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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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Summary of May 16, 2007 WI SEB meeting

On May 16, 2007 I attended the meeting of the Wisconsin State Elections Board.

A quick summary of events (that I care about)

Voting Technologies International (VTI) will not be decertified for use in Wisconsin.
The reasons were four-fold
1) Pierce county has stated that if necessary they will take over support of the equipment.
2) VTI is in negotiations to be purchased. This mitigates the problems posed by the company's current financial difficulties and the concern to meet the terms of the VTI service contracts.
3) There were questions about the effectiveness of the NASED certification process
4) VTI equipment had the least number of incidents (1 complaint about the user interface) than all other vendors based on the post-election audit.

Because of these 4 factors the WI SEB exercised its authority under ElBD 7.03 to waive the requirement for a NASED system number. Thus, VTI is certified equipment.

Sequoia Participated in a conference call regarding my issues with WinEDS
The Wisconisn participants on the conference call were the WI SEB board and staff present, Kath Nicklaus, Waukesha County Clerk, and me.
I was asking the Board to add a paragraph to the security regulations ordering Microsoft Enterprise Manager be reemoved from the central election server. The central election server has the MS DBA suite of tools, the WinEDS application (creates ballot defintions and aggregates vote totals), and the MS SQL database used by the WinEDS application to store vote totals.

This proposed addition to the security provisions was refused.

The conference call was about 45 minutes long and very interesting. The reasons for not adopting my recomended changes were three fold.
1) This is a arrangement of tools has not yet resulted in an exploit in the field. [BTW, this is what the vendor, Diebold, told election officials in 2004 and 2005 about interpreted code, before the vulnerablity was demontrated under election conditions on December 13, 2005. Diebold claimed this was a theortical problem, but not not a practical problem. Sequoia is doing the same. I guess I will have to adopt the motto of the the L0pht and "make the theoretical practical".]
2) Kathy Nicklaus testified the 3 counties which use WinEDS use the application to only to program the memory cards used in the polling places of the county and not for aggregating and reporting vote toatls. Ms. Nicklaus stated that for vote aggregation the 3 counties with WinEDS use MS Excel spread sheets. I conceeded that not using WinEDS to agregate vote totals greatly mitigates the vulnerablility presented by changing the SQL of the stored procedures used by WinEDS. The remaining 3 counties in the state which use Sequoia equipment do not have winEDS. these 3 non-WinEDS counties have a third party, Command Central (no website/URL available), do all of the memory card programming.
3) Sequoia, the SEB staff, and Ms. Nicklaus all stated that following proper canvassing procedure would detect any of the manipulations of election totals I proposed as possible.

I am in the process of getting the audio recording of this SEB meeting.

Reminded the WI SEB there is still a Complaint before it
My March 2005 Complaint before the WI SEB is still held in abeyance until the Joint Task Force in Milwaukee completes its "investigation". Just as a reminder my complaint is how proper canvassing procedure was NOT followed in the City of Milwaukee, the Village of Menomonee Falls, and Village of Germantown. Good thing they don't use Sequoia equipment.

I guess asking the state Election Board to enforce or adminster election laws found outside of Chapter 11 (Campaign Finance) is too much to ask.


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