Written by Sharon Meroni:
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: 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."
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.
Editor's Note: I fixed a typo and noted it in the comments.
Defend the Vote - via Sharon Meroni- filled a HAVA complaint against the Dominion/Sequoia electronic voting machines currently under fire in Suburban Cook County (Illinois) for switching votes from the Republicans to the Democrats. We filed two complaints on August 22nd, 2014. These machines (Edge Plus 2 and the 500c) are also in Nevada and were reputed to do the same thing in the last Harry Reid 2010 re-election bid; switching votes from Sharron Angle to Reid.
This complaint was before the Illinois State Board of Elections earlier this week, on Tuesday October 21st. The next step is we go into a process referred to as "alternative dispute resolution". Within a couple of weeks, the complaint will move forward.
To understand how HAVA complaints are processed in Illinois, you can read about the process on the JCAR website.
This is meant to be a very brief update to link the public to our filings.
The next step in the process is an independent organization must be selected to review Meroni's complaint. Two were filed. Both Meroni and the ISBE will select this arbitrator.
Editor's note: HUGE SUCCESS! Following a couple of interesting Board meetings, Chicago has completely revamped their procedures. We will update this post with the new rules.
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:21 AM
Cc: Steve Sandvoss; 'Joan T. Agnew'; 'James Scanlon'; 'Mr. Lance Gough'; 'Borgsmiller, Rupert'; 'Jesse Smart'; 'Charles W. Scholz'; 'Menzel, Ken'
Subject: Loosy Goosy Security on the EV Voted Ballots in Chicago
Good Morning Chairman and Commissioners:
I intend to lodge a formal complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections today regarding the following:
Defend the Vote found and reported to the Chicago Board of Elections about serious irregularities in how this Board maintained custody of the early voting VVAPT scrolls and the memory devices that hold the electronic ballot. On July 26th Lance Gough said at the Board meeting these serious deficiencies had been corrected. He said he would send the revised procedures to the Board and to me. Silence ensued.
Following the last Board meeting, I specifically approached Chairman Neal to inform him I have not received any updates on these alleged “New Procedures”. Again, silence.
The protection of the voted ballot is mandated in Illinois Law. This Board has a duty to secure the voted ballot and to have transparent procedures on how it does so. To date, to my knowledge, this Board fails on both duties.
Director of Defend the Vote
What good is a law when it only impacts one election? Pat Quinn recently signed HB0105 into law, which changes election code only for 2014, so the question has to be asked; why does the November 2014 election need special laws?
Farewell to Illinois's Election Integrity Pioneer, Jack Roeser
With great sorrow, I say good-bye to one of Illinois’s finest citizens. Jack (John Otto) Roeser returned to God early this morning. Born in 1923, Jack served in the Army, raced in the Chicago Mackinac, and built Otto Engineering, a successful state-of the art business located in Carpentersville, Illinois. With over 50 patents in his name, Jack never stopped improving our world. I knew Jack long after he had accomplished so many of these feats. As a devoted conservative who funded many political campaigns, Jack has been a guiding force for Republicans across Illinois for decades.
For me, personally, Jack was a mentor. He was truly the election integrity pioneer in Illinois. As the guiding force behind Defend the Vote, Jack is responsible for inspiring us to continue our fight to get an honest vote in Illinois. I was blessed to sit with Jack as we worked to secure the vote; particularly in Chicago and Suburban Cook County. When I was frustrated or confused, his wise counsel guided the way. Jack and I shared a commitment to set up “Best Practices” in elections for Illinois and to rid this state of corrupt elections and of the flawed electronic voting machines. Our mission has always been to correct deficient processes securing the vote rather than focusing only on catching fraud.
Jack’s support was not just in words. He made funding the important work of Defend the Vote one of his top priorities. It was Jack who funded and inspired the many audits that we have conducted on election systems in Chicago and Suburban Cook County, and which have been so successful in making significant changes in the integrity of the vote in Illinois.
One day in 2012, Jack came to me about the theft of the vote from our most vulnerable residents, those living in nursing homes across Cook County. The mission he gave us was to change the practice of only one party overseeing the nursing home vote in Suburban Cook and Chicago. We succeeded. Today, nursing home patients have both a Republican and Democratic Judge of Election assuring their vote is accurately administered and counted. Jack cared about everyone, but especially those in need of protection.
Jack is the true pioneer of election integrity in Illinois. After the dust settles, I will find a way to assure that Defend the Vote is dedicated to his memory and most importantly to his values and goals. Now with God and his angels, I trust our beloved Jack is busy organizing them too, with both humor and precision.
Rest in peace, Jack. We thank you for your long service and for your leadership in fighting to achieve an honest vote in a state with a global reputation for election fraud.
Will Election Day Voter Registration Sneak into Illinois Law? Will Quinn Change Election Security Just for the 2014 Elections?
How can the vote be stolen? In our modern world, the iconic image of someone slipping extra ballots into the ballot box on Election Day seems outdated, yet that’s exactly what some Illinois politicians are trying to do for the November election.
On late Friday evening, May 30th, HB0105 was passed by the Illinois General Assembly out of the public’s discriminating eye; a common tactic for Illinois government over the last few years. The November election features businessman Bruce Rauner (R) going head to head with Governor Pat Quinn (D), who now has a bill on his desk that will make stealing the vote as easy as stealing candy from a baby.
House Bill 0105 attempts to impose Election Day voter registration on Illinois exclusively for 2014 without public debate. If signed by Governor Quinn, there will be no requirements for anyone to show photo or state issued ID if they register to vote on Election Day in November. The bill also extends early voting by one day and grace period voting through Election Day. Unbelievably, those who register to vote on Election Day can cast a ballot, which is counted at 7pm on Election Day, before anyone has had a chance to verify the new voter’s registration.
Filed under the Public University Act, HB0105 mandates that each public university[i] maintains an in-person absentee polling place where students can vote in-person absentee ballots on Election Day. HB0105 also requires every election jurisdiction to offer Election Day voter registration at a permanent polling place through Election Day. Anyone can register to vote with a fake lease, or any form of paperwork that has an address on it, and no one will know it’s fake until after the ballot has been cast and counted.
That’s right; Governor Quinn is contemplating signing a bill which allows Election Day voter registration without requiring any verification of ID provided at the moment of registration.
This article presents the portions of HB0105 which address the security of the ballot in Illinois. This is a follow-up from Will Election Day Voter Registration Sneak into Illinois Law? This technical article separates each change by sections so the reader can easily review them. Before each section, I have written a short paragraph to put the change in context.
House Bill0105 was approved in the House and Senate of the General Assembly on May 30th, 2014. It is currently on Governor Quinn’s desk. If you want a clean and secure vote in November of 2014 and oppose Governor Quinn changing Illinois election law right before he tries to get re-elected, make sure your voice is heard! This Bill, if signed, is repealed on January 1st, 2015.
Can this be stopped? Illinois voters can help stop Election Day voter registration from being snuck into the election code by calling Governor Quinn’s office in Springfield at 217-782-0244 and in Chicago at 312-814-2121. Tell him that you don’t approve of politicians who change the security of your vote for their own potential political gain.
I apologize if my last article was over complicated or confusing. Communicating details about election security can be challenging – the balance between detail and overview not always easy to juggle. This article (Illinois Law Disenfranchises Thousands of Votes) was based around the email from Ken Menzel, Deputy General Counsel for the Illinois State Board of Election (ISBE), and had three vital issues wrapped into one article: The radical revision of the Provisional Voting JCAR Rules following Defend the Votes comments; the counting of 500-1000 out-of-precinct Provisional ballots from the March 2014 Primary Election where the voter stated on a voter affidavit that he resides in the precinct but does not; and the issue of the forced “No” vote on constitutional amendments on all out-of-precinct ballots in the upcoming November elections.
To provide more clarity to these issues, I decided to do a three part series; one part for each area. These issues are important.
This first article will give a quick synopsis of the critical change to the proposed provisional voting rules after Defend the Vote took a stand on the issue and as described by Deputy General Counsel, Ken Menzel. This is only a partial analysis because we do not have the new version yet; just an email describing the changes. Thankfully, we did win a significant victory!
Legally, provisional voting is restricted to voters who’s right to cast a ballot is questioned and who are seeking to vote in their residential precinct on Election Day. After the election judge confirms the voter’s address is in the precinct, the voter must sign an affidavit attesting he resided at the residence for the past 30 days. Then the election judge is authorized to give a PV ballot to the voter.
At the April Board meeting, Defend the Vote’s Executive Director, Sharon Meroni, was re-elected to the WTTW’s Community Advisory Board. (CAB) First elected to the Board in April 2013, Ms. Meroni’s new term is for 3 years. In addition, Sharon Meroni was elected Chairman of the “Outreach Committee”. The Outreach Committee is a standing CAB committee responsible for encouraging and gathering feedback from the WTTW viewing community and forwarding that feedback to WTTW. In the Outreach Committee, Ms. Meroni anticipates the committee will reach out to the viewing community utilizing social media and other emerging technologies.
WTTW (PBS Chicago) is Channel 11, Chicago area’s popular public broadcasting channel. With a long history of successful programming, WTTW/WFMT remains ‘committed to creating and presenting unique content for television, radio, and digital media.’
Sharon Meroni, as Executive Director of Defend the Vote, feels that public programming is key to a healthy community. Stating, "WTTW/WFMT reaches into every precinct in Chicago and the surrounding areas. The Community Advisory Board is a diverse board which is genuinely enthused to reach out to the WTTW viewing communities to help assure WTTW programming continues to meet their needs and when appropriate, to tell their stories. I am appreciative for this opportunity to help direct this outreach as Chairman of the Outreach Committee and as a member of the Community Advisory Board."
Defend the Vote filed comments to the proposed provisional voting rules currently going through the legislative process for confirmation from JCAR (Joint Committee on Administrative Rules). This process requires the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) to respond to Defend the Vote's comments. Then, they post revised rules, and we have one last response period. We are about to enter that 2nd period; it begins when the Board posts their revised rules. Deputy Counsel Ken Menzel noted in his email (see below) that the Board is ready to post these revised rules.
In the first round, our comments appear to have been successful in achieving their intended result. We argued that the proposed rules allowed for voters to falsely affirm in voter affidavits that they resided within the precinct when they do not. In fact about a 1000 ballots were counted in the March Primary where the voter falsely affirmed that they were residents in the precinct. These ballots were accepted despite the obvious conflict of fact.
After our comments, the Board has reduced the provisional voting process to require the voter to ‘believe they are in the correct precinct.’ The earlier version - which was in effect for the Primary - permitted voters to insist on their right to vote, and changed the meaning of provisional voting from being restricted to in-precinct voters, to allowing anyone to vote a provisional ballot within their county and municipality.
At the last ISBE Board meeting, Defend the Vote challenged the ISBE to identify if the 1000 affidavits taken by the out-of-precinct voters were fraudulently authenticated. These affidavits affirm that the voter lives in the precinct, so we effectively argued 'how could they get an out-of-precinct ballot?' The ISBE admitted they do not keep any records of out-of-precinct provisional voting, so we FOIA'd all the Illinois election jurisdictions and are now building that list.
Chicago Board of Elections meeting April 8th, 2014: This video proves that we are correct in many of our "comments to the ISBE rules" which we recently submitted to the ISBE. Tomorrow, we will be at the ISBE (Illinois State Board of Elections) Board meeting to follow-up on these rules.
A key point here is that the legislature will be tweaking the law to address flaws that our work uncovered. This is not necessarily good news.
The issue is out-of-precinct ballots and the affidavit the provisional voter must make. Defend the Vote maintains counting out-pf precinct ballots that have a false affidavit verifying the voter lives in the precinct is problematic and likely unlawful. General Counsel Scanlon says the State's Attorney would likely not investigate...
Stay tuned. We have much more to say about this. The summary report linked below provides a good summary of the issues.
We located the text to the House Bill HJRCA52, the so called voter suppression amendment pushed by House Speaker Madigan. Madigan's Bill passed the Illinois House on Tuesday with a bi-partisan vote of 109-5. It now moves to the Senate. Speaker Madigan apparently believes that people in certain classes could be denied the right to vote under his decades of leadership as the House Speaker.
Speaker Madigan states: “The intent of this constitutional amendment is to provide in Illinois, constitutionally, that voter-suppression laws would not be permitted,” said Madigan, D-Chicago. “Some might say, ‘Well, today in Illinois, you don’t need this. Voter suppression wouldn’t happen in Illinois.’
“We don’t know that,” Madigan continued. “We don’t know what the future holds. What we do know is we can constitutionalize the protection of the right to vote.”
The reality is, the right to vote is already protected.
March 19, 2014
Provisional Voting – Comments for the March 19th JCAR
This filing relates to the Emergency Rules which were implemented for the March 18th Primary election in Illinois. Due to the timing, this is a cursory review. The JCAR meeting is at 10am March 19th, on the morning after the election. A more complete review will be forthcoming shortly.
Last July the Illinois General Assembly passed HB2418. This bill added a couple of sentences to the Provisional Voting Law (ILCS 10/5 18A) that is worded to permit the counting of votes for federal and state candidates which are cast provisionally as ‘out-of-precinct’ ballots. Rule 218 is the set of rules written by the Illinois State Board of Elections to implement these changes. Provisional voting has always been restricted to residents voting within the precinct in which they reside.
Why this new rule was tossed into HB 2418 permitting people to vote outside of their resident precinct remains unexplained. The impact of it, Defend the Vote warned voters in Illinois about this in the article "It's Kinda of a Disaster Waiting To Happen". Our analysis, however was just completed on Monday, March 31st. We delved deeply into every aspect of the Law (18A – Provisional Voting) and the JCAR 218 Proposed Rules written by the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) in order to submit comments to JCAR (Joint Committee on Administrative Rules) and the ISBE.
Provisional Voting in Illinois
Comments to Part 218 – Counting of Provisional Ballots
This analysis is written to provide public comment on the proposed rules in Part 218 (Counting of Provisional Voting) found in Title 26 Chapter I: State Board of Elections. These proposed rules are known as JCAR 260218-1404328r01. The proposed JCAR rules were written by the Illinois State Board of Election. They are currently under Emergency Authorization by action of JCAR on March 19th, 2014. The Illinois State Board claims these rules are authorized by the passage of HB 2418 in July of 2013 and can be found in 10 ILCS 5/18A-15(b)(1).
This video was made by Argonne National Laboratory to demonstrate just how fragile the seals protecting the voting machine’s memory devices are. This red seal is called a ‘tamper resistant seal.' Tamper resistant seals should (but frequently do not) show when they are disturbed. 'Tamper evident' seals do show if they were disturbed. Defend the Vote is asking Chicago, Suburban Cook County, and election jurisdictions across the state, to replace these vulnerable red seals for “tamper evident” seals.
Defend the Vote has publicized the fact that the Dominion/Sequoia voting systems used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County have never passed the error testing requirements set out by the 2003 Voting Systems Standards as required by Illinois Law, and that there are HAVA compliance issues with these machines. (Yes, it’s sad but true; machines used nationally to count millions of votes were never federally certified.) We have challenged the validity of the current Illinois State Board of Election’s certification of these machines, and assert these machines cannot be recertified in Illinois before the November 2014 Governor’s elections. We alerted various authorities of these deficiencies and made sure to let budget departments so they can prepare to fund new equipment this Spring.
Defend the Vote raised the question of the Edge2Plus’s and the related WinEDS voting system’s certification with Howard Crammer, a VP from Dominion. To date, he has failed to produce any official document proving that the voting systems used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County have been certified by the EAC as passing Federal error testing requirements. The EAC is the government body that does this certification.
Judges of Election – Just how important are they to the security of your vote? For in-precinct voting, which is done on Election Day, probably the most important security measure for the overall integrity of the vote, is to have a strong bi-partisan Judge of Election team. In Illinois, election judges are assigned by the two dominant political parties based on pre-set legal formulas in a 2:3 ratio. When the political party fails to select the election judge, the election jurisdiction can (must) do so.
The way these positions are staffed in Illinois is to have the Party Chairman of each County approve the election judges. Generally the Committeemen in each precinct, township, or ward appoints the election judges. State-wide, the process to select election judges does vary somewhat depending on if it is a city or county based election jurisdiction. (i.e., Chicago is city-based, Suburban Cook is county-based)
The Republican or Democrat Party Chair also has a duty to build a "Supplemental Chairman's List" which contains extra election judges to fill in at the last minute. The election jurisdictions have a legal duty to go to these lists first when there are vacancies.
Can anyone get a fraudulent ballot in Illinois? The short answer is yes, and there are few if any safety measures to prevent or detect this kind of theft.
Here is just one flaw in the system. During every election, Defend the Vote is contacted by voters who report they were prevented from voting or had to vote on a provisional ballot because the poll book showed someone had already voted for them. As part of our goals for 2014, we have decided to research how frequently this occurs.
When we start an investigation, we look at many aspects of the problem to gain the needed information. Most importantly of all, we ask questions.
For example, does the State of Illinois or any of the 110 election jurisdiction keep track of voters who claim that someone voted for them? This can be a difficult question to answer because unless otherwise dictated by federal or state laws, each election jurisdictions sets their own policy; but we have come to suspect that no one keeps track of this type of voter fraud.
Defend the Vote has recently uncovered startling evidence that proves the voting systems used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County are not legally certified in Illinois. Voting systems are defined by Illinois Law as follows: “‘Voting system’ or ‘electronic voting system’ means that combination of equipment and programs used in the casting, examination and tabulation of ballots and the cumulation and reporting of results by electronic means.” (10 ILCS 5/24B-2)
Voting systems in Illinois must be certified by receiving approval from the Illinois State Board of Elections. Most voting systems are given “Interim Approvals” which lasts for a maximum of 2 years. Each Interim Approval is based on the version of the voting system that has been tested and approved.
Chicago and Suburban Cook use the Dominion/Sequoia WinEDS system, which has multiple versions of its 5 components. These 5 components include: WinEDS - the election management system that records, compiles, and reports vote totals from any election; Edge2Plus - a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machine that produces an electronic ballot with a paper ballot recorded as a scroll inside the machine; Insight - an optical scanner that records the vote from paper ballots given to the voter; and the HAAT (Hybrid Activator, Accumulator, and Transmitter) which consolidates, tabulates, and transmits voter data. In addition, a 400c optical scanning machine is used to process absentee ballots.
Over the last year, Defend the Vote has been researching the election systems in Chicago and Suburban Cook County.
We have uncovered startling evidence that proves the voting systems used in both jurisdictions are not legally certified in Illinois. The Illinois State Board of Elections’ refusal to acknowledge our claims was in full evidence during the October Board meeting, when none of the officials had a word to say after our testimony; but silence can be as telling as words. If we had no grounds to be challenging the election systems, wouldn’t they have told Defend the Vote to stop wasting their time?
Defend the Vote is investigating the voting systems used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County. As part of this investigation, we sent a protest letter to the Illinois State Board of Elections challenging the certification of the voting systems. State Board’s Executive Director, Rupert Borgsmiller, sent Defend the Vote a response including the chart below which lists when the election equipment was certified.
Systems Tested and Approved
Insight: K2.16.09.0716.1500 (HPX), K1.44.080501.1500 (APX)-
August 18, 2009/ September 15, 2010/ September 6, 2012
September 15, 2010
August 18, 2009/ September 15, 2010
August 18, 2009/ September 15, 2010/ September 6, 2012
City of Chicago
Systems Tested and Approved
Insight: K2.16.09.0716.1500 (HPX), K1.44.080501.1500 (APX)-
August 18, 2009/ September 15, 2010/ September 6, 2012
September 6, 2012
September 6, 2012
August 18, 2009/ September 15, 2010/ September 6, 2012
Defend the Vote has been investigating the election systems used to tally the vote in Illinois. While our investigations will include all systems in use in Illinois, this particular assessment involves voting systems used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County.
As research goes, we began the investigation with limited knowledge. On September 23rd, 2013 we alerted Lance Gough, Executive Director of the Chicago Board of Elections, David Orr, Cook County Clerk, and Rupert Borgsmiller from the Illinois State Board of Elections, of our initial findings in a Letter, Protest of Further Use of Dominion Voting Non-Compliant Election Equipment in Illinois, Especially in Chicago and Suburban Cook County. Discussed in an earlier article, Is the Voting System In Chicago and Cook County Legal in Illinois?, our letter seeks further information and challenges the status of voting systems in these two election jurisdictions.
As our research developed, what we learned surprised even us. The incompetency, the lack of follow through or oversight is stunning, really. The Illinois State Board of Elections ignores Illinois Law, and most importantly, ignores the voter. Voters should never assume their vote is accurately counted because the ISBE is on the job!
On October 2, 2013, Rupert Borgsmiller, Executive Director of the Illinois State Board of Elections, responded to our first protest letter. This letter is below. We have since replied with our follow-up letter to the Board which can be read here. Explosive Letter Detailing the Illegal Use of Voting Systems in Illinois.
Today Defend the Vote has filed a formal complaint about the election equipment in use in Chicago and Cook County, asserting with documentation that Federal elections in November 2012, the Special Congressional election (Jesse Jackson's District), and the Consolidated Primary and the Consolidated General elections in 2013 were all conducted on illegal voting systems in Illinois.
Our objection lists significant issues which prevent further use of any part of the Dominion/Sequioa WinEDS 4.0 voting system for use in any election in Illinois. Defend the Vote also asserts that the Illinois State Board of Elections has knowingly permitted uncertified voting systems to be used in multiple elections in Illinois by Chicago and Suburban Cook County election authorities.
Our findings include:
We recently reported on provisional voting in Illinois. "It's Kinda a Disaster Waiting to Happen" There was a very frank discussion about the consequences of the new law at the Chicago Board of Elections meeting on September 10, 2013. We have taken this 28 minute clip which contains the full discussion and placed it into a separate video. This is a very important bit of information and we highly recommends that you listen to this to truly understand how elections in Illinois are about to change…
Meanwhile, Defend the Vote has been investigating how to prevent this “nightmare” from happening in 2014. We are investigating legal solutions and will be informing the public about this in the near future.
Defend the Vote has been working on a vulnerability assessment for about a year now. This assessment includes all aspects of voting, and also includes a professional assessment by Argonne National Laboratory of the electronic voting machines. This assessment was delayed last year when Chicago and Cook County both denied the request.
This has not stopped Defend the Vote investigations, and recently Sharon Meroni met with Dominion/Sequoia to work out the assessment. Earlier, we reported on these meetings.
Defend the Vote has been seeking for the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners and the Illinois State Board of Elections to video record their Board meetings. Indeed we would like to see all meetings related to elections be broadcast, recorded, and posted on the Internet.
The back story to the posting of this video is that the Board decided to record this meeting and after doing so, we FOIA'd the meeting and the way they answered the FOIA was to post the meeting on you-tube. They also recorded the meeting last week, and we FOIA'd that meeting too, so I am sure it will be posted online.
When complimented for posting the meetings on their website, Chairman Neal replied by saying that the Board does listen to Defend the Vote's suggestions. We compliment the Board on being willing to be transparent to the public. Roy Lipscomb from the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project also complements the Commissioners on their decision! There are many voters who cannot make these meetings, but would love to see them from home.
Defend the Vote has been investigating the certification of Dominion/Sequoia election voting systems in Chicago and Suburban Cook County as part of an ongoing vulnerability assessment of elections in Illinois. Our research has been exhaustive including searching through public records, FOIA, letters with election authorities and vendors, and engaging in conversations with various people who have an expertise in this matter. We have also consulted with Dr. Roger Johnston from Argonne National Laboratory.
While the matter is not officially resolved, it is our conclusion that the Dominion/Sequoia election equipment in use in Illinois is no longer authorized for use. We also believe that as is, it cannot be re-authorized without special exception to Illinois election laws and Administrative Code that administrates those laws. The system was never given final approval by an independent lab as required by Illinois code 10/ILCS/5/24C-16.
Editor's Note: HB2418 was passed by the Illinois General Assembly. The Illinois State Board of Elections then writes Administrative Rules to implement the legislation. These rules have been written and submitted to JCAR which is reviewing and preparing them for a public comment period. We will let you know when this happens. Illinois citizens can have an impact on these rules. The law went into effect in July 2013 after it was passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by Governor Quinn.
Illinois has long had a law that states in order for a provisional ballot[i] to be counted, the voter must cast their vote in the right voting precinct.
The General Assembly has fundamentally changed this law with HB 2418[ii]. Election officials described the impact of these changes during the Chicago Board of Elections meeting on September 10th as disastrous, ugly, and a nightmare.
The Chicago Board of Elections meeting held on Tuesday, September 10th was intense, to say the least. Chairman Langdon Neal maneuvered things so Defend the Vote's Sharon Meroni could not publicly respond to or question the Executive Vice President from Dominion Voting, Howard Cramer. Public comments are normally taken at the end of the meeting, after we have heard from the Commissioners and the Board's management team, but last Tuesday things were different; they opened the meeting with public comments and told us it was because Mr. Cramer had to leave early to catch a plane.
Unfortunately, catching a plane wasn't the real reason behind the change in policy. The Chicago Board of Elections didn't want Defend the Vote to speak publicly with Howard Cramer, and they were willing to change procedures to keep it from happening. After hearing from Sharon Meroni, the Board asked Howard Cramer to speak. When questioned by the Executive Director Lance Gough, Cramer denied that he had told Defend the Vote they could test any of their machines except for the DREs in Chicago and Suburban Cook County. When Meroni tried to address Cramer, Commissioner Langdon prevented her from speaking based on a 'rule' that he himself admitted he rarely (if ever) enforces.