Election watchdog debunks NY-23 "virus" hoax





Bo Lipari, the former executive director of New Yorkers for Verified Voting, has debunked The Gouverneur Times' claim of a "virus" in the computerized voting systems that skewed the results of the 23rd Congressional District race.


There was no virus in the NY-23 machines. How do I know? Well, in the first place, the Dominion ImageCast scanners in question run the Linux operating system, which is nearly immune to viruses due to its inherent ability to lock out programs that lack explicit permission to run, unlike the highly vulnerable Windows operating system.


Mr. Lipari notes, as I did last week, that a problem occurred in Dominion machines that caused them to freeze when certain vote combinations in mulitiple candidate elections were entered.


The elections monitor called the result a "bad news-good news-bad news-good news" situation. Dominion, he argues, should have found the bad code before it sent the machines out. But, he countered, the pre-election testing did what it should - found the error. Then again, all those who needed the fix didn't get it.


But, he concludes:


Because New York votes on paper, everybody's vote was counted. When the scanner stopped working, the ballots were removed and counted, so no votes were lost. Paper ballots, a software independent record of the vote, proved their great value in their very first outing in the Empire State. Compare this to lever machines, where counters on the back would get stuck and wouldn't turn when the vote is cast, something that occurred with far more frequency than most New Yorkers realize. When the counters on the back of a lever machines froze, a machine bug typically not discovered until the polls close, those votes were lost forever. More than a few lever machine elections had the incorrect candidate declared the victor as a result. When the scanner freezes, everyone knows about it, the machine is removed from service, and the paper ballots of those who have voted already and of those who will vote later in the day are sure to be counted. I'll take paper any day.


The Gouverneur Times was the toast of the conservative blogosphere when they suggested that Rep. Bill Owens had broken four campaign promises within the first hour of taking office - although the author recanted one alleged broken promise immediately.


But the "virus" story hasn't had the same wide distribution, perhaps suggesting that people were tiring of hearing the multitude of fake reasons why Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman didn't win this contest.