ANOTHER LABRADOR IN THE LABYRINTH: Apparently Maui attorney Lance Collins isn’t going to let Chief Elections Officer Kevin Cronin get away with conducting this year’s election using the Hart InerCivic machines if he can help it.
As we detailed yesterday an administrative hearings officer found that Cronin seemingly did everything in as wrong a manner as possible and apparently did it on purpose- in fact he blamed it on the fact he didn’t like the procurement code and so ignored it.
Cronin was apparently too lazy, too pompous, too busy or too crooked to enact the required HRS Chapter 91 administrative rules for using electronic machines, has no remorse for not doing it and plans to use the machines anyway this fall.
In an extensive brief we received today Collins points out that there is no need to use the electronic machines as planned because they are being used in conjunction with “optical-scan” paper ballots which could be used instead
He says that the “irreparable harm” of having potentially crooked elections should take precedence over the claim of the “late date” of the ruling especially since there is a remedy that can be fashioned without using the electronic devices.
Collins primarily cites the lack of any administrative rules for using computers at all to accept, tabulate and transmit votes and his brief goes into detail about the history of vote counting and transmission both nationally and in Hawai`i.
He expresses an understated almost disbelief that we could be soliciting electronic machines without having the proper rules in place for tabulating counting and transmitting the vote- rules to insure the integrity of the elections when using this new form of voting.
He points out of course how the proprietary nature of the code for these computer machines makes transparent observation impossible.
But he also points out that although machines of the past- such as the old Thomas Edison- invented “pulling the lever” type- were used for many years on the mainland, they could be examined by any “reasonable person with good eyesight”. But that person cannot observe much less examine something that goes on at the level of electrons.
He then cites all the horrors the administrative review found with Cronin’s “bad faith” actions and how Cronin “attempted to manipulate both the data and the facts in order to justify the award” to Hart as well as Cronin’s “reckless disregard” for the state procurement code.
The problem is, Collins noted, that with all that tells us “don’t use these machines and this vendor” the hearings officer is going to let Cronin force us to use an unreliable open-to-abuse bunch of electronic machines in the 2008 election anyway.
The brief says that the plaintiffs stress the “potential for imminent irreparable harm” and points out that the ruling said that Cronin “acted in bad faith” with the unstated conclusion of “and this guy wants to run our elections where integrity and good faith are essential?”.
Collins says that “unlike many jurisdictions that have moved totally to DRE systems (“direct electronic recording” i.e.- voting on computers) DRE’s will be used on election day in parallel with marksense (optical scan of black-pen-marked on paper).ballots. The state is intending to use the older system for a portion of the voting.”
In other words the we could just scrap the electronic machines and use the optical scan ballot - the method where you pick your choice on a piece of paper with a black pen- and feed them into a machine as we have done for many years now, possibly using the electronic machines only for those who are visually impaired who previous to electronic balloting had to sacrifice privacy in order to vote.
“Clearly” Collins writes “the limited time remaining before the election is not sufficient equitable basis to allow an unsecured illegal election to proceed”.
We’ll see what the court says but if you want your vote to count in Kevin “the Minotaur” Cronin’s elections this year best to use a pen and paper.