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How to Join Dominion Class Action

"I don't like bullies"

Background of the Dominion Class Action Lawsuit

Voting Machine Owners are State Actors

How to become a state actor

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Is Dominion Voting Systems a State Actor?

CBC Sunday Report - Voting Machines

Brent Beleskey

Video Transcript

WENDY MESLEY: Hi, I’m Wendy Mesley. Who would have thought that the next US President would be determined by a vote recount in Florida. But what if there had been no paper ballots to recount? That’s what will happen with the no paper electronic voting technology coming our way. So can those voting machines really be trusted? Brent Beleskey is on a mission to save the country. He’s running for city council on a plank of bring back the paper ballots.

BRENT BELESKEY (City Council Candidate / Director International Voters Coalition):
With a private paper ballot you have that ballot you can count and watch it being counted.
You can’t watch cyberspace.

MESLEY: This is his cyber nightmare, the voting machine. Beleskey is no luddite, he works on a computer. He just doesn’t trust them with his vote. So three years ago, from this basement, Beleskey set up the one man International Voters Coalition. It was right after Beleskey’s first run at City Council when he realized that the city of Barrie, Ontario, Canada had replaced the ballot box.

BELESKEY: All of a sudden we’re faced with this computer. And you just say oh this is what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to test the screen and this and that and I’m going well, where’s my ballot. Oh, he says, we don’t need a ballot any more. I said how can you do recounts? How can you do checks?

MESLEY: In a traditional vote, there are the election officials who run the vote, and then there are the scrutineers. Someone from each party can watch as the voters are given their ballots. The scrutineers can also watch as each ballot is counted. They are the public’s eye and ears keeping everyone honest. Scrutineers also closely monitor recounts, like this one. But with a computer program rather than paper ballots, what’s to recount? Barrie was the first city in Canada to use computer touch screen technology in an election. And John Craig is the city clerk who bought the system.

JOHN CRAIG (Barrie City Clerk): Then you push “next”.

MESLEY: Here’s how it works: When you sign in at the polling station you are given a smart card that unlocks the touch screen computer and lets you cast your vote.

CRAIG: This is just a plastic version of the ballot and when you put it in the equipment here, it shows you the digital version on the screen.

MESLEY: Would my identity be on that card?

CRAIG: No.

MESLEY: Craig’s always liked using computers to count votes. Computer voting just seemed like the next logical step. Why did you go looking for that sort of thing in the first place?

CRAIG: Paper ballot system is very cumbersome. It takes a long time at the end of the evening. And with a computer election system, the tabulation is done at the end of the evening, done very quickly, and ah, so you can reduce the number of staff that you need.

MESLEY: So it was a money issue?

CRAIG: Uh, money uh, convenience, I think accuracy as well.

MESLEY: When the new computer revealed Beleskey had lost he refused to believe it, but didn’t ask for a recount because there were no real ballots. All the votes were digital.

BELESKEY: That’s why we have the private paper ballot, ballot box, hand count and scrutineers. And the public’s right to witness the process, the election process.

MESLEY: But this way you’re handed a smart card instead of a ballot.

BELESKEY: Yeah, but it’s not tangible. The people have the right to scrutinize the process. The process has to be perceived to be fair and honest.

MESLEY: South of the border in Plymouth Township, Michigan, it’s a state primary and people have come to vote for their local and house representatives.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (1): To vote, you touch the name. It’ll light up. If you make a mistake, and you touch the wrong name, touch it again, the light will go off.

MESLEY: This town has been voting on a touch screen system since 1996. Instead off ballot boxes, the votes at each station are stored on computer hard disks.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (2): The polls are now closed.

MESLEY: At the end of the day they are brought into town hall and the information is fed into a computer, printed and posted.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (2): Is this precincts or totals?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (3): This is totals.

MESLEY: So far, so good. But a few miles away, Jerry Vorva has chosen to vote at this polling station to avoid the touch screen computers at other polls. That’s because three years ago in another county vote on school funding that used touch screen voting, somehow 716 votes simply disappeared. Why couldn’t you just ask for a recount?

JERRY VORVA: Some people did ask for a recount, but what are you recounting? You’re recounting that 716 votes were lost, how do you find out how they voted? There’s no paper trail. That’s the bad thing about the touch screen voting, is one, you can’t check the intent of the voter. And additionally, I’m sorry to say this, I don’t wanna sound like a conspiratorialist, but how do I know it’s being recorded properly?

MESLEY: There’s mistakes in the old fashioned paper system, too.

VORVA: Yes, but that’s allowed for. You see, because you have the paper to look at it. Here I have an electronic signal that goes off into electronic signal never never land.

MESLEY: Vorva tried for two years in court to have the election thrown out but eventually gave up. Back at the mall in Barrie, Vorva’s paper ballot soul mate is still fighting, collecting names for his petition.

BELESKEY: I have a petition to restore the private paper ballot. It’s all cyberspace, it’s subject to being tampered with, it’s subject to crashing and eliminating – how many people have had their computer at home and all of a sudden it crashed and you’ve lost every data you’ve got?

MESLEY: Bob Urosevitch isn’t worried. For him it’s big business. He runs the company that sold the touch screen package to Barrie. He says people like Beleskey should get with the programme. That electronic voting is inevitable.

BOB UROSEVITCH (Global Electronics): Marketplace can be up into the 10 billion or so higher. There is approximately 400 million registered voters in North America, and if you start doing the math and everybody would interact with the process, that’s a lot of people.

MESLEY: Global Elections touch screen machines were used in seven states in last week’s American elections. And Urosevitch already sees the day when voting machines are as common as automatic banking machines. There still are people who are not entirely at ease with ATM’s. What do you say to people who think a paper vote is more secure?

UROSEVITCH: Well, obviously, you know, technology is not for everyone. But there’s always going to be those few people that aren’t going to embrace technology.

MESLEY: With paper, you can go back and actually see the individual votes and you can do an actual re-count and how do you know that there’s not been a mistake with e-voting?

UROSEVITCH: Post election, the system has the ability to print back the image, in paper ballot form so that you can hand audit it as if it was a paper ballot.

MESLEY: But it’s an image. So that means you have to trust the system?

UROSEVITCH: Yes. Just as you have to trust the people who are hand counting or processing your ballots as you’re voting today.

MESLEY: The Barrie clerk who bought Urosevitch’s system has full trust in technology too. What if there were a, a corrupt election official who could have access to the disc and, and, and mess with the software, mess with the program?

CRAIG: It doesn’t differ from a paper ballot or any other system. Part of the trust that people have to have is that the election officials are trustworthy. Because if we’re not trustworthy, then it doesn’t matter what kind of election equipment you’ll use, paper or electronics.

BELESKEY: Which cyberdisk are we going to choose? Who won the election? Which one do you want to pick?

MESLEY: You don’t trust governments?

BELESKEY: In God we trust, i don’t know about anything else.

MESLEY: But Beleskey’s own government thinks most Canadians are trusting technology more and more. In fact, in the next federal election, Ottawa plans to make electronic voting an option. But it won’t be touch screen technology. The government plans to start with the next level – voting on the internet. Internet voting is already pretty common in the private sector. Irene Katzela is voting from her living room in Toronto. She’s a member of an international engineers’ association that lets its 55,000 members choose a new executive by the internet.

IRENE KATZELA (International Engineers Association): For the President, uh, we have in a couple of options.

MESLEY: This internet site was created by election.com, the corporation that ran the biggest public internet election so far – the Democratic primary in Arizona last spring.

BILL TAYLOR: We believe that it’s very well received. People like it. It’s a good product.

MESLEY: Bill Taylor organized that Arizona election where if voters chose to vote via the internet, their personal data and how they voted were all recorded and sent to these servers owned by election.com. What guarantee is there, how can the public know that you won’t ever sell that information to someone?

TAYLOR: The way our technology is designed is that when someone votes, we split the vote from the voter so we do not know how someone actually voted.

MESLEY: And there’s no possible way of actually putting that back.

TAYLOR: There’s no way of putting that back, it’s encrypted immediately upon leaving that person’s computer so when they cast the vote, that’s split, we have no way of knowing the person and how they voted. We only know that the ballot has been consumed and a vote has been cast.

MESLEY: What do you think of the issue of the digital divide that the poor and minorities are much less likely to have access to internet?

TAYLOR: We hadn’t seen it to be an issue and we’ve spoken to the community
leaders.

MESLEY: Well that’s funny because nearly everybody, the people who don’t have an economic stake in this, who go and look at the issue do see it as an issue.

TAYLOR: We consulted with a number of minority groups who have helped us, ah, and spoken with us. We have not seen that to be an issue.

MESLEY: In Canada, sixty per cent of homes are not connected to the internet. But those computer voting firms are starting to connect with our politicians. At a recent NDP convention in Ontario, the election.com folks put on a presentation to pitch their wares.

PRESENTATION: Casting a paper ballot may soon be cast aside.

MARK STRAMA (VP Public Affairs, election.com): Internet voting can decrease costs while increasing participation.

MESLEY: And in Ottawa with all those referendums in mind, the Canadian Alliance has been lobbying John Pierre Kingsley. And Canada’s chief electoral officer is not immune to the pitch.

JOHN PIERRE KINGSLEY (Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer): As Canadians, younger Canadians, move into the stream of electors, to them it will be a very natural thing to express their choice about who should govern them. Who should hold power in Canada that way.

MESLEY: But there’s just one last problem.

KINGSLEY: We don’t know who’s at the other end, who’s voting.

MESLEY: So how can you fix that?

KINGSLEY: You would provide, for example, a shot of your iris and we would be able to, when you’re at the other end, there would be a camera picking up your iris, transmitting that information to our computer, checking it out.

MESLEY: So using biometrics?

KINGSLEY: Biometrics.

MESLEY: With a paper ballot now, there’s quite a ritual involved. You can get off early from work, you go home, you meet your kids, you give them a little speech about democracy. You all troop down to the polling station. Now, or in the future, with internet voting, it could be like a quick nip into the bank in between your other errands. Could something be lost?

KINGSLEY: Some of that would be lost, yes. But on the other hand, would participation rates increase? Would those votes be less valid because people didn’t go to the polls.

MESLEY: Back in Barrie, Brent Beleskey went to the advanced poll for the municipal election. But just to register, not to vote.

BELESKEY: I refuse to use this card and the computer system.

MESLEY: He’s boycotting those computers. Next, on undercurrents.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (1): The global village has become the scene of a hailstorm of bad campaigns.

TV AD: So tell us, what do you want the internet to be?

TV AD: We are ready. Are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (2): I can’t for the life of me figure out what they are selling.