Washburn's World

My take on the world. My wife often refers to this as the WWW (Weird World of Washburn)

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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Diebold Direct Recorded Election Equiptment is out

The DRE election machines by Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia are not certifiable in Wisconsin. This is excellent news for Wisconsing election integrity.

Wisconsin chapter 5.91(18) requires a ballot record which allows for manual recounting. The board legal council, George Dunst, has issued a legal opinion which asserts it is the position of the Wisconsin State Election Board that the requirements of 5.91(18) can only be met by printed ballot and not by a receipt or a receipt under glass. It is the opinion that a ballot receipt fails both the audit requirement and the recount requirement of 5.19(18).

This is excellent news for Wisconsin in that our state will not need to deal with the new kinds of frauds presented and executed on DRE touch screens by Diebold, Sequoia and ES&S.


Blogger Random10 said...

John: There was just an amazing election in Venezuela and I would love to read your thoughts on the events. It appears to be a nation wide refusal to vote on electronic machines. I have a couple links in my post but you may want to check out this story yourself. R10

Mon Aug 08, 10:23:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous steveegg said...

Unless you linked to the wrong legal opinion, I don't see where a receipt/receipt under glass that's produced as each particular ballot is cast would necessarily fail the requirements of 5.91(18). It would merely have to record the votes on said ballot to comply with the audit/recount requirements.

Still, if they did reject the DREs, that would be good. The new frauds possible that you linked to are, quite frankly, frightening.

Mon Aug 08, 10:56:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Washburn,
The Ashland article ran and is available at http://www.ashlandwi.com/placed/index.php?sect_rank=1&story_id=206488

Andrew Broman ... Let me know if you have any thoughts. 715-682-2313

Thu Aug 11, 03:40:00 PM CDT  
Blogger John Washburn said...


You have put you finger on it. I disagree with the staff of the election board on this.

A reciept under glass might work IF the number of these receipts (the vendor will not calls this printouts ballots nor should you) MUST equal the number people allowed to touch the screens to cast a ballot and every voter verified the screen (now now not displayed) matches the printing on the paper. The vendors insist the bits in the machine are the ballot and that the pieces of paper are non-binding receipts. The staff on the Board insists these pieces of paper can serve as the official ballot of record in the event of a recount.

If the VENDOR will not call these scraps of paper ballots, then the Board should agree and find 5.91(18) is not met.

A second point is that there is NO way to confirm or deny the information on the printed reciepts has any connection to the tallies stored in the memory of the DRE. But, that goes to 5.91(11) not 5.91(18).

Fri Aug 12, 07:28:00 PM CDT  
Anonymous steveegg said...

The more I think about it, the better your idea of weighing paper ballots to count them sounds. Of course, that presupposes accurate scales (something I wouldn't trust places like Milwaukee, Racine and Madison to provide).

Thanks for explaining it a bit further. I wonder what the vendors would say if somehow one of their machines were to suffer a power spike and those "bit ballots" were wiped out.

Sun Aug 14, 04:41:00 PM CDT  
Blogger John Washburn said...

They claim the battery backup is good from 4 to 10 hours (depends on the system and the vendor). I worry more about "dirty" power messing the memory. No real outage, just weirdness. In California the Secretaries of State (2 now) have documented the Diebold DRE failure rate (screen freezes, skipped screens, etc.) at just under 20%. Hence, their de-certification.

To me the DRE's are like reciting your ballot to a guy behind an opaque curtain. How do I know what is actually being tallied behind the curtain? Even if he hands me a slip of paper (voter verified paper trail), where is the connection between his official tally (See: 7.51(2)(h)) and the paper receipt he handed to me?

The OZ directive of ignore the man behind the curtain is not good enough for me; especially on something as important as elections.

As for accuracy a Mettler-Toledo BBA442-35S can be loaded up with 35 Kg (70 pounds) of ballots and distinguish single ballots as light as 2.5 grams. A single ballot on card stock is easily 10-15 grams. This scale is $1900 installed with annual calibration. As for programming, adversarial parties are performing the tare out needed to tell the scale this weight is 200 ballots. I trust this more than a programmer from ES&S, Diebold, Sequoia or Saber to get a complicated electronic system correct. Rice Lake Weighing Systems has a scale of similar capacity and sensitivity for about $200 less. Both prices are without quantity discounts. For Milwaukee 312 scales at $1925 is a sale of $600k. This is less than the current annual costs for maintenance and programming.

Tue Aug 16, 08:49:00 AM CDT  
Anonymous steveegg said...

4 to 10 hours of battery backup is not exactly the 13 hours plus counting time required for Wisconsin's use. I'm less than a half-mile from my local polling place (in the same subdivision actually), and I've already seen my power remain off for 3 days after an icestorm.

That "dirty" power is exactly what I am worried about; surge protectors only go so far, and while uninterrputible power supplies go further, even they have limits.

I hear you on the Oz references, especially when the ballot itself remains behind the curtain. I'll comment on the weighing on the next post up.

Tue Aug 16, 12:27:00 PM CDT  

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