Ohio's Secretary of State announced (yesterday) that a $1.9 million official study shows that "critical security failures" are embedded throughout the voting systems in the state that decided the 2004 election. Those failures, she says, "could impact the integrity of elections in the Buckeye State." They have rendered Ohio's vote counts "vulnerable" to manipulation and theft by "fairly simple techniques."
Indeed, she says, "the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connector or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant."
In other words, Ohio's top election official has finally confirmed that the 2004 election could have been easily stolen.
It's just nice that three years and nearly two million dollars later we finally have confirmation, isn't it?
(Ohio SOS Jennifer) Brunner is calling for widespread changes to the way Ohio casts and counts its ballots. Her announcement follows moves by California Secretary of State Deborah Bowen to disqualify electronic voting machines in the nation's biggest state.
In tandem, these two reports add a critical state-based dimension to the growing mountain of evidence that the US electoral system is rife with insecurities. Reports from the Brennan Center, the Carter-Baker Commission, the Government Accountability Office, the Conyers Committee Task Force Report, Princeton University and others have offered differing perspectives that add up to the same conclusion.
Paging Bill White. Mr. White, please pick up the white discourtesy phone for a clue ...
Now why was this Ohio business such a big deal again?
Brunner is the Democratic successor to Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell, who administered the 2004 election as Secretary of State while also serving as state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. The report comes as part of her pledge to guarantee a fair and reliable vote count in the upcoming 2008 presidential election.
Under Blackwell, Ohio spent some $100 million installing electronic voting machines as part of the Help America Vote Act, passed by Congress in the wake of the scandals surrounding the 2000 election. Former Ohio Congressman Bob Ney, HAVA's principle author, now resides in a federal prison, in part for illegalities surrounding his dealings with voting machine companies.
Blackwell, who was defeated in a 2006 race for the Ohio governorship, outsourced web hosting responsibilities for the 2004 vote count to a programming firm that also programmed the web site for the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. Blackwell's chosen host site for the state's vote count was in the basement of the Old Pioneer Bank Building in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the servers for the Republican National Committee, and the Bush White House, were also located.
Oh yeah. Corrupt Republicans hard at work subverting democracy. Seems like I've heard about that before.
Update: Rhymes with Right has a respectable opinion from that side.