Galvin Considering Diebold

John Bonifaz answers questions,
talks about computer voting in Ohio.
(link to this video)

(crossposted from

The Help America Vote Act was a mixed bag, but one clearly positive part of the bill was a requirement that states make voting more accessible to the disabled.  As the Boston Globe reported, however, Bill Galvin failed to meet the deadline to comply.  HAVA, passed in 2002, gave states until Jan. 1, 2006, “to provide disabled voters with the same accessibility and privacy in the voting booth that everyone else enjoys.”

State elections officials say specially designed voting machines for people with disabilities might not be available at every polling place in time for the Sept. 19 primary election, despite a federal requirement that the machines be in place this year.  Secretary of State William F. Galvin said he is near the end of a lengthy vetting process and could order the machines within days, depending upon an outside expert’s evaluation of three models

The Federal government has already sued a few states for failing to comply with this requirement.  John Bonifaz harshly criticized Galvin’s inaction:

“One of the most important aspects of the Help America Vote Act, passed in 2002, is the need for states across the country to have voting equipment that adequately and securely meets the needs of voters with disabilities. [...] despite HAVA’s passage four years ago, Secretary Galvin has no plan in place to meet this requirement and train all poll workers in time for September 19. [...] this process should have started years ago, after the bill’s 2002 passage. Massachusetts is again failing to meet basic federal requirements because of Secretary Galvin’s inaction. We’ve seen voting rights violations and Justice Department lawsuits in Boston and Springfield. Now, it is non-compliance with a critical voter accessibility law.”

What “three models” of voting machines is Galvin’s office considering?

According to Massachusetts election integrity groups, Galvin’s office sent out requests for proposals to voting machine companies only last fall, and narrowed the choices down to three for serious consideration.  For most of this year, anxious town clerks who have asked the elections division what machines they may need to by, have been told that these three options are still being evaluated.  They are: the AutoMARK, the Hart InterCivic eSlate, and the Diebold AccuVote TSX touchscreen voting machine!

John Bonifaz would not consider bringing proprietary Diebold touchscreen voting to Massachusetts.  In his Voters’ Bill of Rights he writes,

1. Count every vote

The right to vote includes the right to have our votes properly counted.

We must ensure that every citizen’s vote will be counted. This includes a guarantee of open and transparent elections with verified voting, paper trails, hand-recorded paper ballots, and access to the source codes for, and random audits of, electronic voting machines. It also includes a guarantee that we the people, through our government, will control our voting machines — not private companies.

  1. Hand-recorded paper ballots.
  2. Open access to the source code and data in the machines
  3. Full public ownership of voting machines.

Instead of considering whether it’s okay to give up paper ballots, let’s make sure we keep them, and demand #2 and #3 too.  Count every vote!

(I am John Bonifaz’s campaign blogger.  I’ve been increasingly distressed through much of this year that our elections division was still considering the Diebold touchscreen voting machine, and half-expected Galvin to issue some statement rejecting that option long before now.  But election day is here and he still hasn’t.)

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3 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Bleh....

    I'd love to recommend this post, but I can't.

    Good stuff as always, Cos.

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