Brad Friedman: No Confidence in the Busby/Bilbray Election

Brad Friedman

Jun 16, 2006

Take Your Democracy Back!

I don't know how else to put it, but every voting machine used in last week's special election run-off for the U.S. House seat vacated by the disgraced Randy "Duke" Cunningham in California's 50th congressional district was illegal. By federal standards, rules and provisions and by California state rules, laws and provisions. And now, by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters own admission.

TO REVIEW: The election was run on highly hackable Diebold voting machines that were sent home overnight and unsecurely with poll workers for days prior to the election which rendered the machines both illegal and uncertified for use in the election under both federal and state laws, requirements and statutes. The GOP has since rushed to swear-in Bilbray before the votes were counted, or the election even certified by the state of California.

See any of the links above for corroborated, sourced and detailed information.

And keep in mind that it's recently been revealed that Diebold voting machines can have their entire election software, operating system, and even computer firmware ("BIOS") overwritten in less than two minutes with no password necessary, should anybody gain unsupervised physical access to the


Note also that on the PBS News Hour last night, David Jefferson, Livermore Labs computer scientist, and a member of the CA Sec. of State's own team of independent analysts who looked at the recently discovered massive security flaws in Diebold's systems was quoted as saying:

particular vulnerability is serious enough that you can affect multiple machines from a single attack. That's what makes it so dangerous. Given that every common-sense (and legal) security mitigation procedure was tossed out the window when these same Diebold voting machines were sent home with poll workers, given that the machines were therefore uncertified for use in the race, given that one tampered machine could affect every other machine used in the election, given that American democracy is based on confidence in our electoral system, and given that there is therefore, no way to know that the reported results of the race are the actual results of the race...a manual hand-count of all paper ballots and "paper trails" must be done immediately.

In case you hadn't heard, on the very same day as California's election last week, at least two elections in Iowa, in Republican Primaries, the reported results showed that the popular incumbents had lost their race after the ballots were optically scanned. Due to an election director who was clever enough to realize something was amiss, the ballots were then hand-counted,

revealing in both cases that the incumbents had actually won the election!

Only a manual hand-count had revealed it. In one case, the incumbent had come in tenth in the race until the hand-count revealed the true results of the contest.

As to the Busby/Bilbray election...So far, PDA has declared "No Confidence" in the race. Tribune Media columnist Robert Koehler has declared "No Confidence" in the race. has declared "No Confidence" in the race. And VoteTrustUSA has declared "egregious violations" took place in the race.

So who actually won the race? At this time, there is no way to know. Not until the ballots are counted.

In the meantime, if Americans roll over and allow our electoral system to be treated with such callous disregard for the law, specific security procedures and common-sense while there is just one national election of note in play -- the signal has been sent to do whatever the hell you want come this November when 435 U.S. House races and 20 something U.S. Senate races will be up for grabs.

Is that the message we should be sending to those entrusted with running our elections?

It's time for Americans to take their democracy back from the private companies who have usurped our election system. San Diegans, it's time for you to "go Ukraine" on that Registrar of Voters office! For the rest of America -- who paid for this election with $3.8 billion in federal tax dollars, even though it was carried out in defiance of the very law that allocated those funds -- please sign the petition demanding a 100% hand-count NOW!

Then please spread the word.

It's your democracy. Use it or lose it.


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