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Illegal Alien Illinois Driver License

 

 

 

Can non-citizens vote in tomorrow’s election in Illinois?


The answer is no, and especially not if they ever want to be a United States citizen.

 

This issue came up on Sunday after Barack Obama made the following statement in an interview with Latino star Gina Rodriguez.

 

 

RODRIGUEZ: Many of the Millennials, Dreamers, undocumented citizens — and I call them “citizens” ’cause they contribute to this country — are fearful of voting. So if I vote, will immigration know where I live? Will they come for my family and deport us?
OBAMA: Not true.
RODRIGUEZ: Okay.
OBAMA: And the reason is — first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself, and there is not a situation where the voting rolls somehow are transferred over and people start investigating, et cetera. The sanctity of the vote is strictly confidential in terms of who you voted for. If you have a family member who maybe is undocumented, then you have an even greater reason to vote.

 

Senator Jeff Sessions has requested Obama clarify his statement. So far, Obama has not made a clarifying statement.

 

Defend the Vote has conducted a couple of investigations about the issue of non-citizens voting in Illinois. This issue is especially important since this is the first election where voters can register to vote on Election Day without a picture ID. 2 pieces of ID are required. Most jurisdictions attempt to first get a driver's license or state ID. The jury is out to how secure this process is, and we will continue to investigate the integrity of this process after the election.

 

Recently, we have had a couple of calls expressing concerns related to the state-issued drivers’ licenses that are given to illegal immigrants who are living within the State of Illinois. In 2014, Former Governor Quinn signed a bill permitting illegal immigrant residents of Illinois to get a special driver’s license. Legal residents who are non-citizens get a regular driver’s license, just like citizens.

 

The special driver’s license for illegal immigrants is purple. It states in bold that the license cannot be used for ID. This means they cannot use it anywhere for ID, not even to get into an office building or the court house. It cannot be used to board an airplane. It is strictly for driving. People getting this license are not asked if they want to register to vote when the license is issued. If a prospective voter was to attempt to register to vote with this ID, it would be rejected. If it was used, it would be immediate evidence to the Judge of Election that the person is not qualified to vote.

 

Legal residents who are non-citizens have a regular driver’s license. Can they use it to register to vote? Technically, yes, and they are asked when they get their license updated if they want to register to vote. Not because of fraud, but because there is no distinction in the license that identifies they are legal non-citizens here on a green card.

 

However, the incident of these individuals voting is quite low. Federal law mandates that any non-citizen that votes is ineligible for citizenship and they are deported. When someone applies for citizenship, if the voter registration list shows they were registered to vote, they must get a certified letter from the county clerk verifying that they did not vote. We reported on this a few years ago. The County Clerk of the second largest county in Illinois that we interviewed confirmed that in her tenure only a handful of non-citizens who had a traditional driver’s license had voted.

 

Illinois is currently updating their driver’s licenses to a more secure license that will allow the continued use of an Illinois driver’s license to fly on an airplane. Consequently, Illinois licenses are no longer issued at the vehicle centers. When you update your license, your original license is destroyed by placing a hole in the middle and the driver gets the license back with a certified paper copy that is good for 90 days. Then the application is sent downstate for final review. The photo is scanned by facial recognition software before the hard copy is issued and sent to the driver. If the name and the picture do not match, the license is not sent. This process cuts down on the risk of someone being able to steal someone’s ID and then use it as their own.

 

A similar process is used for the license for illegal immigrants, except their permanent license and the temporary paper license clearly states it cannot be used for ID. On the positive side, this process documents illegal immigrants and associates them via facial recognition software to a name and a person.

 

It is unsettling that Obama inferred it is okay for non-citizens to vote, and I hope he takes up the challenge by Sessions to clarify his statement. The facts are if a non-citizen, whether here legally or not, should vote, they lose the right to ever become a citizen and they are deported. Obama’s statement is confusing and he should clarify the facts for both citizens and non-citizens.

 

The MOST insecure way to vote in Illinois is through mail-in-paper voting. This way of voting is never audited, which opens the door for massive voter fraud: fraud that is nearly risk free. As soon as the election is over, we will be asking for new safe guards for the mail-in-paper ballot.

Transcripts and the video Rodriquez and Obama interview is on Breitbart News.


RODRIGUEZ: Is the election rigged?
OBAMA: No. Unfortunately, here in America, there is a tradition of making it hard for people to vote. You know, historically, it was done purposefully to prevent African-Americans from voting. And that tradition sometimes has carried over. But here’s the good news: even though people try to discourage you from voting, if you want to vote, and you show up at your polling place, they can’t stop you from voting.
RODRIGUEZ: Hm.
OBAMA: They can’t stop you from voting. If people want to know how to vote, then you can go to iwillvote.com. The fact of the matter is that we give our power away all the time. You know, we tell ourselves, “it’s hard, it’s not gonna matter, it’s not gonna count.” And the powers that be, they’re counting on us giving our power away.
RODRIGUEZ: Many of the Millennials, Dreamers, undocumented citizens — and I call them “citizens” ’cause they contribute to this country — are fearful of voting. So if I vote, will immigration know where I live? Will they come for my family and deport us?
OBAMA: Not true.
RODRIGUEZ: Okay.
OBAMA: And the reason is — first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself, and there is not a situation where the voting rolls somehow are transferred over and people start investigating, et cetera. The sanctity of the vote is strictly confidential in terms of who you voted for. If you have a family member who maybe is undocumented, then you have an even greater reason to vote.
RODRIGUEZ: This has been a huge fear presented, especially during this election.
OBAMA: And the reason that fear is promoted is because they don’t want people voting. People are discouraged from voting. And part of what is important for Latino citizens is to make your voice heard, because you’re not just speaking for yourself. You’re speaking for family members, friends, classmates of yours in school–
RODRIGUEZ: Your entire community.
OBAMA: …Who may not have a voice. Who can’t legally vote. But they’re counting on you to make sure that you have the courage to make your voice heard.

dispatch.com image of bedside votingNursing home voters are the most vulnerable voters in Illinois.  There are about 10,000 residents in nursing homes that vote across the state. Nursing home voting in Illinois is conducted between Friday November 5th and Monday November 7th.  The residents vote on one of these days according to a schedule set by the election jurisdiction.

According to Illinois laws, nursing homes must request to conduct nursing home voting.  Residents of these homes who wish to vote using this method, request a mail-in paper absentee ballot.  Each election jurisdiction must assign at least 1 Republican and 1 Democrat election judge to oversee each nursing home resident who votes at the nursing home.

 

It is important to note that not all senior centers have a nursing home facility.  Some senior centers also are polling places for other types of voting including early voting and Election Day voting.  Nursing home voting is used by residents who cannot vote on their own or simply prefer to vote this way.

Generally, residents are brought by nursing home staff to a large room that is designated as a voting area. Two bi-partisan election judges oversee the vote.  The resident can ask for an election judge, caregiver, friend, or family member to assist in marking the ballot. Anyone that assists the voter, must also sign the ballot's outside envelope. This voting must be supervised by the bi-partisan election judges.  Bed-side voting is permitted for residents who cannot go to the designated voting area.  A Republican and Democrat election judge must be present at the bed-side while the resident votes.  Poll watchers may observe from outside the room. 

 

Investigations in 2012 in both Chicago and Suburban Cook County found that 77% of the homes were not staffed according to the legal requirements. The greatest problem was the lack of bi-partisan judge teams. Most of the homes only had 1 political party overseeing the vote.  We found some election judges who stored voted ballots in their cars. As a result of our investigation, changes were made including much better attention to the proper assignment of the election judges.  

 

It is time for a fresh investigation.  This 2016 investigation includes the entire state.

 

We will report on the results as we get closer to the election and the data is in.  Already 20 of the 110 election jurisdictions have responded. I expect we should have updates by next week.

 

Poll watchers are needed to help secure these votes.  More information to come!

Defend the Vote - Nursing Home FOIA and Audit Information 

Editor Note: What is the best way to secure your vote in Illinois?  Vote in-precinct at your home polling place on Election Day.

 

 

Where is the vote MOST vulnerable in Illinois?

 

Without a doubt, the two easiest places to steal the vote is in mail-in paper ballots and in the nursing homes.  I will discuss these MAJOR vulnerabilities, as well as detail the risks of early voting at voting centers across the state.

 

Early voting at voting centers is a risk – For instance, Defend the Vote auditors proved in 2014 that Chicago lacked a secure chain of custody on the USB memory devices and the paper scrolls recording these votes. When the voting machine’s memory is full, the USB memory device holding these votes and the paper scroll record is transported back to Chicago’s election offices at 69 West Washington.

Our investigation proved that these voted ballots and the USB memory devices containing these votes left the early voting centers unsealed and without anyone signing them out and without anyone signing them in when they were received at headquarters. The couriers secretly transporting these unsecured voted ballots were not election judges, they were paid contractors for Chicago. There was zero accountability.

After our investigation, Chicago instituted controls right before the Governor’s race, but only because Defend the Vote loudly proclaimed the results of our security audit to the State Board of Elections.  Finally, after a couple of highly charged meetings, Chicago came up with their “new system” just in time for the Governor’s race.  

 

Does that mean early voting in Illinois is secure now? Since our initial 2011 audit, the early vote is now subject to a random audit. Because the vote is subject to random audits, it is more secure than nursing home and mail-in-paper voting. However, the SAFEEST way to vote is in your home precinct on Election Day. These vote are overseen by election judges and they are counted at the end of the day, right in the precinct, in front of witnesses. The results are immediately posted, and they are subject to a random audit after the election. This means the risk of voter fraud is greatly reduced. It does not stop people from fraudulently voting at the polling places, but it makes it harder for insiders with nefarious motivations to change the votes that are cast in your polling place.

 

We will be auditing early voting across the state of Illinois for this election.

 

Approximately 10,000 nursing home votes are cast in Illinois.

 

How protected is the nursing home vote? In 2012, Defend the Vote proved that in Cook County (Chicago and Suburban Cook County), 77% of the nursing homes were not legally staffed with election judges from both political parties. The vast majority of the nursing homes had only one party represented, and we caught Chicago assigning Democrat election judges (as formally commissioned by the Circuit Court) to serve as Republican election judges for the nursing homes. We also caught election judges illegally storing voted ballots in their cars and not transporting them directly to the election authorities. Multiple residents told our pollwatchers they had not requested to vote and did not want to vote. Considering the lack of bi-partisan over-site, how are these rejected ballots handled when a pollwatcher is not there?

 

Without bi-partisan panels of election judges overseeing the nursing home vote, we subject 10,000 of our most vulnerable voters to voter fraud.

 

We were successful in correcting these illegal practices, but this does not guarantee that the votes of nursing home patients will be protected again in 2016. We have initiated a fresh audit of nursing homes across Illinois and will be alerting all village clerks of our investigations.

 

Mail-in paper voting is not secure and you are at the greatest risk of losing your vote if you vote this way. In Illinois, the political parties like to encourage people to vote by mail-in paper ballots; especially this year. Historically, about 8% of Illinois voters vote by mail-in paper ballots. In 2016, I anticipate the percentage will grow, perhaps even double.

 

Why is mail-in paper voting not secure?  Illinois does not require any audit of mail-in paper voting.  Secondly, while the law requires that the ballots not be counted until Election Day, it does not stop jurisdictions from “processing” the ballots.

What is processing? That means the election authorities open the voted ballots and put them through a ballot counting machine and then group these “processed” ballots into batches which are never audited. Accordingly, the election authorities are not supposed to have the processed votes tallied or totaled before 7pm on Election Day.

 

In 2012, we reported that in Cook County, the memory devices holding these processed mail-in ballots were not secured. After processing a batch of ballots, one pollwatcher witnessed an election official dropping the unsecured USB device into her pocket while holding a printed copy of the voting results, and then leaving the room. Zero chain of custody, and our auditor said he saw the voting results on that paper record before Election Day.

 

Processing or counting the absentee ballot… is there really a difference?  We argue there is not.

Importantly, in our earlier report we stated that the software running these machines is not secure, and that it can be accessed by multiple officials without detection by going directly into the data tables.

This means that the wrong person with the right access can go into the data table and weight the vote or out-right change the vote without being detected. This is especially true because there is no audit of the returns. Thus, a person wishing to commit voter fraud knows they will most likely not be caught. As reported earlier, Dr. Eric Commer, VP of Engineering at Dominion Voting Systems, admitted to us at the September 2016 Illinois State Board of Elections meeting that multiple people have access to the data tables without supervision and without any documentation of this access.

Illinois does not require the mail-in paper ballots to be returned in tamper evident envelopes, which makes mail-in paper voting even more open to fraud.  Most envelopes I have seen are lick and seal.  There is also no legal requirement on how these ballots are to be stored.  In our 2012 audit, we caught Suburban Cook County sealing and resealing plastic containers holding the ballots with the same pieces of duct tape.  Suburban Cook County corrected this deficiency after we reported on it…

Your vote matters, but it needs your protection.  Defend the Vote has unlimited poll watching credentials for every polling place and for every type of voting in Illinois.  If you are willing to poll watch, call us and I will assure you get as many credentials as you need. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  More to come!

SDV

Update: Election Day in-precinct voter registration without photo ID has been re-instated by the Appeals Court.

Thanks to a ruling by the US District Court, Election Day in-precinct voter registration has been canceled in Illinois, at least for now.

 

This is a WOW moment for the counties in Illinois with populations over 100,000.  There are 110 counties in Illinois, 20 have populations over 100,000.  Each of these 20 counties have been furiously working to set up voter registration centers in every polling place.  Believe me, not a small feat!

 

In 2014, during the lame duck session preceding Governor Rauner’s term, Illinois Democrat legislators passed—and Governor Quinn signed—a law that requires Election Day in-precinct voter registration in some election jurisdictions. This law required election jurisdictions with a population of 100,000 or more to allow people to register or update their registration status at their home precinct’s polling place on Election Day. This same right was not given to the smaller counties. This means there would have been 90 counties in Illinois where voters could not register in-precinct on Election Day. Rural voters would have to go to the centralized voting center that each county is required to have open on Election Day for new voters to register and vote.

 

Liberty Justice Center, an affiliate of the Illinois Policy Institute, filed the law suit. The decision by US District Court Judge Der‑Teghiayan, who called this law unconstitutional, will have a substantive impact on the elections. In the March 2016 Primary, 110,000 voters registered to vote in their polling places on Election Day. The lawsuit argues this gives a real advantage to the more populated election jurisdictions; voters in rural counties have to arrange to travel to the centralized voting center, compared to registering and voting in the neighborhood polling place.

 

Not surprisingly, Attorney General Madigan has already notified the US District Court of her intention to appeal the decision. Even if the decision by Judge Der‑Teghiayan is overruled, it seems unlikely the decision will be overruled completely. The argument is solid. Voter registration allowed in some precincts and not others creates a disadvantaged playing field. Legally, the damage is irreversible, and it is clearly unconstitutional. 

 

Madigan’s appeal will likely assert blocking the law so late in the game will disadvantage voters who might have thought they could register on Election Day. I am not a lawyer, but I believe the requirement for a level playing field will prevail and a remedy can be found for these voters. They can go to the centralized voting center just like rural voters do.

The judge’s decision does not prevent cities from opening more centralized voting centers to allow for increased access throughout the election jurisdiction, but the late timing makes it challenging to do so.

 

This late changing development presents a difficult dilemma for the 20 election jurisdictions involved.  They must continue to prepare for in-precinct voter registration in case the court reverses the ruling on appeal, yet they also need to prepare for a potential influx of voters on Election Day at their centralized voting centers.  In theory, the court could rule the night before the election to reverse the ruling… Consequently, at this point, these 20 election jurisdictions must mobilize for both scenarios.

 

From a security perspective, this means that there will be additional ballot security challenges at the polling places. 

The election jurisdictions have had their budgets approved and they have staffed up for this in-precinct voter registration initiative. These 20 jurisdictions were already under tough challenges to get the kinks worked out before the November election, where turnout could rival 2008. Special election judges and voter registrars are already hired and are now being trained. Their training will have to be altered. The election jurisdiction must now shift this temporary staff to work at centralized voting centers and perhaps be re-assigned to other roles such as election judges or polling place administrators. In the larger counties, this ruling impacts thousands of temporary workers. In Cook County, which includes both Chicago and Suburban Cook County, at least 7,500 temporary workers are involved in the Election Day in-precinct voter registration process. 

 

Software that administers and processes the vote will also need to have last minute code changes. Election machines set up to permit voters to register to vote at the polling place will need to be reset and re-tested. The impact of this decision is huge!

 

This is an election year that is different in many ways, and it just got more interesting in Illinois! This really demonstrates the importance of having poll watchers present at the polling places to ensure an honest vote.

 

Judge Der‑Teghiayan states in his opinion:

In the instant action, the Plaintiffs have provided ample evidence showing that the availability of polling place registration as part of the EDR results in a significant increase in voter turnout. That in turn shows that in a low population county without electronic polling books there will be a significant disadvantage under the EDR as it stands in Illinois. The EDR would severely burden their right to vote. Defendants argue that the availability of polling place registration is merely an inconvenience because EDR will still be available in all counties in certain location other than polling places… The polling place registration option is applied in an arbitrary and disparate fashion among low population counties in Illinois and is not the type of “[o]rdinary and widespread” burden that was considered not to be severe… While it may be true that the polling place registration option can assist voter in certain populous counties, that option cannot be provided at the expense of lower population counties, thereby decreasing their political representation in Illinois. The application of this legislation favors the urban citizen and dilutes the vote of the rural citizen…While it is a desirable goal to make the voting process more readily available to United States citizens in Illinois and to encourage them to vote, that goal must apply equally to all United States citizens in Illinois.

Editor's Note: BREAKING NEWS: On September 27th, (after this article was written) a federal judge ruled to block Election Day in-precinct voter registration in Illinois. This will impact so many aspects of the November election.  More information to follow. 

 

Will the election in Illinois matter on a national scale? According to a poll released last week by Emerson College for the Presidential race, Illinois is within 6 points in the Trump vs Clinton race, while Senator Mark Kirk is suddenly polling 1 point behind Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. 

 

Based on the last few General elections, many have doubted that the election in Illinois will be competitive. Defend the Vote has predicted that the November 2016 election will have unique challenges because of new laws and voting equipment, and that many races in this election will be close. The vote in Illinois is very important in the national election. Illinois is considered an important state in the battle to control the majority in the Senate, which could impact who is appointed to the US Supreme Court. 

 

Across Illinois, from the perspective of ballot security, 2016 is a pivotal election cycle because of major changes in election procedures. Voter fraud and mishaps in ballot security are more likely to occur when there are new procedures or new voting system equipment. In this case, in-precinct voter registration on Election Day has brought major changes in voting procedures and has resulted in the addition of electronic poll books across Illinois.

 

This is the first General Election where we will have Election Day in-precinct voter registration. Are the election authorities ready? Some are, some are not. Election jurisdictions like Chicago are actively encouraging voters to register in advance of the November election because of concerns that they cannot manage a large influx of new voters registering in-precinct on Election Day.

 

To protect the vote, Illinois requires at least bi-partisan oversight over the voting process. Bi-partisan oversight over each step of the voting process is a significant deterrent to retail voter fraud. Generally, Judges of Elections are appointed based on their party affiliation to oversee all aspects of the voting process. Up until about 60 days before the election, each party can appoint their own judges. Prior to a recent change in the law, this was done by both the county chairman and the ward committeeman. The chairman had the final authority.

 

A 2016 change in Illinois election law was specifically made to frustrate the GOP's efforts to appoint voting Republican election judges in the inner city wards. This change in the law took the authority from the County Chairman to appoint election judges and placed it in the hands of the ward committeeman. This change only impacts Cook County. This is especially problematic in Chicago because in the inner city, many of the Republican ward committeeman were actually Democrats.

 

By law, every ward is allowed to have one Republican and Democrat committeeman. In 2016, there are 19 city wards without Republican Committeeman. Most of these vacancies occurred after former GOP Cook County Chairman Aaron Del Mar refused to seat 13 Republican committeemen that had pulled a Democratic ballot in a recent primary. A federal lawsuit ensued. This case was only resolved last week. Del Mar's actions were upheld in federal court. The lateness of this decision came after the 60 day deadline for the political parties to appoint Judges of Elections. Consequently, in 19 wards without a committeeman, Republicans were blocked from appointing Republican Judges of Elections. 

 

Effectively, as a result, Chicago's voting precincts in the inner city will not have bi-partisan election judges to secure the vote. Chicago will have hundreds of precincts where all of the election judges voted Democrat in the 2016 Primary and who were appointed by the Democrat Alderman in that ward. Literally, hundreds of precincts and potentially up to 1/3 of the city vote will not have bi-partisan oversight. 

 

This is not good news for the security of your vote during such an important election year.

 

Our focus from now through the elections is to work with the Election Judge Association to recruit, place, and train poll watchers to assure that every vote is protected in Chicago. The Election Judge Association will raise the funds to pay poll watchers to help secure the most vulnerable polling places in Chicago. 

 

We are launching our joint operation this week. There are about 300 high risk polling places we would like to cover. We also want to have eyes watching early voting and nursing home voting. Our program is designed to place poll watchers in as many locations as possible! 

How do you vote?  Does it matter?  Does each method of voting provide the same level of security for your vote?

In Illinois, the answer is no. 

There are different ways each type of ballot is audited for accuracy in Illinois – and in the case of the paper mail-in ballot, there are no required procedures for auditing your vote. 

How do we vote?

We cast ballots electronically with a paper copy of that vote, or on paper ballots that we mark with a pen. We vote in early voting centers through Election Day, in our precinct on Election Day, or by mail-in paper ballots. In addition, there is nursing home voting, which is done by paper-mail-in ballot.

How is the Illinois vote audited?

For ballots cast in-precinct on Election Day – regardless if they are paper or electronic ballots - Illinois law provides for the Illinois State Board of Elections to randomly select 5% of all precincts in each election jurisdiction for an audit. All ballots cast in-precinct on Election Day in these selected precincts are then hand counted to check for accuracy.

In a similar process, the State Board of Elections selects 5% of all voting machines used during early voting in each election jurisdiction.  The vote totals reported are compared to a re-count of the ballots cast on these selected early voting machines.

However, if you vote by a mail-in paper ballot, Illinois election code does not mandate any audit of your ballot.  In Illinois, historically speaking for a General Election, you might reasonably anticipate 7-8% of the total vote will be conducted by mail-in paper voting. 

7-8% of the vote in Illinois is never subject to audit for accuracy!

Mail-in paper ballots are counted at the central counting center for each election jurisdiction.  A machine called a ‘Central Counter’ is usually used to process the paper ballots.  Illinois election code calls for pre and post tests of the central counters to assure the machines are calibrated and able to correctly tally a controlled set of ballots, but this equipment test is not considered an audit.  It is considered a testing of functionality.

Why is an audit necessary?

Legally, mail-in paper ballots should not be counted before the election is closed.  Generally speaking, they are counted in ‘batches”.  It should be noted that there should be approved Democrat and Republican staff overseeing the process of counting these ballots, but the actual processing of the vast majority of these ballots is done prior to Election Day and is not required by law to be done with two party oversight.  Pre-counting processing generally involves checking voter applications and the returned ballots to assure the voter has the same signature, that the applicant is registered to vote, and that they have not already voted.

In earlier investigations, Defend the Vote investigators documented partisan temporary staffers rubber stamping every signature regardless of whether it resembled the signature in the voter record.  In a separate investigation, we caught the Chicago Board of Elections staff not bothering to compare signatures on the envelopes containing the voted ballots to the official voter record. In a separate event, our auditors observed staff at the Chicago Board of Elections walking out of the central tabulating room, where mail-in paper ballots were being counted, with the USB device containing the record of the vote tucked in their pockets.  There was no verified security over that device which held the results of the vote… a result that will never be audited.

Further, just because bi-partisan staff oversee inputting ballots into a central ballot counter, these individuals do not have any idea if the actual ballots are being properly counted.  These individuals are not counting votes and do not see the actual votes on each ballot.  They participate in placing ballots into batches and then watching them run through a central counter.

Illinois legislators need to clean up the blatant holes in Illinois election security protocols.  However, precautionary steps can be taken before the November elections.  Election jurisdictions can review all procedures for storing absentee ballots and applications.  They should focus on tightening holes in the system by assuring all mail-in paper ballots are properly secured during storage, and that bi-partisan teams compare signatures on the envelopes of voted ballots with the voter record before approving the ballots for counting.

It would not be difficult to have the State Board of Elections randomly select different ‘batches’ for auditing the mail-in paper ballot.  Individual election authorities can also do the same thing!  This would provide a method to assure that the vote totals reported from mail-in paper ballots are the same as those cast.  It also provides a deterrent to voter fraud when there is at least a chance an offender can get caught!

You can help!

Call your election jurisdiction.  Ask them how mail-in paper ballots are stored, processed, and counted. How is the integrity of the count proven? Let us know or contact us for more information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This is the second in a series of articles addressing the security of software code that is used to administer, count, and report votes in elections across the USA.  It is used in all or most of the voting districts in Illinois.  


This series is inspired and based off of the credible research done by Blackboxvoting.org which has obtained a l
egitimate copy of the GEMS application. Bev Harris and Bennie Smith have conducted the investigation into voting system software.  Blackboxvoting.org has posted Fraction Magic, a 6-part series on the subject, with more EXPLOSIVE information yet to come! Defend the Vote is taking the questions raised in these articles to the election authorities in Illinois. 

 

Part 1 (Does Software Counting Your Vote Have Embedded "Weighted Vote" Capacity?) responds to the research by Black Box Voting which concluded software code running various election systems used across the USA permits weighted voting.  This code is a default setting used to change the value of a vote (1) to a fraction.  For instance, a vote for candidate X can be set at .75 while allocating the value 1.25 to candidate Z.  Last week we sent a letter to the Illinois State Board of Elections seeking to have questions answered about various software systems used to administer, process, count, and report the vote in Illinois. 

 

We have received a couple of responses from Ken Menzel, the General Counsel of the ISBE and from the Executive Director, Steve Sandvoss.

 

Ken Menzel responded in an email and made the following statements:

 

“As to the fractional voting capability in the Dominion system, it is (as I thought) a fairly common capability in voting systems in general. Staff was aware, right off the top of their heads, that it is present in the Dominion, GEMS and Hart systems (i.e. the vast majority of voters use a system capable of fractional vote counting).

 

The only system it is approved to be used with (i.e. to have the feature enabled when running) is the Hart system. That is because the Hart system is used by Peoria County and there is a local district (if I recall correctly, it is a school district) that remains under an old federal court consent decree whereby cumulative voting is required (the type of voting that used to apply to the old 3 member district state representative system, which we discussed in our phone call).

 

The feature is not enabled in the Dominion or GEMS systems (and our staff can tell that from the reports generated when we do our system testing).  

 

If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Ken Menzel

General Counsel

Illinois State Board of Elections

100 W. Randolph Street, Suite 14-100

Chicago, Illinois 60601”

 

This is very important news.  Through the General Counsel, the Illinois State Board of Elections has acknowledged that they are aware of the ability for various election software systems to process votes in a fractionalized format.  Indeed, his statement is that it is common in voting software and that the fractionalized voting system is enabled in the HART voting system (the ESlate) which is used in both Peoria and Kane County.

 

Speaking with Bev Harris, she reports she is about to release further documentation that provides concrete examples demonstrating how fractional vote counting software code opens a back door permitting undetectable and systemic voter fraud.

 

Keep in mind many states that use electronic voting systems do not have a paper trail that records the vote on a paper scroll and is a duplicate record of votes cast electronically.

 

Illinois lawmakers require a paper trail of all ballots cast.  If an electronic machine is used to vote, theoretically, a paper copy of the ballot cast is reviewed by the voter before leaving the election booth. The paper copy is stored on a scroll in the machine and should be an exact copy of the votes cast in the election.

 

Following each election, ILCS mandates that the State Board of Elections randomly select 5% of all precincts and 5% of early voting machines to be recounted by hand as an audit of the machines in comparison to the vote reported.   (ILCS 5/24C-15)  To be sure, we fully expect that the ISBE and various election jurisdictions will assert that the 5% post-audit conducted in Illinois would catch this type of software voter fraud.

 

Illinois 5% audit process is flawed and is not an effective tool for catching this type of fraudVerified Voting classifies Illinois 5% audit as deficient and in need of improvement.  We have personally witnessed some of the problems.  In a 5% audit we attended two years ago, we learned, when there was a discrepancy in vote totals, there is no legal mandate to discern why there is a discrepancy.  In one instance we witnessed an error of two votes in the recount of one precinct’s paper ballots. When the temporary workers could not figure why there was an error, they simply stopped checking, corrected the official vote total, and went on to the next precinct.  A follow-up FOIA investigation revealed that there was no effort by Chicago election authorities to find out why there was a 2 vote discrepancy in this precinct’s returns.  Without a legal mandate requiring investigations into vote discrepancies, election authorities don’t have to resolve causative factors for the discrepancy.

 

In an example from the 2016 primary, a group of observers supporting Bernie Sanders at Chicago’s 5% post-election audit noted multiple instances where workers performing the task of manually re-counting ballots from the early voting scrolls, knew what totals they should have while counting and would simply adjust their counts to match.  Further, they claim a discrepancy of nearly 20% in one precinct's vote totals.  We have not investigated or verified these particular claims, but note they demonstrates that the current audit process is fatally flawed!  In audits we have observed, we verify there is a lack of audit controls that compromises the integrity of the audit. More information about post-election audits can be found on Verified Voting.

 

General Counsel Menzel stated in his email that “The feature is not enabled in the Dominion or GEMS systems (and our staff can tell that from the reports generated when we do our system testing).”  In our follow-up, we will challenge that statement.  The ISBE only tests voting systems when there are changes requiring recertification of the voting system.  Generally, every 2 years or more. This type of testing does not catch fractional vote fraud which can be enabled in the middle of an election.

 

The second responses to our letter to the Board came from Steve Sandvoss, Executive Director of the Illinois State Board of Elections.  Sandvoss stated that the Chairman of the Board (Charles Scholtz) has refused to schedule this matter on the agenda for the Board meeting this Friday.  He has stated that the Chairman will permit us to speak during public comments, and that they will decide how long we are allowed to speak and if they want to take action.  By refusing to place our letter in the public record, Sandvoss and Chairman Scholtz block it from the records posted on their official site.

 

Having been before the sometimes hostile Illinois State Board of Election too many times to count… I view this response as typical!  Historically, the Board does not like to deal with the security of the vote in Illinois. They generally do everything they can to limit these types of discussions during their meetings, often refusing to respond as a tactic to minimize and frustrate the public’s concerns.

 

More to come! Friday is soon to arrive, so we shall soon see more of the Board’s response. 

 

In Part 3, we will reach out to every election district in Illinois to get answers to questions such as who has access to the software that runs their voting equipment.

 

Part 1: BREAKING: Does Software Counting Your Vote Have Embedded "Weighted Vote" Capacity?

This is the first in a series of articles addressing the security of software code that is used to administer, count, and report votes in elections across the USA.  The software code is part of the GEMS, WinEDS, and Hart voting systems that are used in all or most of the voting districts in Illinois.

 

This article was inspired and based off of the credible research done by Blackboxvoting.org, which has obtained a legitimate copy of the GEMS application.  Bev Harris and Bennie Smith have conducted the investigation into voting system software.  Blackboxvoting.org has posted Fraction Magic, a 6-part series on the subject, with more EXPLOSIVE information yet to come!  Defend the Vote is taking the questions raised in these articles to the election authorities in Illinois.

 

What is a fractionalized vote?  In the back end of the software, each vote is counted as 1 or as a fraction greater than or less than 1.  Someone wishing to change results in an election can quickly alter a vote by allocating different values to voters based on whatever parameter is desired.  For instance, in the back end, a vote for candidate X is worth .75, while a vote for candidate Z is worth 1.25. 

 

It has come to our attention that software programs that run various voting systems across the entire state of Illinois have code that allows for votes to be counted as weighted or fractionalized votes.  BlackBoxVoting research finds that the feature to count a vote as 1 (a whole number) or as a fraction is set to operate as a default setting for counting and that it can be turned on or off.  The time it takes to turn it on or off is literally seconds.  The research demonstrates that this weighted vote feature can be utilized without detection.

 

We want to know what security measures are in place to assure it is NOT being used.  

 

We have delivered this letter to the Illinois State Board of Elections.  On Monday, we will report about their responses.


What Value is Your Vote in Illinois?
by Defend the Vote on Scribd

 

FRACTION MAGIC – PART 1: VOTES ARE BEING COUNTED AS FRACTIONS INSTEAD OF AS WHOLE NUMBERS

FRACTION MAGIC - PART 2: CONTEXT, BACKGROUND, DEEPER, WORSE

FRACTION MAGIC – PART 3: PROOF OF CODE

FRACTION MAGIC – PART 4: PRESIDENTIAL RACE IN AN ENTIRE STATE SWITCHED IN FOUR SECONDS

FRACTION MAGIC -  PART 5: MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

FRACTION MAGIC – PART 6: EXECUTION CAPACITY

 


Defend the Vote has studied and reported on the lack of security in the hardware of the Dominion Voting’s WinEDS voting system that is used in both Chicago and Suburban Cook County.  We have written about the system that is currently being cannibalized for parts.  We broke the story that the system is no longer manufactured because it could not pass the error testing required by the EAC.  We filed a HAVA complaint in 2015, which was eventually settled through mediation.  Now, new voting machines are being planned in Chicago for the 2018 elections…

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.

 

Published on Jun 4, 2015

"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.

 

 

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.

Dominion Makes MillionsDominion (Sequoia) Continues to Profit from Uncertified Voting Equipment in Illinois

The Edge2Plus Renowned for Vote Switching, and who exactly owns the software?  According to Brad's Blog, the creators from Venezuela

 

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.”

The Imposed SilenceUPDATE - The Imposed Silence - Ridding Chicago and Cook County of Uncertified Voting Machines 

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