Defend the Vote is enthused to introduce our legal counsel for the HAVA complaints that are currently pending before the Illinois State Board of Elections. Robert E. Lehrer is a distinguished civil rights attorney and specializes in mediation.
Mr. Lehrer's experience includes a long list of published opinions. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, a certified mediator and a member of the National Association of Attorney Mediators. Mr. Lehrer was retained last week and is preparing for the mediation process.
To recap - Defend the Vote - via a filing by Sharon Meroni - has filed two HAVA complaints with the Illinois State Board of Elections. These two complaints assert that 1) the Administrative Code for HAVA filings is against Federal Law, and 2) that the WinEds electronic voting system used in Chicago and Suburban Cook County - and 11 other states - is not error tested certified as required by Federal and State laws, rules, and agreements. This Dominion Voting owned system includes the Edge2Plus and 400c Ballot tabulator.
Defend the Vote's objective is to remove these defective machines from use in Chicago and Cook County and to assist other states in removing them, too. We also seek better controls and reporting of errors in the operations of all voting systems in Illinois.
These complaints are now in the process of mediation. Mediation is a legal process that permits the two parties to attempt to resolve the complaint outside of court. The process is voluntary, non-binding, and permitted under Illinois Administrative Rules. A successful mediation will result in both parties agreeing to the terms. If the mediation is unsuccessful, then the matter would go through administrative and court processes. Katheryn Dutenhaver, from Depaul University, is the certified Mediator.
Defend the Vote believes the process of HAVA complaints should be public. We will post information as we go through this process.
More to come... this week!
I am very excited to report that our fund-raising drive succeeded in bringing in funds to hire a legal team to represent the two HAVA complaints filed at the Illinois State Board of Elections!
We will continue our fund-raising activities, but for now we can proceed to hire our legal team. We will update you as soon as that is completed. We are working on it today and tomorrow!
As they say... More to Come!
James Leahy passed away suddenly on Sunday. This is a devastating loss to his family, especially to his wife Julie and their children.
Jim and I worked together on many Defend the Vote projects. He was a valued associate and friend. While he worked in many locations across Illinois, he had a particular passion for the minority wards in Chicago. He will be missed by so many!
Services will be held on Thursday at St. Patrick's in Lake Forest on Waukegan at 10 am.
Jim knew many people and this was such an unexpected passing, please help to get the word out.
Illinois Law requires all voting systems to be approved by an independent lab as having passed the error testing standards set by 2002 HAVA laws (Help America Vote Act). DTV research proved that in December 2013, the manufacturer of these machines, Dominion Voting, pulled them from the EAC’s (Election Assistance Commission) testing and approval processes after they failed the error testing rates in two separate independent lab testing programs. Dominion Voting decided not to undergo further testing and stopped manufacturing the machines.
Unfortunately, two jurisdictions in Illinois had already purchased the uncertified machines: Chicago and Suburban Cook County.
Consequently, we have filed a HAVA complaint against the State Board of Elections for allowing these machines to continue to be used in both Chicago and Suburban Cook County. Our objective is to have them replaced before the 2016 elections. In addition, these machines are used in the following other locations:
SB172 was passed by the Illinois General Assembly during the lame duck session.
This Omni-bill devastates the security of your vote and is awaiting Governor Quinn's signature.
It authorizes In-precinct Election Day voter registration and the voter is given a regular ballot and not a provisional ballot - Without ever confirming the registration.
I will be writing more about this during the first 10 days of January and will update the website then.
Illinois Election Security Report
Watchdog for election reform in Illinois.
Defend the Vote Projects: 2015
Illinois Election Security Report
2011-2014: Watchdog for election reform in Illinois.
Projects and Accomplishments: 2011-2014
You will notice throughout the month of January many changes to Defend the Vote's website as we work to make our web presence more user-friendly.
Check back to this link and we will keep it updated during January!
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.