Post Number: 9883
Best of Black Box?
|Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2008 - 9:04 pm: |
The following locations are using software and, in some cases, hosting voter registration data and results on the servers that belong to a Florida company called SOE Software: (CA) Contra Costa, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara, Shasta, Ventura; (CO) Arapahoe; (FL) Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Pasco, Palm Beach, St. Lucie; (IL) DuPage, McHenry, Lake; (KS) Johnson; (NC) North Carolina Board of Elections; (NM) Dona Ana, (NY) New York State Board of Elections; (SC) South Carolina State Election Commission; (TX) Dallas, Tarrant, Williamson.
The Tampa, Florida firm produces the "Clarity" software suite used with Hart Intercivic and also announced an alliance with Diebold to integrate its software. Here is the company Web site:
By backtracking the Arapahoe County, Colorado Web site "arapahoevotes.com" you will eventually wind up at ClarityElections.com, a site owned by SOE Software:
According to domain and server ownership records from WhoIs, this site is NOT owned by Arapahoe County, but instead by Tampa's SOE Software. Further checking will show you that the Florida company hosts data from the voter registration database for Arapahoe County:
There are approximately 5,000 elections jurisdictions nationwide, and fewer than two percent of these are on the Black Box Voting "Watch List" for concerns with election integrity issues. Out of the 25 locations listed by SOE Software, however, 11 happen to be Watch List locations. DuPage, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, Arapahoe, Johnson...counties that seem to be in the center of early purchase for many new and controversial technologies.
WHAT'S A MIDDLEMAN AND WHY THE CONCERN?
A middleman entity is a person or system that sits in between the votes first counted and the results finally reported. For example, if you were to hand count votes at a polling place, then hand the results sheet to a courier, who then drives the results and ballots somewhere else and reports them, that courier is inserted between the original results and the reported results.
Middlemen are in a position to see the results before they are officially reported, and may be in a position to alter the results before they are reported.
Another example of a middleman is the Central Tabulator computer, which aggregates results. Whoever operates that computer is in a position for "first look" and alteration.
Another example is the company that provides the server which hosts the results when they are posted publicly. As results stream into the server, the owner of the server can get access to the results for first look or alteration.
PROTECT THE COUNT
If you are a credentialled observer or poll worker, please stay 30 minutes extra and video or photograph the results BEFORE they leave the polling place.
If you are not a credentialled observer, you can still capture evidence. Plan on spending 90 minutes on Election Night to visit polling places and video or photograph the results tapes, which should be posted on the door. These results should be publicly posted and you will not need to enter the polling place to capture evidence. Hardly anyone does this, but these results are important because they are printed BEFORE middlemen see them.
Here is a short 4-minute video that explains this:
We are working collaboratively with YouTube and the election protection action, Video the Vote, and collaborating with other groups as well to get the word out early next week. When you get video, upload to VideoTheVote.org on Election Night, and post a link in the appropriate state and location here. Volunteers can then compare these original results with those that show up after the middleman is involved.
Other middlemen have been identified in Ohio (from 2004, this has changed); and in 2008 in Illinois, Kentucky and Colorado.
Some locations will not post results at the polling place. Although all locations listed above vote at polling places, the following locations will not print results until they go through middlemen:
Los Angeles; San Diego; Santa Clara; Shasta County California; New York state; and Williamson County, Texas.
All other locations should have polling place results posted so you can capture video of, and protect, those results before they get to middlemen.
Here is an article I wrote for OpEd News about this:
Please note that I learned of a correction after the editing time had passed: The discovery and research behind the Smartech middleman in Ohio should be credited to researchers with ePluribusMedia.
DO MIDDLEMEN MEAN THE ELECTION WILL BE COMPROMISED?
No. They are in a position to cheat, and they are privatized so it is not possible to learn much about what they do. It is important to know who they are.
For example, the Smartech firm that served as a results middleman for Ohio is extremely partisan and a highly inappropriate choice. The LEDS LLC middleman is involved in an ethics scandal in Colorado right now. The GBS/Fidlar middleman in Illinois is also highly partisan.
I have not yet looked up more information on SOE Software, but have pulled its corporate documents from the State of Florida. It's officers include:
SCHNEIDER, MARK A
MARC, FRATELLO J
MICHAEL, HATCH L
Because it has access to sensitive information and acts as an election results middleman, it will be a good idea to learn more about this firm.
SOE Software, owns ClarityElections.com, which acts as an election results middleman: