Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Broken Seals at the April 3rd Election Finally Gets Some Traction in the Anchorage Mainstream Media

Mel Green and Philip Munger - May 2010
Thanks mostly to Mel Green and Jeanne Devon, what should be a national story by now is finally getting some local coverage by some of Anchorage's mainstream media:  Several of the voting machines used in the April 3rd Anchorage municipal election appear to have been tampered with,  The tampering was known about by the deputy city clerk, Jacqueline Duke, who attempted to cover up what may be a serious crime.

It may not be a serious crime, but given how far off from pre-voting polling some of the results were - most notably Proposition 5 - possible criminal conduct should not be ruled out.  And given her instructions to voting day volunteers and workers, to ignore broken seals, Duke should immediately be put on leave until the conclusion of a thorough investigation.

The two most important stories on the voting machine tampering are:

Anchorage Election Commission special meeting of April 21: Holding Duke accountable on “ignore broken security seals” instruction by Mel Green at Bent Alaska


The Not-So-Public Election Meeting – (Updated Photo) by Jeanne Devon at The Mudflats

Green's story is the more recent of the two, and there is duplicative material in the two stories.   What is important about Mel's assiduous questioning and reporting on this, is that the possibility of rigged voting machines has now been taken up by KSKA, the Anchorage Daily News, and KTVA:

Election Commission Digs into Ballot Mess  - Dayta Eashton for KSKA

Election Fallout Continues by Kate McPherson for KTVA

An important quote from Casey Grove's April 22nd ADN story is this:

Deputy Clerk Duke asserts:
Any evidence of fraud could easily be rooted out with a recount, Duke said. She also said Isbell's retelling of her instruction about the broken voting machine seals was incomplete.

"What I said was, 'If you open up on election morning, and you see it's clearly broken from transport, don't worry, I have extras," Duke said.

The plastic is "flimsy," she said, and can break easily. That's not evidence of vote fraud, she said. [emphasis added]
But poll worker Wendy Isbell states:
Among those who did show up was Wendy Isbell, an election worker who also testified at Tuesday’s Assembly meeting. Isbell says she saw voting machines with broken seals, plastic pieces designed to prevent someone from tampering with a memory card that counts votes.
“I don’t see how they broke,” Isbell said. “They’re impossible to break. They were evenly cut.” [emphasis added]
When another worker asked about the broken seals, Isbell says Deputy Municipal Clerk Jacqueline Duke told the worker, “If they’re broken, don’t worry about it.”

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/04/21/2434618/voters-poll-workers-detail-spring.html#storylink=cpy
The claim by Isbell that the seals were "evenly cut" seems enough to warrant suspension of Duke, and possibly a call to the State Office of Special Prosecutions and the U.S. Justice Department, in order for some outside forensic experts to take over inspection of the voting machines.

More information on Mayor Sullivan's elimination of the Data Processing Review Board, as covered by Steve Aufrecht's interview of Lupe Marroquin on April 19th needs to come out:
Steve Aufrecht of the blog What Do I Know? posted a 20-minute video interview with former deputy municipal clerk Guadalupe Marroquin, who preceded Jacqueline Duke as the person who supervised Anchorage municipal elections; among the topics Marroquin discussed was the importance of the security seals and other measures intended to guarantee the security and integrity of the election. One of these measures, the Data Processing Review Board, was made up of several IT experts who designed their own tests to challenge the programming of the AccuVote memory cards. Once satisfied, they sealed the AccuVote memory cards into place to prevent tampering. But the Data Processing Review Board was eliminated two years ago.
 If there is no Data Processing Review Board, what does this statement by deputy Clerk Duke mean:
Duke, also at the meeting, said she saw no voting inaccuracies during testing of the machines.
"There are a lot of tests done prior to the election to prevent hacking, which is what these people are talking about," Duke said. [emphasis added]

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/04/21/2434618/voters-poll-workers-detail-spring.html#storylink=cpy
So, if there is no data processing review, who "tested" the machines?

Duke should be suspended.  With pay would be fine with me.

The state white collar crime unit should be approached by assembly chair Hall, for advice on what to do about looking directly at each machine for evidence of "evenly cut" security seals, and what it might mean if they were "evenly cut" by the same or similar devices. 

Then, if they were "evenly cut,"  Duke should be sworn in and questioned thoroughly in the presence of her attorney.

The only thing about the April 3 MOA election that is certifiable at this point is its sheer shadiness.


Mel said...

Thanks, Phil!

From what I got from Lupe Marroquin's interview by Steve Aufrecht, there were two boards. The AccuVote Testing Board, which still exists, basically just makes sure the machines turn on & work. The Data Processing Review Board was lots more intensive -- IT experts from around the Muni whose tests challenged the programming to make sure it was working it right -- & it was eliminated (according to Marroquin) by decision of the Municipal Clerk & Deputy Clerk two years ago. But it's worth asking who else might have had a hand in that decision.

Philip Munger said...

"But it's worth asking who else might have had a hand in that decision."

--- not just worth asking, but critically important.

Just off the phone with Kelly Walters. I told him that as soon as Duke made the statement that she had gone against written MOA policy regarding treatment of broken seals, the chair of the investigation, Ernie Hall, should have sought legal advice.

Duke should have been suspended with pay at that time, pending review of her misconduct and how that relates to her job description.

She should have been escorted from the hearing and advised to have no further contact with anyone having to do with the April 3rd election.

That Hall did not do that and seems to continue to involve Duke in processes having to do with the election investigation may be grounds for recall of the assemblyman.

Anonymous said...

The professionalism exhibited by the AEC is reflective of the Sullivan admin as a whole. I would not even trust the Parnel admin to sort this out. Perhaps it's time to call the UN. AKjah.

Anonymous said...

To put it all in context: Jeanne and I actually broke the memory card seals story HERE after Wendy Isbell told me about it. Brad Friedman of BradBlog followed up on that story and got the bombshell admissions from Duke.

Linda Kellen Biegel

Anonymous said...

To put it all in context: Jeanne and I actually broke the memory card seals story HERE after Wendy Isbell told me about it. Brad Friedman of BradBlog followed up on that story and got the bombshell admissions from Duke.

Linda Kellen Biegel

Mel said...

Yes, I agree -- the story was broken on The Mudflats by Linda & Jeanne, then Brad Friedman followed up.

My important thing was in getting the mainstream media to finally pay attention to what you'd reported. I spent all day Saturday at the Wilda Marson at it. In particular: Casey Grove from ADN arrived just a couple minutes before Wendy Isbell got up from talking with an election commissioner: I put him together with her, & later pointed out Duke to him. And he went on to write the first local mainstream media story about it.

(I also talked with Daysha Eaton of KSKA and reporters at KTVA and KTUU that day to try to get them to pay attention to the story.)

The other crucial thing I did was with Jeanne, when I bugged Ernie Hall & she video'd it.

Mel said...

("bugged" Ernie Hall as in "annoyed", not as in "wiretapped")

Mittman of ACLU sent a letter to the Assembly yesterday that included the broken security seals as an issue for investigation. Steve Heimel reported that fact on KSKA this morning, too.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear Steve Heimel picked up on the story. I had missed it. AKjah