"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. ”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
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Friday, August 13, 2010
SCEC Report - Part 2
Regina follows up her earlier report:
Since I signed into the Ops Center at 4:10, a constant battle of control was waged between the County attorney sent out to represent the Election Commission and the inspection team. I waded in as the plaintiff on site, and participated in the arguments on numerous idiotic objections raised by the SCEC attorney to each and every request made by the inspection team. A detailed letter of agreement had been prepared between Van Turner and John Ryder this week, but unfortunately both were unavailable today and this evening. Regardless of the specification in the agreed letter as to what would be inspected, every request brought forth some type of stalling argument from the SCEC attorney. First he stalled until the IT staff went home, then he tried to use that to stall until Friday, then he threw a fit about Bev Harris' "yankee rudeness' in giving instructions, then he just got more ludicrous - and I am an attorney.
After information was finally being downloaded onto disc with copies made for both the inspection team and the SCEC, one of the final matters was a request for the poster log. Bill Giannini arrived just before this argument began. The poster log is a text file (I don't presume to be an expert but this was the explanation the experts put forth). The log keeps track of actions which could have been made to the system which would override vote totals. David Cocke was stunned that such overrides were possible, but assured Mr. Settle, as the "dispute resolver" on site, that we needed a copy of the log. The SCEC attorney consulted with Richard Holden again and announced that it was proprietary to Diebold and there was no way we were going to get it. The experts explained that there was nothing proprietary about it - it was not programming, it was a text file. Could we just look at it without even downloading it, before we wrapped up for the evening? The experts searched their own computers and provided a sample of one for Mr. Settle to see. He acknowledged that he saw nothing proprietary about it, but the SCEC attorney stood more than firm and negated all suggestions. I, through David Cocke, suggested that Mr. Settle be allowed to look at the log without us (in legal terminology 'in camera"), so that he could make an even more reasoned decision based on the real thing. SCEC denied that request as well. Nearly an hour was spent on this argument. Ultimately, Mr. Settle ruled they should allow him to see it and they refused. They stated they would contact Diebold Friday morning and if Diebold had no objection, they would let us see it Friday morning. I said I wished I had a court reporter, but I believe that Susan from BB voting was recording the argument.
It was determined through more argument that the server and back-up server would be unplugged, turned off and locked in the tabulation room, with seals placed on the doors. Cardell verified that the servers were not hooked to anything. They were turned off to prevent remote access just in case. We then requested that the 2 trash bags we had found full of signed poll tapes also be sealed and placed in the tabulation room. This generated another histrionic fit and argument from the SCEC counsel. A simple yes or no would have sufficed but he accused us of wanting more and more and more and we would be there all night. The only thing keeping us there forever was that attorney. Mr. Settle resolved that the bags would be put into the room and everything would be sealed and we would come back in the morning. SCEC seemed fairly certain that they could contact Diebold between 8 and 9 am on Friday and get the answer. Van Turner arrived just as everything was resolved for the evening.
Servers were placed in the tabulation room, shut down and unconnected. The 2 trash bags of tapes were placed in the tabulation room. I tied knots in the tops and placed a seal on each and initialed the bags, which Susan videoed. We then sealed the door with two seals, which I initialed and which Susan videoed. The list of seal numbers was given to Mr. Settle. Several Sheriff's deputies had been called. We agreed to return at 9 am Friday. I left and arrived home around 11 pm.
Today, cooperation from the SCEC was non-existent, despite the law cited by their attorney in court on Monday and despite a letter of agreement regarding the inspection. Many of the arguments between today's SCEC attorney and David Cocke, and I, became very heated. Most were simply delaying, frustrating and apparently we were expected to give up and leave - which did not happen. Mr. Settle was frustrated as well and was as clear as he could be, which unfortunately fell on the deaf ears of the SCEC attorney.
At no time, did I expect to become so involved in this situation or expend the time put in today, but the fact is that the process for the August election was tainted by alleged "mistakes' and problems. Tonight, I find it even more tainted by groundless refusals for public information to which the law grants us access. If there is nothing to hide, why is so much effort being put into hiding everything? According to our experts, several things we found today were in violation of Federal law, including the trash bags of signed poll tapes. We also found unsealed and opened voting machines, as well as discovering voting machines which were just brought to the center today - one week after the election.
I watched Mike Matthews on TV tonight when I got home. I believe I know the words he wanted to use to describe the process we went through today but he couldn't say them on TV and I won't say them now. I will say that if today is any example of the way our current Election Commission officials intend to administer our democracy, we are in serious trouble.
Cracker here again: the response of the SCEC and Diebold can only lead one to suspect that there IS something to hide here, and that this election should be thrown out.