EXCLUSIVE: McKinney Condemns E-Voting, Keeps Options Open
Photographs by Jonathan Springston, Staff Writer
(APN) DECATUR — US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is keeping her options open, and is reviewing public records concerning her 2006 Primary and Run-off Elections with Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting and others while deciding whether to legally challenge the election, The Atlanta Progressive News has learned in an exclusive interview with the Congresswoman.
Harris spoke with APN about their research shortly after the Run-off Election. They have made numerous public records requests. “We know what we’re looking for,” Harris said.
“Diebold Democracy” was the topic discussed, as US Rep. McKinney convened a comprehensive press conference today at the Omega Center. It was the third major press conference the Congresswoman has had on elections integrity. The Congresswoman told the present writer back in 2005, she resolved to hold the series of conferences after viewing a hack of Diebold machines in Leon County, Florida.
Nationally renowned advocate Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting joined local advocates including US Congressional Candidate Donzella James; McKinney Lead Poll Watcher Karon Edge-Fitzpatrick, VoterGA lawsuit plaintiff Garland Favorito; Nan Garrett of the Georgia Green Party; and others in describing electronic voting systems today as an urgent, tremendous threat to the legitimacy of “one person, one vote,” the fundamental principle of our Democracy.
“As Bev Harris mentioned at the press conference today, evidence on the 2006 election is being collected and will be posted on her website, www.blackboxvoting.org. As is the case with all investigations, no decisions will be made until all the facts are known,” US Rep. McKinney told Atlanta Progressive News in an exclusive interview by way of email.
“Without election integrity, we lose our right to vote and our right to representation. We have no choice but to demand that our country do better. The election protection issue is not obvious because the American people still don’t realize that their precious right to vote is endangered. If they did, there would be more outrage,” US Rep. McKinney told Atlanta Progressive News.
US Rep. McKinney did not disclose whether she may run again in 2008 for Congresswoman, or any other office, or whether she may create new advocacy venues for herself on a national platform. One source told Atlanta Progressive News the Congresswoman is receiving a lot of offers.
Several sources are telling Atlanta Progressive News the Congresswoman is being wooed by the Green Party of Georgia to possibly pursue various offices including President of the United States on the Green ticket.
“We received complaints all over Metro Atlanta of citizens who feel they were deprived their right to vote, either because their vote was not counted, or they were unable to vote,” US Rep. McKinney said during today’s press conference.
“The Diebold systems are seriously flawed… a position I have long held. There is no paper trail. No way to verify the data coming out of the machine is the same as what’s going in,” US Rep. McKinney said.
E-voting technologies “should be made public, because they are bought with public money. They use national security as an excuse,” US Rep. McKinney said.
“Diebold used uncertified software and untested hardware in Georgia’s 2002 Election,” US Rep. McKinney said, referring to the whistleblower allegations recently reported in Atlanta Progressive News and Rolling Stone Magazine.
“I co-sponsored emergency legislation requiring paper ballots for any person wishing one,” US Rep. McKinney said.
“We must not have another election where voters learn they can’t trust,” their Democracy, US Rep McKinney said.
“I call on [Georgia] Secretary of State Cathy Cox to give voters a choice to refuse to vote on the machines she purchased. I call on a 100% paper ballot standard. And I call on the country to get rid of Diebold and ES&S voting machines,” US Rep. McKinney said.
When asked by Atlanta Progressive News during the question and answer session of the press conference whether the Congresswoman thought it is misleading the corporate media use the word “results” to describe any elections where unverifiable E-voting machines are used, “That’s a cute question,” she replied.
“Citizens for Legitimate Government, whenever they discuss the President, put in brackets the [P], so it is the resident. So I’ve adopted that as my own standard,” the Congresswoman continued.
BEV HARRIS’S TESTIMONY
Congresswoman McKinney “stands alone in the US Congress. This is a subject that takes courage to look at because we’re told we’re the greatest Democracy,” Bev Harris said in the press conference.
Harris traveled from Washington State to attend the press conference today, after stopping in Ohio to attend the “We Count 2006″ national conference.
While it is important to look at voters’ testimony, public records requests are crucial in looking for election fraud, Harris said.
“The McKinney Campaign got a lot of evidence,” Harris said.
Much of this evidence has been discussed in previous exclusive articles by Atlanta Progressive News. Please see “APN’s Essential Elections Integrity in Georgia- Reading List 2006” at the bottom of this article.
“We need to remove the word glitch from the elections vocabulary,” Harris said.
“Dekalb County’s problems are going to be listed on Black Box Voting,” Harris said.
Recently, the problems with Diebold’s electronic poll books in Maryland grabbed headlines there. “That was happening all over Georgia,” Harris said.
Indeed, Georgia’s problems got reported in Maryland media, but were missing in action in Georgia media [APN not included]. Even the fact that the problems happened in Georgia had to be reported in Maryland media in order for the public to have any awareness.
The pollbooks interact with the state database, Harris said.
After selecting ballots, “an awful lot of people were not getting the right candidates on the touch screen,” Harris said.
Democrats got Republican ballots in many cases. “Most noticed; a few were disenfranschised,” Harris said. “But what happens if just a percent of people got the wrong ballot?”
“Congresswoman McKinney was getting reports of people voting for her, not even in her District,” Harris said.
“They [the State] say, it’s ridiculous. It doesn’t work that way. But it’s a secret how it does work,” Harris said.
Harris was shocked when she learned more about Georgia’s Elections Officials.
She asked them to explain what happens if a number on a seal sticker on the machine is different than it’s supposed to be, or if a seal is broken.
“They write it down,” Harris said of their reply. “It should be a problem if it has a broken seal. Dekalb says they run a new zero report. It happens all the time [seals breaking], in transportation,” Harris said.
“It means the press isn’t digging deep enough,” Harris said. “They get a press release from Diebold and Cathy Cox, and they never do a public records request.”
“Good luck in Georgia, gang!” Harris concluded.
ANOTHER VOTER’S STORY
One voter from Georgia’s 5th District told another story corroborating many more stories indicating systemic failure in the recent Elections.
“When I got ready to vote, I saw Cynthia [McKinney] and Hank Johnson’s name on the ballot. I voted for Cynthia McKinney, and [US Rep.] John Lewis also,” Alison Holmes Rucker said.
The problem is, Rep. McKinney was up for reelection in the 4th District. This voter says she voted in two Congressional District races out of her polling place in the 5th District.
She said she only got the Lieutenant Governor’s race on her ballot in the Runoff Election.
BLIND RADIO HOST STATES CONCERNS
Adam Shapiro, host of WRFG Thursday’s “Current Events” Show, which features the APN News Team, among other guests, each week, wanted to set the record straight.
“As I understand, Diebold is saying you cannot have a paper trail to have a secret ballot for the blind population. They’re bringing up a red herring,” Shapiro, who is blind, said in the press conference.
Shapiro stated his support for a paper trail and said he did not want the blind and visually impaired community seen as opposing a paper trail. Shapiro is also a plaintiff in the VoterGA lawsuit.
AN INEXPENSIVE PAPER TRAIL
As Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox cites the cost of millions of dollars to add printers to the current Diebold machines–saying the cost should be weighed against the benefit of “increased voter confidence”–one vendor says his company’s voting machines can give Georgia voters what they want for much less money.
Roger Perez, the Senior Chairman of the IBS Corporation, said his system was selected among 20 other vendors in Nigeria.
“In the US you have to spend thousands of dollars before you get certified. I went to Nigeria. There were twenty vendors who participated, including Diebold and ES&S. We got the contract,” Perez said.
The IBS system works on an image based system, Perez said.
“You got a paper ballot for every vote. If there are 20 million votes, I would be happy to print 20 million ballots,” Perez said.