Monday, February 05, 2007

Did Advanced Voting Solutions Pull a Fast One in Pa.?

Northampton, Lackawanna and Wayne Counties are the three Pennylvania counties using touchscreen voting machines supplied by Advanced Voting Solutions (AVS), a Texas vendor. Perhaps that relationship should be re-evaluated. BlackBox Voting charges that AVS shipped Pennsylvania different machines from those certified by the Department of State. What's worse, at least in my mind, is the allegation that elections officials knew, but did nothing.

1. Who is Advanced Voting Solutions?

AVS is a Frisco, Texas company established in 2001 by CEO Howard Van Pelt. Some in the industry laud its "great ideas." But GOTV is a bit more suspicious.

"Advanced Voting Solutions is the new name of another voting company, Shoup Voting Solutions. Their current top management, Howard Van Pelt and Larry Ensminger, were executives for Diebold-Global until last year. Officers of Shoup Voting Machine Co. were indicted for allegedly bribing politicians in Tampa, Florida in 1971, according to the San Francisco Business Times. Ransom Shoup was convicted in 1979 of conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to an FBI inquiry into a lever machine-counted election in Philadelphia. Shoup got a three-year suspended sentence. Meanwhile, Philadelphia has bought new voting machines from Danaher-Guardian, which appears to only sell voting machines formerly known as the 'Shouptronic.' "
When the "Velvet Revolution" demanded verifiable paper ballots as well as a paper trail, AVS top dog Van Pelt snorted, "What in the hell are these people talking about? ... They think we’re all crooks, and I resent that! ... The reason we got rid of paper ballots was to ensure the accuracy of elections."

2. Did AVS Pull a Fast One in Pa?

BlackBox Voting is one of many grassroots movements engaged in a noble effort - ensuring that our votes are counted honestly and accurately. Recently, a BBV member accused AVS of knowingly selling uncertified hardware and software to Pennsylvania. Here's an excerpt of the report, which contains links to statements from two former AVS employees.


Advanced Voting Solutions have recently in 2006 sold and delivered electronic voting equipment (DRE) and software to jurisdictions in PA.

The voting hardware that has been delivered in PA is not the voting hardware that was certified for these sales. (Please refer to the testimony of Ex AVS employee #2 as stated below)

An older version of hardware was certified at Wyle Labs in Huntsville, and then a new and completely different voting machine has been delivered to PA.

The only resemblance between the old hardware and the new hardware is the exterior case which is the same. What’s under the hood is completely different and was not certified. Different hardware components were used to build the new hardware.

This can easily be verified by comparing a voting unit as delivered to PA against the "Technical Documentation Pack" at Wyle Labs in Huntsville, which lists the "Bill Of Materials" used to build the hardware that was certified. (Wyle Labs contact details can be found towards the end of this document).

(The "Bill Of Materials" is basically a full list and description of every component used in the voting machine, mother board, processor, wireless card etc etc)

Advanced Voting Solutions hoped to certify the old hardware, deliver the new un-certified different voting machine hardware, and then attempt to certify the new hardware that they had delivered, at a later stage before anyone in PA noticed.

These un-certified voting machines were used to run the May 2006 Primaries in PA.

Advanced Voting Solutions has not only defrauded the state of PA and its tax paying voters, it also gained an unfair advantage on its primary competitor in the state, which is ES&S.

If Advanced Voting Solutions had acted within the rules and the law, then they would not have been able to gain certification of the new version of hardware that they were planning to sell to PA, in time to win the business from jurisdictions in PA. Therefore they put forward the old version of hardware which looks identical to the new version of hardware from the outside
.
AVS has been asked to send a rep to Northampton County's citizens' advisory committee on February 7. These serious accusations should not go unanswered.

3. Elections' officials circle the wagons.

After Sarah Cassi's report describing the wide discrepancy between unofficial (Dent loses by 127) and official (Dent wins by over 3,000) totals in last November's election, a BlackBox Voting activist had this reaction.


Perhaps PA might start to wake up a little ?

Just about everyone in the elections departments of the counties who have purchased from Advanced Voting Solutions were sent concrete information just prior to the Nov 06 election, about the lack of, or rather the fraudulent manner in which Advanced Voting Solutions sold them the un-tested, un-certified voting units, in place of a totally different voting unit that they had agreed to purchase.

Guess how many responses were received back ?

That's right.....ZERO !

As encountered over and over again, the election departments appear to do everything in their power to sweep everything under the carpet in an attempt to keep this type of information out of the voting public's view, and by doing this, they are protecting criminal behavior by election vendors in my opinion.

Problems with Advanced Voting Solutions Winvote voting unit in PA ???

Of course there is !......the voting unit you guys in PA bought is not tested, not certified, and is not the voting unit you agreed to buy. It just looks the same from the outside, but as shown on photos posted on BBV, whats under the hood is not what was tested, or what you thought you were buying !

So WHAT did you expect
??

Ironically, the biggest obstacles to meaningful elections have been elections officials and machine manufacturers, who want to be able to certify the tally that appears on the machine, even if it is inaccurate. Northampton County Elections Commission Chair Walt Garvin will tell us things like this. "The staff at the elections office and the chief registrar are all hard-working, caring and dedicated. They take their responsibilities very seriously and work tirelessly." Really? Then why such a high turn over, Walt?

Garvin disparages concerns like mine as "groundless accusations by a few county politicos." His reaction reflects the attitude of most elections officials, who have consistently opposed public input because it interferes with their control.

4. Grassroots reform efforts.

Grassroots efforts like the citizens advisory committee in Northampton County, are beginning to make a difference. One group of citizens has sued in Commonwealth Court. Congress is closer than ever to adopting a bill requiring a verified paper trail.It's about time.

27 comments:

Greendogdem said...

kinda disappointed I spent all that time putting those stats together

Greendogdem said...

http://greendogdem.blogspot.com/2006/11/
more-evidence-of-northampton-county.html

Greendogdem said...

http://greendogdem.blogspot.com/
2006/11/northampton-county-board-of
-election.html

Greendogdem said...

sorry your going to have to cut and past them doesn't let you post links in comments

Bernie O'Hare said...

Greendog, I'm sorry I did not make references to your previous blogs with all the statistics in this matter. My focus was on AVS.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Firts I'm just testing the water to see if I understand your new instructions for how to comment of your blog posings.

As you know from one of my previous commentes, I am boycotting Goggle and using it only when I have to until I can replace it with another search engine.

As I explained in my comment, I am boycotting Google because it is colluding with the People's Republic of China in censoring the Internet in that county of the no-longer sleeping giant.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Nilly, boycotting google has nothing to do w/ AVS now, does it?

Anonymous said...

Great,

Commenting and posting still works the same way.

Now that I know it does, I demand that Northampton County Executive John Stoffa veto immediately the ordinance county council adopted last Thursday night.

He knows that the ordinance was the product of partisan politics, an illegal closed meeting under the cloak of "executive session, a naked attempt to make an end-run around the Public Comment segment of the meeting, the springing on the unsuspecting solicitor substitute for County Council Solictor Judge Leonard Zito, and other eyebrow-arching irregularities.

And after he has vetoed this fraudulent "ordinance" that fails to recoup funding from Sheldon Adelson, Mike Perrucci, Barry Gosin, former New Jersey Governor Jim Florio, Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, and all the other Las Vegas, Nevada, gambing Mafioso, I as a candidate for Northampton County Council District 2, which includes the county' seat of Easton, I make this demand:

That he today run that bureaucratic pencil that he wielded for 30 years in two county governments - Northampton and Lehigh - across the bottom of those collective-bargaining contracts that he's been dragging his club feet on since he took office in January 2006.

And after he's done those things, I demand his immediate resignation for these three reasons"

1. His unabashed public support of Act 71, "legalized" gambling and its corollary, Act 72, with its so-called "back-end" voter referendum fraught with so many loopholes for circumvention as to make it worthless.

(to be continued; I hear the Raritan Valley trundling nearby, so I've got to the the garbage out, and in my houserobe yet - and it's damn cold out there.)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Billy, your comments are relevant, but they should go with Friday's post.

You demand a veto on an ordinance that passed 6-3? That's an exercise in futility now, isn't it? But don't let that stop you.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm back.

2. His despicable and unconscionable collusion with no fewer than three Northampton County Court of Common Pleas judges in the framing, abduction, and incarceration of octogenarian Plainfield Township citizen Anna Mae Kessler.

3. His purchase of "voting" machines whose innards lack the vital organ of a paper trail and mock the polling place - because the corruption-ridden government Inside the Belthway subsidized the purchase in the amount he justed to give Rendell, Callahan, Tad Decker, Mike Perrucci, and Magdalena "Maggie's Drawers" Szabo with her two hearing aids, neither of ehich functions when hearing what she doesn't like, and completely missing the targe with vote for BethWorks and diatribe on the evening of that vote against County Nicholas Von Zinzendorf.

As I said at my press conference in Downtown Easton's Centre Square last Friday, Ground Hog Day, Stoffa is a "phoney."

Palmer Township resident and candidate for Northampton County Executive in the May 17, 2005, primary, would have been a better improvement over Glenn Reibman.

Todaro has more perspecuity than Reibman or Stoffa, either one, and he is blind.

Anonymous said...

Bernie

Advanced Voting Solutions 100% pulled a fast one in PA !

What I find strange is that the counties who purchased from them obviously did ZERO due diligence on their WINvote voting machine prior to or after purchasing.

After all, its not hard to do a simple search to see if the product being purchased from the voting company has a NASED number for example ! (Which in this case it does NOT)

Did the counties in PA bother to do "an acceptance test" ?

Of course they didnt.....If they had bothered to acceptance test the voting machines when they took delivery, they would have had at least ONE voting unit inspected and request from Wyle Labs (who did the initial testing) that Wyle provide them a technical description of what was tested to be compared with what they had taken delivery of.

If this "had" been done, then they would have found that what was tested at ITA level by Wyle Labs, was completely and totally different to the voting units Advanced Voting Solutions had sold them to run their elections on from Feb 2006 !

In fact, they still could do this today.....all the counties in PA need to do is contact Wyle Labs in Huntsville and request the "Technical Documentation Pack" and "Bill Of Materials" documentation that they were provided by Advanced Voting Solutions end of Nov 2005 / end of Feb 2006 relating to the WINvote voting machine that was tested at ITA level by Wyle to enable PA to make the purchase from Advanced Voting Solutions.

If they do this "VERY SIMPLE" task, then it will prove 100% conclusively that AVS committed fraud and obtained money through deception.

I believe that in PA the election vendors products must also have a NASED number in order to be purchased.

The only NASED number that exists for the WINvote voting machine is actually under the company name of "SHOUP", and dates back to around 2001 / 2002, and relates to a completely different voting machine that is in Hinds County, Mississippi, and which bares totally NO resemblance to the current voting machine in PA !

Summary:

1.The Advanced Voting Solutions WINvote voting machine purchased by counties in PA has NO NASED certification.

2. The Advanced Voting Solutions WINvote voting machine purchased by counties in PA has NO ITA (Independent Testing Authority) certification, as Wyle Labs (The ITA) tested a totally different voting machine to the one delivered by Advanced Voting Solutions to PA.

3. Counties in PA that purchased the Advanced Voting Solutions WINvote voting machine at the beginning of 2006 have been running their elections using totally UN-TESTED and UN-CERTIFIED electronic voting machines.

Bernie, all of the above is 100% FACT, and is easily verifiable .

PA are not alone in this debacle. Every county in Virginia using the WINvote (of which at last count was about 34) are in the same position.

In Virginia Advanced Voting Solutions have fraudulently sold several different versions of voting machine in the same manner as to these counties in PA.

Worse still, Advanced Voting Solutions have several different versions of the actual voting software deployed in these counties in Virginia. All of those versions of software are also NOT CERTIFIED !

AVS have fooled these counties by applying the same software version number to each county (Version 1.5.4) even though each version is completely different to the next.

This Software "Version" number has remained the same for a number of years now, even though the software has undergone MAJOR and most SIGNIFICANT changes over the past few years !

After any small change to the voting software, it is required to be RE-SUBMITTED to ITA as an engineering change and be RE-CERTIFIED.

Hundreds and hundreds of these changes have been made to the software by Advanced Voting Solutions over the past few years, and not once did they re-submit the software for re-certification.

WHY ?????

Because it was'nt even certified to begin with, and if they had submitted anything to ITA for testing then they would have been found out instantly that NON of their voting machines or voting software was ever certified !

FRAUD & DECEPTION go together hand in hand where Advanced Voting Solutions are concerned !

Bernie, can you get all relevant information to the Advisory Board in time for the forthcoming meetings, so that PA can do their own investigation armed with the information of where to look for the TRUTH ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon, All of the allegations you make, have already been forwarded to the citizens' advisory committee that is reviewing the elections process in Northampton County.

I am very interested to know how AVS responds to these allegations. You are making serious charges. Now you say the elections office had all this information about these defects. Where's your proof? Did you send emails? letters? I'd like to know what that office knew, and when it knew it.

I believe you might be the BBV activist who posted these concerns originally. If so, you said: "Just about everyone in the elections departments of the counties who have purchased from Advanced Voting Solutions were sent concrete information just prior to the Nov 06 election, about the lack of, or rather the fraudulent manner in which Advanced Voting Solutions sold them the un-tested, un-certified voting units, in place of a totally different voting unit that they had agreed to purchase."

Where's your proof? Can you provide copies of letters or emails?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:28

Sir or Madam - please contact me immediately at 484-241-6932.

We need to have hard copies of the documentation you refer to (Wyle Labs report, NASED number, software versioning) prior to our February 7th meeting.

Russ Shade
rshade@fusemail.com

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon, I believe you're probably Bradley Spencer, who has been postin this info at BBV. I just got a message from a member of the citizens' advisory committee. He wants you to contact him directly. I don't want to plaster his phonme number on the Internet so contact me back channel at BOHare5948@aol.com, and I will put you two in touch.

This is serious stuff, and the citizens' committee wants the following:

1) We need to see copies of the pre-election letter.

2) WE need to have a copy of the material referred to as...

"Technical Documentation Pack" and "Bill Of Materials" documentation that they were provided by Advanced Voting Solutions end of Nov 2005 / end of Feb 2006 relating to the WINvote voting machine that was tested at ITA level by Wyle to enable PA to make the purchase from Advanced Voting Solutions.

3) Writen confirmation of the following:

I believe that in PA the election vendors products must also have a NASED number in order to be purchased.

The only NASED number that exists for the WINvote voting machine is actually under the company name of "SHOUP", and dates back to around 2001 / 2002, and relates to a completely different voting machine that is in Hinds County, Mississippi, and which bares totally NO resemblance to the current voting machine in PA !

Bernie O'Hare said...

Looks like Russ doesn't mind posting his number.

Anonymous said...

GDD - your stats were referred to at the Feb 1 meeting.

Chris Casey said...

Bernie and his Blog strike a blow for truth, justice, and the American way once again! Boolyah!

Anonymous said...

What exactly is "the American way" these days? Sure doesn't seem to include truth & justice.

Bernie O'Hare said...

These accusations are really serious. But I want to hear what AVS says.

Greendogdem said...

AVS will say one of 3 things.
1.First will deny it
2.Will try to use the claim of patient rights to block further investigation
3.If all else fails they'll finally admit they did it and bargain down a penalty, and pull out of pennsylvania

Anonymous said...

patient rights?

Even if you mean "patent rights" that's got nothing to do with the issue.

The machine they sold the county MUST be the same one that was certified by the state - patent or patient has nothing to do with that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Furry Freddie, You got it. This is serious stuff, and I'm hoping we can get answers.

Anonymous said...

Patents have been the justification for blocking the examination of the source codes over and over again. Part of the reason this type of stuff keeps happening is because of the level of secrecy these companies are aloud to operate with.

Anonymous said...

you all should buy a surplus lever machine , put it in your garage and vote from there

Anonymous said...

Bernie and Russ

Go to the BBV site and look at the thread entitled "PA Candidate won or lost ?"

Looks like your request for help has been answered !

All the documents you need are posted there and are down loadable.

VF

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that you quoted my site regarding some "Great Ideas" of AVS. My comments were written probably 3 years ago or more. What was novel about their approach was the ability to use wireless technology in an election warehouse to send ballots to the machines without having to open them all up and fire them up. That was new and pretty interesting at the time.

That by no means suggests that I endore everything that have done or haven't done since then. Yes, Van Pelt is an industry veteran and as a result comes with a fair amount of baggage; some good, and yes, some bad. But they were an innovative company when they started and I was only pointing that out.

Chris Wilson
editor, www.votingindustry.com

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris, Thanks for your feedback. It's funny. The best feature about AVS, i.e. the wireless technology, is the feature Pa. made AVS disable when it was initially certified.