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.

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  • February 2018

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