26 July 2005

Black Box Voting Member Arrested

Viewing the Diebold Vote-Tallying Screen Prohibited

July 26, 2005

Jim March, a member of the Black Box Voting board of directors, was arrested Tuesday evening for trying to observe the Diebold central tabulator (vote tallying machine) as the votes were being counted in San Diego's mayoral election (July 26) .

According to Jim Hamilton, an elections integrity advocate from San Diego, he and March visited the office of the registrar of elections earlier in the day. During this visit, March made two requests, which were refused by Mikel Haas, the San Diego Registrar of elections.

1) March asked that the central tabulator, the computer that tallies up the votes from all the precincts, be positioned so that citizens could observe it. According to Hamilton, this would have required simply moving a table a few feet.

2) March also asked for a copy of the ".gbf" files -- the vote tally files collected during the course of tabulation – to be provided for examination after the election.

During the tallying of the election, the Diebold computer was positioned too far away for citizens to read the screen. Citizens could not watch error messages, or even perceive significant anomalies or malfunctions.

Unable to see the screen, March went into the office where the tabulator was housed. Two deputies followed him and escorted him out.

[...] March's actions are the culmination of two years of increasing frustration with the refusal of election officials to respond to security deficiencies in the voting machines. The software that tallies the votes in San Diego is made by Diebold Election Systems, a company that has already paid the state of California $2.8 million for making false claims, due to a lawsuit filed by March and Black Box Voting founder Bev Harris.

On July 4, a report was released by European computer security expert Harri Hursti, revealing that the Diebold voting system contains profound architectural flaws. "It is open for business," says Hursti, who demonstrated the flaws on Leon County, Florida Diebold machines. He penetrated the voting system in less than five minutes, manipulating vote reports in a way that was undetectable.


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