Saturday, August 11, 2007

Judge okays use of machines for straw poll

A federal judge shot down a request from a group of Iowans who distrust computerized voting machines and wanted ballots at today’s Republican straw poll to be stored in clear plastic containers then hand counted.

U.S. District Judge James Gritzner of Des Moines denied their request Friday for a temporary restraining order and an injunction against the straw poll’s use of the Diebold machines. The judge said there are no previous legal rulings that an unofficial straw poll offered by a private political entity is a public election that would be entitled to Constitutional protections.

The group of voting machine watchdogs oppose the Iowa Republican Party’s Presidential Straw Poll’s use of Diebold Election Systems machines. California elections officials decertified Diebold machines last week after a “top to bottom” security review found fundamental weaknesses. The California machines can still be used in that state, but new security measures are in place.

The machines at the straw poll are owned by Story County; 71 counties in Iowa use Diebold machines.

The watchdog group thinks the machines leave voting “ripe for fraud or machine failure – or even sabotage,” according to a complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

The plaintiffs included five Iowans: Jennifer Maki of Dubuque, Pam Wagner of Homestead, Troy Reha of Des Moines, Ginger Corbett of Maquoketa and Roger Leahy of Fairfield. Three other plaintiffs, James Condit Jr. of Ohio, founder of Citizens for a Fair Vote Count; Robert L. Schulz of New York, leader of an organization called We the People; and Walter Reddy of Connecticut purchased the $35 tickets to the event but are not qualified to vote in the straw poll.

The complaint was filed against Story County election commissioner Mary Mosiman, Iowa Republican Party Chairman Ray Hoffman, the state of Iowa, Story County, and State Auditor David Vaudt. Voting will take place on the Iowa State University campus and be overseen by Mosiman’s office, with assistance from the state auditor’s office.
Mosiman on Friday expressed confidence in Story County’s machines, saying testing shows they’re counting the votes correctly.

“This is a very secure process and we wouldn’t want a machine that wasn’t functioning properly,” she said. (emphasis mine)
--End Article--

Let's not forget that Mary Mosiman is on Romney's Leadership Team.

I wonder who she wants to win? According to this article on, it is interesting that she is one of several people who have full access to the machines.

"The Global Election Management System (GEMS) computer is used to prepare ballots and voting equipment programs, and to compile and report election results. The GEMS shall not be used for any other function. The GEMS computer is not and shall not be linked to the Story County network or to the Internet. Access to the GEMS computer is limited to the Story County Auditor, Assistant Auditor, Deputy Auditors, and designated election staff member(s)."

Well I think someone is going to be shamed today and it's going to be Ron Paul and his supporters. Action should have been taken earlier to correct this potential disaster.

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