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Monday, August 16, 2004

Kevin Shelley Update

Last Thursday, I told a tale about California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley and a smear campaign that had been running for five straight days on the cover of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Diebold - Kevin Shelley
In April, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley banned a type of Diebold touch screen in California and took the unusual step of asking the Attorney General to investigate both civil and criminal actions against the company for fraud.

Two weeks later, Walden O'Dell, the chairman and CEO of Diebold finally admitted it was a "huge mistake" for him to write -- in a Republican fundraising letter -- that he
was committed to delivering electoral votes for Bush.

Since then, Kevin Shelley has become America's leader in ensuring there is a paper trail to prevent voting fraud. When CNN needs a comment on election fraud, they interview Kevin Shelley.He's right, there should be a paper trail and strong safeguards to prevent fraud. In fact, there is not a single rational argument from the opposition, which consists mainly of diploid and other Bush operatives.

Since they can't logically argue against fair elections, they have now started an aggressive decapitiation attack against Shelley. The strategy appears to assume that an aggressive character assassination of Kevin Shelley will slow the movement and prevent reform before the election.

Later that day...

California Democratic lawmakers killed legislation on Thursday that would require electronic voting machines to offer a paper trail for the next statewide election.

Rejection of the paper-trail bill could delay, but not prevent, use of a popular safeguard on electronic voting until after the 2006 primary.

Los Angeles Democrat Judy Chu, chairwoman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, pulled the bill from consideration, her staff said, because of concerns about cost.

A few days before, a major voting-machine manufacturer was embarrassed by the apparent failure of its latest machine to accurately reflect votes in Spanish during a demonstration in the state capital.

The Oakland Tribune continues:

California stopped short of demanding a paper trail for November. Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller ordered it for his state. Last week, Sequoia vice president and former California assistant secretary of state Alfie Charles was showing off the new VeriVote printer that his firm is supplying to Nevada when an astute legislative aide in Johnson's office noticed two votes were missing.

Charles tried again to vote in Spanish with the same result: He cast votes on two mock ballot initiatives, but they were absent from the electronic summary screen and the paper trail.

"The paper trail itself seemed to work fine but what it revealed was when he demonstrated voting in Spanish, the machine itself did not record his vote," Chesin said.

The Tribune also notes:

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley last fall ordered all counties using touch-screen voting machines in July 2006 to produce a paper printout so that a voter could confirm their choices were properly recorded.

Perata and Sen. Ross Johnson, R-Irvine, the Senate elections committee co-chairman, put in legislation to move the deadline up to January 2006 for the so-called voter-verified paper trail. Both represent counties where electronic voting proved troublesome in the March primary. Shelley endorsed the bill.

After five days of front page smears against Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, the paper trail bill he supported dies because the cost of democracy is too expensive?

And the Trib also lets us know why it is so expensive:

Los Angeles Democrats and Republicans dominate the Assembly Appropriations Committee. County elections officials plan to purchase Diebold touch-screens as early as 2006 and have complained that requiring a paper trail will increase the cost of what will be the nation's largest single e-voting purchase.

- Bob Brigham
Bay to the Beltway
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