From Lori Grace of TrustVote.org: The New Scanning Systems
Both ES&S and the newer Dominion Voting Systems (formerly Diebold) can take photos of ballots. (Pictured above is the ES&S 850.) Two ES&S (Election Systems & Software) scanners which have excellent audit capabilities have been installed in thousands of precincts throughout the U.S. They are the ES&S DS850, a high speed scanner used for absentee/vote-by-mail and the ES&S DS200, which is used in precincts. Additionally, Dominion Voting Systems’ newer scanners have ballot images as well. They are ImageCast Central and ImageCast Precinct, which have ballot images. Even most DRE’s (Direct Recording Electronic) create ballot images as well. And, they too can be studied to verify election results!
Bev Harris has been studying how votes are fractionalized. She call it “Fraction Magic” When adding up votes, the tabulator can fractionalize the votes if it is programmed that way. She has been working with John Brakey on how to PRESERVE BALLOT IMAGES. Bev Harris has happily discovered that images of the ballots CANNOT BE FRACTIONALIZED. That is why they must be preserved. Please read more by clicking on the following link: http://blackboxvoting.org/fraction-magic-part-6/
In any election where scanners are used, these systems could create a higher level of transparency and reliability if we prevent the ballot images from being destroyed and prevent the audit file system called Cast Vote Record (CVR) from being disconnected. Many states currently have these systems, now capable of capturing ballot images and numbering ballots. This leaves an opening for easier verification of election results. States that have these ES&S scanners in some of their counties include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and others. California has some Dominion scanners that take ballot images.These scanners are also approved of by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
To find out what type of voting equipment your county is using, click on “The Verifier” and find your county: https://www.verifiedvoting.org/
Please note, that information is over a year old. To be certain of the machines used in our own back yard, call your election department to find out what machines are being used in this election cycle.
The Trachtenberg System: Humboldt County, CA
Why was ballot imaging and audit files developed by ES&S, a large voting machine company?
ES&S and Dominion were modeled after the Trachtenberg system in Humboldt County, California, which was featured by the Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity (TrustVote.org) back in 2010. Please check under “Voting Systems” on the TrustVote.org website for more details. The Trachtenberg system is comprised of a high speed scanner that takes pictures of ballots and assigns a number to them.In this video, produced by TrustVote.org, Mitch Trachtenberg, the developer of the Trachtenberg Election Verification System, talks about how it was created and how it works to protect us from election fraud: https://youtu.be/e0IEb04Dk5Y
Apparently, ES&S realized this was likely a future trend in voting machine software. The company developed its own system based on concepts from software programmers and election integrity activists Harry Hursti, Bev Harris, Mitch Trachtenberg and Larry Moore. Moore developed a voting system called “Clear Ballot,” which is a refined approach to verifying elections using ballot images. Here is a short Video on how the Clear Ballot system works: http://youtu.be/q3a4xmnfwCM
The Politics of Destroying Ballot Images all over the United States
It is very interesting to learn that audit files appear to be being disconnected and verifiable ballot images appear to be being destroyed all over the United States. You might ask yourself why is this? ES&S has cut short their advertising of this feature which they put in DS850 and DS200. The company introduced it as a feature that would help the company sell more scanners but received significant negative feedback from election departments. ES&S then drastically reduced their advertising of this imaging feature, but still kept it in the machines that were also certified by the EAC. (The U.S. Election Assistance Commission)
Why would registrars (election directors) dislike this feature? There are several potential reasons:
1. The, hopefully, rare occasion of malicious intent on the part of the registrar or their supervisor. The ballot images could be destroyed so that the hacked computer vote totals would be the only evidence of who won an election.
2. Recounts can be very stressful for registrars. The pressures for fast results come from the media, concerned and often upset citizens and the candidates. Despite the pressures, recounts usually take several days, which includes valuable staff time at the registrar’s office.
3. A registrar might fear repercussions when a substantial difference shows up in their county. Registrars might be concerned that others will perceive that they were not doing their job. Additionally, the discrepancy might affect a future promotion for them or a much worse outcome. They might end up in court trying to explain the differences in the vote totals.
Pima County Arizona: A place where ballot images were destroyed regularly
Many registrars/election directors in Arizona have objected to the audit file and have disabled that function. They actually destroy the ballot images. Pima County, Arizona kept it a secret from their own Election Integrity Commission (PCEIC) for three elections over eight months. Here is a link to a short video clip documenting when PCEIC members found out their eight months of deliberation were over the predicament of ballot images already destroyed: https://youtu.be/itlU2JnMdHo
The following five-minute clip lays out how the ballot images that Pima County destroyed are good for auditing and election. Link to YouTube: https://youtu.be/WElcRziVmlA
The Happy Story of Humboldt County California and Its Highly Popular Registrar
In Humboldt County, California, Carolyn Crnch was the Registrar when the Trachtenberg system was originally invented. No recounts were requested during her terms of office! In fact Carolyn Crnch was for years voted the most appreciated and popular elected official in Humboldt County because she supported election transparency. People would stop her on the streets and share with her for years how happy they were that she was their registrar! What a wonderful life she got to live as an elected political official!
Left to right: Tom Stanionis, Lori Grace, Carolyn Crnich, Mitch Trachtenberg and Kevin Collins, champions of election transparency!
In 2010, the Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity awarded Carolyn Crnich for her leading role in supporting transparency in elections. Local Humboldt activist Kevin Collins, Tom Stanionis from Yolo County, and Mitch Trachtenberg were also given awards for their roles in creating this transparent system of vote counting. Kelly Sanders followed Crnich’s tradition after her service as registrar. I have found that elected registrars are more attentive to their electorate with respect to vote counts. It is the hope of election integrity activists that elected registrars could become the norm in our country. Unfortunately, that is not the case right now. Here is a Vimeo about the Trachtenberg System from TrustVote.org. https://vimeo.com/35785956.
For those of you who prefer to learn about this ballot capturing scanner, please watch Wisconsin election integrity activists perform a precinct-based recount using the ES&S DS200 scanner and clickers. In this training session for election integrity activists, you can see once again how pleased people are to be included in recounting a vote, even if it’s only a training program! Again, it is a shame that other counties in Wisconsin do not protect the vote. Maybe Scott Walker would not have been re-elected if voters had been able to use a transparent system. (The last five minutes are particularly important). https://youtu.be/SUmOrTt2DvQ
Some stories that would not have to have been written had ballot images been able to be examined by concerned voters:
This article by Richard Charnin asserts that “Shameless DNC Election Rigging – Approximately 15% Of Bernie’s Votes Were Flipped To Clinton In California.
Bernie Sanders had 71% of the vote in Humboldt County- his best vote share of 58 California counties: https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2016/07/02/bernie-landslide-in-ca-humboldt-cty-open-source-system/
Also here is the analysis by John Brakey of AUDIT-AZ of How the California Presidential Primary was Stacked, Stripped and Flipped: http://electionnightmares.com/archives/564
WHAT CAN VOTERS DO TO RECTIFY THESE PROBLEMS:
Election activist John Brakey and attorney William Risner assert that destroying ballot images is against Federal law: Federal law 52 U.S.C § 20701 requiring retention of federal election materials, provides a penalty of up to $1,000 fine and one year in jail for premature destruction of that material (was formerly 42 U.S.C § 1974).
For the November elections, Brakey and Risner recommend the following strategy:
File a public record request (ASAP) asking for ballot images for the last and the next election. The request should include other critical documents like the Cast Vote Record (CVR). We can provide a draft of what to request.
If ballot images are or have been destroyed then file a special action Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), which is usually easy to request.
If they refuse your public records request for “ballot images,” then file another special action in the form of a Mandamus Act. When you win they have to pay all expenses and legal fees.
Additional efforts that may be necessary and are suggested by AUDIT-AZ member Mickey Duniho, a retired former NSA Cryptologist for 37 years. His recommendations are being added to our TRO.
Do not transfer results from the DS850 to the central count computer until election day;
Print the cast vote record serial number on each ballot so that an audit can link back to the original ballot as per how the system was federal certified by EAC;
Mark every storage box containing ballots with the range of serial numbers contained in the box, so that an audit can easily find the box containing a ballot of interest.
There is a lot of reliable evidence if ballot images are not destroyed and if recounts are initiated using the ES&S audit file. With respect to this election, there are many of these scanners in the swing states.
In the interest of fair and transparent elections, it is our hope that citizens and interested attorneys will call upon their states to retain the ballot images and invite citizens and interested election officials to do recounts when they are concerned about their results.
With hope for a democracy we can trust!
THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR INTEREST and YOUR SUPPORT!
Editorial note by Lori Grace:
The final solution that we all would want is paper ballots that are counted ideally by people in elections that can be fully observed and audited.We know that this will not be our option for this year. We can only put out this intention. Hopefully, the United States will one day become more like Germany, Ireland, Iceland , the Netherlands and Switzerland.