On the verge of voters being able to register to vote on Election Day without photo ID, the largest voting district in the state of Illinois has been operating illegally for nearly 7 months.
Illinois election code requires two party representation among the three members appointed to all Boards of Election Commission. In Chicago, 2 Democrats and 1 Republican should be appointed for the Board to be legally authorized. The law does not authorize any other size for the Board, nor does it permit only one party to oversee the administration of the vote.
Background: On April 19th 2015 the Republican Commissioner, Richard Cowen, passed away. That was 206 days ago. Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans is compelled by Illinois law to appoint a replacement within 60 days, yet the position remains vacant 206 days later.
Nothing in Illinois law permits a Board of Elections with only 2 members to operate. Nothing in Illinois law permits only one political party to oversee the vote, but Chief Judge Tim Evans and the Chicago Board of Elections have not been in a hurry to appoint a new Republican Commissioner; yet they have been very eager to hold meetings with only one political party on the Board.
In the past 206 days, the Chicago Board of Elections has held 9 meetings without bipartisan representation. Election law allows 60 days for the Board to find a new Commissioner, but it does not authorize them to meet without the full three members appointed.
Chicago is the largest voting authority in Illinois. That’s a lot of voters who are not being represented by a board that wields power over one of our most valuable rights, the right to vote. This is a huge problem, especially in a city that has a national and international reputation for voter fraud.
Without the full board seated, the Chicago Board of Election Commission is no longer a legally authorized board, so why has it continued to meet with only one political party on the Board for 206 days? Who is overseeing the implementation of the new law permitting Election Day voter registration without photo ID? Defend the Vote is the only organization that’s demanding answers. We believe all business conducted during the past 7 months by the Chicago Board of Election Commission should be found null and void because the Board is not a legal entity. We are not naive to believe we will accomplish this, but we will push for it as part of our efforts to get bi-partisan oversight over the vote in Chicago.
The next board meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. Will the Chicago Board of Elections choose to follow the law, or will they illegally meet again?
"Electionstein" is the name we've given to the election equipment that has been cannibalized from different voting machines by the Chicago Board of Elections. It was the root of the problems of vote switching reported during the 2014 elections, and will continue to cause trouble for voters if allowed to rise in 2016. The machines are old and they are no longer in production, so election boards are cannibalizing one machine to get parts for another.
The electronic voting system is called WinEds and is owned by Dominion Voting, who purchased it from Sequoia. This voting system has never been legally certified as having passed federal and state standards for error rates, as required by the Federal Help America Vote Act and by Illinois laws.
In a close election, it only takes a few compromised election machines to throw the results one way or the other, and the Chicago Board of Elections is notoriously bad at staffing the legal number of election judges in the inner city locations. Go to http://www.defendthevote.com/hava-com... to read about some of the voting errors these machines have been caught making in past elections.
In 2013, we proved the Chicago Board of Elections had ZERO chain of custody on the transportation of the USB memory devices and the paper scrolls that recorded the early vote in Illinois. They also failed to seal these ballots. In advance of the 2014 elections, we changed that illegal practice, but before Defend the Vote got involved it was impossible to track whether the votes presented were actually the same votes cast by unsuspecting early voters across Chicago.
Today, Defend the Vote is engaged in a heated battle to get this deficient voting system removed from Chicago and Suburban Cook County. The faulty voting system is being used in 11 other States, and our victory in Illinois could impact the use of these machines in many of these locations: Arizona (1 county), California (22 counties), Colorado (4 counties), Florida (2 counties), Missouri (32 counties), Nevada (Statewide), New Jersey (1 county), Pennsylvania (1 county), Virginia (35 jurisdictions), Washington (5 counties), and Wisconsin (1070 municipalities). Chicago competes with these other states to get parts.
Help Defend the Vote stop "Electionstein" from rising in 2016! Go to http://www.defendthevote.com to contribute to our legal fund. We urgently need help to fund our legal battle the next phase which begins in June 2015.
Editor's note: The content used for this video is from the Chicago Board of Elections 12-01-14 Board meeting. On our video clip, the first voice heard is Chairman Langdon Neal, then Commissioner Richard Cowen is heard, followed by Executive Director Lance Gough and then Commissioner Marisel Hernandez. Our clip concludes with Gough's apology for the failures in November's 2014 election. The machines were not able to withstand the pressure of the 2014 elections and failed in part because of an illegal and untested integration with Chicago's new electronic poll books. This discussion was about 2014 and 2016. The full discussion can be seen at here beginning at 10:55.
At the end of May, the Illinois State Board of Elections met with Defend the Vote in a formal mediation process in an attempt to resolve Defend the Vote's two HAVA (Help America Vote Act) complaints. Defend the Vote fully achieved our objectives in the first complaint which addressed the timing of filing complaints for HAVA violations. On the second complaint, we achieved one point, and are now positioned to re-file a more specific complaint which will seek to require Dominion Voting and the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) to test the current system as a “Blended System” rather than as a modification of the original Dominion/Sequoia WinEds electronic voting system that was purchased in 2005.
The rules for mediation literally prohibit disclosure of details of the mediation process. However, as an overview, we can discuss the signed agreement which constitutes the results of the mediation and will be presented to the ISBE in August. I am sorry, I can only be somewhat specific on the decisions that were reached. Mediation has stringent rules pertaining to disclosure and we do not want to violate these rules. We will be able to discuss more of the specifics of the mediation after the Illinois State Board meeting in August.
HAVA Complaint 1: In the first complaint, Defend the Vote alleged that Title 26, Part 150 rules set by the State Board of Elections and JCAR (Illinois’ Joint Committee on Administrative Rules), were not compliant with HAVA requirements because they limited the filing of complaints specifically to 90 days following a violation. Our complaint asserted HAVA mandates that complaints can be filed before, during, and after a violation. We also complained that the time allowed to file was too restrictive. The mediation brought an agreement that the State Board would recommend the Administrative Rules be altered to allow for filing before, during, or after a violation occurs, and to double the allotted time to 180 days to file a complaint, both before a violation occurs and after it occurs. All changes in Administrative Rules must go through JCAR, so there will be a period of time when these changes will be presented and reviewed before finalization.
HAVA Complaint 2: The second complaint was not specifically resolved, however there is a signed agreement that, in advance of the 2016 elections, for the first time ever, the State Board of Elections will monitor the Dominion voting system in use in Cook County. This is significant because Chicago has recently gone public with statements that the electronic voting system recording millions of votes in Cook County is not going to be viable for the 2016 elections. (See video Rise of Electionstein)
In addition, Defend the Vote will withdraw the current complaint and replace it with a new complaint that will specify that the current voting system in Illinois has not undergone other required steps for state certification. This is because the system currently certified is a “blended system.” This blended system consists of two separate voting systems; Dominion/Sequoias’ WinEds and Dominion’s Democracy Suite.
To clarify about “blended systems,” Defend the Vote’s research recently uncovered two important EAC (Election Assistance Commission) decisions that requires the separate testing and certification of blended voting systems be conducted by an independent laboratory. One way that the ISBE has been able to keep the current Dominion System in Cook County was because they have patched together a modification of the original system (from 2005) by blending two separate Dominion voting systems together in their interim certification (WinEds and Democracy Suite). They did this without having the new “blended system” tested, rather basing the 2 year interim certification on the separate testing done of the individual systems.
These EAC decisions along with Illinois laws that require testing by independent labs of all voting systems provide a broader basis for Defend the Vote to present a much stronger HAVA complaint. This complaint will specify that the blended system currently certified in Illinois has not been independently tested by any laboratory for volume testing or for functionality. Both are required. This is important because Dominion Voting refuses to allow the current WinEDS voting system to be tested by an independent lab. Howard Cramer, the Executive VP of Dominion Voting, told Defend the Vote it would not pass the error testing requirements.
In our upcoming HAVA complaint, Defend the Vote will argue that if the blended system cannot be submitted to an independent lab for volume and functional testing, then technically and legally Illinois cannot approve it for another two year interim agreement.
More Shenanigans from the Chicago Board of Elections: In addition to this blended system that was approved by the Illinois State Board of Elections in August 2014, Chicago has recently blended into their cannibalized Dominion system their new ESS (Elections Systems and Software) poll books. Defend the Vote maintains this is an unlawful and untested adaptation to the Dominion system and it has never been reviewed or approved by the State Board of Elections. In the Electionstein video, the reason that the Chicago Board of Elections was apologizing for their exceptionally poor performance during the November elections was not because of Robo calls as they originally alleged, but because the untested integration of the poll books backfired and caused for extraordinarily long delays and in many cases the utter failure of the poll books.
We will not take our next complaint through mediation. It will go directly to a hearing process. We will file our complaint later in June and expect that it will promptly go to a hearing. While the mediation process was longer, our next step will require ISBE to take definitive action within 90 days. Should Defend the Vote not agree with the hearing results, the decision will be reviewed by Illinois courts later in the fall.
2015 is flying by, and Defend the Vote is working to get this blended voting system out of Illinois before the 2016 election cycle. Please support us with a donation.
Why have we been silent about our ongoing HAVA (Help America Vote Act) complaint about the unstable voting systems in use in Chicago?
In February, Defend the Vote announced we had raised some funds to hire a lawyer to help in our heated battle to rid Chicago and Suburban Cook County of a voting system that NEVER passed the 2002 Federal Voting System Standards as required by Illinois and Federal Law. Specifically, the system failed the mandated error rate testing and was withdrawn from further testing by Dominion Voting. Chicago and Suburban Cook County use the notorious Dominion/Sequoia WinEds system comprised of the Edge2Plus (AVC Edge) and the 400c central counting machine. These machines are also used in at least 11 other states and are the voting machines that are renowned for switching votes from the Republican to the Democrat candidate.
In August of 2014, Defend the Vote filed two HAVA complaints in an attempt to stop the Illinois State Board from allowing the defective and uncertified machines to continue being used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County. These two complaints assert that:
1) The Illinois Administrative Code for HAVA filings is against HAVA because it only allows for a 90 day period to file the complaints. Our complaint asserts that HAVA Law requires a greater period of time. Furthermore, the Illinois Administrative Code for HAVA only allows people to file after a violation. This goes directly against what is outlined in the law: “Under the procedures, any person who believes that there is a violation of any provision of title III (including a violation which has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur) may file a complaint.” SEC. 402. 2(B)
2) Our second complaint deals directly with the voting equipment and asserts that the Dominion Voting WinEds electronic voting system (consisting of the Edge2Plus—AVC Edge—and the 400c) used in Chicago, Suburban Cook County, and 11 other states, failed the error rate test required by Federal HAVA laws and Illinois laws, administrative rules, and State Board of Elections rules. (Read a summary here)
Generally speaking, the Illinois Administrative Code for HAVA (Section 111 part 150) controls how a HAVA complaint is filed and processed in Illinois. Defend the Vote had the option to have an immediate hearing before the same Illinois State Board of Elections that voted to continue to authorize use of this error-prone voting system or to take the complaint into the “mediation process.”
This graphic is from Brad's Blog – The 2010's article’s title says it all: Exclusive: On Heels of Diebold/Premier Purchase, Canadian E-Voting Firm Dominion Also Acquires Sequoia, Lies About Chavez-Ties in Announcement: "Intellectual Property" of voting systems still owned by firm linked to Venezuelan President, despite press statements to the contrary.
It might not surprise Chicago and Suburban Cook County voters to learn the Dominion/Sequoia WinEds system, comprised of the electronic voting machine called the Edge2Plus (AVC Edge) and the 400c central counting machine, failed to pass the error testing rate as mandated by HAVA (Help America Vote Act). More complaints about these voting machines pile in after every election. The error testing rate permits one error per 500,000 ballot positions. Defend the Vote uncovered that not only did the voting system not pass the error testing as required by Federal Law, but Dominion removed the machines from further testing and has discontinued manufacturing the WinEds system altogether.
This does not mean Dominion/Sequoia has stopped making a profit from the error-prone machines. Not at all! Nation-wide,Dominion/Sequoia has exclusive multi-million dollar contracts to provide support for various versions of the WinEds system. Essentially, Dominion pulled the machines from the testing process because they knew their voting system could not pass the error testing requirements, but they still make substantial corporate profits from servicing the defective equipment. Those are our tax dollars being sunk into the upkeep of a discontinued and insecure voting system. Even worse, these vulnerable machines are used to count over half of the vote in Illinois and somewhere around 30 million votes across the USA.
Commissioner Richard Cowen, the Republican Commissioner on the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners (CBOE) passed away on Sunday while visiting family in California. Commissioner Richard Cowen reportedly battled cancer during 2014 and into this year. Beginning in 2014, he was absent from some CBOE Board meetings and also participated in some meetings from the phone as he worked to overcome his health challenges. Defend the Vote did not verify the exact cause of death, but was informed he died from natural causes.
Commissioner Cowen was the sole Republican on the 3 member Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Defend the Vote worked with Commissioner Cowen on multiple occasions as we uncovered and worked to change illegal and deficient practices of the Board. On many instances Commissioner Cowen was the sole voice on the Board that supported our investigations and work.
Prior to joining the CBOE, Mr. Cowen served on the Illinois State Board of Elections for fifteen years where he was elected chairman and vice-chairman. In addition to his duties on the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners, Richard Cowen was a founding partner with Stahl Cowen Crowley Addis LLC. He received his law degree from Northwestern University.
Defend the Vote extends our regards to Mr. Cowen’s family, friends, clients, and co-workers who will surely miss him. We will also miss him! With a warm and witty personality, we appreciated his astute understanding of the law and his ability to address complex issues related to Chicago elections.
According to Illinois election laws, every polling place must have a 1:2 or a 2:3 ratio of election judges from the two dominant political parties. The dominant party receives the majority of election judge placements in these ratios. The number of judges in the ratio varies based on the type of election. The laws further require that at least half of these judges must live in the precinct where they are assigned. Defend the Vote has been working to assure every vote in Illinois is secured with bi-partisan oversight over the voting process. In Chicago, under the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners or the CBOE, there are literally hundreds of precincts where there is only one party (the Democrat Party) assigned to protect the vote.
Shockingly, this discriminatory assignment of election judges appears to be focused in the minority wards in Chicago.
Both political parties are tasked with locating and assigning their judges, and judges are assigned on ‘certified lists.’ There are two lists that election jurisdictions must refer to; the Chairman’s List and the Chairman's Supplemental List.
All Illinois election boards are legally obligated and required to place the judges as assigned by the two political parties first. If there are no judges assigned by the political parties, they can recruit judges from over the counter applicants. The laws prohibit the election boards from placing Democrat Party voters into Republican Party positions and vice versa. Political party affiliation is generally, but not exclusively, determined by which ballot was selected during the last primary election.
After appointment, all Judges of Elections are commissioned by a judge from the county court. Commissioned election judges hold a legal commission to serve for 2 years.
The laws also require the election jurisdictions to inform the Party when they discipline (i.e. remove) their election judges, and they need to inform the political parties about the training of their election judges to assure there are trained judges from both parties in every precinct.
The Cook County Republican Party Chairman Aaron Del Mar has filed a formal complaint with the Chicago Board of Elections and the Illinois State Board of Elections, alleging that the Board is willfully refusing to place Republican-assigned election judges in the minority wards of Chicago. Chairman Del Mar states:
I am very excited to report that our fund-raising drive succeeded in bringing in funds to hire a legal team to represent the two HAVA complaints filed at the Illinois State Board of Elections!
We will continue our fund-raising activities, but for now we can proceed to hire our legal team. We will update you as soon as that is completed. We are working on it today and tomorrow!
As they say... More to Come!
Illinois Law requires all voting systems to be approved by an independent lab as having passed the error testing standards set by 2002 HAVA laws (Help America Vote Act). DTV research proved that in December 2013, the manufacturer of these machines, Dominion Voting, pulled them from the EAC’s (Election Assistance Commission) testing and approval processes after they failed the error testing rates in two separate independent lab testing programs. Dominion Voting decided not to undergo further testing and stopped manufacturing the machines.
Unfortunately, two jurisdictions in Illinois had already purchased the uncertified machines: Chicago and Suburban Cook County.
Consequently, we have filed a HAVA complaint against the State Board of Elections for allowing these machines to continue to be used in both Chicago and Suburban Cook County. Our objective is to have them replaced before the 2016 elections. In addition, these machines are used in the following other locations:
SB172 was passed by the Illinois General Assembly during the lame duck session.
This Omni-bill devastates the security of your vote and is awaiting Governor Quinn's signature.
It authorizes In-precinct Election Day voter registration and the voter is given a regular ballot and not a provisional ballot - Without ever confirming the registration.
I will be writing more about this during the first 10 days of January and will update the website then.
Illinois Election Security Report
Watchdog for election reform in Illinois.
Defend the Vote Projects: 2015
Illinois Election Security Report
2011-2014: Watchdog for election reform in Illinois.
Projects and Accomplishments: 2011-2014