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Mail-In Votes not as Secure as Once Thought.

October 29, 2006

Yesterday I opened my Black Box Voting newsletter to find, that one thing that was being done by voters thinking that it was a secure way to make our vote count, isn‘t that full proof. Read on>>>

Write-in votes were found not to be a sure way to get your vote counted. Write-in votes are counted by voting machines, some of the voting machines had the checks, and balances turned off.

Mail-in ballots are counted by voting machines. In some locations, they are actually entered into touch-screens! In most locations, they are counted by optical scan machines, and some of these (Diebold) have crucial checks and balances disabled.

The article list a number of steps that could go wrong with mail in votes, in the process of being counted. They used King County in Washington state as an example of Ballots requiring more than one stamp and the ballot may not make it to the elections office.

In an election last year in King County Washington, voters were surprised to learn that they needed to affix two stamps, not one, to their absentee ballot envelope. This year Black Box Voting has seen anecdotal evidence that ballots in Florida and California require two stamps, not one, and this is not always clear to the voter.

They give a couple of remedies, but the one I like is demanding that your district use Business Reply Mail, this mail can be tracked, and this I fill will help secure your vote.

Next they bring up a problem that could take place here in Pennsylvania this mid-term election, Incorrect Ballot Inserts. As I was looking over the VotesPa site, I came upon this:

Absentee ballots or special write-in absentee ballots that were delivered or mailed to
you by your county board of elections on or before September 26, 2006, may contain the
name of Carl J. Romanelli as a Green Party candidate for the office of United States
Senator. Please be advised that Mr. Romanelli’s name was removed from the ballot
by order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on September 26, 2006, and
affirmed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on October 4, 2006.

Please note, however, that absentee ballots containing Mr. Romanelli’s name are valid and will be counted if they are returned in the lawful manner, as directed by
your county board of elections. Any votes cast for Mr. Romanelli would be counted
as write-in votes cast for that candidate.

Now one of the things that are wrong with the method they used by putting this up on their website is, not everyone has a computer. I know at least 50 people in my small community that do not have computers. This should be mailed out to all registered votes, especially the Independents.

other issues discussed are: Ballot Printer Accountability, Chain of Custody, Was Your Signature Accepted, and Voting Machine Issues?

Absentee ballots are usually run through an optical scan voting machine. These machines have in the past, produced tapes that give the results. These voting machine results tapes can then be compared with the central tabulator. Diebold, at least, has disabled this results tape in its absentee counting machines, so that the ONLY results are the data held in the GEMS central tabulator machine — a system so hackable that we once taught a chimpanzee to alter its audit log; this is the system I taught presidential candidate Howard Dean to manipulate.

One of the problems with the system as it is, also is explained:

The absentee votes are at particular risk in the GEMS central tabulator, for the following reason: Many absentee votes are counted after Election Day. By this time, you know exactly how many votes are needed to win. The simplest way to manipulate the tabulator to tweak absentee votes for a particular candidate is this: – Each candidate is assigned a number in the GEMS system – By flipping the number, you effectively flip the vote.

So if you are voting by mail or have already mailed your ballot in, this is a must read letter. It can be found at, Black Box Voting Know your Voter Rights!


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