Why Vote for Bowen [Espaņol]
By Pat Dodson
Secure and accurate elections are the responsibility of the Secretary of State and State Senator Debra Bowen is the right candidate for California. Today Californians are facing an enormous challenge to the integrity of our elections because we are casting our votes on defective electronic voting machines. As the Chair of the Senate Elections Committee with fourteen years of service in the state legislature, Senator Bowen has the experience, and knowledge to create a secure electoral system in California and set a precedent for the nation.
Currently, 80 percent of the nation's votes are counted by four corporations on a variety of electronic voting machines. These machines are all run on corporate-owned software that is protected from public scrutiny by trade secret laws. Computer scientists from America's foremost universities have proven that these machines are vulnerable to tampering, and that fraudulent software can be inserted into the machines, which can alter the results of an election. Their research revealed that anyone with knowledge about writing software and one to two minutes of access to a machine has the power to control the outcome of an election. After changes are made in a vote count, the fraudulent code disappears and there is no way to prove that any voter fraud occurred. Princeton computer scientists made a short video to demonstrate this problem. You can see election results change before your own eyes by going to www.ITPolicy.Princeton.edu/voting/. Moreover, there is no agency in our local, state or the federal government that has the authority to look inside these machines to determine if there was any malicious software added before or during the election process.
Bruce McPherson, our current Secretary of State and Senator Bowen's opponent had the same information about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines when he made the decision to certify Diebold machines for use in California.
Debra Bowen has been leading the fight for secure, independent elections in California. As Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, Senator Bowen has brought in computer scientists from Berkeley, Stanford, and Johns Hopkins University to testify before her committee. They have confirmed that there are 16 serious flaws in the security of the Diebold machines that we use in California. When a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University studied the machines developed by all four companies he found a total of 120 flaws in the designs of these machines.
As Secretary of State, Senator Bowen promises to decertify voting machines that run on privately owned, trade secret software which do not include a paper trail for verification. In its place she would have machines that run on publicly owned software so that every line of computer code is visible. All machines would include a paper trail so that the authenticity of an election can be verified. Senator Bowen believes that, "We cannot have a legitimately constituted government that runs on trade secret software where no one can see what the voting machines are doing". Debra Bowen has the knowledge, experience and courage to get a secure voting machine.
Debra Bowen would ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote gets that opportunity. Bruce McPherson instituted a statewide voter registration database that was so stringent that it was rejecting 43% of new registrations in the heavily Democratic L.A. County. Senator Bowen successfully challenged this decision and McPherson backed down.
Senator Bowen has many accomplishments in her fourteen years in the California legislature. She has done outstanding work in the areas of open government, consumer protection, campaign finance reform and the environment. She has been a champion in civil rights, women's equity, education, childcare and health care. You can go to her web site and read more about her at www.DebraBowen.com. You can also see her long list of endorsements. You can also see and hear her on important issues by going to www.YouTube.com and typing in her name.
Thomas Paine said over 200 years ago that, "The right to vote is the right upon which all others depend". He probably would have added something about the right to have one's vote counted as cast, if he could have envisioned electronic voting machines.
If you believe that we need to elect Debra Bowen as Secretary of State, please share this letter with all your friends and family. You can email this letter by copying and pasting it into your email editor. There is no stronger endorsement than hearing about a candidate from someone you know and trust.
Nobody, and no machine, should be counting votes in secret.
For further information, email Jim Soper at :