Blankenship Complaint 2008

I voted in the November 2006 general election on the first day of early voting, October 23, 2006.  I voted at Precinct 74, located at the Renner-Frankford Library. The time was after 11 am and before l pm.  I live in Dallas, Texas, but I vote in Collin County.

When I made my voting choices, I used the electronic touch-screen machine -- the Diebold AccuVote TS.  I was familiar with that machine, having used it in past elections without any problem.

I made 23 selections without any problem.  A printout is attached (Appendix A) that shows my specific choices.

After I made the above 23 selections, a problem developed.  On the next three selections  (24 to 26) my choices were flipped.  Specifically, when I voted for Jerry Adkins, Todd Phillippi and Jay H. Cookingham, the touch-screen consecutively showed three selections which I had not touched: David Medina, Nathan Hecht and Phil Johnson.

I corrected the false choices one after another.  At the same time I loudly protested the machine’s malfunction.  Nancy Asher, the election judge, came to the location where I was standing in front of machine #2 to cast my votes.

Mrs. Asher stood to my right.  With her standing beside me, I  corrected the third flipped vote.  I finished voting for four choices ( 27 to 30) without incident.

I then submitted my choices -- 30 in all -- in order to view the summary screen before I cast my ballot. (There were other choices available for candidates after the first 30, but I chose to make no selections among them.)  The summary screen showed my choices, but there were three errors in the summary.  Specifically the machine again flipped my choices as follows: Instead of my choices of Chris Bell, Judy Baker and Mike Burns, the machine showed choices for Rick Perry, David Dewhurst and Susan Combs.

I made corrections to the additional three flips seen on the summary screen.  Ms. Asher was still standing beside me when the flipped summary screen votes appeared and I corrected them.  She then told me to run the summary again to see that all six flipped votes had been corrected before I cast my ballot.  I did so, and the summary screen at that point perfectly reflected the choices I had made.

I then cast my ballot and removed the smart card.  However, I left the polling place with no confidence that the choices I had made would be accurately counted inside the machine. I spent the rest of October and November of 2006 seeking permission from Collin County and the State of Texas to get to see a print-out of my ballot image from the Diebold AccuVote TS machine that flipped my votes.

In October 2008, under provision of the Freedom of Information Act ( FOIA), I was able to acquire records of ballot images from the machine that I used.  I expected to be able to identify my ballot image because of my unusual pattern of voting.  Specifically, my ballot image would be readily identified as one that contained 30 choices in order, followed by 11 undervotes (no votes).  Furthermore, my ballot image would show an unusual selection of Libertarians, Democrats and  a single Republican.

My ballot image was among a group of 50 ballot images that I acquired under the FOI request.  Those images were examined by me in the presence of witnesses:  (a) Tonya Mormon, volunteer worker for Collin County Democrats and (b) Tom Manaugh, PhD, a volunteer with Election Defense Analysis. See Statement from Dr. Manaugh in Appendix B.

The ballot image I found was not an accurate reflection of voting choices that I had made.  Specifically, the ballot image showed the following mistakes:

A)  I voted against all 12 propositions, but one proposition, #8, showed a vote for the proposition; and one proposition, #10, showed an undervote.

B)  I voted for Jon Roland, Mike Burns, Michael French, Clay Woolam, Wade Willson, J. R. Molina, and Quanah Parker.  The ballot image showed votes for David Van Os, Fred Head, Valinda Hathcox, Hank Gilbert, William E. Moody, Sharon Keller and Barbara Hervey.

C) I made no choice for County Commissioner, but the ballot image showed a vote for Bill Baumbach.

A copy of the ballot image I received under FOIA, where I found the above mistakes, is shown in Appendix D.

The Diebold AccuVote TS system, as it operates in Collin  County, failed to provide me with a means to correct any errors in my voting choices prior to the creation of a permanent record of my votes inside the machine and the subsequent counting of my votes.  This is  a violation of HAVA requirements under any reasonable interpretation of HAVA Sec 301 Voting System Standards.  The violation is serious in that it produces vote counts that are inaccurate and that cannot be corrected by the voter.

I have researched the experiences of users of the Diebold voting system around the United States.  Diebold has been shown to have (a) installed uncertified software on voting machines, (b) produced voting machines that failed to demonstrate acceptable levels of accuracy under field conditions, and (c) been certified by independent testing laboratories that are not truly independent.  See Appendix C.