Congressman Kucinich is seeking to ensure that voting is a right secured for all Americans. During the 2004 elections, there were numerous problems in Ohio and across the nation. Long lines, voter intimidation, confusion over ballots, and malfunctioning machines should not be a part of a day at the voting booths. Congressman Kucinich strongly believes in the right of all citizens to vote and will continue to work to protect that right. Congressman Kucinich believes that the electoral system should be thoroughly reviewed, evaluated, and sufficient funds should be made available to cities to upgrade equipment and train workers. If you have not registered to vote and would like to do so, please visit the Services for You section of the website.
Protecting Americans in Foreclosure Act
Counting of 2004 Electoral Ballots
Electronic Voting Machines
Campaign Finance Reform
View press releases and related documents on voting
Protecting Americans in Foreclosure Act
The right of American citizens to vote is protected by the US Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Recognizing the danger posed by the current foreclosure crisis on someone’s ability to vote, Congressman Kucinich introduced H.R. 7040, the Protecting Americans in Foreclosure Act. This bill would amend HAVA so that states must ensure that no one is denied the right to vote in the 2008 general election because their residence is or has been involved in foreclosure proceedings.
Counting of 2004 Electoral Ballots
On January 6, 2005, Congressman Kucinich, along with a number of his Democratic colleagues, objected to the official counting of the electoral votes on the House floor. This objection led to debates, in both the House and Senate, on the irregularities and problems of the 2004 elections and the pressing need to reform the electoral system. Congressman Kucinich spoke during these debates, passionately advocating for election reform. Numerous problems were documented in the election in 2004 including the misallocation of voting machines, which created in some cases 10 hour waits for voters, and excessive restrictions on provisional ballots which served to disenfranchise voters. Congressman Kucinich continues to work with his colleagues to correct the problems of our electoral system.
Read the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on th esecurity of electronic voting machines
Privatized Voting, Private Interests
During the 2000 elections, there were numerous and serious problems at the voting booth in Florida and across the nation. Congress’ response was the passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2001. This legislation was designed to improve voting machines and voting processes. However, implementation of the Help America Vote Act, along with its funding and assistance to states, is far behind schedule. Additionally, recent analysis of voting machine software shows that these programs suffer serious internal flaws that threaten the security of votes case on such machines.
Under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the Election Assistance Commission is charged with establishing voluntary standards for voting machine software and creating an independent testing process for the software. However, this process is far behind schedule. Under HAVA, the Election Assistance Commission members should have been nominated by the President in February 2003. Unfortunately, these nominees have only recently been sent to the Senate for confirmation.
Without this federal review and testing of software, deeply flawed software has been marketed by companies and bought by states. An Analysis of an Electronic Voting System was recently authored by Tadayoshi Kohno, Adam Stubblefield, Aviel Rubin, and Dan Wallach. This voting software, produced by Diebold, has already been purchased by two states. According to this study, some of the most serious of numerous flaws permit a person to:
-vote multiple times,
-view ballots already cast on a machine,
-modify party affiliation on ballots,
-cause votes to be miscounted,
-create, delete and modify votes on voting machine, and
-tamper with audit logs and election results.
States Purchase Insecure Software
As a result of this study, Maryland put on hold its purchase of Diebold voting machines. Later, an independent review
confirmed the previous findings. It counted 328 security weaknesses, and concluded that: “The system, as implemented in policy, procedure and technology, is at high risk of compromise” (pg. 17).
Partisan Conflicts of Interest
The state of Ohio selected Diebold as one of four possible vendors for computerized voting machines. But in August 2003, the company’s partisan conflicts of interest prompted public suspicion that the voting machine manufacturer was partisan. In August 2003, after returning from President Bush’s Crawford, TX ranch, Diebold’s chief executive wrote a fundraising letter where he stated he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
Diebold Employee Manual Reveals Knowledge of Software Flaws
Not only have the above memos demonstrated company knowledge of software flaws, but Diebold specifically instructs employees to misrepresent such flaws when questioned, according to Diebold’s Election Support Guide, published on Oct. 21, 2002. This manual is provided to the individuals who work directly with voting machines and systems on Election Day. Diebold’s employee guidelines demonstrate why we need more transparency in the development and implementation of voting machines so that such failings are not tolerated.
According to the Election Support Guide, voting recounts may yield different ballot totals instead of improved accuracy:
“Ideally, a recount yields exactly the same results as the initial count. However, in the case of AccuVote-OS ballots, this is qualified by the following considerations. These considerations become increasingly relevant over larger quantities of ballots.
1. Poorly cut ballots may not necessarily give identical results upon repeat counts.
2. AccuVote-OS units with slightly skewed sensors may not necessarily give identical results uponrepeat counts.
3. Refeeding AccuVote-OS ballots may smear voting marks across the ballot, as well as leave traces of the AccuVote-OS roller on the ballot, which may not necessarily give identical results upon repeat counts.
Irrespectively, we must always promote the consistency and accuracy of our voting systems.” (page 34).
The Election Support Guide instructs employees to deceive Customs Agents about the fact they will be working on an election for Diebold when they cross into the U.S
“2.1. Border crossing: Indicate that you are attending an election when questioned by US customs. Provide a terse explanation of what your job is as well as the business the company you work for is in. Under no circumstances should you indicate that you intend on working in the US.”
Diebold employees are instructed to provide as little communication as possible.
“3.2. Communication: You will generally be considered to be a high-ranking election specialist and a paragon of knowledge and solutions, which may be disconcerting when things go wrong. Do not promote your ignorance - in case of doubt, call a designated contact who may be more knowledgeable than you.”
“Do not to offer damaging opinions of our systems, even when their failings become obvious.” (pg. 10)
Diebold’s ballot processing components are not completely accurate, but employees are instructed to say that they are, or blame ballot printing or workers for problem.
“Do not promote the fact that the AccuVote-OS is anything but absolutely accurate in this case - in case you encounter numerous undefined marks, indicate that ballot printing is at fault.” (pg. 13)
“The following two cases are the worst-case scenarios when using the AccuVote-OS. Be very diplomatic in both cases, offering the minimal amount of information necessary to officials:
•Counter did not increment when ballot was processed: Possibly workers were not observant when using the AccuVote-OS. Otherwise, indicate that you are not able to provide an appropriate explanation, but will contact your superiors in this matter.”
Unfortunately, instead of working to improve voting machine accuracy and security, this document shows that Diebold has attempted to cover up voting machine failings with secrecy and false statements. Congressman Kucinich demands that these flaws should never be tolerated.
Diebold Internal Memos Reveal Knowledge of Software Flaws
These findings of software flaws have been confirmed by internal memos from Diebold employees. Diebold has harassed internet service providers with legal action for posting links to these memos. Congressman Kucinich believes that these memos show why transparency and public oversight are essential in the development of voting machines.
From conversations between employees at Diebold, including upper management, it is evident that they knew of insecure programs and made insecure changes to programs. Among these activities, employees:
-Permitted easy access to vote audit logs. Without requiring so much as a password, anyone could access the tabulation of votes and change the contents. (Memo from Nel Finber to Ken Clark
, and Ken Clark response
-Sold uncertified software (GEMS 1.14) that was used in elections, while knowing that numerous problems existed with the software. (Memo from Ken Clark
-Changed voting software by sending uncertified patches and upgrades to customers, along with possible bugs (memo Ken Clark, re: GEMS versions, 6/5/2000
-Contracted to “provide products and services which do not exist and then attempting to build these items on an unreasonable timetable with no written plan, little to no time for testing, and minimal resources. It also seems to be an accepted practice to exaggerate our progress and functionality to our customers and ourselves then make excuses at delivery time when these products and services do not meet expectations.”
(according to an employee upon resignation)
Stopping False Copyright Claims
Diebold has been using coercive legal claims to intimidate internet service providers and even universities to shut down websites with links to its memos and remove the memo content. Under copyright laws, however, universities are exempt, and posting links to the memos is not considered a violation of the law. By abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Diebold has intimidated numerous internet service providers to comply with its requests. The damage is two-fold: 1) limiting the public’s information about the security of its voting machines, and 2) expanding corporate control over our most free medium of expression, the Internet.
Congressman Kucinich is working to address these problems by providing some of Diebold’s internal memos on this site to increase public access, drafting legislation to address software security problems, and working to investigate Diebold’s legal abuses.
Investigation of Diebold's Legal Threats
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, internet service providers can be asked to remove inappropriately posted copyrighted material. But Diebold, among others, has abused this provision in order to stifle free speech. For example, Diebold has sent cease-and-desist letters demanding removal of mere hyperlinks to its memos, but no court has ever ruled that hyperlinks to documents on other sites violate copyright law. Also, Diebold sent similar letters to Swarthmore College, among several other universities. Congressman Kucinich has asked
the House Judiciary Committee to investigate these abuses. Read
the press release from Congressman Kucinich.
to read a list of examples of DMCA abuses according to a report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.Campaign Finance Reform
Campaign finance reform is an important issue today because the current system encourages undue influence by powerful corporations and wealthy individuals. Congressman Kucinich is a strong supporter of campaign finance reform. The Congressman supports reform that is conducive to freedom of speech and provides a more level playing field among candidates.
Throughout the 106th and 107th Congresses, Congressman Kucinich has supported the Shays/Meehan Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. This bill, H.R. 2356, was passed into law.Electoral Reform
After the 2000 presidential election, it was absolutely clear that our system of elections needed to be reformed. Voters need to be guaranteed that they will be able to cast a ballot, regardless of race, disability or language, and that the ballot will be counted fairly. Congressman Kucinich was an original cosponsor of H.R. 1170, the Equal Protection of Voting Rights Act of 2001, introduced by Rep. John Conyers.