[E-voting] Re: meeting with John Gormely

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Fri Oct 12 01:57:07 IST 2007

Well I don't do such a good job updating on the US situation because 
it's just such a big topic--always juicy (good and bad) and multi-faceted.

Mags (Margaret McGaley) was recently looking for current update on the 
CA situation.  Perhaps you could fill us all in?  Just today I got this 
from Debra Bowen's office:

     Attached please fine the Secretary of State's ES&S AutoMark Public 
Report and the ES&S Hearing Agenda regarding the sale of uncertified 
voting equipment in California.
I can't upload pdf files here but I have just sent them to Mags 

 If you care to offer a thumbnail-sketch about the USA situation that'd 
be "fun" (heh heh).  Seriously I think it would be interest to other 
ICTE members--but be clear because from a distance it's not always easy 
to catch innuendo, sarcasm etc.  ICTE also has good participation with 
some key individuals in Belgium, Netherlands, and other locations.

BBV is doing interesting regular posts on patterns of persistent 
corruption right across the USA and including both main parties.  No big 
surprises, but these are the same people who want us to trust them to 
run elections with black boxes to count the votes.  What with the 
ongoing tribunals here I don't see why it's any different--(from the 
standpoint of corruption, that is)--but election management is generally 
far superior as is our PR-STV voting system.

With our new Green Party Minister who happens to be in charge of things 
like elections--I can't tell whether he's saying he's theoretically in 
favour of electronic voting due to his coalition partners who were 
responsible for developing the system just because he needs to say this 
for political reasons, or whether he's really that naive--I would hope 
he's not that naive but you never know.  Lots of people (like the 
Democracy Commission report) espouse electronic voting in principle 
because of how supposedly it would be more inclusive--but generally 
folks with this point of view are completely uninformed of the 
implications (i.e. increase in potential attack vectors and little or no 
chance of detection). 

I hope ICTE puts together a delegation to meet with John Gormley.  In 
2004 it was hard selling Ciaran Cuffe (Green Party TD who was on the 
relevant committee on this issue at the time).  I think at least 
initially he thought it was a kind of irrational concern on the part of 
tinfoil hat fringe elements--just like the government tried to 
pretend.   I could never tell for sure how deeply he personally came to 
understand the issue, though the Green Party as a whole seemed to feel 
strongly about it.  I  guess in a nutshell at that time I felt the party 
membership was leading on this issue more than the party leaders.  Since 
I left the Green Party over 2 yrs ago I have no idea what the current 
state of play is.  There are undoubtedly many changes since when I was 
involved so my perspective is surely very out of date.


Paul Lehto wrote:
> Why THANK YOU Catherine, I recognize your name from BBV (unless you 
> are a different Catherine Ansbro) but I"m thikning not.  I didn't know 
> you were in Ireland, til now.  
> Is there a link or a present status of the Irish movement?  I was 
> hoping to find out.  Have there been Irish-american events or 
> collaborations (other than you as a personal Institution of the same) 
> in the past?  WOuld any make sense in the fiture?   Miht as well admit 
> we need a worldwide democracy movement, period.  Including elections, 
> of course.   And then some. 
> I simply must say that I found your choice of words in one respect 
> very richly multilayered.  For a US listener (I'm unsure of an Irish 
> listener or speaker) the phrase "Trojan work" (while is translatable 
> as "work like a dog") in the context of elections suggests I may be 
> hacking an election with a trojan horse, but also "trojan" is perhaps 
> the most popular brand of prophylactic in the USA.  Perhaps you are 
> wondering how precisely I am making my money these days? : )   Were I 
> to return the ambiguity on the same levels with respect to british (at 
> least) slang, I'd have to say that you, catherine, have quite a lot of 
> spunk, suggesting energy, attitude and vigor as to your work, but 
> turning a few faces red in islands close to europe (or I've been so 
> advised in the past).   Anyway, I take none of it personally, not even 
> the suggestion of hard work, but I do thank in a general sense for 
> obvious courtesy and humor in the presentation.  You may rest assured 
> that as a former lawyer, I tend to be slightly more aware than average 
> of stray inferences that may spark off of some words, as they may lead 
> a client into legal troubles, but i am by no means perfectly grasping 
> the language at all times, which of course no american is genetically 
> capable of, in any event.
> Regards,
> Paul
> PS  Since you are on the Eire list here, I am saved from any further 
> condescension to keep the Irish informed in any way of the doings on 
> the other side of the pond, as I'm sure you can and do keep them 
> suitably apprised.
> On 10/11/07, *Catherine Ansbro* <cansbro at eircom.net 
> <mailto:cansbro at eircom.net>> wrote:
>     Hi Paul,
>     You have a personal invitation to visit me anytime.  It'd be great
>     to meet up.  You've been doing Trojan work stateside.
>     Catherine Ansbro
>     Paul Lehto wrote:
>>     I apologize for omitting this link, and if there's any
>>     information about Ireland that would be interesting to know,
>>     please send it my way. 
>>     This is the link i referenced previously but forgot to include in
>>     the original email. 
>>     http://www.thecalifornian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070929/OPINION/709290323
>>     <http://www.thecalifornian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070929/OPINION/709290323> 
>>     Paul
>>     PS  I'd like to say, though it wouldn't really be true that
>>     my honest motive for this email was undisclosed previously, that
>>     I'm just looking for an excuse to visit Ireland again, having
>>     been there in 1992 during a summer trip to europe before entering
>>     law school. :)
>>     On 10/11/07, *Paul Lehto* <lehtolawyer at gmail.com
>>     <mailto:lehtolawyer at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>         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 list.
>>         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
>>         <http://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
>>         <http://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=103
>>          also included the 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 BE. 
>>         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
>>         <http://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
>>         <http://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
>>         Regards
>>         Paul Lehto
>>         Attorney at Law
>>         425-422-2114
>>         *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
>>         (d)Favors:  
>>         i.      completely open, honest, and public vote counts, with
>>         immediate access to all information about counts; and
>>         ii.      absolutely secure chains of custody from the time
>>         ballots are cast through the time for recounts; and
>>         iii.      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._/ *
>>     -- 
>>     Paul R Lehto, Juris Doctor
>>     lehtolawyer at gmail.com <mailto:lehtolawyer at gmail.com>
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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> -- 
> Paul R Lehto, Juris Doctor
> lehtolawyer at gmail.com <mailto:lehtolawyer at gmail.com>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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