Washburn's World

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

My Photo
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.
If this blog is something you wish to support, consider a donation.

Friday, May 26, 2006

In defense of my prior post

Does ES&S or does ES&S not create custom executable files which are unique to each and every election for its M100 optical scanner, its M650 optical scanner, and/or the personal election ballot(s) (PEB's) for its iVotronics?

If so, then ES&S has yet to run election software in any jusisdiction with software tested and qualified by an ITA test lab. This is because the software component executed by the ITA test lab was not the same executable run on machinery during any subsequent election.

Earlier today I posted a retraction for the prior post. I have decide to withdraw that retraction

Upon reviewing the evidence (the text the 3 emails among Craft, Freeman and McDannold), I have decided while it might be possible these three are talking in an moment of unguarded candor about only older ES&S product, I do not this the texts support this interpretation. I stand by my ealier words and my earlier interpretation these 3 were speaking of curren not past ES&S products.

Therefore, I submit my conclusions and the evidence I have for those conclusions to a candid world for judgement. I will take my lumps if deserved.

I do not believe in using the mutability of the intenet as an Orwellian memory hole. But since I withdraw my retraction I have removed my retraction from the prior post. If, you have notice the changing text under the URL, this is the reason.

I hope readers of this post, the prior post and the 3 emails referenced in the prior post can come to understand my confusion.

Steve V. Freeman mentions the specific scanner models (M110/315/550/150) but Paul craft does not correct him on the point the M550 is an old scanner an only M100 and M650 scanners are sold currently by ES&S. Also, Paul Craft states the executable is linked with the ballot information in a single, customized version of firmware without qualification as to which ES&S product he is refering to.

It was pointed out to me, that stating the M550 is not 2202 VVSG qualified is stating the obvious since every ES&S system with which uses an M550 is only qualified to the 1990 FEC standards.

Currently, ES&S admits they do ballot programming for every election and such programming must be done in the Omaha office. My error was in linking these 2 statemetns without enough evidence to support the link. Perhaps, as my astute critic pointed out, the emails refer to the "old" way ES&S did ballot programming and perhaps there is now some "new" way the ballots are programmed for the M650, M100 and PEB's.

For months prior to this, I have been trying to understand why the iVotronic PEB's are computational devices (complete with CPU, ROM and RAM) and what is the truth behind all of the problems in West Virginia and around the country with "chips" "programmed" incorrectly where replacement "chips" must be "re-programmed" in Nebraska before the ES&S equipment can be used in the the target election.

The e-mail comments between Craft, Freeman and McDannold seemed to be an A-HA moment. Where everything clicked into a single, coherent, cohesive, rational whole.

Unfortantely, the explaination that ES&S creates a custom version of programming for each and every election jurisdiction may be incorrect. I believe I am correct. Creating one-shot election programms for each election does fit the current facts known about ES&S machinery. But, I am forced to admit it is not the only explanation which fits the known facts of ES&S machinery. By Occam's razor is seems the most likely explanation.

More investigation is needed.

The question of how the "new" ballot programming for the M100 and M650 is different than the "old" ballot programming of the M550/M150/M315/M115 though needs an immediate answer. Because there is a stong possibility this system architectural feature of the older ES&S products was carried forward into the current ES&S products.

If you are confused then welcome to the world of election machinery where up is down and wrong is right and all done to no-bid contracts.

ES&S Products do not conform to the 2002 VVSG

There is an open item on this matter. See: Retraction Withdrawn
The open matter on this item has been closed. See: System Identification as required by 8.7.1 and B.3 is not possible

ES&S Equipment does not conform to the 2002 VVSG. This is the statement of Steven V. Freeman in an email to Bruce McDannold of the State of California on December 29, 2005 at 8:10 PM.

In a related email Paul Craft on December 30, 2005 at 5:38 am states the firmware on ES&S equipment are unique and created as a custom executable for each Election/Jurisdiction combination to which ES&S has sold equipment. Mr. Craft further states that because the system software is customized and intendended for single use in a single jurisdiction, it was not possible for him to determine with certainty if the system delivered to him for inspection was or was not the system tested by the ITA lab.

Who are Bruce McDannold, Paul Craft, Steven V. Freeman and why should you care?

Bruce McDannold is the Interim Director of the Office of Voting Systems Technology Assessment for the state of California.

Steven V Freeman is a member of the Voting Systems Board of the National Association of State Election Directors.

Paul Craft is also a member of the Voting Systems Board of the National Association of State Election Directors.

Together, Paul Craft, Steven V. Freeman along, and Brit Williams, are the 3 members of the Technical Sub-Committee of the NASED VSB. The technical sub-committee of the NASED VSB is responsible for reviewing ALL reports generated by the ITA test labs and for oversight concerning the work performed by the ITA labs. As a matter of fact Sandy Steinbach, states: “Brit Williams, Paul Craft and Steve Freeman are my heroes. These three men are the heart and soul of the voting system testing program and they do this work for free. None of them has a salaried position. They work as consultants and their time is valuable. Brit Williams, Paul Craft and Steve Freeman do the lion’s share of the work and make a big sacrifice to do it.” This is from page 3 of Ms. Steinbach’s statement of February 6, 2006.

So, it is no trivial matter when two thirds of the NASED VSB technical committee tells the official in charge of voting system certification for the State of California none of the systems from ES&S comply with the 2002 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines. Nor is it a trival matter when that official ignores that statement regarding ES&S because he is more worried about the perception his is "picking" on Diebold.

If this was not enough, the truly outrageous part of this situation is an election system can fail to comply with the 2002 VVSG and still be qualified by NASED. This means there is no connection between the issuance of a system number by NASED and compliance to the 2002 VVSG. This is waiver process is defined in Appendix B.5 of Volume II of the 2002. The implications of this waiver mechanism are eloquently explained by Howard Stanislevic in this review. Who grants such waivers for non-conforming systems? Paragraph e of the appendix holds the answer and yes you guessed it.

The answer is Paul Craft, Steven V. Freeman and Brit Williams.