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c/o 3548 Beechwood Boulevard
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15217-2767
412-421-0178

 

November 2, 2006

 

 

 

Allegheny County Board of Elections
c/o Mr. Mark Wolosik, Division Manager
Elections Division, County of Allegheny
County Office Building, Room 604
542 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219

 

Re:  Organization Registered to Witness Machine Preparation

 

Dear Honorable Gentlemen of the Board of Elections:

 

VoteAllegheny wishes to thank the Division of Elections for notice dated September 26, 2006, and for subsequent permission to witness the preparation of machines as rescheduled thereafter, as such witnessing is outlined under 25 P.S. §  3031.10(d).

 

We are a bit puzzled as to what we have been witnessing, what we were not invited to witness, and what we chanced upon others planning to witness, and ask that you please elucidate.

 

When the original testing, scheduled for October 2nd (Yom Kippur), was rescheduled at the last minute, John O’Brien granted those who had indeed appeared to witness a brief overview of what would be happening.  The County employees at the warehouse were also subsequently most gracious in taking calls from the undersigned every few days in order to keep abreast of the rescheduling, and I in turn kept the three organizations involved up to date on the schedule. 

 

At the rescheduled logic and accuracy testing, the representatives were initially held up in traffic, and then subsequently denied entry to witness the testing.  We do not understand why this occurred, especially when we had received written notice inviting us to witness the testing:  and especially when I had received a phone call the day prior, Sunday, at 10:24 a.m., asking exactly who was going to attend.  Yet County Manager Jim Flynn and Elections Division Manager Mark Wolosik were present barring the way, and advising consultation with the County Law Department.

 

After several phone calls, the organizations’ representatives were admitted, and witnessed an auto­mated display which did not appear to be true testing of the machines.  They were informed that testing of the machines themselves had been performed previously, and therefore only the PEBs would be “tested” by inserting them into machines and having them run programs which indicated that the PEBs were “okay.”

 

We presume that in the future, the machines themselves will be tested and we shall be invited.

 

Further, it seems to us that there should be more testing occurring to verify that the machines will be accurately and adequately counting our votes in the November election. 

 

During the rescheduled Logic and Accuracy testing our representatives were given a presentation by Todd Mullen of ES&S – not by Mark Wolosik or any of his staff.  While we appreciate the information given to us by Mr. Mullen we would like some clarification from the County as the information concerns County procedures.  We therefore would like you to inform us what exact testing procedures are carried out by the county prior to and after each election. 

 

It is our understanding that the county carried out the following steps:

 

1)      As the iVotronics arrived they were started up by the elections division staff who verified that they were running the right firmware solely by examining the version numbers printed on the startup screen.

 

2)      Several weeks before Yom Kippur, county employees started up each iVotronic machine and “configured” it for the election.  This configuration was carried out according to a printed checklist drawn up by the County.  At this time most of the machines were then sealed for delivery by means of numbered zip-ties.

 

3)      Once the outcome of the Green Party judgment was known, the county began programming the PEBs.  This process consists of defining a new ballot image and compiling it onto the flash cards for storage on each machine.  At this time the PEBs were also programmed with their relevant ballot information and precinct numbers. 

 

4)      At some point prior to the rescheduled Logic and Accuracy testing, ES&S staffers recorded and tested the audio files that go with the ballots.  This test consisted of listening to all of the audio independent of any voting system.

 

5)      The county then engaged in the Logic and Accuracy testing during which a selection of iVotronic terminals were used to run automatic voting on the ballots themselves.  As part of these pro­cedures each machine cast a set number of votes for each candidate.  Those votes were then totaled up using the Unity installation to flag any errors.  Errors were identified by any deviations from the expected number of total votes. 

 

6)      Lastly the county engaged in a test of the Unity system on October 31st. 

 

We have the following questions:

 

1.      Is the above a complete summary of the total testing of the County’s voting system?  Please advise in detail.

 

2.      What steps will be taken after the election and before the next election to verify the machines and/or to identify any glitches?

 

3.      Were any errors uncovered during the testing?  If so, what were they and how have they been remediated?

 

4.      What legal definition is the county using for “Logic and Accuracy testing”? 

 

5.      When does official machine and system preparation begin, when does it end, and will VoteAllegheny be informed as to all dates of such in the future?

 

 

Some issue was made as to which Pennsylvania statute obtains in permitting access for organizations to witness the preparation of the machines.  Both 25 P.S. §  3011 and  §  3031 afford organizations such as VoteAllegheny access to witness the machine preparation.  We do not understand which statute would preclude any part of which other one, but in any event it seems that under Pennsylvania law, both the Democratic and the Republican parties in addition to groups such as ours would be given due notice and be granted access to witness the testing.

 

Section 3011(e) indicates, in pertinent part:

 

No member of the county election board, nor custodian, nor other employe of the county election board, shall, in any way, prevent free access to and exam­ination of all voting machines . . . .

 

Section 3013.10(d) states:

 

On or before the fortieth day preceding any election, the county board of elec­tions shall mail to the chairman of the county committee of each political party which shall be entitled under existing laws to participate in primary elections within the county, and to the chairman or presiding officer of any organization of citizens within the county which has as its purpose or among its purposes the investigation or prosecution of election frauds and which has registered its name and address and the names of its principal officers with the county board of elections at least fifty days before the election, a written notice stating the times when and the place or places where preparation of the system and its components for use in the several election districts in the county or municipality will be started.  One representative of each such political party, certified by the respective chairman of the county committee of such party, and one repre­sen­tative of each such organization of citizens, certified by the respective chairman or presiding officer of such organization shall be entitled to be present during the preparation of the voting system and its components and to see that they are properly prepared and are in proper condition and order for use.  Such representatives shall not interfere with the preparation of the system and its components, and the county board may make reasonable rules and regulations governing the conduct of such representatives.

 

On October 31st, there was further testing of the machines performed.  We discovered this was occurring through chance information from certain visitors from Europe who were invited to witness the testing.  We had not been given notice nor had we been invited.  We did, however, send a duly appointed representative. 

 

Our representative was informed by Mark Wolosik that the testing had been announced in “public journals,” and he felt that such had been sufficient notice.  If this was, in fact, a continuation of the ongoing testing from the weeks prior, then why were the Europeans invited at that juncture?  And if it was not a continuation, then why would notice be placed in a “public journal,” whichever one had carried it, and not delivered to the interested groups?

 

VoteAllegheny has among its purposes detecting, investigating, and preventing election fraud, and prosecuting it where necessary.  We also have among our purposes helping to defend the County in terms of any potential misconduct by the opposite signatory to the contract for voting machines.  Thus, we intend to keep a close watch on the elections – not because we feel that the County is going to do anything wrong, but because we feel that we may help the County not be slipped a fast one – by ES&S, by rogue system breachers, by happenstance, or by inherently poor system design.

 

Please notify us by mail as to the above information, and where we are misunderstanding the testing of the machines, and where we are misconceived.  And please keep us informed in writing, as we have requested previously, in ample advance and as early as possible, of the date, time, and place of the machine and system preparation and logic and accuracy testing, and of any other attending details.

 

Thank you very much.

 

                                                                                    Sincerely yours,

 

 

 

                                                                                    Audrey N. Glickman
                                                                                    Secretary/Treasurer