Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meeting with Hillsborough Elections Officials

Rick Scott Watch just spoke with Dr Earl Lennard, Hillsborough County elections supervisor, along with Tim Bobanic and Craig Latimer; Craig is chief of staff for the elections office Tim is the Director of information technology for the office located on North Fakenburg Road.

We were asking about the 38,000 rescanned votes on the evening of the general election in which Rick Scott became our governor elect.

It must be said Lennard was more than happy to meet with me without hesitation, showed me right into the office. Within a few minutes and a couple of questions he ushered me straight back to the room where the rescanning occured. He assured me that during the rescanning event - although he insisted it occured during the primary vote which gave the nomination to Scott over McCollum - the canvassing board was there to supervise, as were representitives from Dominion, voting machine vendor to the county, and a member of David Drury's staff, representing the voter systems and certifications division of the Florida Department of state

Although he did say that the canvassing board was minus a county commission chairman, but that seat was filled by a judge. So by strict letter, it wasn't exactly THE canvassing board that oversaw the rescanning event.

Mr Lennard and his staff said that one of the two Dominion machines used as the central vote tabulators malfunctioned This machine was also being used to "burn" the memory cards, ie download the voting software onto those cards. However, it malfunctioned in burning some of those cards, he said.

So, the votes on those cards from early voting didn't take, register, count. They had to open up the ballots and hand feed them back into a couple voting machines at the elections office.

Mr Lennard said - again assuring me this was during the primary and not the general election, which is incorrect - the canvassing board witnessed the event, as well as the media who were able to stand on the opposite side of a wall of windows - think of those pediatric wards where new fathers can see their babies - and watched everything.

Mr Lennard also said the entire operation was completed well before midnight. Okay, here's the link

Obviously he has the election wrong and time wrong and he frankly made me feel like I was losing my mind, for a minute as he insisted this all happened during the primary not the election.

Intersting points: Mr: Bobanic said that while Hillsborough/Dominion/Preimeier still are using GEMS software which was hacked and shown to have the capability of voting backwards, the software was updated in 2009.

Again the interview with these gentlemen lasted more than thirty minutes. They said that not all the memory cards were affected by the malfuctioning machine, only some of them

The machine was sent to Dominion voting systems for tests but to-date there are no answers from them, they said as to why or how the machine "malfunctioned".

Interesting findings from this interview: there are no Florida statutes mandating a standardized method to" rescan voter ballots". Each county comes up with its own proceedure for doing so, sends it off to department of state for review and approval.

That is to say, the law hasn't caught up with the technology, or flaws in the systems of electronic voting. Which as we have stated makes this" Rescanning" a loophole which could be exploited to steal an election.

"If there is some other way to handle a situation like this that is better, I am all for hearing about it," said Lennard.

Mr Lennard said his office has confidence in the machines by Dominion, however no system is 100 percent fool proof. He used the example of the first day of school (in that he was a super for public schools for many years) No system is foolproof.

He and his staff said the ballots are always either in custody of elections officials or kept under lock and key and 24 hour video survellaince

Another interesting fact: The software for the machines is sent down to the counties from the department of state in a CD. The department of state handles it, sending it to the elections offices. Vendor, DOS, elections supervisor. Three people run the election. One CD file controls it in every county. When there is a screw up, the vendor seems to have as much input to the review of the situation as the elections supervisor, the department of state and the canvassing board if not more so. Conceivably an operative in the department of state working with someone inside the voting machine company could screw up an election without the election supervisor or his staff knowing about it.

These officials seemingly had no knowlegde of the 2000 election flaws in GEMs software which counted votes backwards in the Gore v Bush race.

Mr Bobanic gave a quizzical stare when asked point blank whether the GEMS software had been fixed "it can't count votes backwards, or apply a negative vote total anymore can it?"

He made no answer concerning the "Hursti Hack" which demostrated the flaw and is now common knowlege among IT/electronic voting experts.

Mr Lennard was also asked about his current status as an elections supervisor In 2009 Sec Browning said Mr Lennard would serve only until the 2010 election. I asked him why he is still in office now He said he ran for his office "unopposed" and was elected, but will only serve until 2012 and will not seek reelection.

Overall impressions were there is nothing presented to me to indicate something suspicious DIDN'T happen in the Hillsborough County elections office during election night Nov 2, 2010.

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