Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It is wrong to assume

It has been said that to "assume" is to make an "ASS Out of You and ME." Fair enough. That being said, I believe it also fair to say that there are certain things in life that one is reasonably allowed to assume, like if it can go wrong, it eventually will—a saying attributed to a guy named Murphy; that absolute power corrupts absolutely, for example. There are other universal laws like what goes up must come down, like Bush's disasterous approval ratings; that waterboading is in fact, torture, no matter what one calls it; that if voting machines are tested for reliability in one state and fail miserably, that they would perform similarly in another state—like, say Ohio?—especially when HAVA funds to the tune 1.8 million dollars have been spent to prove otherwise regarding the exact same voting machines?

The People's elections are supposed to be transparent and accountable, therefore, is it unfair to assume that when the results of the Project Everest testing are published on the Secretary of State's website on December 14th, that the machines will have failed miserably like they did in California? Is this presumptuous of me? No, it could be assumed. Was it not our Founder Ben Franklin who said, "Insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results"? He was a wise man.

Therefore, to assume that the Project Everest will prove that the machines are OK is illogical. If these tests, the testers and the Voting Rights Institute observers, do in fact find the machines are OK, for the sake of the truth then, it is necessary that one talk about the actual tests that have been performed.

What everyone is talking about:

So far, no one is talking about the tests. In fact, folks involved in Project Everest are also not talking about the non-disclosure forms all Project Everest observers were required to sign which (legally?) keeps them from talking about what they observed until 2017. Wow. Mum's the word. That must have something to do with that "secret source code" that vendors say they can't talk about with the People. They are also not talking about Aaron Ockerman, a registered lobbyist with ES&S, being charged with choosing those who got to observe the Project Everest testing in the first place.

In October of 2007 before the Project Everest testing began, SoS Brunner spoke at a lobby day at the Vern Riffe Center at which time she requested those attending submit their questions to her on paper. Unfortunately my question was not chosen but we were all promised her office would commit to answering all questions submitted. Well, I have called Secretary Brunner's office to get an answer to the question I submitted that day, "Will Certified Ethical Hackers" be performing tests in Project Everest?" Sadly, no one from the Secretary of State's office has called me back, and now, the testing is over.

I ask the Voters of Ohio, is it fair to assume the testing has been rigorous? Fair? We will all know on December 14, 2007. If the machines are not found infallible then it is fair to question the tests and those who conducted those tests. I await the results of the Project Everest tests with eager anticipation.

Victoria Parks
Ohio Election Justice Campaign

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