Speaking with Brevard County SOE Lori Scott on July 10 was instructive.
She was at the Brevard County commissioner's meeting after I had given them the three minute speech; follow this LINK to read it.
Here are three things that struck me during our chat.
One, supervisors of elections are very scripted people. They stick to the script.
Two, you don't ever want to mention the presidential election of 2000 when Volusia County's precinct 216 voted backwards for Al Gore 16,022 times if you want an answer to "can this happen again", because they have no knowledge of this event. It never, ever, ever happened, to their knowledge, see? Nice little caveat makes it a soft-lie not a real one.
Three, it's the machines, or else. Or else democracy comes to a halt. The universe will implode! These voting machines must must must be used, no matter what. Even if they don't work. "Our hands are tied" The end. With the implied-stupidity meter on you ever rising if you continue to challenge this imperative with logic and reason, using example after example wherein the machines have blatantly failed.
As our chat kicked off I mentioned the 38,000 ballot rescanning in Tampa. And I don't know how public officials do this but, as with an alien abduction, I cannot clearly recall the transition whereby I found myself summarizing what precisely happened on Nov. 2. 2010 again to a glassy stare. I mean, I know all large county SOE's attended a secretized* meeting in Orlando two weeks ago where this event was discussed. I know this. And yet, here I am summarizing it again. This of course is what they do: they ask you to reinvent the wheel as they conceive of a duck-out. Hers was a "training" (Tee-hee. I love that. They always say that. A "training." So many people to train or be trained from.)
Anyway, that part of the conversation over, she did tell me that if something similar were to happen in Brevard, there is a very simple process that would have alleviated the need to shuffle ballots around in the middle of the night and rescan them in a central location. In Brevard County, there would be duplicate memory cards sent out for every one optical scan voting machine. And to prevent a situation whereby one machine could give bad code to 12 cards collecting 50 percent of the early vote in the last three days before the election, these duplicate cards would receive the vote counting software on - wait for it - different machines back at the central location. PIO Eddie Thompson also said they would be tested over the local area network BEFORE they went out.
Did you hear that? That's how easy it would have been for Hillsborough to avoid the glitch that tainted the actual late-tallied votes that installed Rick Scott as our governor. You simply rely on more than one machine to code the memory cards! If even this fails you send the cards out again to the sight unseal the ballots and rescan them there. Can you believe it? There was an answer all along.
You definitely don't go right for the broken machine, either. But even even even if the machines you use to code the cards screwed up? Why, you can just drive new machines or the memory cards out to the votes, avoiding the "need" to drive ballots around in the middle of the night, all Helter Skelter-like.
Imagine, as John Lennon said.
I was there with a fellow member of the Occupy Rigged Elections Facebook page and she asked what was being done about the situation in Hillsborough, and Ms. Scott said the state division of elections is handling it. And I don't know what that means.
Back to the machines themselves and whether or not they should be used.I mentioned the 2000 election and the Volusia Quantum Worm Hole event, you know, Gore -16,022.
"I'm not familiar with that."
Volusia County is the adjacent county to Brevard.
Fine. So, I just explained it again and thus began the tail spin of the conversation. Supervisors in Florida "have their hands tied" between two vendors and only two. Dominion and ES and S. Sequoia was decertified; "let him go from us, and begin the walk of shame" sort of thing where they State Division of Elections literally kicks the vendor out of the state.
She said it went like this. Dominion bought Premier and ES and S, but a court ruled that purchase was a monopoly, (only after much machine-ware and software changed hands) so ES and S was kicked out of that sale. So Dominion and ES and S are all that remain standing in Florida to count the vote. There is no other way, I tell you! That's it, do or die. Lump it or leave it. Bad or Worse. And as Kurt Browning once said to describe the evil of two lessers, "it is, what it is."
ES and S of course, screwed up the Sarasota election in 2006. Dominion, by the corporate blood trail, is connected to virtually every other botched election in this state since 2000. Remember Dominion bought Premier, which was renamed from Diebold, which had acquired GES, which botched the 2000 election.
She spoke about the "hanging chads" in Palm Beach county, (see? see? they're chads, they hang, remember? the funny bald man with the looking glass, and the dimples, see?), but seemed to glaze over eniterly when I discussed 16,000 votes going backwards for Gore in a precinct that has less than 600 voters.
"Our hands are tied," she surmised. There are two vendors. Even though they do not do a good job and continue making our state a laughing-stock when it comes to elections we must use them.
We discussed hand-counting as The Republic of Ireland is moving toward . She said "but, who would count the votes?" As if partisanship would intrude into the accuracy. I counter with an example. Suppose one company, say a Diebold-like analog, had a CEO partisan to a former business associate running for president. Not only does partisanship taint the result but in this case one person can destroy the opposition and install the president. (LINK)
She shifted to considerations of time. She said she has people calling her the minute they put their ballot through the machine, demanding a real-time update. Hand counting could take days and days! These people demanding immediate answers would be in fits.
"But these are minor considerations," said my friend. "We're talking about the vote, here. The idea is to get it right."
"But who would count them? Can we be sure they would do so fairly? Who would decide who counts the votes?" said Scott.
And the conversational death spiral grew ever tighter here. When you point out the absurdity of elections being literally placed in the hands of machine vendors (controlled by a handful of people who are ALL politically and corporately connected), supervisors pivot to discussion on the time it takes for a hand-count. When you say the idea is to get a correct vote count no matter how long it takes, they pivot to a discussion on potentially partisan hand-counters.
And you realize that you, a grown adult, are essentially playing a game of rock, paper, scissors with another grown adult making upwards of $90,000 a year...AND YOU'RE PAYING HER that money, for this game.
So the elections supervisor isn't a champion of fair, accurate, and non-partisan elections so much as a proponent and a catylist for swift ones, which are entirely corrupted, hacked and inaccurate. They are showmen. Ring leaders. They know this, you know this. The circus train is on the tracks anyway and the show must go on.
In Florida it is better to say that elections supervisors aren't so much trained on doing their jobs as inculcated; brought into a cult of tightly controlled elections supervisors who are all told by the Florida Division of Elections to swallow the lie that "this is the only way." A cult that was formerly run by Sec. of State Kurt Browning and is now run by Sec. of State Ken Detzner.
SOEs go to parties, trainings and secretized* meetings and week long gatherings, very much like the one St. Augustine where Phylis Busansky died. They are wined, dined, and chatted to about how to handle the public's whiny questions.
In Florida, we have this curious arrangement whereby the state's election supervisor, also known as the Secretary of State, isn't even voted into office, himself. He's appointed by the governor. And this is where it gets creepy, today.
Browning, it has surfaced in recent news articles, has ties to a Koch PAC that actually raised money to defeat Barack Obama in 2008 WHILE BROWNING WAS SECRETARY OF STATE? Yes.. (LINK HERE)
Detzner is completely dialed into the Bush machine as former interm secretary of state under Gov. Jeb Bush (LINK). And the Busch machine as well; as, we all know by now, Detzner was a beer lobbyist. (LINK).
What are the odds things change anytime soon without a major uprising of some sort? Practically nill. As I have said before, hundreds of times, things have to get a whole lot more uncomfortable for our public officials. The Secretary of State, the Division of Elections, are essentially a closed loop protecting a hacked vote in this state. A closed loop with close associations with the Bush machine, and the Koch machine.
Do you think for one moment, the 2012 presidential election won't be a hack job? Does this mean we don't vote? No. We vote. But we must participate in the exit polling and we must watch for anything suspicious. We must also note our surroundings at the polls. How many people on line are there with you? How many machines seem available? How is overflow handled? Are people made to stand in the rain? What is the average wait time?
Get answers to these questions.
*Secretizing (n) the process whereby public officials don't legally prevent citizen oversight, but practically do so by pretending not to know something, e.g. such as, the location of a secretized meeting that members of the public, should, by rights, be permitted to attend. This is accomplished by instructing those answering telephones to "unknow" the time, date, location of a secretized meeting of large county elections supervisors, purely by way of example.