What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 30, 2006

Pittsburgh to get DIEBOLD voting machines? (and other voting messes)

(From a heads up from PA04 Blue)

According to Saturday's Post-Gazette, Allegheny County is a bind:

Allegheny County has until Tuesday to place an order for 5,600 touch-screen voting machines or it risks forfeiting a deeply discounted purchase price, the county Board of Elections was told yesterday.

But the three-member board, which includes county Chief Executive Dan Onorato, put off a final decision because of concerns that the machines won't come equipped with paper printouts that voters can use to check their choices.

Diebold Inc. of North Canton, Ohio, has offered to sell the machines, which resemble ATMs, to the county for $11.9 million, almost $4 million less than a price put forward by Election Systems and Software Inc.

That price also is significantly lower than the $20 million set aside for new machines in the county's 2006 capital budget and could be covered almost entirely by a federal grant. Diebold officials told the county, however, that the $11.9 million price was guaranteed only until the end of the month.

Under the federal Help America Vote Act, legislation that grew out of the disputed 2000 presidential election in Florida, local governments across the country must buy machines that meet strict standards and have them in place by the May primary.


Both Mr. Onorato and County Council have said they want machines with paper trails, already a requirement in many states.

But Pennsylvania's Department of State, which oversees elections and must certify all voting machines, hasn't yet approved any touch-screen machines with that feature.

"This is outrageous that we've been put in this position,"
said Councilman Dave Fawcett, R-Oakmont, a member of the elections board. "Harrisburg has totally dropped the ball."

Allison Hrestak, a spokeswoman for the Department of State, said it's up to the state Legislature to mandate the use of paper trails, something legislators have been considering.

In the meantime, Mr. Onorato said, the county needs to move forward.

"I believe in voter verification. I'd like to see it, immediately," he said. "But if we don't move, we lose $12 million. It's a pretty tough situation to be in


Critics also accuse Diebold of being too close to the Republican Party. People affiliated with the company have contributed significant sums to Republican candidates since 2000, according to The Associated Press.

From a list I'm on:

"The AccuPoll company (whose electronic voting machine I liked when I saw it demonstrated) has now decided not to distribute in the state of Pa. The only other machine that has been certified by the state is made by Diebold, which (according to the commissioner) is the one that about 30 Pa counties have decided on buying. And now it looks like any other counties that were considering a non-Diebold purchase will have no other choice."

From BlackBoxVoting.org:

UPDATE Dec. 16: Volusia County (FL) joins Leon in dumping Diebold. Due to contractual non-performance and security design issues, Leon County (Florida) supervisor of elections Ion Sancho has announced that he will never again use Diebold in an election. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. On Tuesday, the most serious “hack” demonstration to date took place in Leon County. The Diebold machines succumbed quickly to alteration of the votes. This comes on the heels of the resignation of Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell, and the announcement that stockholder's class action suits and related actions have been filed against Diebold by four separate law firms. Further “hack” testing on additional vulnerabilities is tentatively scheduled before Christmas in the state of California.

Finnish security expert Harri Hursti, together with Black Box Voting, demonstrated that Diebold made misrepresentations to Secretaries of State across the nation when Diebold claimed votes could not be changed on the “memory card” (the credit-card-sized ballot box used by computerized voting machines.

A test election was run in Leon County on Tuesday with a total of eight ballots. Six ballots voted "no" on a ballot question as to whether Diebold voting machines can be hacked or not. Two ballots, cast by Dr. Herbert Thompson and by Harri Hursti voted "yes" indicating a belief that the Diebold machines could be hacked.

Pennsylvanians want voting machines with a paper trail (by 73%).

From the Committee to Elect William Sargent's website (Sargent has been staying on top of this), here's info for the relevant Allegheny County people to contact:

Dan Onoronto - executive@county.allegheny.pa.us
Phone: (412) 350-6500, Fax: (412) 350-6512
John DeFazio
Phone:(412) 350-6516, Fax: (412) 350-6499
Dave Fawcett -
Phone: (412) 350-6520, Fax: (412) 350-6499


Urgent! Calls needed now!

The Protect Our Vote Coalition has learned that the Anti-Voting Rights Act (HB 1318) is on the calendar and may be voted on as early as Tuesday 1/31.

Last year, your activism helped fend off provisions of this legislation that would have imposed an ID requirement on Pennsylvania voters and rolled back the voting rights of former felons. But now the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is rumored to be trying to revive them.

It is imperative that you call your legislators now and tell them that if HB 1318 includes restrictive voter identification requirements and rolls back the voting rights of former felons they must oppose the bill!

TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO VOTE NO ON HB 1318. You can look up your representative's phone number at www.legis.state.pa.us .

Check out the voting record below to see if your representative voted NO against this Bill the last time it was in the House. You might be surpried. Call them and urge them to Vote No this time and thank those who alredy Voted No and make sure they are voting NO again.

Use the talking points below to aid your discussion with your legislator:

  • There is no need for photo identification at the polls because it does not prevent the kinds of fraud that this bill seeks to remedy. Further, it makes lines at the polls longer, resulting in more confusion.
  • Felons who have been released from prison get jobs and pay taxes, and should be able to vote as well. Disenfranchising former felons after they leave prison is unfair and discriminatory. It is unthinkable that in 2006, we would be discussing the legalized discrimination and disenfranchisement of free Pennsylvanians.
  • It is time to enact meaningful election reform, which will remove barriers to voting, increase voter turnout and eliminate voter disenfranchisement.
    Get on the bus! We need to stop this now. We have a plan and we need your help.

  • On the morning of Wednesday, February 1, buses will carry you and other activists from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

    If you can get to the Capitol on your own, meet us in the East Rotunda between 9:00 and 10:00 AM. Please email national@pfaw.org to let us know you're coming.

    The day will begin with a training on the bus about HB 1318. From 9:00-1:00, you'll visit legislators' offices. (If you're driving to Harrisburg on your own, we'll train you when you arrive.) At 1:00, meet for a brown-bag lunch and a meet-and-greet with legislators who support our work. (Please bring lunch or money to buy lunch. Lunches can be supplied for those of limited resources).

    Buses from Philadelphia will leave at 7:30 AM from Project H.O.M.E ., 1515 Fairmont Ave., and return at 5:00 PM.
    To RSVP, call Jennine Miller, (215) 232-7272, ext. 3042.

    Buses will leave at 5:30 AM from The Hill House, 1835 Centre Ave. in the Hill District
    At 6 AM from Allegheny County ACORN, 5907 Penn Ave. in East Liberty.
    To RSVP, call Celeste Taylor, (412) 628-7867.


    Anonymous said...

    The mfg. of a voting machine has you folks scared of losing elections. Are you people that god foresaken paranoid? How pa-the-tic.

    KofiAnonymous said...

    I love how you need to list the talking points. Shows how the brain-dead lemming liberals can't even express their own opinions. Just package it and send it. Pathetic.

    Maria said...

    Right, because rethuglicans don't have talking points.


    [I may pee my pants if I don't stop laughing.]

    [And undoubtedly, one or more of our anonymous trolls pay to visit websites to watch women/men pee their pants.]

    Anonymous said...

    Once again, you liberals cannot tell the truth. We prefer bestiality.

    ANNonymous COULTER said...

    Maria, you have serious issues. I think you need professional help. I am being serious.

    Maria said...

    Did I somehow mistakenly give you the impression that I valued your opinions?

    Please forgive me if I did that.

    It was certainly not my intention.


    The funny thing is that the more trollish among you just come here for the sole reason to insult us and then wonder why you're not embraced -- and you think we're nuts?

    Then there are the ones who actually attempt to argue, yet in the "best" neothug tradition, you never really engage in discussion. You never really respond to the questions being asked or accept anything as "fact."

    Perhaps this is from 5 years of living under the kind of administration that calls an initiative which actually worsens air quality the "Clean Skies" act. Perhaps you can no longer judge what is true or false.

    You simply bleat out talking points that are blatant lies as if they were gospel. When they are demonstrated to be false, you spin onto something else.

    And, if you want to complain about comments being removed, just try to post anything from an opposing point of view at FreeRepublic or Little Green Footballs. See if it lasts for more than an hour there. And, those are the small percentage of the top Right Wing blogs that actually allow comments at all. Certainly Instapundit and Powerline don't allow anyone to comment -- kinda like their Dear Leader.

    Anonymous said...


    The reason why a lot of blogs out there don't allow for comments is because of the massive amounts of spam they'd have to deal with.

    If you had ANY clue as to how the technology behind a blogging engine worked, you'd know what I was talking about. But then again, you don't know about the aforementioned technology because you're just another blogspot user who has the application already provided for you to use via your browser.

    I highly suggest you get a clue as to what you're talking about, before you go and shoot your mouth off on things you obviously have no grasp on. Shooting your mouth off like that only makes you look even more foolish than you already do (if that's even possible).

    Maria said...

    LOL! That has to be the lamest excuse ever!

    I implore you out there: can we not get a better class of trolls?

    So explain, oh great techie wizard, how big Liberal blogs that do not use blogspot, typepad, etc. manage to not only allow comments, but actual diaries?

    No, please, don't "explain" it -- it will just be more crap, lies, spin and excuses.

    Must be some "librul media conspiracy" or perhaps I should say some "librul technological conspiracy."

    You people could not be more PATHETIC (or more tedious).

    Maria said...

    ...or more obvious.

    Maria said...

    ...or more BORING.

    Anonymous said...


    You really sound like a spoiled little brat who has been refused dessert for not eating all of her dinner. Really, you have issues...seriously. All kidding aside, they do have help for people like you, government sponsered programs do exist out there, and being the hardcore liberal that you are, surely you do know of one or two that you can take full advantage of.

    Maria said...


    Anonymous said...

    Maria, so what will you do when the republicans win the 08 Presidential Election? You gonna threaten to move to Canada like a good many of your liberal friends claimed, but never did? Or, perhaps you'll say stupid crap like Helen Thomas did about Cheney running in 08. You guys...seriously...pa-the-tic, however entertaining as it may be.

    I think Michael Moore needs an assistant, perhaps you can volunteer your services to his cause, the same goes for George Soros, and "Babs." They need you, too. *laugh*