Voting Problems In Texas

Yesterday The Star-Telegram in Fort Worth reported the following:

A Fort Worth woman recently indicted on voter fraud charges paid others involved in the scheme with funds provided by a former Tarrant County Democratic Party leader, court documents filed this week say.

After learning about a state investigation, Leticia Sanchez — one of four women arrested and indicted on voter fraud charges — allegedly directed her daughter to send a text message to others in the scheme, urging them not to cooperate with investigators, state officials say.

The allegations are made in the state’s notice of intent to introduce evidence in Sanchez’s criminal case, where state officials say she was among those who collaborated to vote for certain down-ballot candidates with a number of north side residents’ mail-in ballots.

The notice, filed Tuesday, states that Sanchez engaged in organized criminal activity in collaboration with her three co-defendants; Stuart Clegg, a former executive director for the Tarrant County Democratic Party; and others.

The article reports that the voter fraud included illegally obtained mail-in ballots Forged signatures were also used on absentee ballots and mail in ballots.

The article continues:

Earlier this month, four women were arrested — Sanchez, her daughter, Leticia Sanchez Tepichin, and Rosa Solis and Laura Parra — after being indicted on more than two dozen felony counts of voter fraud.

Officials allege the women were paid to target older voters on the city’s north side “in a scheme to generate a large number of mail ballots and then harvest those ballots for specific candidates in 2016.”

The notice did not specify which candidates the suspects were allegedly paid to support, but it noted that Sanchez and others marked down-ballot candidates “without the voter’s knowledge or consent.”

AG officials have said these charges “are in connection with the 2016 Democratic primary, but the case has connections with the 2015 city council election.”

AG spokesman Jeff Hillery declined to comment when asked if any other charges would be filed.

This development comes as early voting for the Nov. 6 midterm election is underway. Voters may vote early through Nov. 2. Election Day is Nov. 6.

The article suggests that the arrest and indictment of Ms. Sanchez may be a political move because it occurred right before the election, but it seems to me that the time to find and deal with voter fraud issues is before the election. People need to know that there are consequences for committing voter fraud.

A report from The Star-Telegram today warns voters to check the voting machines carefully before recording their votes.

The article reports:

Texas voters: Take your time when casting ballots.

This advice comes as state election officials receive complaints across the state from early voters casting straight tickets on Hart eSlate machines who believe the machines changed their votes.

Two complaints, reported through a third party, have been made in Tarrant County, said Heider Garcia, elections administrator.

“We have … tested everything,” he said. “We don’t have any indication that there’s a technical issue.”

The Texas Secretary of State’s Office has issued a statement about the issue.

The article cites one example:

Evelyn Brown, a 63-year-old longtime Fort Worth voter, said she had a problem voting this week.

She had gone to the Southwest Community Center on Welch Avenue and had cast a straight party ticket.

When she reviewed the summary, she saw that her choice in the U.S. Senate race — which pits Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz against Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke — had flipped to the candidate in the other party.

She spent seven or eight minutes trying to move back to change the candidate in that race, but wasn’t successful.

“I’m accustomed to using the booth,” she said. “I used the keys that let you move forward and back. It didn’t move at all. It was stuck.”

So she called the election judge over who ended up calling the Tarrant County Elections Office.

In the end, the election judge had to at least temporarily put that machine out of service. He moved Brown to a different machine, where she said she was able to cast a vote for all the candidates of her choice.

Vote carefully, Your country depends on it.

Unfortunately Voter Fraud Is Real

These two videos are from YouTube.

This is a picture of a voting machine that wants to vote for you:

This is a short video commenting on the problems with the machines:

Our county uses paper ballots. I didn’t understand why until yesterday when I talked to a person who had the machine change his vote in the 2010 Primary Election. He had to touch the square five times before it registered on his candidate. The first four times, the machine switched his vote to the other candidate. There is a county is Texas that has switched to paper ballots for early voting because voters complained that the machine was changing their votes. This is totally unacceptable. We need an honest election.

Voters, Beware, Things May Not Be What They Seem

Fox News is reporting today about a very unsettling early voter mishap. Early voting has already begun in Illinois, and on Monday Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to cast his vote in the Schaumburg Public Library. When he attempted to vote for himself, the machine cast a vote for his opponent.

The article reports:

The conservative website Illinois Review reported that “While using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race. He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race.

Moynihan offered this gracious lesson to his followers on Twitter: “Be careful when you vote in Illinois. Make sure you take the time to check your votes before submitting.”

Cook County Board of Elections Deputy Communications Director Jim Scalzitti, told Illinois Watchdog, the machine was taken out of service and tested.

“This was a calibration error of the touch-screen on the machine,” Scalzitti said. “When Mr. Moynihan used the touch-screen, it improperly assigned his votes due to improper calibration.”

I hate to be cynical, but I really do wonder if that is the only machine in Illinois that has a calibration error. This makes me very concerned about voting in America. I am ready to go back to paper and pencil if that’s what it takes to have an honest election. The fact that this happened in Cook County makes me even more suspicious.

About Those Voting Machines

On October 24, I posted an article about voting machines in North Carolina that were malfunctioning (rightwinggranny.com). Well, it seems that North Carolina is not the only place where voting machines have a mind of their own.

The Marion Star is reporting today that a voting machine in Marion, Ohio, showed a vote for President Obama when the voter voted for Governor Romney.

The article reports:

Joan Stevens was one of several early voters at the polls on Monday. But when Stevens tried to cast her ballot for president, she noticed a problem.

Upon selecting “Mitt Romney” on the electronic touch screen, Barack Obama’s name lit up.

It took Stevens three tries before her selection was accurately recorded.

So if you are not paying attention, it would be very easy for your vote to be recorded incorrectly. Please vote carefully–regardless of how you vote.

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I Have No Other Source On This–I Am Posting It Because It Is Important If It Is True

A voting machine on display, Museum of the Cit...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday a United Kingdom website called The Register posted a story stating:

Computer scientists have demonstrated a hack that uses off-the-shelf hardware to tamper with electronic voting machines that millions of Americans will use to cast ballots in the 2012 presidential elections.

I checked a few of the sites I use for fact checking and couldn’t find anything on this story. It could be that the story is too new or it could be that the story is true. I am hoping that the story is not true, but I suspect it is.

The article further reports:

In a video demonstration, researchers from the Vulnerability Assessment Team at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois showed how the card could be used to briefly kill the power to the voting machine’s touch screen to temporarily black out what’s displayed so voters can’t see their choices being modified. Using optional hardware costing about $15, they showed how attackers can remotely tamper with machines from distances as far away as half a mile.

The article does point out that in order to make any large-scale changes to the machines results, you would have physical access to the machines and you would have to change a number of them. Theoretically, if the machines are properly watched, hacking would not be possible. The form of attack on the voting machines mentioned in the article involved modifying the inside of the machines to allow the results of the machine to be tampered with. The video at The Register website demonstrates how this is done.

The article reports that the particular machine described in this report is used in several states:

The AccuVote TS is used in several states, including Maryland and Georgia, although voting officials in some jurisdictions have phased out its use because the DRE, or Direct Recording Electronic, voting system typically offers no print out. That makes it particularly hard to audit results.

Honest elections are an important part of our government. This is a something that needs to be investigated.

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