[E-voting] Re: meeting with John Gormely

Paul Lehto lehtolawyer at gmail.com
Thu Oct 11 16:09:52 IST 2007

I would like to introduce myself since I just signed onto the list and
hopefully being fromthe USA it's not a list violation for me to be on this

I'm an election law attorney and national leader in the effort against
computerized secret vote counting in the USA.  I got active in 2004 after
observing a phantom vote being added to the totals from my polling place,
where I was an attorney observer.  That led to a co-authored scientific
study with Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman that contains smoking gun evidence of
electronic irregularities. See
www.votersunite.org/info/SnohomishElectionFraudInvestigation.pdf  One such
smoking gun (a rarity when the vote counting evidence is so secret) is that
the 19 machines specifically pulled out of service because they were
observed to malfunction by flipping votes and/or freezing up had (in a very
Democratic county and in the closest governor's race in US history) more
than 50% more votes for the Republican than for the Democratic candidate.
There are some other astonishing facts for the science-minded at least in
the study, though few take the time to read these kinds of things it is
worth the effort in many cases.

The study led to a lawsuit, where I specifically chose to attack the
legality of the contract to purchase the machines as being "ultra vires" or
beyond the power of the government to agree to, for twelve different
constitutional and public policy reasons.  See
www.votersunite.org/info/lehtolawsuit.asp    WIthin 9 months of the lawsuit
being filed, the county commission voted to get rid of the touch screen DREs
(Direct Recording Electronic) machines.  That was in January 2006.

My co-plaintiff was Jack Wells, who was descended from both a REvolutionary
War soldier as well as one of the original state senators of Washington
state.  I didn't know Jack, but he responded to the call, just as he did in
the Aleutian Islands in WWII.   Jack died on October 1, 2007 after a sudden
onset of lung cancer, he was a lifelong non-smoker.  ALso a lifelong hero,
being termed a "legendary" teacher for 26 years and continuing after
retirement in the lives of his students.

The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed as moot by the Court of appeals, on
account that we had won, basically, in that the machines were gone.  This
was incorrect in that we also asked for a $5 million refund, but that is the
end-game of the system, in this particular county.

This past weekend, we had a breakthrough with 226 organizations at the
Latino Congreso, the national public policy and politics board for the
Latino community.  They passed a very strong resolution that I wrote that
anchors our movement in inalienable rights.  I'm uncertain of the precise
translation of these concepts to Irish law since the primary US referent is
the Declaration of Independence, but since they emanate from John Locke the
english philosopher and others perhaps that makes them unpopular in Ireland.
:)    The resolution is found at but I've
http://latinocongreso.org/resolutions07approved.php?id=3D103 also included =
key excerpts below to show what we are demanding.

It seems to me that the one extraordinary, boundary and paradigm-shifting
fact about voting is that in any democracy or republic, voters are
exercising an act of sovereignty when voting, similar to an act of the "king
can do no wrong", because in all democracies and republics it's recognized
that all legitimate power comes only from the people.   As such, at the
unique time of voting we have a different "hat" on completely, not the hat
of the mere citizen, and it is not possible, even in theory, to hide the
vote counting from the sovereign rulers/masters of the society -- the
voters.  If someone wishes to deny this principle, they take themselves
outside of the realm of republics and democracies, and do so at their
political peril, so I think it's quite effective to frame things this way
and show that the position of safety is to affirm the power of the people
and the position of maximum danger is to deny it.  Because, if it is denied,
you can call our societies lots of things (*^&*&%$&*) but you just can't
call them republics, and you can't call them democracies.  the politicians
are invited to choose their poison, if poison a transparent voting system

I'll also forward a link to a brief op-ed column that i wrote, it's only 600
words but is the briefest summary I can think of as to where I'm at and to
some extent by extension where the US movement is at.

I am also co-founder of Psephos (the greek work for pebble, the original
ballot) in the San Diego area of California, but i do not live there, rather
in Michigan right now, close to the shore of the world's largest freshwater
lake, Lake Superior (though not in volume of water, only in surface area,
see Lake Baikal)  .  www.psephos-us.org

Having presumed to lecture by introduction just a bit, it is nevertheless my
keenest desire to find out more about Ireland's movement and situation, and
to see if we may be able to work together or at least trade notes and
experiences.   If anyone, for example, would like to be on my ONE WAY
listserv for my writings (replies are on other lists) I would be happy to
add your email address to my demandingdemocracy group at googlegroups.com

Thank you and I  hope to hear from some like minded folks in Ireland as to
what I might learn from your experiences, and perhaps vice versa

Paul Lehto
Attorney at Law

*1.    *THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that *the 206 organizations represented by
delegates of the 2007 National Latino Congreso support:  *

(a)voting systems where *every part of the system* including early voting,
absentee voting, election day voting, and post election day vote counting is
*observable by the public and creates evidence accessible to and
understandable by the public, and recognize this is necessary to preserve
unalienable rights of self-government, such as the right to alter the
government at will;* and

(b)condemn those so-called "public servants" who cooperate with corporations
to deny information on vote counts to the public, violating their loyalty to
the public, and preserving corporate rights instead of rights of people; and

(c)    *require *all voting systems to be *compatible with the rights of
self-government,* or else they are *unacceptable regardless of cost savings
or convenience;* and


completely open, honest, and public vote counts, with immediate access to
all information about counts; and

absolutely secure chains of custody from the time ballots are cast through
the time for recounts; and

guarantees of speedy, effective investigations and remedies for any reported
irregularities, just as our armed forces treat all potential threats
seriously; and

2.       FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED *these rights are mandatory and
non-negotiable,* and that it's the government's primary purpose to guarantee
these birthrights, but election secrecy render government accountability to
the people impossible; and

*3.      *FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the 206 organizations represented by
delegates of the 2007 National Latino Congreso *demand full recognition of
all voting rights of all people,* and voting systems that reflect the *best
checks and balances ever developed for elections: fully observable,
transparent elections.***
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