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The Election Center: The Fox Guarding the Hen House PDF  | Print |  Email
By Joyce McCloy, Coordinator, N.C. Coalition for Verifiable Voting   
August 26, 2005
Editor's Note: The Election Center influences the actions and decisions of state election directors across the country.  In this article, originally published on VoteTrustUSA.org in June, 2005, Joyce McCloy takes a close look at the organization.  New photos supplied by John Gideon.

How long will "The Election Center" be allowed to act as an educator, trainer and advisor of election officials? How long will it continue to give bad advice to North Carolina election officials?
The Election Center viewed from the East
The Election Center from the East

According to its listing at www.guidestar.org The Election Center is a it is non-profit agency,a 501 C whose job is to " EDUCATE/TRAIN ELECTION OFFICIALS"

"The Election Center” has financial ties to the top 3 voting machine companies:

Doug Lewis admits that "The Election Center" received money from Diebold, and ES&S as well:

"Its executive director, R. Doug Lewis, confirmed this week that the center had taken donations from makers of electronic voting machines - Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. of Oakland, Calif., and Electronic Systems & Software Inc. of Omaha, Neb. In addition, donations came from "probably Diebold" Inc. of North Canton, Ohio, Lewis said. Article

The Election Center is headquartered in this strip mall.
The Election Center's international headquarters is behind this strip mall.

On the Voting Machine Makers' Tab - As doubts have grown about the reliability of electronic voting, some of its loudest defenders have been state and local election officials. Many of those same officials have financial ties to voting machine companies. While they may sincerely think that electronic voting machines are so trustworthy that there is no need for a paper record of votes, their views have to be regarded with suspicion until their conflicts are addressed. 

New York Times article


Election Center Tax Forms show - Donations from Sequoia, maker of voting machines:

Proof that "THE ELECTION CENTER" accepted $40,000 from voting machine vendor Sequoia Pacific.

SEE FOR YOURSELF:  If you go to www.guidestar.org  and look up The Election Center, then check their 990 filing for the year 2001.

Go to page 13 and you will see the contributions they have listed from Sequoia Pacific:


1997 $10,000

1998 $10,000

1999 $10,000

2000 $10,000


"Diebold Wines and Dines Officials", by David Corn, blog in The Nation, August 26, 2004; http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=1708


"The Election Center's" August 24, 2004 conference for election officials, agenda reads like an advertisement for Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia:
Dinner Cruise on the Potomac for election officials is sponsored by Sequoia Voting Machine Company -
The names Sequoia, Diebold, and ES&S are listed on the bulletin for the August event. This is a form of endorsement by association. Election center link  
 
The Election Center allowed the following 3 voting machine  vendors to play a large part in the ceremonies:
  • Diebold will be sponsoring the welcome reception.
  • Sequoia will co-sponsor a dinner cruise on the Potomac and “Monuments by Night Tour”.
  • ES&S is sponsoring the graduation luncheon and awards ceremony.

 

A picture-perfect facade


The lectures inc luded topics such as:
  • "Ethics"
  • “The Media: Fighting Back--Getting the Story Straight” and
  • “Voter Registration and Elections Litigation”
"The Election Center" says that paperless electronic voting is safe:

In May of 2003, R. Doug Lewis of the Election Center widely distributed a letter stating

that DREs cannot be tampered with. Doug Lewis's opinion carries a great deal of weight with election officials.

According to Dr. David L. Dill, of Stanford University, this letter by Lewis demonstrates profoundly disturbing complacency and a serious lack of understanding of computer security, and, indeed, computer technology, by the very organization that is supposed to ensure the integrity of the systems we are worried about. article

The Election Center opinion is refuted point-by-point by David Jefferson, a computer scientist who is also an expert in electronic voting (there is a .doc file and a html file).

This response is essential reading for anyone who needs to know about the security of DRE machines. Please distribute it your state and local election officials, especially if they've seen the Lewis letter

 

 Across the street from The Election Center


How "The Election Center" Influences North Carolina Election Officials:

  • Key North Carolina Election Officials are members of this organization. 
  • Many NC county election directors are members and/or receive training and "education" from "The Election Center.
Why are we concerned about the influence of the Election Center on our Election Officials?
  • The NC State Board of Elections makes critical decisions on election procedures and technology in our state.
  • This agency decides which machines can be certified for use in North Carolina.
  • North Carolina has not certified any touchscreen machines that produce a Voter Verified Paper Ballot 
  • NC placed a moratorium on state certification of new machines March 27th, 2004. New Bern Sun Journal article
  • "The five-member board voted unanimously to limit which voting machines can be purchased by the state's 100 counties..."
  • North Carolina has DREs (paperless electronic voting)  in 40 of 100 of its counties.
  • Only paperless DREs are certified in North Carolina at this time, although other options have Federal Certification
The Election Center, which claims to be non-partisan, accepts money from voting machine vendors and then turns around and recommends the technology sold by those same people?
Does this violate the intent of its statement of purpose?
What are the ethics?
 
Gary Bartlett, The Executive Director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections

sits on the Board of Directors of "The Election Center".

This can be verified at the Election Center's website 

Gary is also on this committee: Election Center National Task Force on Voting Accessibility: Election Center article  

NC B.O.E. website 


Gary Bartlett pushing the state towards paperless DREs:

"It seems like every jurisdiction that has purchased (DREs) loves them,"
Bartlett said. "The optical scan is old technology, and there are more issues
with it, like not following ballot instructions, residual votes and a host of
other issues.....


North Carolina will receive about $66 million once the funds are completely
distributed, Bartlett said. About $11 million is being held up while the
Elections Assistance Commission finalizes accessible voting equipment standards."

Jackson Daily News article


March 26, 2004 - The NC BOE won't certify new machines - new machines create voter verified paper ballot!  New Bern Sun Journal article    


March 26, 2004 AccuPoll Receives Federal Qualification For Electronic Voting System


Johnnie McLean,  Deputy Director for Administration of the N.C. BOE  is on the  "Election Center National Task Force on Election Reform". Election Center Link  

 
McLean claims that if DREs had paper ballot, would lead to vote selling:
"The possibility of vote buying is one of the reasons North Carolina elections officials balk at
requiring voting machines that have a verifiable paper trail."

"'Nobody wants to say that because that's not a popular thought now,'
said Johnnie McLean, deputy director for administration of the North Carolina Board of Elections,
while discussing the pros and cons of various voting machine systems available and in use in the state."

"But the elections board has thought of that.
There is a fear that if there is a verifiable paper trail, it would open the door to vote buying," she said. 
New Bern Sun Journal article
 
 
George Gilbert, Director of Guilford County Board of Elections, is on the "Election Center National Task Force on Election Reform".  Election Center link                 

Guilford County has approximately 1,100 ES&S Votronic DREs. Gilbert is totally opposed to a Voter Verified Paper Ballot. He is a member of  SAAFE, a coalition  "opposed to current bills that would require that all Direct Record Electronic voting systems produce a contemporaneous paper replica (“CPR”), euphemistically referred to as a 'voter verified paper record.'”  Article



Tammy Polk  Hinton, Mecklenburg County North Carolina Project Manager
BOE link  
Meckelburg County Election Director Bill Culp was convicted of Accepting Bribes
from Microvote Salesman Ed O'Day. For a full history of the bribery: Bill James Blog and Charlotte Observer article
Mecklenburg County spent over $5 Million on Microvote DREs. (defective ones at that).
 
Glenda M. Clendenin, CERA, Director Moore County Board of Elections is on the "Election Center National Task Force on Election Reform".  Election Center link     

Moore county has DREs: Danaher Electronic 1242(DRE). They also had a fairly un-eventful election this November 2004, unlike many other DRE counties.

Election Center Honors and Recognition Committee:

Kathie Chastain-Cooper, Forsyth County Director of Elections - has a link to Election Center on the Forsyth County BOE website. Kathie is pro-DRE, especially the paperless kind. Wants to "get rid of the paper". Forsyth County has $3.1 Million for purchase of new voting machines. Forsyth is a punch card county at this time.


Cherie Poucher, Wake County Board of Elections

Info:  Wake tested the infamous ES&S iVotronic, which hit the news when it dropped 436 votes in a 2002 election during early voting. Cherie sent the machines back to the vendor, Wake county is the

exception, they are sticking to their optical scanners. Ironically, North Carolina's state capitol is in Wake County. Cherie is the only NC Official on this list that is opposed to the DREs at this time.  Wired News article    Election Center honors list 

Like asking the Fox to guard the "hen house" -

It is important to know that the SOS of California is considering criminal charges against Diebold, and in Indiana, Election Officials have referred to ES&S representatives as "derelicts".

Some counties are refusing to pay ES&S for their machines as the company lied to them about their machines being properly certified. Flaws in software of the iVotronic have been identified by Florida authorities,  and most likely affect the same machine in other states.

The Election Center will continue to  influence election officials until it is charged with an ethics violation or otherwise discredited.**
 
The North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting is a grassroots organization fighting for clean and verified elections.
Contact Joyce McCloy, Coordinator, N.C. Coalition for Verifiable Voting - phone 336-794-1240 -
email: website: http://www.ncvoter.net
Join our group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ncverifiablevoting/
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