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Oprah's Vote Lost & How You Can Fight to Assure It Doesn't Happen to You!

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Last night, HuffPo posted a video showing Oprah Winfrey reacting to the fact that the touch-screen voting machine she voted on failed to properly register her vote on the screen.

"When I voted yesterday electronically, the first vote that you vote for on the ballot is the presidential candidate. It was my first time doing electronic, so I didn't mark the X strong enough, or I held down too long. Because then when I went back to check it, it had not recorded my presidential vote," Oprah explained, before re-enacting her meltdown and shouting: "It didn't record my presidential vote!"

That same incident has now happened to countless voters around the U.S. this year, in 2006, in 2004 and years prior. But now that it's happened to Oprah, perhaps we may finallybe able to get rid of these damned things. But not as long as even Oprah doesn't seem to understand what happened to her and her vote.

Here's the video again, and below it, the information that she and the rest of America need to have to understand that her vote, even if she managed to select the candidate she preferred, is 100% unverifiable in every way, shape and form....

I don't know where Oprah votes precisely, but if in Chicago, her vote was probably lost on one of Sequoia Voting System's touch-screens. If out in the burbs, it was likely Diebold's touch-screen. Either way, it's a 100% unverifiable vote. Even after she succeeded in making her selection.

I'd be happy to advise her on what actually happened. Even happy to do so live on her show on Monday if she'd like to inform America of the dangers of these machines before voters hit the polls in historic numbers on Tuesday.

(Readers may suggest she cover this topic on Monday before the election, by dropping her a note here. I'm happy to help her, of course!)

But I promise, it wasn't her fault, as she suggests in the video, so I hope she'll stop blaming herself and will educate herself and her viewers, instead. Here's a fine place to start, with links to information that will help educate her and her millions of viewers, so we can finally begin restoring transparent, verifiable democracy in America.

Since I posted the video last night at The BRAD BLOG, I've received some, um, interesting comments from some misinformed folks. For example, this commenter said:

Brad, you're an idiot.

The electronic voting machines used in cook county have a PAPER REGISTER. Your entire vote is PRINTED OUT BEFORE YOU to confirm it.

100% Verifiable, and you're 100% full of it!

(Now, if it didn't have the paper register, I'd agree with you that it was unverifiable. But that's entirely NOT the case here!)

Well, we won't call the commenter "an idiot", but we will help him or her by explaining how they are 100% wrong.

It's not necessarily theh commenter's fault, or Oprah's, that they have been wholly misled about the the type of voting system on which Oprah seems to have tried to cast her vote. The fact is, she cast her vote on a machine on which it is strictly 100% impossible to verify that any vote ever cast on such a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machine for any candidate or initiative on the ballot during any election, has ever been recorded accurately, as per any voter's intent.

DRE voting -- with or without the so-called "voter verifiable paper audit trail" (VVPAT), that are created by some of these machines -- is strictly, 100% faith-based voting. Period.

I have asked and asked for any such evidence to the contrary from election officials, voting machine company officials, so-called "elections experts" and, to this day, no such evidence has been offered, because no such evidence exists, as they all well know, or should know.

In Oprah's case, if she voted in Cook County, IL, as suggested by the misinformed commenter, she would have voted on an unverifiable DRE machine made by Sequoia Voting Systems -- the Seqoia EDGE with Verivote printer, to be exact. That machine is a 100% unverifiable DRE which produces a so-called "paper trail".

That same machine was decertified across the state of California in 2007 after it was determined to be fully insecure, easily hacked, and completely unverifiable. UC Santa Barbara's Computer Security Group analyzed that machine, on behalf of the state, and found that it could be hacked -- including its so-called "paper trails" -- such that even if those "paper trails" were 100% hand-counted (and they are almost never counted at all, in any case) the hack would likely never be revealed and the "paper trails" would match up perfectly with the hacked internal numbers.

UCSB released their video tape on how to do exactly that, just last month, as we reported at the time. Here's that video again, for you misinformed naysayers out there...

Please see the article we wrote at the time, including the "'Paper-Trails Are Meaningless..." section therein, for much more info, as well as other similar hacks of other similarly 100% unverifiable voting systems.

The Democratic Party Doesn't Get It Either...

It's hardly the commenter's fault that he/she was confused. Just as it's not necessarily Oprah's fault. That they are misinformed on these things is not a surprise. Even Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada (where they use these same, wholly unverifiable Sequoia systems across the entire state) doesn't get it.

I was on a radio show recently, with Christiane Brown on Reno's KJFK, where Reid was the guest just before me, and he said, incorrectly, when asked about the wholly unverifiable machines in his home state: "I think Nevada is more fortunate than a lot of states because we have a paper back-up, paper trail for our votes, and that's important."

(Listen to the MP3 here. Appx. 3 minutes.)

No, they are not "more fortunate" in NV. The voters there are as unfortunate as any state that allows 100% unverifiable votes to be cast, as Reid's state across its entirety.

Reid also incorrectly discusses paper ballots, and his offensive interest in "mak[ing] people feel that their vote is counted". We don't hope they feel that way, Senator. We want them to know it, and be able to verify -- as much as needed -- that every vote actually has been counted, and counted accurately. That's strictly impossible with the voting machines that Reid feels Nevadans are "fortunate" to use.

And btw, those Sequoia EDGE w/ VeriVote printers were first used in this country, in Nevada, in 2004 after they were illegally certified by NV's then Sec. of State Dean Heller and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Heller is now a U.S. Congressman. I exposed the illegal certification of those systems -- Nevada was the first in the world to use the so-called "voter verifiable paper trail printer" back 2004 -- in an exposé written by myself and Michael Richardson, with VotersUnite.org's John Gideon in a chapter of Mark Crispin Miller's recently released Loser Take All: Election Fraud and The Subversion of Democracy, 2000 - 2008. I urge you all to buy it, read it & educate yourself (that goes for you, Sen. Reid and Ms. Winfrey! It'd be a great selection to add to the Oprah Book Club!)

Unfortunately, our exposé was never published by the corporate media, despite my offering it to plenty of them.

And again, I remind you to see our Special Coverage page on "Touch-Screen Vote-Flipping 2008", which also offers information on what you (and Oprah) need to do when this happens to you!

Here are some of those tips since the DNC and Obama campaign refuse to take any steps to assure your vote may actually be counted accurately on one of these machines...

What to do if it happens to you:
  • Call poll supervisors to observe the problem.
  • Fill out a problem report.
  • Refuse to vote on that machine.
  • Request that the machine be taken out of service.
  • Get a serial number of the machine if possible (may be difficult in many cases).
  • Tell other voters in line which machine it was and that they should NOT vote on that machine!
  • Report it to county/town election office.
  • Report it to the Secretary of State.
  • Call local reporters and tell them the story.
  • Call voter problem hotlines (eg. 866-MYVOTE1 and 866-OUR-VOTE) and report it.
  • Contact bloggers and Election Integrity websites.
  • Raise holy hell.

REMINDER: Please bring a video camera/cell phone camera when you go to vote so you can document these problems on video tape, and then upload them to VideoTheVote.org and YouTube!

(Thanks to VelvetRevolution.us and TrueVote.us for help in compiling these recommendations!)

Brad Friedman is an investigative journalist/blogger and the creator/publisher of The BRAD BLOG, which has been focusing for some years on the many issues involved in election integrity. He can currently be seen in a number of documentaries on the topic, now in release around the country, including David Earnhardt's Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections, and the just-released Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story, by documentarian Patty Sharaf.