Friday, December 25, 2009

Public radio reports on Aspen election satire

Local Public Radio Station KAJX reports on the Better Bad News Video satire on the Aspen Elections.

Click on the link to see the 5 minute video made by artists in Berkeley who found humor in some of the bizarre events in Aspen's May election, and hear KAJX interview with George Coates, the creator of the video, and election integrity advocate Harvie Branscomb. Mayor Ireland, who found no humor in the piece, is also interviewed.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Please Help Protect Election Transparency and Integrity

A very important lawsuit will soon decide whether or not elected officials and bureaucrats can block the Public from accessing the Public Records needed to independently verify that votes in Public elections are correctly interpreted and counted. A hearing is set for late January 2010.

This is a Public Records lawsuit regarding election records that already exist. The government has denied Public Access to the computer files containing scanned ballot images from Aspen's May 2009 election. Scanned ballot image files have been released to the Public in other states, e.g. Minnesota and California.

This is a court battle between the government (which has a vested interest in hiding election data) and the Public (who has a vested interest in verifying that votes are correctly interpreted and counted). Read Bev Harris’s message, for details about this lawsuit.

If the Court mistakenly decides in favor of the government, there is little hope that future elections will allow the Public controls necessary to oversee Public elections.

An important message from Bev Harris, of Black Box Voting, includes an urgent fundraising request for this Aspen Open Records Litigation. Click to read this message.

Aspen officials are using the apparently bottomless pit of Public funds to block release of these Public Records. Their unnecessarily long and complex motions have forced the Aspen Project to spend $35,000.00 so far.

Please do two things: (1) donate what you can by check or online, and (2) invest some of your valuable time by soliciting funds from people and groups that are working on Voting Rights, including Transparency and Election Integrity. This case must be won.

Black Box Voting has established a tax-deductable (to the extent allowable by law) restricted fund for the Aspen Project. Checks should be made out to “Black Box Voting”, and indicate that the money is “for the Aspen Project” in the memo or comment.

Send your donation online at Donation to Black Box Voting. Make a note in the COMMENT section of the online form, “for the Aspen Project”.

Send your donation by mail. The Payee should be "Black Box Voting", and make a note in the MEMO section of the check, “for the Aspen Project”

Black Box Voting, Inc.
330 SW 43rd St Suite K
PMB 547
Renton, WA
Black Box Voting (.ORG) is a 501c(3) charitable organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. The Black Box Voting 501c(3) IRS authorization letter is online at:

Public Elections belong to the Public, not to the government. We must not tolerate any government that refuses to release Public Information to the Public.

Al Kolwicz
Colorado Voter Group
2867 Tincup Circle
Boulder CO, 80305

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Publish corruption testimony on EAC site.

March 26, 2009

Ms. Gineen Beach, Chairwoman
Election Assistance Commission
1225 New York Avenue NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005

Dear Chairwoman Beach:

The attached email was submitted as testimony for the March 17th public hearing on Voter Registration Databases. Will you please publish the email on the Meeting page on the Commission’s website? See:

There is some background here. I have requested, multiple times, to be included in the Commission’s announcements list, but have not received notices. When I discovered the March 17th meeting I immediately submitted the attached. It was sent at 4:58 PM MST, but failed to arrive by 5:00 PM EST. Consequently your staff has refused to include the letter in the record.

As you can see, the letter is brief, to the point, and contains disturbing facts that need to be addressed by the Commission.

I hope that the Commission will take this matter seriously, investigate the facts, and intercede in behalf of the people.


Al Kolwicz


From: Al Kolwicz []
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 4:58 PM
To: ''
Cc: Barbara Simons; Colorado Voter Group; Bernie Buescher - Colorado SOS
Subject: TESTIMONY for March 17th EAC meeting - Reviewing HAVA Mandated Guidance

Dear EAC Chair and Members:

Colorado’s voter registration database system and procedures are corrupt. Colorado uses SCORE II.

We have reported specific defects, with exact records illustrating the defects.

We have filed a HAVA Complaint, using the official procedures, with the Colorado Secretary of State and the Department of Justice. A portion of the complaint is posted on the Secretary of State’s website at:

Our request for a public hearing, provided for in the law, has been denied. DOJ/Voting Rights did not accept our plea for help.

Our evidence has been brushed off, and not given serious attention.

Without any question whatsoever, the SCORE system used in Colorado does not comply with HAVA. And, there is no way to hold those accountable to take responsibility and fix the problems.

What does the EAC think is supposed to happen?

Does EAC consider that it has a role in ensuring compliance with HAVA?

Will EAC help us?

Al Kolwicz
Colorado Voter Group

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Online voter registration is not ready.

It would be interesting to learn the factual basis for the Denver Post's support of online voter registration, see Online voter registration is a move to 21st century.
  1. Has the Post investigated the HAVA complaint charging five violations of HAVA by the SCORE voter registration system? It would be interesting to learn the findings.
  2. Has the Post learned of some new technology that enables election officials to know who is actually logged onto the computer that is using an identity to create or change a voter registration record? If not, what assurance is there that voter registration records are not being fabricated?
  3. Has the Post studied the effectiveness of the Arizona and Washington online voter registration systems? If so, how many ineligible, fabricated, inaccurate, and out of date voter registration records exist in these databases?
  4. Has the Post discussed the topic with Colorado's private sector technical experts? If so, it would be interesting to learn the technical arguments for and against online voter registration.

The HB 1160 scheme for online voter registration is predicated on hope rather than fact. There are no studies. There has been no public technical debate. Tough questions are simply ignored.

The purpose of voter registration is to create a secure and accurate record that can be used to (1) verify that a person is who they claim to be, and (2) verify that the person is eligible to vote in a particular election.

I have personal experience with the Secretary of State's self-supervision and I assure you that it is not working. The SOS is not motivated to disclose or even discover its problems. To explicitly exclude independent testing (and independent oversight) would be a disaster.

The enthusiasm for the so-called "digital signature" is misplaced. Just because somebody has possession of a set of credentials does not mean that the person using the credentials is the person to whom the credentials belong.

The enthusiasm for an "airtight system", ensured by state election officials, is also misplaced. the CIA, credit card companies, even the IRS have not successfully discovered such a system, What makes anybody think that Colorado can do so?

Let's stabilize Colorado's voter registration system and fix its known problems before adding disruptive and unscientifically proven online voter registration.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Statisticians and election systems

One of Colorado Voter Group's objectives is to achieve transparent verification of each election.

To my knowledge, there has been no peer reviewed specification of the election system components. Nor is there, to my knowledge, any study of the means by which each component/process can be verified.

None of the Colorado election systems I am familiar with are transparent. None of the Colorado election system components/processes that I am familiar with are verifiable.

All of the statistical work that I have reviewed to date has insufficient scope to be conclusive. For example, there has been no attempt to determine whether or not eligible electors have been disallowed from voting or ineligible electors allowed to vote. Counting the wrong votes correctly does not mean that an election is fair or accurate.

Without an agreed to specification of the entire election system it is far too early for a professional statistician to seriously undertake to test and make conclusions regarding the fairness and accuracy of an election.

Furthermore, the statistical work that I have reviewed to date seems to give insufficient consideration to the variation in populations being sampled, and treats unlike populations as though they were statistically identical. This would be like testing for the color of fruit by sampling only bananas in a carton of apples and bananas.

I ask that we not relinquish our quest for transparent verification. We must not accept simplistic statistical methodology that does not accomplish the goal.

To be clear, there is a place for statistical methods in election system verification, but the statistical methods used must be comprehensive and correct or they serve to further mask real problems. We must not delegate our voice on this vital matter.

Al Kolwicz
Colorado Voter Group