Lawyer Questions Voting Machines - Asks local officals to watch them closely
Released on = October 6, 2006, 10:13 pm
Press Release Author = Press Dept
Industry = Government
Press Release Summary = RI Attorney Keven A. McKenna says six out of six voting machines in ward 8 were incorrect, that the machines are not in complaince with state law, that local candidates and officals should closely monitor the machines, and it is a popular brand across the US with documented flaws..
Press Release Body = (Providence, Rhode Island, USA) According to Attorney Keven A. McKenna, the optical scanning voting machines used in Providence \'s Eighth Ward do not comply with state law in that it counts computer ballots, not votes. That same equipment is used throughout Rhode Island . In a memorandum submitted to the Rhode Island Supreme Court, McKenna discussed the importance of the machine being able to count votes, not just computer ballots. McKenna is handling the 8th ward election challenge of Wilbur W. Jennings who lost by only 11 votes. What McKenna did not include it in the memorandum, is that the Optech Eagle equipment used by the Board of Elections throughout Rhode Island has been found documented as having problems registering votes. San Francisco, who uses the same voting equipment that we do throughout Rhode Island, had some precincts that showed more votes counted than the number of ballots cast. In others there were more ballots than votes counted In one polling precinct, # 2214 the city counted 416 ballots, but there were only 362 signatures in the roster, and the secretary of state found only 357 paper ballots. This is similar to the issues raised in Providence's Ward 8 where none of the machines in six precincts had a vote count that equalled the number of voters who cast ballots. This equipment, made by ES&S, a company owned in part by Nebraska U.S. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has been documented with numerous \"errors\" over the years including machines that suddenly start counting backwards as they did in Broward County Florida and rural Oklahoma during the Bush election. Other past documented failures acknowledged by ES&S include a recount ordered by the Hawaii Supreme court. Machine tests there initially showed no fault but on retesting intermittent errors appeared on the same machines. ES&S paid $250,000 to settle contract disputes and $280,000 to recount the ballots after complaints about poorly trained poll watchers, malfunctioning voting machines and spoiled ballots. ES&S machines also completely shut down the Venezuelan elections, and in Texas ES&S went on record to assure voters that their \"votes were never lost, just uncounted." \"The companies who sell us the machines, then sell us the contract to maintain and service them, along with administrators have attempted to eliminate everything that could easily verify or challenge the machines.\" McKenna said in an interview today. \"There is no way to immediately verify ballot stuffing easily without considerable man hours expended. In the old days, you count the slips given at the poll to use the voting machine and if that official count varied from the number of votes the machine said was cast, we know immediately that we may have an issue, and could then review the voter check in and voter check out sheet for further proof. \"Today you go in to a precinct and sign one book. ONE BOOK that we seem not to make copies of, disseminate or otherwise oversee. The Board of Canvassers has to optically scan this book to \"audit\" or \"prove\" the number of ballots on the machine against the voters who cast votes. Even the simple 'old school' approach per precinct like subtracting unused ballots and mistakes from the total ballots sent to the precinct, which SHOULD equal the ballot count on the machine would help. We still have the poll warden fill out a form, but no one checks or verifies the unused ballots after the election. They just throw them away . . ." "I am asking local officials and local candidates to be aware of this, and keep watch for machine counts that don't make sense. Perhaps after counting the unvoted ballots before the election begins to confirm the given count, then at the end of the election, physically counting and checking the number of unused ballots and mistakes against the machine count would be a safeguard and create some kind of check against whether their town or city is properly represented." "We need common sense to monitor the machines, not just trust," McKenna stressed. Then he asked, "I understand that only employees of ES&S can test the equipment and software they supply for errors . . . no independent review . . . now isn't THAT interesting ?" The ES&S Optech Eagle is federally approved and is a popular choice in many states. - 30 - Press site is at www.digitalgurune.com/jennings REFERENCES ES&S fine information here http://www.votersunite.org/info/ES&Sinthenews.pdf#search
Web Site = http://www.theghost.us
Contact Details = Bob Cooper 127 Dorrance Street Providence , 02903 $$country