Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Security Concerns At D.C.’s Early Vote Centers

Recently, I have been raising my concern about security at the District’s four Early Vote Centers http://www.dcboee.us/, which will open this Saturday, September 4, and continue through Saturday, September 11 (excluding Sundays). The Centers will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and only electronic touch-screen voting machines will be available to voters in the Centers.

In today’s The Washington Times, Deborah Simmons’ article “Early Voting in D.C. Stirs Fear Over Ballot Security” at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/30/early-voting-in-dc-stirs-fear-over-ballot-security/ addresses my concerns and those of others about the security at the Centers.

At last week’s special meeting of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE), a public witness reminded the DCBOEE that three of the four Centers will be located in public facilities owned and operated by the District government.

They comprise a community center, a recreation center, and a junior high school which she stated are controlled by the Mayor who is seeking a second term in office. She raised her concern that the Mayor has unlimited access to these facilities at a time when he is in a heated election.

At a recent press conference, the DCBOEE Executive Director, Rokey Suleman, stated that the votes of the day in each of the Centers will be contained in the electronic machines overnight. Further, Suleman informed the group that when the Centers close at 7:00 p.m. on September 11, the machines will contain all the votes cast in the respective centers.

When questioned, Suleman demonstrated the DCBOEE’s use of security tape and locks on the voting machines. He informed the group that these measures will reveal if the machines have been tampered with while unattended overnight.

I do not believe this is enough security.

When it comes to elections, perception is everything. I encourage the DCBOEE to hire overnight security for all four of the Early Vote Centers.

Why cast doubt on the results of our September 14 Primary Election. After all, simple measures keep elections clean, fair, and transparent.

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