Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Emails, More Foot-Dragging from Election Officials

Posted by Will Moredock on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 2:09 AM

Addendum to my Sept. 29 City Paper column on problems with Charleston County voting machines:

Here is a lengthy email exchange between citizen investigator Frank Heindel and director of Charleston County Board of Elections Marilyn Bowers and Chris Whitmire of the State Election Commission. It concludes with Bowers' rather cavalierly telling Heindel that one of her employees will drop into the mail the disk Heindel has been seeking through FOI requests for more than two months.

In reading these emails, be sure to check the Ohio EVEREST study of voting machines and the Federal Election Assistance Commission security plan for voting machines, which Heindel cites in his August 9 email.

Start reading from the bottom and it all makes sense — scary sense.

——- Forwarded Message ——-
From: "Marilyn Bowers"
To: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxxx, "Marilyn Bowers"
Cc: "Solicitor" , xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com, "Chris Whitmire" , "Pamela H. McArthur" , "Sam Howell" , "DanMartin"
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 4:12:54 PM
Subject: RE: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports

Phyllis will put in the mail today. I am in Orlando for the Election Center Conference this week but you can reach me via email if needed.

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

——-Original Message——-
From: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 12:32 PM
To: Marilyn Bowers
Cc: Solicitor ; xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com>; Chris Whitmire ; Pamela H. McArthur ; Sam Howell ; DanMartin
Subject: Re: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports

August 18, 2010

Dear Marilyn Bowers,

I have not received the CD in the mail . Has it been mailed? If not, would you please tell me when you plan on mailing it?

Sincerely,

Frank Heindel
Mt. Pleasant, SC


——- Original Message ——-
From: "Marilyn Bowers"
To: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: "Solicitor" , xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com, "Chris Whitmire" , "Pamela H. McArthur" , "Sam Howell" , "DanMartin"
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 3:13:31 PM
Subject: RE: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports


Mr. Heindel,

Rovers - I will have Pam prepare the list of Rovers that served during the June Primaries. However, unless instructed otherwise by our attorney, we will protect the home addresses as we did those of the poll managers.

Information requested on CD - Please correct if I am wrong but I am assuming that you are referring to the ballot images and event log that are described as a paper trail on the iVotronic Voting System. Is this correct?

Access to voting machines — No one has access to our voting machines except our staff that prepares them for the election, delivers them to each polling location, and then picks them up following the election from each location. The machines are sealed as each one is prepared for delivery. The iVotronic Voting machine is not precinct specific when it is delivered to the polling location. The Communication Pack which holds the PEB’s and printer are picked up by the Clerk for each location at our office (usually Friday, Saturday, & Monday before election). They keep this sealed case with them until election morning. On election morning the seal is broken and the Master PEB is inserted in each iVotronic to activate and prepare for voting. It is at this time that the iVotronic becomes precinct specific and knows that it is designated to a particular precinct/polling location. The Zero tape is generated after each iVo is activated to show that there are “0” votes in each iVo for the election.

Our building is secured with a burglar alarm that is activated as we leave the building each day. We then have 24/7 security beginning on election morning through the certification hearing on Thursday.


Marilyn Bowers, Executive Director

Board of Elections and Voter Registration

Charleston County

4367 Headquarters Rd

North Charleston SC 29405

843-745-2277 or 843-906-7062

mbowers@charlestoncounty.org

From: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 11:36 AM
To: Marilyn Bowers
Cc: Solicitor; xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com; Chris Whitmire
Subject: Re: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports


August 10, 2010

Charleston County Election Commission

Dear Marilyn Bowers,

Thank you for your quick response.

I am still waiting on the rover names and addresses and the CD of voting information per my original FOIA request and July 2nd, 2010 payment. I emailed Chris Whitmire and he said you can go ahead and send out the CD today. No one gave me any legal explanation as to the delay regarding this CD. Also today please email me the complete rover list of names and addresses as per the same Freedom of Information Act Request. There is no reason why this readily available public information is taking so long to receive. I should have had all this information 30 days ago.

Is the Charleston County Election Commission documenting who has had access to our voting machines and for what purpose? If logs like this exist, then I am entitled to be able to review them under the Freedom of Information Act. Please let me know if logs or reports exist detailing who has accessed our voting machines and for what purpose.

Sincerely,

Frank Heindel
Mt. Pleasant, SC

——- Original Message ——-
From: "Marilyn Bowers"
To: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: "Solicitor" , xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com, "Chris Whitmire"
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 9:25:47 AM
Subject: RE: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports


Mr. Heindel — The State Election Commission has secured an Attorney General’s Opinion that states that the Security Plan is not subject to FOIA request. This is a State Plan that is followed by all 46 counties in SC so please direct further questions about this to Chris Whitmire at the State Election Commission.


Marilyn Bowers, Executive Director

Board of Elections and Voter Registration

Charleston County

4367 Headquarters Rd

North Charleston SC 29405

843-745-2277 or 843-906-7062

mbowers@charlestoncounty.org

From: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, August 09, 2010 8:07 AM
To: Marilyn Bowers
Cc: Solicitor; xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com; Marilyn Bowers
Subject: Re: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports


August 9, 2010

Dear Marilyn Bowers,

The voting public must not be excluded from viewing the security policies of the Charleston County Election Commission.We are not outsiders since we have paid for the voting system and personnel to run the elections. Here is an example outlining why the public needs to see incident reports and the security plan.

A June 10, 2010 email excerpt from Mike Wells, Charleston County poll manager, to your staff member, Pamela McArthur, regarding the June 8, 2010 election.
Voting Machines — We had three voting machines that failed to start up and prevented us from printing the zero tape. Two of the machines were eventually repaired by Jeremy Lemerande. The ADA machine was one of the three and never came on line. It totally stumped Jeremy. The ADA machine actually opened and we never new it and never used the machine. We found out when we went to print the tally tape that it never closed and we had to be talked through an override. We also discovered the last machine had the wrong time and we had to be talked through an override for that also. When we went to print the tally tapes, we discovered the paper was installed by Jeremy earlier in the day upside down. Fortunately, Jeremy was on the scene by then and fixed that. All this flailing around with machines delayed us an hour in getting out of there. The machines were generally acting odd. I remember last time we could just touch the screen and see what the count was for the machine and check the time. Only a few machines would do that this time. I am going to check each machine next time earlier in the day and if they show the same symptoms, I am calling Jeremy.

I am surprised voting machines failing to start up on Election Day does not meet the criteria to be included in an incident report. I assume Jeremy is a part time poll worker and probably works as a rover. His name does not show up on the paid poll worker list I requested and paid for via the Freedom of Information Act. Would you please make sure I have the names and addresses of all rovers, like Jeremy, added to the list and sent to me as per my original FOIA request?

Berkeley County has "Election Day rover sheets" that document their rovers writing down a description of the machine's problems and the solution to the problems. Charleston County appears to be giving password access to part time workers on Election Day. Somewhere in this process there needs to be an incident report or log maintained documenting why the rovers are accessing the machines. If there is no log or incident report being maintained detailing what the part time worker is doing to the voting machines, that is a major breach of security. A bank would not allow a part time employee access to the passwords to their vault. Anyone accessing the vault is required to sign in with their name, date, and reason for their visit. These common sense banking requirements are very similar to the online Federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) security plan for electronic voting systems.

The EAC states the effective use of passwords is essential to the overall security of a voting system. I have a few questions regarding the password security of our Charleston County voting system.

1. Prior to the June 8, 2010 election, when was the last time Charleston County changed its voting system passwords?
2. Who has access to the passwords? Do all part time rovers have password access in addition to the full time staff?
Do the ES&S /PrintElect personnel have access to the passwords?
3. Is Charleston County keeping detailed logs documenting who has accessed our voting machines and for what purpose?

The Ohio Everest study analyzed the password security flaws with the Ivotronic machines. The report stated the Ivotronics can be easily accessed by default common and identical usernames and passwords and strongly encourages passwords to be changed regularly and restricted to certain personnel. The EAC recommends having strong passwords changed at least every election cycle with a detailed log filled out with very specific information regarding anyone accessing the voting system.

I look forward to receiving information from you showing how you and your staff are ensuring protection of the iVotronic machines and handling password security.

Sincerely,

Frank Heindel

http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/everest/00-SecretarysEVERESTExecutiveReport.pdf Ohio Everest Report page 57

http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/workflow_staging/Page/259.PDF The Federal Election Assistance Commission security plan for an electronic voting system.
http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/everest/00-SecretarysEVERESTExecutiveReport.pdf page 38

The Academic researchers concluded that the central server and software and the precinct-based components, both DRE and optical scan voting machines (i.e., the ES&S Unity Election Management System (EMS), iVotronic DRE and M100 optical scan systems) “lack the fundamental technical controls necessary to guarantee a trustworthy election under operational conditions.” (Id. at 29.) The researchers discovered
“exploitable vulnerabilities” that allowed even persons with limited access — such as voters or poll workers — to compromise voting machines and election results, or to inject and spread software viruses into the central election management system. (Id.) Academic researchers concluded that these vulnerabilities arise from the following “pervasive, critical failures”:
• Failure to protect election data and software
• Failure to effectively control access to election operations
• Failure to correctly implement security mechanisms
• Failure to follow standard software and security engineering practices
——- Original Message ——-
From: "Marilyn Bowers"
To: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxxx, "Marilyn Bowers"
Cc: solicitor@scsolicitor9.org, xxxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com, MBowers@charlestoncounty.org
Sent: Monday, August 2, 2010 4:10:58 PM
Subject: RE: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports

Mr Heindel,
I have checked with staff
and there are no incident log sheets. We only write down incidents that require follow-up after the election. There were a very few battery issues and flashcards that had to be replaced but we equip the Rovers with those things because any equipment that uses manmade materials eventually wil need them replaced. We have never lost a vote due to any machines failures in the six years that I have had the privilege of using them.

The Security Plan is not available for public review. I am sure that you can understand that protecting the integrity of the election process means not allowing outsiders access to certain items. We conduct very transparent elections but as in any other business (banking, etc) there are some things you don't want everyone to be able to access and tamper with.

With respect, I would ask that you honor our responsibility to protect the integrity of every election we conduct - just like we appreciate the bank protecting our account numbers and access to our banking materials.

Marilyn

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

——-Original Message——-
From: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 1:35 PM
To: Marilyn Bowers
Cc: solicitor@scsolicitor9.org ; xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com; xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com>; MBowers@charlestoncounty.org
Subject: Re: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports


August 2, 2010

Charleston County Election Commission

Dear Marilyn Bowers,

I have received the emails from you from my earlier FOIA so that item is cleared and off the list . On July 20, 2010, I received an excel file with names and precincts but no addresses.

When will I have the incident reports ? I would think this is a simple item to copy and send along. Why is this item taking so long?

Regarding waiting on guidance from the State Election Commission as to what you can release, I had some difficulty last week getting public information from the State Election Commission. I ended up having to get the Governor's office involved.

I have pasted in the Governor's attorney comments to the SEC regarding my FOIA below as it probably pertains to your question as well.

If you have a copy of the "Security Plan", please forward it along also.

Sincerely,

Frank Heindel
Mt. Pleasant, SC


Chris,

Mr. Frank Heindel has raised issues regarding the State Election Commission's response to his FOIA request. Based on the correspondence provided below, it is my understanding that the SEC has complied with his request except for disclosing the SysTest 2007 certification report. According to Mr. Heindel's response, it appears that the SEC failed to disclose this report because it contains proprietary information that is exempt from disclosure under S.C. Code Ann. s. 30-4-40(a)(1), which exempts trade secrets from disclosure under FOIA.

While we recognize the need and importance of protecting trade secrets, we also value and support the purposes of FOIA, which is to ensure that the public can be fully informed about the actions of their government and public officials. To balance these sometimes competing interests of protecting proprietary information and an informed public, S.C. Code Ann. s. 30-4-40(b) of FOIA provides that if "any public record contains material that is not exempt under subsection (a) of this section, the public body shall separate the exempt and nonexempt material and make the nonexempt material available in accordance with" FOIA. Accordingly, we are requesting that you redact those portions of the report that contain exempt trade secrets and other exempt material and disclose the remainder of the report to Mr. Heindel.

Thanks for your attention to this matter, and please let me know if you have any questions regarding this request.

E. Brandon Gaskins
Deputy Chief Counsel
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12267
Columbia, SC 29211
(803) 734-5252 (office)
(803) 734-5167 (fax)
——- Original Message ——-
From: "Marilyn Bowers"
To: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxx, MBowers@charlestoncounty.org
Cc: solicitor@scsolicitor9.org, xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com
Sent: Monday, August 2, 2010 12:15:54 PM
Subject: RE: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports

Mr Heindel,
Did you receive the poll manager listing and emails that I sent to you? I am waiting on guidance from the State Election Commission on exactly which files can be released from the Unity Voting System - will provide that as soon as I get this information.

I am verry sorry for the delay but I must adhere to the Security Plan for the voting sysytem to protect the integrity and this and future elections.

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

——-Original Message——-
From: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 7:28 AM
To: MBowers@charlestoncounty.org
Cc: solicitor@scsolicitor9.org ; xxxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com, xxxxxxxx@postandcourier.com>
Subject: Charleston County Election Commission FOIA violations- tech rover incident reports


August 2, 2010

Charleston County Election Commission

Executive Director

Dear Marilyn Bowers,

It has been 19 business days since my July 6, 2010 FOIA request and I have received no response. I still do not have all the information from my earlier June 16,2010 FOIA request, specifically my request for all names and addresses of the people employed by Charleston County during our June 8, 2010 elections and the "paper trail' CD. You received my check for the June 16, 2010 FOIA information on July 2, 2010. Last week, you said you were getting closer to having the CD ready to mail, but I have not received it .

For the record, Dorchester County responded with the poll worker names and addresses within just a few business days and provided the list to me for free. I have attached the list to point out I am asking for public information that should be readily available. As per the FOIA, please do not use this list for commercial purposes, it is simply my intent to show you the type of easily accessible public information I have requested and you have refused to provide. Also I have pasted in below the response from Berkeley county regarding their technical rover incident reports. They responded in a timely manner and charged me $5.25 for copying. Other neighboring counties are responding and abiding by the Freedom of Information Act, why isn't Charleston County?

Section 30-1-140 provides that any public official or custodian of public records who refuses or willfully neglects to perform any duty required of him by Sections 30-1-10 through 140 is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars.

Please provide me all with the public information I have requested as per the Freedom of Information Act..

Sincerely,

Frank Heindel
Mt. Pleasant, SC

Your Freedom of Information Act Request for records related to the June 8, 2010 Primary and the June 22, 2010 Republican Runoff elections were received by this office on July 8, 2010. The requested records are being gathered.
1. Inspection/testing documentation.
2. Incident log/staff/rovers
Prepayment is required to produce these records requested in the above mentioned FOIA. Please submit a payment of $5.25 for fees associated with these documents. Payment should be in the form of a check or money order and should be payable to:

Berkeley County Elections
PO Box 6122
Moncks Corner, SC 29461

Sincerely,
Wanda Farley, Director
Berkeley County Elections & Registration


2. A copy of the names and addresses of any and all paid poll workers who worked for the election that took place in Charleston County on June 8, 2010. Can provide names of poll workers for the June 8 th Primaries in electronic format. However, our Attorney has advised that their home addresses are private and confidential. $20.00 (1 hr staff time) — format will be Microsoft Access

3. Copies of any and all written correspondence, including emails, the Charleston County election commission had with any ES&S Ivotronic personnel from June 1, 2010 through June 16, 2010.

See #1 for estimate


Page 2

FOIA Request — Heindel


4. A copy of the "paper trail" for the Charleston County results that is mentioned in the news story as follows, "Charleston Board of Elections Director Marilyn Bowers says every single vote made on these electronic voting machines is recorded and leaves behind a paper trail. " http://www.live5news.com/Global/story.asp?S=12654153 Please clarify —


Are you referring to the Summary Tapes produced at each polling location after the polls close? If so, this will be approximately $242.00 (.50 per copy x 484) + $20.00/hr x 8 = $160.00

Total = $402.00

The Electronic/Paper audit trail (30,865 records)? -

Hard copy = There would be approximately 10 records per page @ 50 cents per page = 3,087 pages x .50 cents = $1,543.50

Electronic = Would probably be too large to email (per county guidelines)

Cost of CD

1 hr Staff time to generate/burn = $20.00

——- Forwarded Message ——-
From: fheindel@xxxxxxxxx
To: MBowers@charlestoncounty.org, samhowell@bond-law.com
Cc: xxxxxxxxxx@ap.org
Sent: Tuesday, July 6, 2010 7:03:34 AM
Subject: FOIA:Tech worker & rover incident log reports

July 6, 2010

Charleston County Election Commission

Executive Director
Dear Marilyn Bowers,

Pursuant to the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, I request the following documents:

1. Copies of all tech worker and rover incident log reports, including reports by full time tech staff as well as part time tech workers, for the June 8, 2010 and June 22,2010 elections in Charleston County. These written reports should include, but not be limited to, information gathered at different polling places as to specific voting machine problems, their locations, and the solution used for the problem or issue.

I will pay up to $50 dollars for the copying and collecting of these documents . I would also request that in the future these incident log reports be put online for all voters to view after each election to increase transparency in our election process .

I would also respectfully request that you lower your charges on my previous $300 dollar FOIA , specifically the charge of 260 dollars for searching emails.I did agree to pay the $300 dollars and sent the check in . However, I just received a FOIA request from the South Carolina Election Commission and they only charged me $60 dollars for searching their email records for a very similar request.(See below).

I do not think a voter should be made to feel gigged, or priced out of the market, by having Charleston County charging 400 per cent higher rates than a state agency to collect the very same kind of easily obtainable information . Overcharging voters for public information regarding how our voting machines are functioning will only serve to undermine voter confidence in the future.

Sincerely,

Frank Heindel
Mt. Pleasant, SC

——- Original Message ——-
From: "Chris Whitmire" < cwhitmi@elections.sc.gov >
To: " fheindel@xxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2010 3:33:48 PM
Subject: RE: FOIA request

Dear Mr. Heindel,

I am writing in response to your Freedom of Information Act request dated June 14, 2010, in which you requested records matching three descriptions as detailed in the copy of your request below.

1. Satisfaction of this item requires 1.5 hours of research by SEC staff. The agency research fee is $20.00 per hour. Total charge to provide this information is $30.00.

2. Satisfaction of this item requires 1.5 hours of research by SEC staff. The total charge to provide this information is $30.00.

3. The SEC has no “FOIA log” document. However, a search of Agency FOIA records shows the Agency received no FOIA requests during the specified timeframe.

Prepayment is required to produce the records requested in Items 1 and 2. The total for both items is $60.00. Payment should be in the form of check or money order and can be sent to:

S.C. State Election Commission

Attn: Chris Whitmire

P.O. Box 5987

Columbia, SC 29250

Upon receipt of payment, the requested records will be provided via email within ten days.

Sincerely,


Chris Whitmire
Public Information Officer

South Carolina State Election Commission
Post Office Box 5987
Columbia, S.C. 29250
Tel: 803.734.9070
Fax: 803.734.9366

Every Vote Matters_LogoXSmall
This message originates from the South Carolina State Election Commission. If you have received this message in error, we would appreciate it if you would immediately notify the South Carolina State Election Commission by sending a reply e-mail to the sender of this message. Thank you.

From: fheindel@xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2010 10:50 AM
To: Whitmire, Chris
Subject: FOIA request

June 14, 2010

South Carolina Election Commission
Attn: Chris Whitmire

Dear Sir:

Pursuant to the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, I request the following information:

1. A copy of any and all inbound and outbound email correspondence by the South Carolina Election Commission regarding any problems or issues with any and all South Carolina voting machines from 8 a.m. Monday June 7 , 2010 to Friday June 11, 2010 at 5 p.m.

2. A copy of any and all email correspondence between Ivotronic employees and any and all South Carolina election commission employees from June 1, 2010 through June 11, 2010.

3. Copies of the South Carolina election commission FOIA log listing the number of FOIA requests , the party sending the FOIA request, and the information being sought by each request , received by your office between June 1, 2010 and June 11, 2010 .


I will pay up to $50 dollars for the information requested.

I respectfully request all this information be sent electronically to me via email. Since our state has determined that voting can be done electronically without the use of any paper trail, there is no reason why this FOIA request can not be handled cheaply and quickly via electronic email without the unnecessary cost of copying paper.

Please email me with any questions regarding this request.

Sincerely,

Frank Heindel
Mt. Pleasant, SC

Here are the dollars charged by the Charleston County Election Commission -500% higher than the State Election Commission!!

1.Copies of any and all email or written complaints received by your office from June 7, 2010 to June 16, 2010 regarding any and all voting machine problems or malfunctions. #1 & #3 - Estimated cost of $130 - $260 dollars for time required by the IT Department to research and provide the emails requested.
3. Copies of any and all written correspondence, including emails, the Charleston County election commission had with any ES&S Ivotronic personnel from June 1, 2010 through June 16, 2010.

See #1 for estimate

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