The brunt of Defiance and the rigging of the presidential election in Ohio still lies on your shoulders, James Novak, even though you refused to tell what you know – so far.  Whether you will have a change of heart remains to be seen. You protected your family by saying you knew nothing about a rigging in Defiance.  Can you live with that?  Permanently?  Do you want your daughter to know that her dad lied about such an important matter for the whole country and world?

Logo of ABC's Scandal

Sheila Parks ongoing comparison of TV's Scandal with real-world election fraud.

David Rosen, I am wondering if you, too, will have a change of heart and opt out of pursuing the “story of the century,” as you once called the Defiance rigging. I sure hope not. You are really under the gun now, and your fear is palpable in “Boom Goes the Dynamite,” aired February 21.  To me it looks as if those who are involved in the rigging are after you – and big time, planting a knife in your hands and a dead body beside you in bed on the episode aired February 14.  Nice Valentine Day present!  Red blood everywhere for the color of the day.

Of the cabal of five who had the election rigged in Ohio, Verna has been murdered by Fitz.  Do we have four more to be murdered?  Or will they depart by suicide?  Or live and tell the truth? Mellie is cozying up to Fitz. She is knifing Cyrus in the back, and he got a good one into her finally. Olivia stays down, way way down. Wait until she finds out Fitz has had her apartment bugged and so she is under surveillance by at least newcomer Jake (Scott Foley).

David and James – for courage on your journey on behalf of truth and justice, I thought perhaps you would both like to know some real life backstory problems with electronic voting machines over the years and also more about the solution.

SOME PROBLEMS

Computer scientist Professor Edward W. Felten (Princeton University) reported in 2006 that his research on Diebold AccuVote-TS [touch-screen-] electronic voting machines showed that keys from hotel mini-bars, juke boxes, electronic equipment, an office furniture store key shop and those bought freely on the Internet could open these machines, leaving no trace.

Computer scientist Professor J. Alex Halderman (University of Michigan) and Ariel J. Feldman (Princeton University) reported in 2010 that to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, they “reprogrammed the AVC Edge to run Pac-Man.”   The Sequoia AVC Edge is a touch-screen DRE electronic voting machine.  Without breaking any tamper-evident seals, they did this in three afternoons.

Reporting in USA TODAY in 2011, Gregory Korte wrote that the Election Assistance Commission [an independent agency of the United States government] warned about errors during voting [emphasis mine] with ES&S DS200 IntElect optical scan electronic voting machines.  For example, Korte reports that this optical scan electronic voting machine “can freeze up without warning, fail to log errors and misread ballots.” This machine was used in all or parts of Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, New York.

THE SOLUTION

In 2006, I observed in real time the hand-counting of three elections in two New England states.  The one I liked most was the general election on November 7, 2006 in Acton, Maine.  People came in at the end of the day to hand-count. Each team was composed of a Democrat and a Republican; there were six teams.  The teams hand-counted 944 ballots, with seven races and two initiatives, two times in four hours.

In 2008, I did considerable research in New Hampshire about hand-counted paper ballots. On January 8, I observed in real time, the hand-counting of the US presidential primary election in Walpole, New Hampshire. Eleven teams of two people (a veteran and a new person) did the hand-counting.  There were 1,786 ballots – Democrats 1,057 and Republicans 729.  The hand-counting was done in a timely manner.

Hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) elections are the best possible assurance that our votes are counted as cast –  in secure, honest, accurate and transparent elections. Some necessary elements for hand-counted paper ballots elections can be found in Chapter XIV of my book WHILE WE STILL HAVE TIME: The Perils of Electronic Voting Machines and Democracy’s Solution: Hand-Counted Paper Ballots (HCPB) Elections.  Here is a sneak peak: The hand-counting is videographed and livestreamed.  It is done twice. The hand-counting is done by all parties on the ballot, with the counters chosen by the parties themselves.  It is done for all races, not only federal.  The entire process can easily be understood by a fifth grade student. The ballot boxes will be clear plastic. There will be a clear chain of custody.  There will be public oversight of the entire process.   Hand-counting is done at the polling place, immediately after the polls close and the results are posted.

See also the book by Nancy Tobi, another pioneer for hand-counted paper ballots.

Hey, such a wonky paper.  Happy reading.

You can read all my blogs about Scandal on the website of the Center For Hand-Counted Paper Ballots in the “News” column on the right hand side of the home page.

Sheila Parks is an ardent feminist, internationalist and peace & justice worker.