California law requires the Secretary of State to conduct a public hearing as a condition of certifying any voting systems in the state. The Secretary of State has scheduled a hearing for November 21, 2005 on the question of whether certain Diebold voting systems will should be certified before the end of the year.

But "The Secretary of State has disbanded the Voting Systems Panel that's supposed to conduct these hearings and has replaced it with one person, a stenographer, and a tape recorder," said Sherry Healy, a steering committee member of the California Election Protection Network (CEPN), a non-partisan organization of over 25 groups across California who have come together to try and ensure the integrity of California's election systems. "How the Secretary of State can classify this as true 'public input' is beyond me. If he had any interest in what the public had to say about these Diebold systems, he would have joined the VSP panel at this public hearing instead of disbanding it and sending a tape recorder and a stenographer in its place."

The California Election Protection Network is calling on Secretary McPherson to reverse his arbitrary abandonment of established procedures and to allow people to provide meaningful input on the voting systems approved for use in this state. CEPN believes the voters of California are entitled to be able to choose their representatives with the confidence that their votes are recorded and counted accurately. It is the duty of the Secretary, as the chief elections officer of the state, to make sure voting systems are approved in the interests of Californians, not the voting system vendors or the local election officials. The most important duty of a Secretary of State is assuring the citizens that we can vote with confidence on the voting systems he approves. More info below

The one click form below will send your personal message to all your government representatives selected below, with the subject At the same time you can send your personal comments only as a letter to the editor of your nearest local daily newspaper if you like.

Bruce McDannold, Calvoter Program Manager
Bruce McPherson, Secretary of State
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News Items

Aside from the long list of security problems, inauditable proprietary software, and equipment failures, Diebold, a company entrusted with our secret ballots saw fit to hire felons with records for embezzlement and computer fraud to write their software.,2645,61640,00.html

And if this public relations nightmare weren’t bad enough, Diebold’s CEO Wally O’Dell bragged to the Ohio GOP leadership that he would deliver the Ohio vote for President Bush in the 2004 election.

Recent headlines have been no kinder. A recent mock election testing Diebold equipment was first reported to have had a 10% failure rate but that number was later amended to be in excess of a staggering 20% failure rate.

Then last week, the results of the Ohio election using Diebold equipment has once again caused a fury of speculation about the reliability of this company when Diebold’s voting system tallies differed dramatically from that of the polls.

Statement of Jody Holder, a long time election reform activist

"What Bruce McPherson, the chief elections officer of our state, is trying to do is to prevent people from using their right to influence the process for approving the voting systems. It's these people's votes these machines are counting! Time and time again, this administration has arbitrarily disregarded all established precedents on how public's voice can be heard.

"For two years, concerned voters of this state have been traveling to Sacramento to voice their concerns about 'faith-based' voting on electronic voting machines at public hearings," continued Holder. "Their concerns have been increasingly recognized by the Legislature, resulting in new laws requiring paper verification of their votes, and requiring that the paper record be used in the required manual audit and in any recount (SB 370 [Bowen]). Unfortunately, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson opposed using voter verified paper records for any audit and recount.

"Now, Secretary McPherson has made it virtually impossible for people to provide meaningful testimony, expert witnesses, and public comment on the proposal to certify the Diebold machines for use in California," continued Holder. "In June, over 200 people traveled to Sacramento to voice their concerns at a public hearing before a panel of advisors to the Secretary of State on voting systems. Since then, every scheduled meeting of the VSP has been cancelled, and now the Secretary has simply disbanded the VSP without notice, without hearings about what will replace it, without any type of due process."

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