is this a democracy? It's certainly not the version of democracy I support. I support transparency.  I support being able to verify that election outcomes are real, that they are actually backed up by REAL votes.  In order to do that we need to be able to COUNT those votes!!  WE as citizens need to be able to audit the vote count.  

What is a democracy if not verifiable!!

Why is it so difficult for a group of citizens to verify a simple 925 votes have been accurately counted?  The actual election is not being contested.  We are only interested in the actual process of vote counting.  Simple.  

Please call Jim Buck and all county council persons and ASK!!!!

by Golda Starr on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 09:32:39 AM PST

This proposed citizen audit is very important because the State of Washington does not require reliable routine manual audits. Routine, manual audits are only requird on the touch screen voting machines. They need to be conducted on the op-scans as well.

Numerous reports such as the Brennan Center Report on Voting Systems, the Government Accountability Office's report on voting systems, and the University of California at Berkley' report on found that vote totals on the touch screens AND the op-scans can easily be manipulated without detection.

Referring to "bugs" in the software of the Diebold Accuvote-OS, the optical scanner, the Berkley report states, "[t]hese bugs would have no effect at all in the absence of deliberate tampering and would not be discovered by any amount of functionality testing; but they could allow an attacker to completely control the behavior of the AV-OS. The attacker could change vote totals, modify reports, change the names of candidates, change the races being voted on, or insert his own code into the running firmware of the machine...There would be no way to know that any of these attacks occurred; the canvass procedure would not detect any anomalies and would just produce incorrect results. The only way to detect and correct the problem would be by recount of the original paper ballots...finding these bugs was only possible through close study of the source code."

This proposed citizen's audit is necessary to verify this important congressional race. We use voting systems that use secret, privately owned software that is known to have very serious security flaws. The Brennan Center report states that routine audits are mandatory as one of the many security measures that must be utilized to ensure accurate totals. Since the state's policies are too lax, the citizens must stand up for their right to verifiable elections and conduct an audit themselves.

Although the state gives citizens the right to request a recount, the cost is so onerous that this right is illusory.

Please contact Ron Sims and the canvassing board and tell them that the county should cover the security costs.

In January, or before, contact your state senators and representatives and tell them that our state needs mandatory, and statistically reliable manual audits of ALL voting systems.

by raincity calling on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 11:02:01 AM PST

Hopefully you will be granted the random audit. It is good for our democracy to verify that there are no major discrepancies, which both op-scan and touchscreen machines are well known for.

Remember the Ohio elections officials tampered with their recount in Warren County in 2004, by pre-selecting the ballots that the independent observers re-counted.

In fact, they even went so far as to sort out the ballots in two piles, one for Kerry, and one for Bush.

I am not sure what our WAC says about random recounts, but they should actually be random.

by Brian on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 12:21:32 PM PST

Hannah, thanks for the first-person post.

I understand from speaking to you that you have filed several public records requests relating to the past cost of small recounts and exactly what the recount process is. Since you've already done so, there is no need for me to duplicate the effort, which I would have to do before commenting substantively. It is amazing to me that a public records request is even required, that it cannot be reasonably envisioned that the public would want access to this information.

I also suspect that the whole recount process is geared towards contested elections. My understanding is that your group is not contesting the election per se (none of your findings will be used to used to argue for overturn of the election results), but rather is seeking to audit and verify the results of the counting process. I'm getting the impression they just aren't prepared for that kind of citizen questioning of their basic process.

by m3047 on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 12:54:26 PM PST

CANVASSING BOARD MEETING
They denied our request for a simple recount of 925 ballots.  They claim they did not know we have a democratic party officer as a signer on our request.  Now they have agreed to reconvene and have a CANVASSING BOARD MEETING Thursday - at 4:30pm to reconsider our request for a recount of the two precincts in the 8th districts.  

The more people that show up for this, the BETTER!!  We need to get them to back off on charging us for "security."  Let's go to this meeting and ask the HARD QUESTIONS!!!

It will be at:
The Canvassing Board of King County Elections
Thursday Dec. 7, 2006 at 4:30 PM
Temporary Election Annex
9010 E. Marginal Way S, 3rd Floor, Endeavor Room

We find NOTHING in the RCW nor in the WAC to justify the charging of any security fees (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=29A.64).  They have not substantiated the charging of these fees.  This MUST BE ADDRESSED!!!  

This is a great chance to find out just what they are doing.

by Golda Starr on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 08:57:29 PM PST

It's amazing what the political parties will pull to hide information from the public. King County is an especially dishonest bunch of people when it comes to playing hard ball politics. I was told by Julia Patterson's chief of staff, Jon Scholes, that even if there was a problem with elections, they would not tell the public because that would decrease the public's confidence in elections. As if the public's confidence could go any lower. And as if the government is somehow the gatekeeper of our confidence in the government. The whole concept that the government must withhold honest and accurate information from the public in order to maintain confidence seems like a twisted sort of thought process at best. Richard

by RichardBorkowski on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 03:11:51 PM PST

Did you get to do the recount or no?

by Brian on Fri Dec 08, 2006 at 11:40:42 PM PST

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We Americans have found ourselves in a pivotal era where we have traded humanity for patriotism. Where we have traded civil liberties for a sense of security. I stand here before you sharing the same idea as Henry David Thoreau: as an American, and as a Human Being, we mustn't lend ourselves to that same evil which we condemn." Quoted from:
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