Friday, March 24, 2006

IL: No More $ To Sequoia Till Equipment Problem Solved

By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA
March 24, 2006

Election Offical Says The Last Few Days Have Been “Extremely Embarrassing”
Sequoia, As Usual, Blames The Election Workers

Responding to widespread failures in Tuesday’s primary elections Cook County and Chicago election officials have announced they will withhold payments to Sequoia Voting Systems until the vendor has fixed the system, which “did not perform adequately.” The county has already paid Sequoia $7.8 million of their $23.8 million contract with Sequoia.

"Nothing worked," Deborah Stein, board member of the Chicago Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois told the Tribune. "They must have worked for 15 to 20 minutes to get it together. They acknowledged that they had not run a test on it before today. So they're pulling it out of the box."

Scott Burnham, a spokesman for Cook County Clerk David Orr, said "We will not make additional payments until we are satisfied with the system."

The Chicago Tribune also reported:

"There will be contract ramifications from their performance," said Langdon Neal, chairman of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, noting that about $15 million of the city's portion of the Sequoia contract remains unpaid. As the counting continues, the lack of final totals has left several area communities uncertain about referendum outcomes for libraries and other projects. With 96 percent in, a tight race also remains for the Republican nomination in the 15th District for the Cook County Board between Carl Hansen and Timothy Schneider.

After seeing scanners jam on 21-inch ballots, Neal promised "extensive testing" before those machines are redeployed. He said efforts would be made to simplify the machine that is supposed to combine results from the two voting systems and transmit them downtown.

Neal, who called the last few days "extremely embarrassing," said the most severe problems were primarily limited to about 15 percent of precincts. He said at least some memory cards containing vote totals were defective or damaged, perhaps because they were inserted into a compiling machine while it was on, even though that is something Sequoia warned against doing. Paper trails are available for both voting systems, if the data storage devices are compromised.

See the rest of the Chicago Tribune article here.

NY: Motion to Intervene Denied in HAVA Lawsuit

By New Yorkers for Verified Voting , March 24, 2006

The Motion by New Yorkers for Verified Voting, the League of Women Voters of New York State, and other New York State citizens, to Intervene in the Department of Justice/New York State HAVA lawsuit was denied today in U.S. District Court. Judge Gary Sharpe expressed concern about keeping the case from getting unwieldy if too many parties became involved. The Court held open the possibility that the proposed Intervenors may be allowed to participate later, at a point when a specific plan for HAVA compliance has been proposed.

In another positive development, Judge Sharpe pressed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to concede that it is not seeking to force the remedy called for in the original complaint, which called for "full and complete" HAVA compliance by September. The DOJ attorney signaled that they do not intend to try to force full compliance this year, and understand that there are physical constraints on what could be realistically accomplished in the
remaining time.

In a new development, the Court ordered the State Board of Elections to produce a proposed compliance plan by April 10. The Department of Justice will then have 10 days to react. At that point, the Court will evaluate the plan and determine how to proceed. The State Board has indicated that it is still working out the details of an interim solution.

"Our constitutional right to vote and to have those votes accurately counted must be protected." said Bo Lipari, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Verified Voting. "We believe that our Motion to Intervene should have been granted, so that New York State citizens have a voice in the outcome. However, we are encouraged that the Court has held the door open for us to participate later, when a specific plan is on the table."

NH Attorney General seizes Grafton ballots; results all in question after many counted twice

March 15, 2006
Connecticut Valley (New Hampshire) Spectator

Joseph Cote, Reporter

GRAFTON — The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office came to Grafton Wednesday and seized the 369 ballots cast during voting Tuesday and the machine used to count them, after an unknown number of ballots were counted multiple times, according to Town Clerk Mary McDow.

The president of the company that makes the voting machines said operator error, not mechanical problems, put the results of all the town’s elections and warrant articles in question.

But Town Moderator Bonnie Haubrich said readings from the machine never indicated there was a problem.

The ballots will be recounted at a public meeting in Grafton, Senior Assistant Attorney General Bud Fitch said. That meeting has not yet been scheduled, but could be as soon as Saturday morning.

There have been some questions raised on the accuracy of the outcome,” Fitch said. “We’re still trying to get a handle on what the issues are. At this point I don’t know there is anything wrong with the results. There were questions raised.”

The ballots cast for Mascoma Valley Regional School District voting were also seized along with the district’s counting machine. Haubrich said, though, that the Attorney General’s office assured her the school results are accurate.

There’s not much I can tell you except that the counts are way off. They all could be switched for all we know,McDow said. “I had no knowledge of this (Tuesday) night. It’s all the moderator that deals with the machine.

McDow said it appears the switch that counts the ballots going through the machine was malfunctioning so that the machine counted ballots even when they jammed and were spit back out.

Until they come in with a true vote, we don’t know what’s going on,” she said.

Haubrich said she thought something might be wrong because the machine rejected so many ballots. She intended to hand-count those ballots at the end of the night.

John Silvestro, president of LHS Associates, which services Grafton’s machine, said the machine’s operator is supposed to read a printout the machine produces when a ballot jams. The printout will show whether the ballot was counted. If it was, he said, the operator can clear that entry and put the ballot back through the machine.

That’s usually what happens,” he said. “If you don’t read the message on the tape you’re kind of doing the election in the dark. Is it a machine problem? I would say absolutely not. This is an operator problem, and if they had questions, they should have called and gotten advice.

Silvestro said election officials can call his company, in Methuen, Mass., at any time and a field agent will be dispatched to the voting location to repair or replace the machine. LHS had a field agent in Enfield all day Tuesday, he said.

We didn’t receive a call from Grafton at all,” he said. “For some reason yesterday no one in Grafton opted to pick up the phone and give us a call.

Haubrich said she did read the machine’s printouts, but they didn’t indicate that the machine had counted those ballots. It wasn’t until after the results were recorded and reported to the media that she realized the tallies didn’t match up with the number of ballots cast.

For instance, there were 193 yes votes and 198 no votes, a total of 391 votes, for Article 22. But only 369 people voted. The top two vote-getters for a three-year seat on the planning board, David Rienzo and Lloyd “Sam” Vose, got a total of 408 votes.

It never said it counted,” Haubrich said. “I’ve never had that happen.”

Haubrich said she didn’t call LHS Associates because she didn’t think the machine had counted them, and so she counted them by hand after the polls closed. She called Selectboard Chairman Steve Darrow on Wednesday morning, and he decided they should notify the Attorney General’s office.

McDow said whatever happened Tuesday, it was an honest mistake.

There’s no foul play or anything. It was just the machine or the dip switch or whatever that was the big problem. (Haubrich) did everything she was supposed to do as far as I can see.

Supervisor of the Checklist Rosalie Babiarz spent most of the day at the polls, although she missed some time because she was ill. She said she didn’t see anyone checking the printout or clearing mis-counted ballots from the machine.

I didn’t see that, no. What I saw was that when someone entered a ballot and it jammed, they tried to put it in again,” she said.

Fitch said his office will investigate whether anything was handled improperly, either intentionally or otherwise.

We always will look at whether any election laws were violated,” he said.

Iowa House stalling voting bill - They Don't Want Voter-Verified PAPER RECORDS!

Carole Simmons wrote the following letter to the editor of the Ottumwa Courier of Iowa.

Published in March 23, 2006 11:45 pm

Iowa House majority leadership is stalling a bill that benefits all voters, and instead pushing a bill that will likely cause more problems than it solves.

With the recent purchase of paperless touchscreen voting machines in over 60 counties, many Iowans will be unable to verify that their votes are correctly recorded. Their ballots — in the form of proprietary computer code — are hidden from view.

Iowa needs passage of SF351 to require voter-verified paper records. This will make meaningful audits and recounts possible, and increase voter confidence in the integrity of our elections. It is a truly nonpartisan measure, and both Democratic and Republican candidates for secretary of state have spoken in support of it.

But instead of taking action on SF351, House leaders are pushing a bill to require government-issued voter ID cards at the polls. This despite any evidence of a problem in Iowa with people impersonating registered voters. Requiring IDs may lead to delays at the polls, as voters without IDs will have to use provisional ballots. Delays and provisional ballots are known to decrease voter participation and confidence in elections.

Voter-verified paper trails will increase voter confidence. The House leadership should act in the public interest and pass SF351 now.

Carole Simmons

Programmer Who Alleged Plot To Steal Florida Election Runs For Congress

By Carlos Miller, Raw StoryPublished: Friday March 24, 2006

To Republicans, Clint Curtis is a traitor; a back-stabbing liar with an imagination that rivaled Jack Abramoff's influence over Congress.

To liberal Democrats, Curtis is a hero; a stand up guy who blew the whistle on computer voting fraud, testifying before a group of U.S. House Committee Judiciary Democrats after the 2004 presidential election.

And to the man himself, the Republican-turned-Democrat is nothing but a computer geek who purports to have found himself smack in the middle of a brazen political plot to tamper with elections in Florida, where fact can be stranger than fiction and politics as shady as swampy underbrush.

After all, since the software programmer accused Florida Congressman Tom Feeney of asking him to create a computer program to steal an election, the plot has unraveled quirkier than a Carl Hiaasen novel.

So far, a state investigator who had been looking into a contract held by Curtis' former employer was found dead in a cheap motel room and an illegal Chinese immigrant, a colleague of Curtis' who worked for a close friend of Feeney's, was allowed to remain in the United States and received a $100 fine for passing sophisticated missile technology to China.

It's no wonder why Curtis keeps a loaded AK-47 behind his door. "When I first began reporting on espionage and Feeney's corruption, I received death threats," he asserts.

Now Curtis is preparing to square off against Feeney for the state's 24th Congressional District this November, a solidly conservative area in central Florida carved out by Feeney himself.

But before taking on Feeney, he needs to beat fellow Democrat Andy Michaud, a lifelong Democrat.

"Even Republicans know Feeney is a crook and they'd be glad to get rid of him," Curtis said. "I just have to persuade Democrats that I am Democratic enough."

Curtis says his main campaign issue is eliminating election fraud. See

"This is not a partisan issue," he said. "I noticed recently in Texas there was a Republican that got some wild results in his primary. The Republicans can't run unless the people that control the machines want them to run."

In the Texas case, Republican Steve Smith is preparing a challenge after losing in the state's Supreme Court Justice primary election earlier this month. In Winkler County, Texas, where Smith respectively received 74 percent and 65 percent of the votes in the 2002 and 2004 elections, he received zero votes in the recent primary.

And in Smith's home county, Tarrant, where he outperformed statewide results by 13 percent in 2004, he underperformed statewide results by 23 percent earlier this month.

Smiths' opponent, Don Willet, has close ties to President Bush. Willet served as a special assistant to the president in Bush's quest for faith-based initiatives.

These bizarre results don't surprise voting rights activists, who have been crying foul over computer voting fraud since the 2004 presidential election, when some counties in Ohio cast more votes for Bush than there were registered voters.

But the fact that Curtis is one of the only politicians in the country addressing the issue of computer voting fraud is winning him support from outside his district as well as from other states.

Karyn Altman, a freelance writer and hospitality marketing professional in Miami, is one of a small, but dedicated team of volunteers throughout the country working to get Curtis on the ballot. Other volunteers are in New Jersey and California.

"Clint needs to raise $10,000 by April 7th so we can get him on the primary ballot," said Altman, who is in the process of organizing fundraisers for Curtis in South Florida. (Donate here.)

Like many Democrats, Altman started becoming disillusioned with politics after the 2000 Florida fiasco in which the Supreme Court voted to put Bush in the White House. In 2002, after the computer voting machines were introduced in Florida, she says it took her three attempts for her vote to register for her Democratic candidate.

"When I discovered afterwards that I was not the only one who'd had this experience, I became obsessed with learning about electronic machines and the ways they could be manipulated without detection," she said.

"I find it outrageous that in spite of all of the evidence, the mainstream media refuses to cover this story," she said. "And the Democratic Party refuses to even consider, at least publicly, the possibility that fraud and election rigging could be taking place."

Read the rest of the article at Raw Story here.

Fed Court: NY Must "HAVA" Plan by April 10!

This is a slightly biased article is from Newsday. I point out the bias in [brackets.]

By MARC HUMBERT, Associated Press Writer
March 23, 2006, 4:29 PM EST

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A federal judge on Thursday ordered New York to come up with a plan by April 10 to comply with provisions of the Help America Vote Act requiring new voting machines the disabled can use this fall.

New York, which has lagged behind ["Lagged behind?" NY was deliberative! (They don't want to go like Ohi0 2004 or Florida 2000)] all other states in complying with the act adopted in the wake of the disputed 2000 presidential election, was sued March 1 by the U.S. Justice Department. It was the first such suit filed by the federal government against a state over non-HAVA compliance.

Thursday's order, from U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe, also requires the state show him a plan to ensure a centralized, statewide voter registration system. [Whether it actually works or not.]

Lee Daghlian, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections, said the plan to be presented to the judge will likely be an updated version of one the board had been working on with Justice Department officials when the lawsuit was filed.

The judge refused to allow several interest groups, including the state League of Women Voters, to intervene in the case. They are worried the state will be forced to move too quickly and be stuck with new voting machines that aren't satisfactory over the long term.

Under HAVA, state officials are looking to replace all of New York's approximately 20,000 lever-action voting machines with high-tech devices. But the state board has said it is not feasible to have new machinery in place everywhere until the 2007 elections.

The federal lawsuit seeks to force the state to have new machinery in place, at least for the disabled, by this fall's elections.

Critics of the lawsuit have said it threatens to force the state and its counties into buying technology that might have to be quickly replaced, ultimately wasting money. The federal government has already given New York $220 million to update its voting system.

"The process is being rushed," said Neal Rosenstein of the New York Public Interest Research Group in the wake of the judge's action Thursday.

Rosenstein said voting rights for disabled people are important but "it's not a huge segment of the population."

Daghlian said the elections board is trying to determine how many disabled voters there are in the state.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Voting for a database that works

By Cindy Rodríguez, Denver Post Staff Columnist;
Article Launched: 3/23/2006 01:00 AM on

During the contentious 2004 presidential election, Rebecca Yaffe and Tony Thompson were among the legions of people nationwide who knocked on doors, offered voter- registration forms and urged people to vote.

Armed with a thick printout of registered voters they'd received from the Broomfield County Election Division, they set off, convinced they could motivate Democrats to vote out President Bush.

But a curious thing kept happening.

"We'd knock on a door and say, 'Mr. Johnson?' and the person who answered the door would say, 'He hasn't lived here in years,' " Yaffe recounted.

The files were almost useless for canvassing because they contained outdated information. Sometimes, the voter lists included two or three families living in the same house.

"It was a mess," Thompson said of the files, which both Democrats and Republicans rely on to drum up support from their bases and convince unaffiliated voters.

So Thompson and Yaffe set out to fix the county's database on their own. Most people wouldn't fathom undertaking such a project, but Thompson, a software architect for Level 3, builds complex software programs for a living. This one was a snap.

The software program, which Thompson named The Broom - because it swept away duplicate names and erroneous phone numbers in Broomfield - took five days to build. Creating the database took two weeks, with about 400 volunteers helping input detailed, up-to- date information.

Once it was done, word spread. Soon, Democrats across the state asked the pair to help clean their county's voter files. Organizers for Mark Udall, Ken Sala- zar and John Kerry tapped them as well.

Their project turned into a statewide effort. Two years later, they refined the software so it's easy to use, with encrypted information on a server they say can't be hacked.

All of the state's registered voters, nearly 3 million of them, are in the database.

Officials consider the software such a valuable resource that Thompson, Yaffe, a Web designer, and their friend Eddie García, a commercial banker, decided to market it.

Their company is called Sweep Enterprises LLC. They say theirs is the only comprehensive and accurate voter database in the state.

That's not stretching the truth. The current state data, collected by Colorado's 64 counties, is a hodgepodge of information, some of it old, some of it repetitive, some of it incomplete. Dana Williams, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said the counties send new data every month, which is dumped into a state database that was created by the secretary of state's Division of Information Technologies. It's not in compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act.

The company the state contracted with to do the work, Accenture LLC - a company with a history of failure - missed every deadline. The state terminated the contract and is back to Square One, about four months behind the Jan. 1 federal deadline.

The database delay means a push-back on implementing an electronic balloting system throughout the state, which is good news to those who are leery of tampering.

"We hope to get a system implemented in 2007, but we don't know exactly when," Williams says. "It depends on the company we contract with."

Williams said a request for proposals for a database system will be announced at the end of April.

It would make sense for the state to steer clear of contracting with Electronic Data Systems, the $200 million state social services system created two years that has been a nightmare from Day 1, causing delays in Medicaid and food stamp payments.

But does Sweep Enterprises, a fledgling operation with three employees that has a ready-to-deliver Colorado voter database, stand a chance with the state?

The company will have to wait and see.

Cindy Rodríguez's column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in Scene. Contact her at 303-820-1211 or

Did White House Direct Phone Jamming Scheme?

US NEWSWIRE; 3/23/2006 7:22:00 PM
Contact: Damien LaVera of DNC Public Affairs at (202) 863-8148

WASHINGTON, March 23 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A new report suggests that the national Republican establishment--including the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and even the Bush White House -- may have had a role in the criminal Election Day phone jamming scheme that disenfranchised countless New Hampshire voters in 2002.

The Union Leader today reported that "court records show Ken Mehlman's office received more than 75 telephone calls from now-convicted phone-jam conspirator James Tobin from Sept. 30 to Nov. 22 of that year." At the time, Mehlman -- the current RNC Chair -- was White House political director. (Union Leader, 3/23/06) This raises the disturbing question of whether Tobin, who worked for the RNC and the NRSC at the time and has since been convicted on two criminal charges for his role in the scheme, discussed the plan with one of the President's most important political strategists.

Today's news also has important implications for other national Republican figures. At the time the phone jamming scheme was devised and implemented, Tobin's supervisor at the RNC was Terry Nelson, who Arizona Republican Senator John McCain recently hired as a senior strategist for his Political Action Committee. This means that McCain may have hired one of the key figures in the phone jamming scheme.

"Each new development in this case raises troubling questions about the extent to which key national Republicans had knowledge of or were involved in a criminal scheme to keep New Hampshire voters from getting to the polls," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Luis Miranda. "The revelation that, in the days leading up to the phone-jamming campaign, Ken Mehlman spoke regularly with a man who has been convicted of criminal charges in this case raises deeply disturbing questions about the Bush White House's commitment to protecting fundamental right of Americans to vote.

"The American people have a right to know whether the White House political director had a hand in building an Election Day game plan predicated on keeping people from voting. And they need to know why John McCain is turning a blind eye to the role one of his closest advisors may have played in this scandal. Democrats will continue to fight to protect every Americans' right to cast their vote and have their ballots counted."

McCain Strategist Terry Nelson Supervised James Tobin During NH Phone Jamming Scandal; Tobin Convicted of Federal Telephone Harassment Charges. Tobin worked for the RNC and the NRSC during 2002, and was supervised by RNC Political Director Terry Nelson. On Election Day, a telemarketer hired by the New Hampshire GOP jammed the telephones of five state Democratic and one firefighters union get-out-the-vote phone banks. James Tobin was found guilty in December of federal telephone harassment charges for his role in the scandal. (Manchester Union Leader, 10/20/05; Union Leader, 3/23/06)

Tobin Called The White House Office of Political Affairs 75 Times In Six Weeks. "In the days before and after the state Republican Party's 2002 Election Day phone-jamming scheme, the man who now chairs the Republican National Committee was the White House director of political affairs. Ken Mehlman's office received more than 75 telephone calls from now-convicted phone-jam conspirator James Tobin from Sept. 30 to Nov. 22 of that year." (Union Leader, 3/23/06)

Email posted on Bradblog: Democracy is DEAD in TX!

The following email was sent to BRAD BLOG and Brad posted it yesterday. Brad Blog is arguably the most important e-Voting machine news aggregator on the web, with Democratic Underground a close second. I strongly recommend that you check these two sites regularly for updates!

Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 7:23 PM
Subject: EXCLUSIVE: Hart InterCivic Whistleblower Warned of Texas, Ohio E-Voting 'Fraud' Concerns in 2004!

I am a retired physicist and system engineer who has specified, designed, tested, and evaluated computing systems for the US Navy for 30 years.

I live in Tarrant County and have been involved closely with the campaign of Doreen Geiger for Democratic Party County Chair. The March 7, 2006 election included the general election for this race. I was there on election night when Tarrant County reported periodic results of the election. The numbers of votes reported were so large that they were astonishing. The results were updated at 90 minute intervals six times. The final reported vote count for County Chair was about 44,000.

The next day there were questions from all contested races, and at 4 PM there was a press conference at the Tarrant County Elections Administration. The speakers were Gayle Hamilton, interim Elections Administrator, a vice president from Hart Intercivic, and both the Democratic Party and Republican Party County Chairs. The theme was that the error was "procedural" and not a software error. It was an error in which the running sum of votes for each candidate was erroneously substituted for the incremental count for each of the six periods. The officials emphasized that the error would not change any of the announced winners.

Although the programmer who allegedly made the error was in attendance, he did not speak.

Ms. Hamilton said that because of the error any candidate who wanted a recount would get one at no charge. Ms. Geiger and a candidate for JP, John DeLorme asked for a recount. None of the reporters in attendance apparently knew enough about computer systems to ask technical questions.

After the conference I built a spreadsheet model of the erroneous processing algorithm and showed that it would not be possible to know what changes would occur in the outcomes of the races without reprocessing the original vote counts from each of the 212 polling stations. I sent this result to the Star-Telegram (Anna Tinsley) and to all of Doreen's staff and supporters. The next day the Elections Administration announced that at least one result was changed in a Republican race. This infuriated the Republicans.

On Tuesday, March 14, Gayle Hamilton announced that the Secretary of State had prohibited her from doing any free recounts. Also on Tuesday, Doreen was told that she could not have a promised Access database of precinct by precinct returns for her race until after the vote had been canvassed. And then, instead of getting it free as promised, she'd have to pay $50 for it.

Tonight the Democratic Party of Tarrant County, in violation of the State Rules voted to approve the vote when they didn't have a quorum present. The incumbent County Chair refused to recognize points of order several times during a heated exchange on the issue. The Chair shouted down several people who rose to a point of order, and rammed the vote through. This Chair behaves as if he had some sort of financial interest in electronic voting.

Democracy is dead here.

TN Election Commissioners Asked to Resign

Cheatham County Election Commissioners asked to resign
Administrator Sandra Smith takes retirement

By Gary Burton; The Ashland City Times
Published: Wednesday, 03/22/06

NASHVILLE - The Cheatham County Election Commission is being asked to resign or show just cause to the state why the five members should not be removed from their positions.

An investigation by the Tennessee Election Commission concluded Tuesday with Brook Thompson, state coordinator of elections, informing state election commissioners with the results of the probe.
Commissioners discovered several problems with local voting including:
  • Workers were told to make the number of voter applications and ballots match - even if the numbers were off.
  • Poll workers were instructed by the election administrator to cast fraudulent ballots if the applications and voting booth activations did not match, and
  • The election administrator had possession of both keys to ballot boxes during an election.
I’ve lost confidence in the Cheatham County Election Commission,” Thompson said. “This is not a fun thing to do.

Investigators were tipped-off about irregularities in the November 2004 election by a former election office worker. Thompson said there were about 34 fraudulent votes cast in the November 2004 election, but did not feel there were enough to affect any elections.

Thompson said Beth Henry-Robinson, an assistant in his office, found several problems with Cheatham County election operations.

First of all, if at the end of a day's vote, the number of applications failed to agree with the number of votes, poll workers were instructed by the election administrator to ‘make them match,’” Thompson said.

Sandra Smith served as election administrator for the last 23 years until she retired as of Monday - citing her mother's health as the reason for her departure. Last week, Smith said she wanted to retire rather than cause problems for the election office.

If something is wrong in this office and it was my fault, I just feel like the best thing to do is leave,” she said. “I don't want something I may have done to hurt this office, the people who work here or my family.” Smith said in an interview Tuesday that one of the ballot box keys was in her desk drawer, but did not know what to do with it.

We always tried to give the keys to a Democratic and Republican chairman during the elections,” she said. “On the occasion the commission is talking about, the Democratic chairman had one of the keys, but the Republican chairman was not available. The state didn’t tell me what I was supposed to do at that point, but I guess I should have asked more questions.

Thompson said poll workers were also told to cast fraudulent votes if the votes did not match.

Next, on the first day of early voting, if the number of applicants exceeded the activation of the poll booth, workers were directed to cast votes to balance the votes,” Thompson said.

Thompson also told commissioners that the keys to the ballot boxes, normally held by the Democratic and Republican members of the Cheatham County Commission, were both kept in Smith's possession.

This is a direct violation of the law,” Thompson added.

State commissioners agreed to send a letter to the local commissioners requesting that they either attend the next meeting in Nashville April 18 for a “just cause hearing” to defend themselves or resign from their positions.

This is a very serious situation,” said Tom Wheeler, state commission chairman. “Very serious.” He also informed the state commissioners that elections in the county were approaching and legislators would be advised to be prepared if local commissioners all resigned at once and replacements needed to be appointed.

Robert D. Perry, chairman of the Cheatham County Election Commission, said the move by the state would not affect the group’s newest member.

The other four members of the local election commission could not be contacted for comment Tuesday before press time.

NBC 5: Vote Counting Resumes Thursday (23 Mar)

Stroger Holds Slim Lead As Counting Resumes

UPDATED: 11:12 am CST March 23, 2006

CHICAGO -- The Democratic primary for Cook County Board president was decided with Forrest Claypool's concession Wednesday, but election officials said they would continue counting ballots by hand on Thursday (two days after polls closed) regarless.

The camp of challenger Forrest Claypool accused election officials of "flying blind" with new equipment that they weren't prepared to use. Some of the brand new machines apparently broke down, leaving no way to count many of the ballots but by hand.

At midday Wednesday, various reports of missing ballots and ballots still locked up in precincts unsettled officials.

The new voting machines didn't present a widespread problem to voters, with the most common complaint among them being unwieldy ballots that didn't protect privacy.

But the new electronic voting system turned into a real challenge when it came time to count the votes.

"The fact is, we tried it and it failed. It failed miserably. The level of confusion that reigned through the evening is more than unsettling," a Claypool spokeswoman said.

With technology malfunctioning in nearly 200 precincts in the city and county, boxes were hauled overnight into election headquarters. Officials tallied votes until 3 a.m., as officials were crowded with questions from the campaigns about the integrity of the process.

"The integrity of the election process will be carefully and vigilantly guarded," an election official said.

But members of both board president camps continued to voice concern. "It's not enough to say that we're going to maintain the integrity of the process. We need to know how, and we need to know how they are going to proceed," said a spokesman for the current board president, John Stroger.

But the campaigns for Stroger and Claypool are being forced to sit it out until the final vote count comes in.

"Is this disappointing? Yes. Am I upset about this? Yes. But nothing, I don't think, has happened so far (that) impugns the electoral process," a top election official said.

Election officials say one key problem is that they don't know exactly where the uncounted ballots are from, which could ultimately make a difference in the lead Stroger held Wednesday morning.

With 87 percent of the votes counted around noon Wednesday, Claypool had 47 percent of the vote to Stroger's 52 percent.

Illinois - Tuesday's Election Results Not Final (voting machine problems!)

The results of Illinois's Tuesday, March 21, 2006 primary elections remain "unofficial," and in some cases incomplete, due to slow results in Chicago and Cook County. In some categories, results in only the contested races are given. Check,0,2520894.htmlstory#statewide for updates.

New machines, poor training slowed count

Precincts uncounted even after Wednesday

By James Janega, John McCormick and David Kidwell, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune staff reporters Josh Noel, Carlos Sadovi, Courtney Flynn, Charles Sheehan, Hal Dardick, Tonya Maxwell, David Mendell
Published March 23, 2006

As ballot counting stretched into a second night, judges and election officials on Wednesday blamed confusion in the primary election on vast numbers of poll workers who had not been trained for Cook County's complicated new electronic voting system.

Most of them had barely studied machines that scanned paper ballots or enabled touch-screen voting. Many didn't see those devices--or the one used to combine and send their information--until Election Day.

Langdon Neal, chairman of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, further said that 4,000 of Chicago's 14,000 election judges attended no training and instead relied on a judge's manual that was sent in the mail and was written in a complicated and confusing manner.

"The way it worked in the class and the way it worked in real life was different," said Bill Anderson, 58, a 38th Ward election judge who took a three-hour class last week at Wright Junior College.

"We were told it was going to work as 'A, B, C, D', and it didn't happen like that," he said. The election judges endured glitches, missing equipment and pervasive questions surrounding Cook County's $54 million electronic voting system, which bogged down on its inaugural run.

But judges' headaches during the day were nothing compared to that night, when a second wave of technical problems arose while combining votes from two different voting methods and trying to transmit them on a third. The equipment is made by California-based Sequoia Voting Systems.

Amid a tumbling backlog of voting data, returns were pushed so late that many judges simply packed up their polling places late Tuesday or early Wednesday and went home. In the confusion, county and city officials had no idea which precincts were accounted for and which were not, or where records of their votes were.

At noon Wednesday, Chicago was missing 252 memory cartridges, 93 from machines that scanned in paper ballots and 159 from touch screens. County officials couldn't find 162 memory cartridges from suburban precincts--68 from optical-scanning machines and 94 for touch-screen balloting.

The problems led midday to the sight of Cook County Director of Elections Clem Balanoff--his tie loosened and eyes bleary--rifling through blue duffel bags at a county warehouse for precinct returns for uncounted votes on missing memory cartridges.

The frantic count took a pause Wednesday afternoon when Forrest Claypool, Democratic challenger for Cook County Board president, conceded defeat by a razor-thin margin to incumbent John Stroger. He said slow vote reporting had delayed the outcome but didn't influence it.

With the county's highest-profile race settled, attention turned to others.

Residents in Bellwood, for example, are waiting to learn about a $14 million referendum proposal for a new library. At the end of counting Wednesday, results were roughly tied with 62 percent of the vote in and counting to resume Thursday.

"It's still a jump ball," said Mayor Frank Pasquale.

There were dozens of other referendum proposals on the ballot, some close, their outcomes equally unknown.

Maryland Votes 137-0 To Drop Diebold (Brilliant!)

NY Times Editorial, March 23, 2006
Common Sense in Maryland

Diebold, the electronic voting machine maker, suffered another sharp setback recently, when Maryland's House of Delegates voted 137-to-0 to drop its machines and switch to paper ballots. The vote came in the same week that Texas held elections marred by electronic voting troubles. Maryland's State Senate should join the House in voting to discontinue the use of the Diebold machines, and other states should follow Maryland's lead.

Maryland was one of the first states to embrace Diebold. But Maryland voters and elected officials have grown increasingly disenchanted as evidence has mounted that the machines cannot be trusted. In 2004, security experts from RABA Technologies told the state legislature that they had been able to hack into the machines in a way that would make it possible to steal an election. Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat, informed the State Board of Elections in 2004 that voters had complained to her that machines had mysteriously omitted the Senate race.

The Maryland House's bill calls for replacing the Diebold machines with optical scanning machines for this fall's elections. Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr., once a Diebold supporter, has said he'll sign the bill if the State Senate agrees. Optical scanning machines would be a vast improvement. Voters using them fill out paper ballots, which are scanned electronically. Those ballots are a permanent record that can (and should) be used to double-check the machine results. Although time is short, Maryland should be able to get optical scanning machines operating by the fall. Even though the Board of Elections has been resisting the proposal, that should not stop the General Assembly and the governor from fighting for machines that voters will trust.

The Maryland House voted days after Texas held an election with the sort of disturbing electronic voting glitches that have by now become common. In Tarrant County, as many as 100,000 extra votes appeared on the machines — election officials insisted that they knew which ones to eliminate to make the results correct. In a hotly contested Congressional race in another part of the state, results were delayed by programming errors in the machines used in two crucial counties.

Many states have passed laws requiring paper records for electronic voting. What is happening in Maryland is important, because not a single member of the House stood behind the once popular Diebold machines. It is just the latest indication that common sense is starting to prevail in the battle over electronic voting.

Oregon - ES&S Voting Machines delayed (ES&S wants to avoid liability!)

I am sure that ES&S wants to avoid liability if their machines fail to deliver the integrity of the election. (Gee, I wonder why???) I hope Oregon does not waive ES&S's liability for failures.

Access - Supply issues may prevent Oregon from offering machines to disabled people in May, as required by law

By Matthew Preusch, Monday, March 20, 2006

People with disabilities in Oregon probably won't get to use specially designed voting machines in the May primary as planned, putting the state in violation of sweeping federal reform law.

A contract dispute with the supplier has delayed delivery of the voting machines, required under the 2002 Help America Vote Act.

"We spent a year trying to put this together," said Gene Newton, a state election official coordinating changes spurred by the new law. "To hit this snag at the end was really unexpected."

At least 21 other states also missed the Jan. 1 deadline to offer the machines, according to, a nonpartisan election database. The law requires states to have a machine in every polling place by this year to allow disabled people to vote independently and privately.

The state thought it had a deal to spend nearly $1 million on 100 terminals, but supplier Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Neb., asked to change liability, license and other provisions in its contract at the last minute, said Anne Martens, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Bill Bradbury's office.

The state has refused to make changes because it would then have to start the bidding process over, Martens said. Last month, Bradbury's office sent a letter to the company saying the state considered it in breach of contract.

State and company officials plan to meet later this month to continue negotiations, said Amanda Brown, a spokeswoman for Election Systems and Software. The company could still supply machines in the future, and "we are hopeful we can do so soon," she said.

But in a recent letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, state Elections Division Director John Lindback said the state doesn't believe it can reach an agreement with Election Systems and Software and that it intends to sue the company to recoup extra costs incurred trying to comply with the voting act.

Matthew Preusch: 541-382-2006;

Read the entire article at:

Marion County Indiana Voter Registration System Fails Again

Rich Van Wyk Channel 13 Eyewitness News

Marion County, March 20 - The system worked in the afternoon. Yet earlier during a statewide test Indiana's first ever voter registration system failed. Marion County workers couldn't enter voters' names and address.

Joel Miller with the Marion County Board of Voters Registration says, "Two days into the system we've had two failures. It is scary to think what could happen for the election."

Until now, each county kept their own voters registration records. The statewide system, mandated by Congress, is intended to reduce voter fraud and insure reliable results. Dozens of counties are participating in a simulated election, a six-day test.

Everyday county workers get a playbook that tells them what to do that day. It is a surprise so they can't plan in advance.

Friday error messages surprised workers when the system failed. Monday morning there were more error messages, a second, different failure.

How serious are the problems? The answer depends on who answers.

On Marion County's nonpartisan Board of Voters Registration, Miller, the Democrat, is "concerned. I am very concerned." Kyle Walker is the Republican. "It doesn't disturb me based on the types of problems they are. They are very easy to identify and very easy to correct."

The statewide voters registration system is the responsibility of Indiana's secretary of state. Republican Todd Rokita calls the test a success, saying in a prepared statement that county workers could have switched to a backup system.

The test runs through Friday. Everyone hopes the kinks are worked out of the system before it is put to a real test in May's primary election.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Video: Closing Argument by Alan Shore - Boston Legal

The following is a partial quote from the closing argument made by Alan Shore (played by James Spader) on the television show Boston Legal, which aired on March 14, 2006 (Partial quote; it is worth reading the entire closing argument at
Alan Shore: When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out to be not true, I expected the American people to rise up. Ha! They didn't.

Then, when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced and it was revealed that our government participated in rendition, a practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to regimes who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people would be heard from. We stood mute.

Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so-called terrorists suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly, we would never stand for that. We did.

And now, it's been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own citizens. You and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, finally the American people will have had enough. Evidentially, we haven't.

In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message is 'we're okay with it all.' Torture, warrantless search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial - or any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are apparently not offended.

There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact, there's no clear indication that young people seem to notice.

Well, Melissa Hughes noticed. Now, you might think, instead of withholding her taxes, she could have protested the old fashioned way. Made a placard and demonstrated at a Presidential or Vice-Presidential appearance, but we've lost the right to that as well. The Secret Service can now declare free speech zones to contain, control and, in effect, criminalize protest.

Stop for a second and try to fathom that.

At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you are wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed.

This, in the United States of America. This in the United States of America. Is Melissa Hughes the only one embarrassed?

Watch the video at:

Monday, March 20, 2006

e-Voting Lawsuit Reaches Supreme Court!

WOW! A non-lawyer, representing herself, has taken the issue of electronic voting machines all the way to theUnited States Supreme Court! It is a "David and Goliath" kind of case. I wish her luck. It is indeed curious that I did not find this important case anywhere in the Main Stream media. I happened on it quite by accident. Her Supreme Court Brief can be found at

Voting Systems Lawsuit Reaches U.S. Supreme Court
Monday January 30, 11:01 am ET

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- A little-noticed voting rights lawsuit has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court (Docket No. 05-930). It constitutes the first legal challenge to the widespread use of nontransparent voting systems. Specifically, the lawsuit challenges the use of voting machines and absentee voting in elections for public office.

The lawsuit was originally filed by freelance journalist Lynn Landes in July of 2004 in Philadelphia federal court (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Landes on November 2, 2005.

In her lawsuit Landes claims that, as a voter and a journalist, she has the right to direct access to a physical ballot and to observe the voting process unimpeded. Voting by machine or absentee, Landes claims, introduces obstacles and concealment to a process that must be accessible and transparent in a meaningful and effective manner.

Landes is representing herself in this action.

"I tried to get civil rights organizations interested in this case, but had no luck. Their disregard for this issue is incredible. It's clear to me that without direct access to a physical ballot and meaningful transparency in the process, our elections have no integrity whatsoever," says Landes.

The defendants in the Landes lawsuit are Margaret Tartaglione, Chair of the City Commissioners of Philadelphia; Pedro A. Cortes, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States.

Attorneys for the defendants have successfully fought Landes, claiming that she did not prove an injury and therefore does not have standing. Landes counters that she has the right to challenge the constitutionality of acts of the legislative branch under federal statute and case law, most significantly under Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).

Early American history seems to favor the Landes position. Prior to the Civil War, voting was a public and transparent process. It was only after the war, as the elective franchise expanded to minorities and women, three changes to state and federal election laws were adopted that eventually made the voting process a private and nontransparent enterprise: absentee voting was allowed (1870's), the Australian secret ballot method was adopted (1880's), and voting machines were permitted by Congress (1899).

Today, 94.6% of all votes are processed by machines and approximately 30% of all voting is conducted early or by absentee.

The defendants' response is due at the Supreme Court no later than February 24, 2006. The Landes lawsuit can be found at the following url:
Lynn Landes, publisher

New Diebold Machine Failures Right Out Of The Gate

Emery County (Utah) Clerk Bruce Funk has been running elections for 23 years. He was quite content with his optical scan system. The state of Utah thought otherwise: On Dec. 27, Funk took delivery on 40 Diebold TSx touch-screen machines, part of a statewide directive.

"I had concerns about Diebold," says Funk, "but I thought, 'If the state is going to mandate it, then I guess they'll assume responsibility if anything goes wrong.'"

Not so. He soon learned that he will be responsible but the state will decide what election system will count the votes.

"You're going to hate my guts on Election Day"

Funk's concerns escalated when he heard a particularly unusual statement by Diebold sales rep Dana LaTour.

"Some of you are going to hate my guts on Election Day," she said to the assembly of elections officials. Later, another Diebold representative named Drew was asked what LaTour meant when she said "Some of you are going to hate my guts..."

"We're going to have problems on Election Day, and we're just going to have to work through them," he said.

Failures right out of the gate

Shortly after Funk received his "brand new" TSx machines, Diebold helped him do acceptance testing. Two of the 40 machines promptly failed the test. Diebold arranged to take them away.

The remaining machines showed several defects -- crooked paper feeds that jam, memory card bay doors that wouldn't close, parts getting stuck, coming loose, falling off.

Taking a closer look

Funk thought it might be a good idea to take a closer inventory.

He booted each machine up to check the battery. Some of the machines were marked with little yellow dots, and he got to wondering about that, too. He studied the screen messages, and noticed something very odd.

Most machines had about 25 MB of memory available, but some had only 7 MB of free memory left. One had only 4 MB of available memory. For perspective, the backup election file generated by the Diebold TSx is about 7.9 MB. Now why would brand new voting machines have used-up memory?

Time to get a more in depth evaluation

This prompted Funk to seek an evaluation. He asked Black Box Voting to help him analyze his voting system.

After several consultations, Black Box Voting determined that the nature of the problems in Emery County might be systemic and might be national in scope. Therefore, we arranged for and underwrote the services of Harri Hursti and Security Innovation, Inc.

Neither Funk nor Black Box Voting were prepared for the depth and breadth of the problems discovered. Based on these discoveries we will begin with a series of articles followed by concise, but more formal reports.

Part I

Hursti quickly determined the three most likely causes of the low memory problem:

1. There might be completely different software in the machines with low memory.

2. Some machines might contain different external data

3. Or, some of the machines might have been delivered with natively different amounts of memory available.

Hursti approached issue #2 first. If the used memory was due to external data or archived election files stored on the system, he reasoned, removing any such files would clear the memory. He discovered that some of the machines did contain test election data, and he deleted the extra data. This produced only a small improvement in available memory, however.

As for issue #1, different programs on the machines -- or, the existence of something stored in memory which is hidden, such a find would obviously be disturbing.

Issue #3, the possibility that some machines had different amounts of memory left in their life cycle, is particularly troubling. The technology choice Diebold made -- memory storage consisting of flash memory, which is known to degrade over time -- carries with it a possibility that used machines will be near the end of their memory life cycle. If such machines were delivered to Emery County as "new," this would be like buying a "new" car with 100,000 miles already on it.

The only thing that was known about the cause of this problem was that there were different amounts of memory. The reason remained to be discovered. In the course of evaluating the reason for the low memory, we learned much more about the TSx.

Is there an infra-red port for remote communications?

Hursti also examined the remote communications capabilities of this system. He found no infra-red (IrDA) ports.

"The whole thing here is that it's network aware even when RAS is not running. You're not dialing out and it's network aware. And it's actually configured to use an Ethernet board...It's all the time network aware...Perhaps all you need is this Ethernet cord and a wireless cord inserted and off you go."

"I haven't asked any 'pins' (Personal ID Number). It hasn't been hostile to me at all. It's a very friendly guy."

Hursti made a number of observations about the touch-screen, and connected it to his laptop for further "conversation."

In the interest of brevity, we will return to this issue in a later article in this series.

A "Shocking" discovery

It's common for polling places to have too few outlets for a bank of voting machines. The normal cure is to set up hook the computers up in a daisy-chain configuration, with one plug to the wall, and the rest of the plugs linking voting machines together.

Diebold's output plug falls out readily, exposing live 110 volt wall outlet power on bare wires.

This happened on every TSx we tested, and presents a significant safety hazard for poll workers, especially the elderly. According to Hursti, the electrocution might only result in a burned hand, and probably wouldn't be fatal.

This is a design flaw worthy of a general recall for standard consumer and office electronics.

Diebold: Down for the count?

While analyzing the memory storage problem, Hursti discovered a critical security hole in the foundation of the touch-screen. Then he found another in the "lobby," and another on the "first floor." Taken together, these present a potentially catastrophic security hole.

These are not programming errors, but architectural design decisions.

Black Box Voting is turning the "road map" of the most dangerous security findings over to the proper authorities. We won't let anybody sit on this for very long because elections are looming and elections officials need to know what to do now.

A concise and more formal report will be released from Security Innovation, Inc., and this will discuss the procedures for preparing a recovery path for these security holes.

Two things we have learned already:

1. Source code reviews alone are NOT sufficient. Access to fully functional systems MUST accompany source code reviews.

2. Honest election officials and citizens again take the lead in learning the truth about voting machines. We ask for maximum public support for Bruce Funk, who showed courage and commitment to responsible elections. The important and effective work of Utah voting integrity advocates Kathy Dopp ( and Jocelyn Strait should be applauded by fellow activists. They have played an important role to inspire this study in Utah, which may in turn assist with efforts in many other states.


California Voters Filing Suit to Halt Use or Purchase of Diebold announced that they will file suit on behalf of several plaintiffs. The suit is "aimed at halting the use or purchase of Diebold electronic voting systems" in the state. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS!!
March 17, 2006, San Francisco, CA
Contact: Martha DiSario, Pacific Communications: (415) 235-1230
Deborah Goodson of Howard Rice: (415) 399-7882

Dolores Huerta Joins California Voters Filing Suit to Halt Use or Purchase of Diebold Electronic Voting Systems in the State

Voter Action to Hold March 21st News Conference, 10:30 -11:30 AM, PST

Lowell Finley, Esq., Counsel for voter plaintiffs, Co-director of Voter Action, and expert on election law, election privatization, and electronic voting machine issues
John Eichhorst, Esq., Co-counsel, Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin
Holly Jacobson, Co-director, Voter Action
Dolores Huerta, Plaintiff, and social activist, co-founder, United Farm Workers
Bernice Kandarian, Plaintiff, and President of the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International

Voter Action,, is a not for profit organization dedicated to providing legal, research and logistical support for grassroots efforts to ensure the integrity of elections by guaranteeing that every citizen's vote is recorded and counted as intended. Voter Action led successful litigation in New Mexico to block purchase and use of the types of voting machines that are most prone to error and most vulnerable to tampering, and is now supporting similar efforts in numerous states across the country.

Attorneys Lowell Finley and John Eichhorst, on behalf of more than 20 California voters including Dolores Huerta and Bernice Kandarian, will brief media on a legal action to be filed on Tuesday, March 21, in the Superior Court of the State of California, aimed at halting the use or purchase of Diebold electronic voting systems. Ms. Huerta and Ms. Kandarian will also speak and answer media questions.

Diebold's TSx touch screen voting system is a severe security risk, and does not accommodate all disabled voters as required by law. The Diebold system is difficult if not impossible to audit or recount, and has been proven vulnerable to malicious tampering in tests and studies. Diebold technology contains "interpreted" code, which is easily hacked, and illegal for voting systems in the State of California.

Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin
Three Embarcadero Center, 10th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

Lowell MA Vote Problems Probed By DOJ!

This is interesting! The DOJ is probing the failure of Lowell, MA's election commissioner to translate ballots into Khmer. Meanwhile, the DOJ ignores all of the vote counting problems encountered by election counting machines produced by Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia! Bizarre!

We now know that the DOJ is paying attention to the election problems; they want to ensure that ballots are translated into foreign languages - BUT they are actually IGNORING the bigger, nation-wide vote counting errors caused by flawed e-Voting machines. I have greatly "snipped" this article. The complete article can be found HERE.

Lowell Vote Problems Probed
Translating ballot into Khmer (Cambodian language) eyed
By Stephanie Ebbert, Globe Staff | March 19, 2006

The US DOJ is conducting an investigation into voting problems in the city of Lowell, as advocates called for an increase in voting assistance to growing immigrant populations in the Bay State.

The Lowell investigation, confirmed by a DOJ spokesman this past week, is the 4th recent probe into alleged voting rights violations in Massachusetts city elections. Other cities targeted by the DOJ are Springfield, Lawrence, and Boston, which entered into a consent decree to print ballots in multiple languages, including Vietnamese, Chinese, and Spanish.

The DOJ's Civil Rights Division launched a major initiative to ensure that communities are complying with the Voting Rights Act last year. Last fall, the DOJ announced it would send federal observers to monitor the November elections in Boston, Lowell, and 14 other communities across the country. [My Query: Will the DOJ pay any attention to voting machine errors?]

DOJ spokesman Eric W. Holland confirmed that the Voting Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division is investigating Lowell, but refused to provide additional details on the probe.

Holland confirmed the DOJ is also investigating complaints in Springfield, where observers from a nonprofit voting rights group last November documented a lack of translators, a lack of information regarding their right to provisional ballots, and rudeness by poll workers.

In Lawrence, the department is investigating problems after the city sent letters to some 15,000 voters shortly before Election Day advising them they were no longer considered active voters.

Last summer, the DOJ sued the city of Boston for violating provisions of the Voting Rights Act requiring the Election Department to provide ballots and poll assistance in Spanish and for allegedly coercing limited English speakers to vote certain ways. As part of a settlement, the city also agreed to print ballots in Chinese and Vietnamese in precincts with high concentrations of those voters.

In a letter he sent to the election commissioners in January, staff attorney Glenn D. Magpantay detailed the results of the group's survey of 116 Asian-American voters at three poll sites. Five voters said they were directed to the wrong polling places, and one had to cast a provisional ballot because his name was listed incorrectly in the voter roll.

SoS William F. Galvin characterized the issues raised by the group as "fairly minor." John Bonifaz, a voting rights advocate running against Galvin, criticized him for not being aware of the investigations.

"It remains bewildering to me how the secretary of state's office seems unaware of these investigations," said Bonifaz. "I don't think we should have to rely upon the Bush Justice Department to enforce the Voting Rights Act in Massachusetts. I think we should have a secretary of state who is being proactive and ensuring that the Voting Rights Act is being enforced around Massachusetts."

Magpantay said the city still has not addressed problems raised in the 2004 elections when, his group alleges, voters whose names were not on the rolls were not told that they could vote by provisional ballots, as required under a 2002 federal law.

"We look forward to the city translating the ballot in Khmer. And we're looking forward to discussing problems with the 2004 elections," Magpantay said.

Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at - © Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.