Pokey Anderson, Ellen Theisen, Brad Friedman, on John Gideon’s work

Talk Nation Radio for May 13, 2009
Pokey Anderson, Ellen Theisen, Brad Friedman, on John Gideon’s work

The struggle to count every vote continues (pt 2, see also part 1 below)
Sign up for the ‘Daily Voting News’ newsletter here.

TRT: 29:36 (music fades 19 sec)
Produced by Dori Smith
Download at Pacifica’s Audioport here or at Radio4all.net here or..Click MP3 or right click here and save file to download from Archive.org.

We hear portions of a blues song. Listen to the rest of it here:
Shannon Williford song Election Reform

Listen to the May 14, 2009 TNR show here:

We have been focusing on voting rights issues and the remarkable contributions of a voting rights activist named John Gideon who died in April of meningitis at the age of 62. In part one people responded to Gideon’s sudden passing and noted his major contribution toward more transparency and integrity in our nation’s elections. This time we hear more clips of John Gideon and note his amazing enthusiasm for voting rights as we focus more on the serious nature of problems that have been identified with electronic voting machines.

Committed people like John Gideon have spent countless hours pouring over information from elections, and he did it for zero pay.


Our condolences to John Gideon’s family, his son Rick and grandson as well as others who knew and loved him.

We hear from long time investigative reporter, Pacifica radio producer and researcher, Pokey Anderson. For six years she co-produced The Monitor Radio Show at Pacifica station, KPFT, in Texas. We discuss her piece published on the website VotersUnite.org Here she is interviewing Nancy Tobi of the Election Defense Alliance.

In Peering Through Chinks in the Armor of High-Tech Elections, Pokey Anderson’s comprehensive report on high tech voting machines and problems within the electoral system, May 27, 2007,  she looks at the machines, the motives, and the inner workings of the election machinery, to document the core of the problem.

Here are some excerpts from Pokey Anderson’s report:

“When you vote, who you voted for is a secret. — Virtually everything else about elections should be public and transparent. But somehow, secrecy has come to cloak many aspects of elections.”

“There are unique things about running elections that no other software has to accomplish. When the voter leaves the polling place, because of anonymity, he or she is forever separated from the vote cast, with no way to check and see if it was ultimately counted correctly. This is quite different from using an ATM, which gives you a record at the time of the transaction, sends you a monthly statement to review, and makes a video record of the transaction as well. Plus, if someone were able to empty your entire bank account, they might net what, $1000? $10,000? $100,000?”

“By contrast, if someone were able to steal votes, they could put their own puppets into office, and could conceivably use the credit of the United States Treasury to funnel millions or billions of dollars their way. So, there’s a huge prize to entice ethically-challenged operatives.”

“Let’s make it personal. The winners of elections get to spend thousands of your tax dollars each year, so you could think of hackable electronic voting machines as leaving your checkbook out on the sidewalk, with a bunch of signed checks.” …continue reading here.

We hear Ellen Theisen Director of Voters Unite. Vote Counting Failures in Ohio and New Jersey Violate Federal Law, Accuracy Mandates John Gideon wanted the stewards of democracy to have a summary of each day’s news concerning a broad range of issues regarding the integrity of elections in the U.S. and elsewhere, so he created and published the free newsletter, the ‘Daily Voting News’ newsletter.
WA State Seeks to Use Military and Overseas Voters as Internet Voting Guinea Pigs

And Brad Friedman of Brad Blog.
Brad Friedman on Twitter
See his exclusive reports such as 3/15/2007 “New Details on the Phony ‘Voter Fraud’ Angle in the U.S. Attorneys Purge Scandal…An Insider’s Report from a New Mexico Election Attorney on the Firing of David Iglesias and the Rove/DoJ/Republican Efforts to Create a 2004 ‘Voter Fraud’ Scare in the State…RELATED? – The GOP ‘Voter Fraud’ Front Group ACVR Goes Suddenly AWOL!”
And Thomas Wilkey Has Kept Problems at the Labs Hidden from the Public and Behind a Wall of Secrecy for Years…” After ES&S Refuses To Turn-Over Source Code For ‘Top-To-Bottom’ Review …SoS Debra Bowen: ‘I’m not going to stand by and watch ES&S ignore the the State of California’ ”

Or find much more on voting, elections, and other news by searching Brad’s Blog here.

These are just some of the people John Gideon worked with as he documented technical problems with voting machines and the growing security crisis for US voting systems in general. The body of his many thousands of pages of work is now a historical record on voting technologies, the many failures that have occurred during elections, what people using the machines or manning them at the polls said about them, many of the system failures, failures with oversight, challenges to bring a paper ballot to every state, challenges over profit minded vendors and manufacturers, and how activists like Gideon challenged the system and in some cases won the battle to restore voting integrity.

Radio work: John Gideon was also with the Coalition for Voting Integrity and was a frequent guest on the radio show Voice of the Voter with Mary Ann Gould.

There have been victories large and small in states like Florida, Ohio, and California. Secretaries of State all over the country have been rethinking Direct Record E-technology, the DRE or touch screen voting that has caused so many problems. For the moment many state officials find themselves stuck with costly machines and no money to replace them.

As of March 2009, one month prior to his death, John Gideon had analyzed a new bill put forward by Congressman Rush Holt that offers a time line for replacing all DREs with paper ballots or a non-tabulating ballot-marking device (BMD) in each polling place. Experts in the struggle for a verifiable paper ballot have been offering detailed critiques, and you can read the critique by John Gideon and Ellen Theisen online at votersunite.org. The goal is to allow voters to privately and independently verify and cast the permanent paper ballot, but there are still some difficulties with details on ballot handling. If it passes the bill will formalize a process that has been taking place on a state by state basis as officials learn the hard way that DRE technology is prone to failure and is unworkable if we are to have safe, verifiable elections, where any voter can readily see how the results were obtained.  Find the PDF file of critique by John Gideon and Ellen Theisen here. And Congressman Holt’s statement on the death of John Gideon here.

John Gideon was not someone who you would expect to see become a high powered activist and expert on computer voting. He was a down to earth man, a disabled Vietnam veteran who did not take any income from his very intensive work as a voting rights activist. Over time it became invaluable to people in all US states struggling to make sure every US vote counts.

<img class=”alignright” src=”http://www.bradblog.com/Images/DVNLogo_pg.jpg” alt=”" width=”196″ height=”124″ /> To accommodate all of the stories breaking in each state, and place them in context, John Gideon invented the Daily Voting News. This newsletter documented voting problems all over the country. His goal was to help voters, state officials, activists, and political leaders, see the extent of the problem.

In our last program Brad Friedman explained that Gideon accomplished his goal in that many Americans and officials now realize that there is a serious problem.

John Gideon has been described as a voting rights hero by some of the very government officials he criticized, and he was an unusual political activist in that he was able to get a wide variety of people to listen to him and work with him as he researched voting machine failures and failures of the oversight system.

Clips: Voice of the Voter, hosted by Mary Ann Gould, with James Strait, sponsored by the non partisan group, The Coalition for Voting Integrity.

Pokey Anderson referred to her interview with John Gideon just after a story by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. came out. Here are stories by RFK Jr.

Rolling Stone Magazine: ‘Will the next election be hacked?’ Was the 2004 election stolen?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. hosts Ring of Fire, Air America. Truthout.org, Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: “Steal Back Your Vote!” and Stand up for Democracy with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

1/30/08 A state funded study finds problems with the memory cards for Diebold AccuVote OS voting machines to be used in Connecticut’s Super Tuesday Election; Connecticut’s Voting Machine Expert Alex Shvartsman Explains here in audio of TN radio show. More here here and here or search our web site for information on LHS Associates, Memory Card problems with the AccuVote Optical Scan voting machines in use in CT., and interviews with Rebecca Mercuri and many others.

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