Dear Reader. If you have been following this story it will interest you to know that the Secretary of Stateâ€™s office issued new protocols to LHS and state and town election workers such as moderators and registrars. Those new protocols were used during the primary race just held across the state where candidates will be running in the upcoming state and municipal elections.
Unfortunately our first look at these protocols yesterday indicates that the problems we identified have not been adequately addressed. Connecticutâ€™s new Diebold Accuvote Optical Scan voting terminals continue to be flawed in terms of the technology and sadly the security protocols in place do not close the door on fraud. The new protocols are being reviewed and hopefully updates will be made to make certain that any machine technology which fails during any kind of use during an election will be audited.
Right now that is not the case. LHS Associates continues to have access and authority indicating the near privatization of Connecticutâ€™s election to them.
The only solution on an immediate basis is that all those concerned about Connecticut elections flock to the polls in the upcoming November 6th election and carry out research to make certain that the technology is adequately monitored for security.
We plan two more half hour specials to update voters but time is of the essence. Please follow this web site for further information in the coming days. Thanks, and please VOTE and Monitor the polls too! Dori
Talk Nation Radio for September 5, 2007
Diebold Dealer and LHS President John Silvestro on Privatization in CT
Michael J. Fischer of Yale University Computer Science Department is also the President of True Vote Connecticut. He offers Remedies for Poor Security, Questionable Technology from Diebold to Connecticut
Professor Fischer describes the status of Connecticut machines and looks at the twin roles played by the Secretary of State and LHS Associates. Connecticut’s State and Municipal Elections take place November 6, 2007. There are less than two months for poll workers, registrars, and moderators of elections, to learn new security protocols. We pose questions about the role of a private company in the making of State election protocols in addition to supplying machines, providing training, doing the coding of memory cards and printing of ballots and then working at the polls during elections.
Produced by Dori Smith at WHUS at the University of Connecticut station in Storrs, CT
Listen to this week’s program here.
In last weekâ€™s program LHS President John Silvestro admitted his staff violated Connecticut security protocols during the 2006 election. Memory cards were swapped by LHS staff members who saw protocols from the State indicating they were not to touch machines. Still, Silvestro touts the benefits of privatizing Connecticutâ€™s election to his company that sells Diebold products. He said: â€˜–I feel very confident in the fact that the process itself is better left in the private venue than it is in the public venue when I see the influence that each political party can put on people and make things happen in this country, whether right or wrong. I mean if you think about it. I would ask you the same way. Would you like politically connected people to both parties to be in charge of running the process of creating voting machines, counting ballots, and you know, would you like that? I donâ€™t know.â€™
Silvestro attended an August meeting to correct security problems his staff caused when they swapped memory cards in violation of the Secretary of Stateâ€™s protocols. The problem would be solved, he offers, by automatically auditing any machine that fails during a vote. Will his ideas work? And even if they are good solutions, what should we make of his role in providing Connecticut elections?
Throughout our year long investigation LHS staff members have tended to say things that reveal either confusion about State protocols or an unwillingness to accept direction from the Secretary of State, Susan Bysiewicz. In this comment from 2006 LHS Director of Sales and Marketing, Ken Hajjar, admits he saw the written protocol from Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz indicating he was not to handle voting machines or obviously memory cards.
Ken Hajjar: â€˜I was given one sheet of paper which was the Secretary of Stateâ€™s rules and I was just told donâ€™t touch anything just answer questions. So I donâ€™t have that with me and Iâ€™m not even sure what I did with it. I might have just thrown it away once I got through.
Dori Smith: What would LHS be on hand to do if the machine were to fail? Tell me the protocol.
Ken Hajjar: If a machine were to fail either on Election Day or in any other circumstance it would be merely a matter of removing the memory card, thereâ€™s a little card that keeps track of the votes, bring a new machine over. Put the memory card in the new machine, when you turn it on the new machine picks up right where the old machine stops.
In light of Talk Nation Radio reports the Secretary of Stateâ€™s election division held meetings with John Silvestro and UConn Voting Research Team member Professor Alexander Shvartsman to update security protocols. We are awaiting the outcome. Meanwhile, TrueVoteCT.org offers recommendations.
Music is by Fritz Heede
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