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.
"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.
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.
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:
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
2011-2014: Watchdog for election reform in Illinois.
Projects and Accomplishments: 2011-2014
- Non-Citizens Running Elections: In 2011, our investigations proved some early voting sites in Chicago were being operated by non-citizens. Subsequent follow up FOIA investigations proved that the employment I-9 records for 75% of the employees running Chicago early voting sites were not compliant with federal law, including some of the forms for the alien workers.
- Election Day Audit: In April 2011, we conducted an audit of the security practices of Chicago’s polling places. We uncovered that out of the 239 precincts scored, the ballot box was unsealed 139 times. In October 2011, the report detailing this audit was peer reviewed and published in Argonne National Laboratory’s Journal of Physical Security. Vulnerability Assessment and Security Audit of Election Day Polling Place Procedures for the April 5, 2011 Municipal Elections in Chicago, Illinois
- Election Board Testimony, 2011 – Present: Defend the Vote regularly testifies and appears before the Chicago Board of Elections and the Illinois State Board of Elections, which has successfully advanced positive change for Illinois’ voting environment.
- Early Voting Audit: In 2011, investigations proved Illinois does not audit early voting returns. Our investigations inspired a July 4th, 2011 change in Illinois law: in 2012, for the first time ever, election jurisdictions are required to include early voting machines in the post-election 5% audit.
To follow-up on what happened at the Board meetings on Tuesday October 21st.
Recap: IN 2013, Defend the Vote conducted a FOIA investigation of how the Chicago Board of Elections secures the early voted ballots (both the paper copy printed by the machine and the USB memory device which saves the record of the vote). This FOIA proved that there was no verified chain of custody, literally! The ballots were moved from the early voting sites to the CBEC without anyone assuring that they were locked and sealed before leaving the early voting site, during transport to CBEC offices at 69 West Washington, or once arriving at the CBEC offices. We presented our results to the Chicago Board of Elections and were promised on multiple occasions that new procedures to secure the vote would be put in place. Each time we requested a copy of these new procedures we were told to wait... they were coming. Finally, unable to wait any longer, we appealed to the Illinois State Board of Elections right before their October 21st Board meeting to assure the early voted ballots in Chicago are secured.
On Tuesday afternoon, there were two Board meetings; the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners (CBEC) and the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE). Both took place during the same time frame. Logistically, there was a small chance I could make it to both, but I had to go to the ISBE meeting, first. On the agenda was the HAVA complaint filed in late August. During this Board meeting, the ISBE and I agreed to work to set up an "alternative dispute resolution" process and are currently looking for the correct legal group to serve in the role of assisting to resolve the HAVA complaint.
The letter I sent to the Illinois State Board of Elections is in this article: Loosy Goosy Security on the EV Voted Ballots.
On Tuesday, right before I spoke, the ISBE approved Ken Menzel as the new General Counsel to replace Steve Sandvoss, who is now the Executive Director. General Counsel Menzel's first job following his appointment was literally to run to the Chicago Board meeting (which was still in session across the street) and to have them provide evidence that the early voted ballots are secured. Many of the ISBE Board members displayed concern and wanted immediate answers!
Editor's Note: 11-5-14 Poll book problems were wide spread during the 2014 November elections in Suburban Cook County and in Chicago. The books would not upload the signatures. This caused many judges to wait for hours at the polling booths as they tried to get set up for the elections. Phone lines to both Chicago and Suburban Cook County election officials were busy and dropped calls after the judges waited long periods of time to speak with these election officials to get help. We received reports as late as 11 pm on Election Day eve that polling booths were not ready for the morning because they were unable to upload the poll books.
From the Illinois Review: Friday, October 24, 2014
Editor's Note: November 5, 2014 - When voters attempt to vote and the electronic machine switches votes, that is considered a voting system error. The Federal government sets permissible error rates of 1 per 500,000 ballot positions. Assuming these errors are caused by calibration related issues, this is not considered a voter's error. It is a system or machine error. Rock Island voters should be very concerned about these reports especially because there were so many of them. Rock Island's next step should be to FOIA all of the repair reports from this election for these machines.
From the Illinois Review
Rock Island County Clerk defiant, lashes out in Facebook posts
ROCK ISLAND, IL - KWQC TV-6 reported yesterday about several complaints of electronic voting fraud with the early voting machines in Rock Island County.
Rock Island County Clerk Karen Kinney (D-Rock Island) offered no comment to the media about the allegations, but did take to Facebook last night to silence any criticism, calling the formal complaints "lies, & more lies" and accusing those who filed complaints of "making false allegations to suppress the vote."
The Schilling for Congress campaign reached out to the Illinois State Board of Elections on Friday to report the situation. The State Board of Elections made contact with the Rock Island County Clerk's office and recommended re-calibrating the early voting machines. As of yet, there is no evidence that a full re-calibration has occurred.
According to a press release, the Schilling campaign has now received more than 20 reports from voters who have had their vote switched on the electronic voting machines. Several formal complaints have been filed to the Rock Island County Clerk's office.
Yesterday, the Schilling campaign also heard from a voter who went to early vote at the County Clerk's office and was turned away after requesting a paper ballot.
Jon Schweppe, communications director at Bobby Schilling for Congress, released the following statement:
"Every vote matters. Every vote should be counted. Karen Kinney needs to stop victim-blaming on Facebook and start working to fix the faulty machines. Voters in Rock Island County are quickly losing faith in the legitimacy of our elections, and that's unacceptable. The Rock Island County Clerk needs to do something immediately."
From the Illinois Review.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2014
- HAVA Complaint Filed Against Voting Machines in Chicago and Cook County
- Loosy Goosy Security on the EV Voted Ballots in Chicago
- HB0105: Pat Quinn's Disaster
- Will Quinn Sign HB0105? Analysis of the Pending Law
- Will Election Day Voter Registration Sneak into Illinois Law?
- Provisional Voting - DTV Victory For Illinois
- Sharon Meroni Re-elected to WTTW (PBS) Board
- Illinois Law Disenfranchises Thousands of Votes
- Provisional Voting: CBOE and Defend the Vote
- Madigan's Voter Integrity Suppression Amendment - Have You Seen It?
- The Disaster About to Happen In Illinois Elections
- Provisional Voting in Illinois Comments to Part 218 – Counting of Provisional Ballots
- 4 County Assessment
- 4 County Assessment - Field Notes
- Check Those Election Seals!
- Is Chicago Finally Dumping Substandard Voting Equipment?
- Judges of Elections
- Can Anyone Get a Fraudulent Ballot in Illinois?
- Illegal and Uncertified Voting Systems in Chicago and Suburban Cook County
- Election Machines in Chicago and Cook County Not Legally Certified - Round 3