Bush's 'Incredible' Vote Tallies
By Sam Parry
While it's extraordinary for a candidate to get a vote total that exceeds his party's registration in any voting jurisdiction - because of non-voters - Bush racked up more votes than registered Republicans in 47 out of 67 counties in Florida. In 15 of those counties, his vote total more than doubled the number of registered Republicans and in four counties, Bush more than tripled the number....
Similar surprising jumps in Bush's vote tallies across the country - especially when matched against national exits polls showing Kerry winning by 51 percent to 48 percent - have fed suspicion among rank-and-file Democrats that the Bush campaign rigged the vote, possibly through systematic computer hacking.
Republican pollster Dick Morris said the Election Night pattern of mistaken exit polls favoring Kerry in six battleground states - Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa - was virtually inconceivable.
"Exit polls are almost never wrong," Morris wrote. "So reliable are the surveys that actually tap voters as they leave the polling places that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries. Ö To screw up one exit poll is unheard of. To miss six of them is incredible. It boggles the imagination how pollsters could be that incompetent and invites speculation that more than honest error was at play here."...
...electronic voting system in Franklin County gave Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, more than 1,000 percent more than he actually got.
If Bush's totals weren't artificially enhanced, they would represent one of the most remarkable electoral achievements in U.S. history....
While the statistical analysis of these new voters is only just beginning, Bush's ability to find nearly 9 million new voters in an election year when his Democratic opponent also saw gains of about 5 million new voters is the story of the 2004 election.
But, even if one were to estimate that 100 percent of these Evangelical voters turned out for Bush in 2004 and that 100 percent of Bush's 2000 supporters turned out again for him, this still leaves about 5 million new Bush voters unaccounted for.
A precinct in the county reported that a 4,000-vote margin won by Bush appeared to exceed the number of registered voters.
Asked how an electronic voting machine could run up nearly 4,000 extra votes, Dill said a variety of factors, including an internal misalignment or static electricity, could cause such an error.... one precinct in Youngstown, Ohio, recorded a negative 25 million votes, which was discarded from official results.
Electronic Voting Angst
By Keith Olbermann
Monday 08 November 2004
New York - Bev Harris, the Blackbox lady, was apparently quoted in a number of venues during the day Monday as having written "I was tipped off by a person very high up in TV that the news has been locked down tight, and there will be no TV coverage of the real problems with voting on Nov. 2... My source said they've also been forbidden to talk about it even on their own time."...
the remarkable results out of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In 29 precincts there, the County's website shows, we had the most unexpected results in years: more votes than voters.
I'll repeat that: more votes than voters. 93,000 more votes than voters....
Talk about successful get-out-the-vote campaigns! What a triumph for democracy in Fairview Park, twelve miles west of downtown Cleveland. Only 13,342 registered voters there, but they cast 18,472 votes.
"An analysis of the original AP exit polling, which showed Kerry with a tighter margin and leading in myriad states, raises serious questions about the authenticity of the popular vote in several key states, RAW STORY has learned. Since the actual outcome of the votes have been called, AP has changed nearly all of their exit polling to tighten the margin. A reason has not been given....
"Why did Florida voters with one type of machine vote one way,
and voters with a different machine vote another? In Florida, the figures show that, in counties with one type of voting machine, voters with no Democrat or Republican party affiliation appeared to split their votes roughly 50/50 between Bush and Kerry, which was to be expected; yet in counties with another type of voting machine, unaffiliated voters seemed to vote nearly 100% for Bush!"
In 1999, 22 people were indicted in Louisiana and 9 admitted guilt in a huge bribery scam involving the acquisition of Sequoia voting systems. Sequoia Pacific's Regional Manager and a regional sales executive were indicted for paying around $8 million in bribes to Louisiana Commissioner of Elections Jerry Fowler. In all, 22 people were indicted. Nine pleaded guilty. Fowler was sentenced to over 4 years in prison....
Convicted felon programmed Diebold's software
Managers of a subsidiary of Diebold are alleged to have included a programmer jailed for falsifying computer records. Jeffrey Dean, who served time in a Washington correctional facility for stealing money and tampering with computer files, wrote and maintained proprietary code for vote counting as senior vice president of Global Election Systems Inc. The former GES is Diebold's wholly owned subsidiary, Global Election Management Systems, which produces the operating system that touch-screen voting terminals use.
(Source: Rachel Konrad, Associated Press, San Francisco, Dec. 16, 2003)
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
The company that Maryland Governor Ehrlich chose to review Diebold's system, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), is itself in the elections business, and its record in the U.S. is not good. It pleaded guilty to a 1990 indictment for fraud in its management of a Superfund toxic cleanup site, and was sued in 1993 by the Justice Department for civil fraud on an F15 fighter contract.
Also, at least three present or former directors of SAIC are former Directors of the CIA. That is troubling in view of the CIA's history of upsetting elections in other countries, notably that of President Allende in Chile.
(Source: Lynn Landes, publisher of www.ecotalk.org, and formerly a regular commentator for a BBC talk radio show and environmental news reporter for DUTV in Philadelphia.)
And questionable reuslts from 2002. Hagel owned the company that made these machines in Nebraska by the way...
Sequoia Voting Systems
Sequioa is owned mostly by London-based De La Rue Cash Systems, "the world's largest security printer and papermaker, involved in the production of over 150 national currencies," as well as travelers' checks and vouchers. In 1999, two Sequoia executives, Phil Foster and Pasquale Ricci, were indicted for paying Louisiana Commissioner of Elections Jerry Fowler an $8 million bribe to buy their voting machines. In August 2002, a losing candidate in Boca Raton, Fla., city council elections wanted to have Sequoia voting machines examined by experts. But Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Theresa LaPore (responsible for the infamous butterfly ballot) said that the contract with Sequoia, as well as state law, defined Sequoia's equipment and programming as "trade secrets," shielded from public scrutiny.
(Source: "Who Counts the Votes?" by Gary Ashwill, Managing Editor, and Chris Kromm, Publisher and editor, Southern Exposure.)
The case of Senator Chuck Hagel exemplifies concerns in the context of questionable business and political links. In 1996 Hagel won a totally unexpected victory in an election his own company's computerised voting systems were counting. He was the first Republican in 24 years to make the Senate in Nebraska.  In 2002, Hagel ran again and was elected with 83% of the vote - a feat worthy of dictators like Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua or Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti in their prime. Thom Hartmann observes "80 percent of those votes were counted by computer-controlled voting machines put in place by the company affiliated with Hagel: built by that company; programmed by that company; chips supplied by that company."
Against the trend results swung the Senate for the Republicans in the 2002 elections. In Georgia popular Democrat Max Cleland was leading the pre-election polls 49% to 44%. Mysteriously, his lead evaporated on election day turning into a 53% to 46% win for his opponent Saxby Chambliss. In Georgia, Democrat Roy Barnes led Republican Sonny Perdue in the opinion polls by 48% to 39%. Nonetheless, Perdue won with 52% of the vote against Barnes 45%. In Minnesota, just days before the election, veteran Democrat Walter Mondale - a late replacement after the death in a plane crash of leading Democrat Senator Paul Wellstone - led Republican Norm Coleman by 47% to 39% in opinion polls. But Coleman won, 50% to 47%. In all these states computerised voting systems were used to count most of the vote. It seems very strange, to say the least, that opinion polls in three states should have goofed so badly.
Nov. 3, 2002
Incumbent U.S. Senator Max Cleland was defeated by Saxby Chambliss by a margin of 53 to 46 percent although an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll showed Cleland with a 49%-to-44% lead. Similar results contrary to polls occurred in the race for Governor. Almost all of the votes in Georgia were recorded on touch-screen computerized voting machines which produced no paper trail whatsoever, so there was no recount.
Nov. 8, 2002
Downtown Atlanta election officials revealed that memory cards from 67 electronic voting machines had been misplaced, so ballots cast on those machines were left out of previously announced vote totals. All but 11 of the memory cards were subsequently found and recorded [so votes from eleven machines were still not counted].
Nov. 9, 2003
Computer generated vote totals from the MicroVote system showed 144,000 votes from 19,000 registered voters in Boone County during the November 2003 election.
Diebold to Settle Calif. Suit for $2.6M
11.10.2004, 04:53 PM
Automated teller machine maker Diebold Inc. said Wednesday that it will pay the state of California $2.6 million to settle a lawsuit related to its electronic voting machines.
Diebold May Face Criminal Charges
SACRAMENTO, California Ė- After harshly chastising Diebold Election Systems for what it considered deceptive business practices, a California voting systems panel voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that the secretary of state decertify an electronic touch-screen voting machine manufactured by the company, making it likely that four California counties that recently purchased the machines will have to find other voting solutions for the November presidential election.
The panel also voted to send the findings of its recent Diebold investigation to the state's attorney general for possible criminal and civil charges against the firm for violating state election laws.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The stateís top election official called for a criminal investigation of Diebold Election Systems Inc. as he banned use of the companyís newest model touchscreen voting machine, citing concerns about its security and reliability.
Ohio was on track to buy $10 million to $20 million in Diebold machines, but the state has since halted purchases from any vendors until security issues are resolved.
In Maryland, an activist group is suing the Maryland State Board of Elections to force the state to either fix what it claims are security vulnerabilities in Diebold voting systems or else decertify the machines for use statewide.
California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has banned one model of Diebold's machines, AccuVote-TSX, from the November elections. He also alleged Diebold lied by using the AccuVote-TSX model in the March elections, even though it didn't pass federal certification testing until late April. Also, in violation of election laws, the state claims Diebold used uncertified software in at least one county. In May, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer launched investigations into Diebold.
Criminal investigation of voting machine maker Diebold dropped
The California Attorney General's office has decided not to pursue criminal charges against McKinney-based Diebold Election Systems Inc....
The state also said it will intervene in a civil false claims case against the company.
the company "disagrees there is any basis to make a referral to the state Attorney General for any civil or criminal action."
pay the state of California $2.6 million
Incredible As It May Seem, MSNBC Covers Voting Problems
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Just watched Keith Olbermann on MSNBC in which he did a story on election problems. He said that there were 90,000 more votes cast in Ohio than registered voters (he went through a list of counties and said how many voters were registered in each and how many extra thousands of votes were recorded).
He reported how in Florida counties, heavily-leaning dem counties went overwhelmingly for Bush -- the first time these counties have ever voted Repub. He showed charts with numbers, etc., it was very compelling.
He said that all the irregularities in Florida and Ohio have happened in counties using non-paper-trail e-voting from the companies run by Bush's friends.
Indymedia fights Diebold's legal attempt to silence discussions about e-voting, 23.10.2003 05:24
Documents are publicly available that detail vulnerabilities in electronic voting machines manufactured by the Diebold Corporation. Diebold has been sending cease and desist letters to internet service providers (ISPs) that host the documents or links to them. Numerous Indymedia servers have been targeted by Diebold in its campaign to suppress this critical information.
Originally posted by Bout Time
The Association of Computer Machinery, one of the oldest "techie" guilds, had been a very vocal proponent for verified paper trails e-voting. They have also been super critical about any attempt to do it otherwise. This is why: source code that was never fully QA tested, never given to Federal oversight, was to tabulate too large a portion of key state votes. Here is proof that it was designed to be corrupted by using DES encryption - an industry standard abandoned 7 years ago as being unsound and breeched.
Dr. Avi Rubin is currently Professor of Computer Science at John Hopkins University. He "accidently"got his hands on a copy of the Diebold software program--Diebold's source code--which runs their e-voting machines.
Dr. Rubin's students pored over 48,609 lines of code that make up this software. One line in partictular stood out over all the rest:
All commercial programs have provisions to be encrypted so as to protect them from having their contents read or changed by anyone not having the key. The line that staggered the Hopkins's team was that the method used to encrypt the Diebold machines was a method called Digital Encryption Standard (DES), a code that was broken in 1997 and is NO LONGER USED by anyone to secure programs. F2654hd4 was the key to the encryption. Moreover, because the KEY was IN the source code, all Diebold machines would respond to the same key. Unlock one, you have then ALL unlocked.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
I strongly recommend speaking with any friend or family member in the IT field; particularly any that are programmers. The development of proprietary source code and processes is what my industry's financial solvency is predicated on. Any product is put through stress testing and Quality Assurance before it ever gets to the Beta stage. That a company with contracts totaling in the 100's of millions of dollars would somehow use an encryption that is covered in Applications Programming 101, is completely unbelievable.
This was an intentional flaw.
As by the link provided, DES encryption was easily broken with off the shelf hardware over five years ago - we're much further along now. Here's further expert commentary : "DES is a standard that was created in 1975 but it was kept artificially weak by the NSA. The authors wanted it to be 128 bits or more, but they kept it at 64 bits (54 actual key bits, the rest is parity, I think). It was safe at the time and stayed relatively safe for a few decades. Banks & government agencies used it for classified (but not top secret) stuff. The only entities with enough crunching power to break it were probably the NSA, the KGB, etc.. It is trivial to break it with modern hardware and nobody uses anything less than tripleDES anymore. DES is a very obsolete standard. Even with a good implementation, it would be pretty trivial to brute-force the key of a DES system if you put a little resources into it (off the shelf hardware), although it could've posed a problem of dealing with the sheer number if all voting machines had had a different encryption keys. But it was not the case."
Related News Links:
This is the first time in four decades that a political party has systematically barred -- in this case successfully -- hundreds of thousands of Black voters from access to the voting booth. While investigating for BBC Television, we obtained three dozen of the Republican Party's confidential "caging" lists, their title for spreadsheets listing names and addresses of voters they intended to block on any pretext.
We found that every single address of the thousands on these Republican hit lists was located in Black-majority precincts. You might find that nasty and racist. It may also be a crime.
Before 1965, Jim Crow laws in the Deep South did not bar Blacks from voting. Rather, the segregationist game was played by applying minor technical voting requirements only to African-Americans. That year, Congress voted to make profiling and impeding minority voters, even with a legal pretext, a criminal offence under the Voting Rights Act.
But that didn't stop the Republicans of '04. Their legally questionable mass challenge to Black voters is not some low-level dirty tricks operation of local party hacks. Emails we obtained show the lists were copied directly to the Republican National Committee's chief of research and to the director of a state campaign.
Many challenges center on changes of address. On one Republican caging list, 50 addresses changed from Jacksonville to overseas, African-American soldiers shipped Over There.
-- November 15 --
There will be a recount of the presidential vote in Ohio.
Ohio Voters Tell of Election Day Troubles at Hearing
By Reginald Fields
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Sunday 14 November 2004
For three hours, burdened voters, one after another, offered sworn testimony about Election Day voter suppression and irregularities that they believe are threatening democracy.
The hearing, sponsored by the Election Protection Coalition, was to collect testimony of voting troubles that might be used to seek legislative changes to Ohio's election process....
Harvey Wasserman of Bexley said he tried to vote absentee with the same home address he has used for 18 years but was told he couldn't because his absentee application had the wrong address.
"But the notice telling me I had the wrong address arrived at the right address," he said. "I wonder, how many of these absentee ballots were rejected for no good reason?
The Diebold GEMS central tabulator contains a stunning security hole
Manipulation technique found in the Diebold central tabulator ó 1,000 of these systems are in place, and they count up to two million votes at a time.
By entering a 2-digit code in a hidden location, a second set of votes is created. This set of votes can be changed, so that it no longer matches the correct votes. The voting system will then read the totals from the bogus vote set. It takes only seconds to change the votes, and to date not a single location in the U.S. has implemented security measures to fully mitigate the risks.
This program is not "stupidity" or sloppiness. It was designed and tested over a series of a dozen version adjustments....
So now we have someone who's admitted that he's been blackmailed over killing someone, who pleaded guilty to 23 counts of embezzlement, who is given the position of senior programmer over the GEMS central tabulator system that counts approximately 50 percent of the votes in the election, in 30 states, both paper ballot and touch screen.
And just after he is hired, multiple sets of books appear in GEMS, which can be decoupled, so that they don't need to match, by typing in a secret 2-digit code in a specific location.
There will be a recount of the presidential vote in Ohio.
Texas to Florida: White House-linked clandestine operation paid for "vote switching" software
By Wayne Madsen
On line Journal Contributing Writer
An exhaustive investigation has turned up a link between current Florida Republican Representative Tom Feeney, a customized Windows-based program to suppress Democratic votes on touch screen voting machines, a Florida computer services company with whom Feeney worked as a general counsel and registered lobbyist while he was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, and top level officials of the Bush administration. According to a notarized affidavit signed by Clint Curtis, while he was employed by the NASA Kennedy Space Center contractor, Yang Enterprises, Inc., during 2000, Feeney solicited him to write a program to "control the vote." At the time, Curtis was of the opinion that the program was to be used for preventing fraud in the in the 2002 election in Palm Beach County, Florida. His mind was changed, however, when the true intentions of Feeney became clear: the computer program was going to be used to suppress the Democratic vote in counties with large Democratic registrations.
Feeney's desire to manipulate the vote would be manifested in his home base of Volusia County in the 2000 presidential election. According to The Washington Post, at 10 p.m. on election night, Al Gore was leading Bush in Volusia County by 83,000 to 62,000 votes One-half hour later, Gore's vote total had been reduced by 16,000 to 67,000 and an obscure Socialist candidate saw a sudden surge to 10,000 votes in a precinct with only 600 voters. The information on the Volusia optical scanner voting anomalies came from a leaked internal Diebold memorandum. In the end, Bush won Florida and the White House by a mere 537 votes in the most controversial U.S. presidential election in history. Feeney had long been a voice in Florida GOP politics. He was gubernatorial candidate Jeb Bush's running mate in 1994, a race in which Democratic incumbent Lawton Chiles defeated Bush. Chiles once referred to Feeney as "the David Duke of Florida politics."
There is additional information that the election rigging principals connected to the State of Florida and Jeb Bush may have also tried to use contractors tied closely to state contracts to parlay the touch screen software into Maine, which has proportional distribution of its electoral votes by congressional district, and Ohio, the key state in 2004. The information was provided by insiders in Tallahassee who are close to offices involved in procurement by the state government. Sources close to U.S. intelligence pointed to a $29.6 million check supposedly issued on October 22, 2004, by Laurentian Bank in Montreal, Canada, that was rumored by intelligence circles to have been used to pay for the technicians who developed the software to rig the election. The computer voting machine technicians and maintenance personnel involved with the rigging were reported to have included Russians, Mexicans, and Brazilians.More
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and syndicated columnist. He is the author of "Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops & Brass Plates."
The company that requires immediate and penetrating scrutiny is Triad Systems.
Triad is owned by a man named Tod Rapp, who has also donated money to both the Republican Party and the election campaign of George W. Bush. Triad manufactures punch-card voting systems, and also wrote the computer program that tallied the punch-card votes cast in 41 Ohio counties last November. This Triad company graphic displays the counties where their machines are used...
Earlier this week, the allegations against triad were first raised by Green Party candidate David Cobb, who testified at a hearing held in Columbus, Ohio by Rep. John Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee....
representative from Triad Systems came into a county board of elections office un-announced. He said he was just stopping by to see if they had any questions about the up-coming recount. He then headed into the back room where the Triad supplied Tabulator (a card reader and older PC with custom software) is kept. He told them there was a problem and the system had a bad battery and had "lost all of its data". He then took the computer apart and started swapping parts in and out of it and another "spare" tower type PC also in the room. He may have had spare parts in his coat as one of the BOE people moved it and remarked as to how very heavy it was. He finally re-assembled everything and said it was working but to not turn it off.
He then asked which precinct would be counted for the 3% recount test, and the one which had been selected as it had the right number of votes, was relayed to him. He then went back and did something else to the tabulator computer.
The Triad Systems representative suggested that since the hand count had to match the machine count exactly, and since it would be hard to memorize the several numbers which would be needed to get the count to come out exactly right, that they should post this series of numbers on the wall where they would not be noticed by observers. He suggested making them look like employee information or something similar. The people doing the hand count could then just report these numbers no matter what the actual count of the ballots revealed. This would then "match" the tabulator report for this precinct exactly. The numbers were apparently the final certified counts for the selected precinct.
Lawmaker Seeks Inquiry into Ohio Vote
By Tom Zeller Jr.
The New York Times
Wednesday 15 December 2004
The ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, plans to ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a county prosecutor in Ohio today to explore "inappropriate and likely illegal election tampering" in at least one and perhaps several Ohio counties.
The request for an investigation, made in a letter that was also provided to The New York Times, includes accounts from at least two county employees, but is based largely on a sworn affidavit provided by the Hocking County deputy director of elections, Sherole Eaton.
Among other things, Ms. Eaton says in her affidavit that a representative of Triad Governmental Systems, the Ohio firm that created and maintains the vote-counting software in dozens of Ohio counties, made several adjustments to the Hocking County tabulator last Friday, in advance of the state's recount, which is taking place this week.
the odds of a discrepancy this large between the national exit poll and election results happening by accident are close to 1 in a million....
A state-by-state analysis of the discrepancy between exit polls and official election results shows highly improbable skewing of the election results, overwhelmingly biased towards the President.
The report concludes, ‚Äú We believe that the absence of any statistically-plausible explanation for the discrepancy between Edison/Mitofsky‚Äôs exit poll data and the official presidential vote tally is an unanswered question of vital national importance that needs thorough investigation.‚ÄĚ
Ph.D. statisticians in America who have seen this group‚Äôs preliminary exit poll study have not refuted it. This new study is a much more comprehensive an analysis of the exit poll discrepancies.
Ohio's Election Theft Scandal Re-Fired
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
The Free Press
Monday 23 May 2005
Attack on election board whistleblower and leaked Blackwell threats.
The potential firing of Ohio whistleblower Sherole Eaton, Deputy Director of the Hocking County Board of Elections, has re-fired bitter controversy over the stolen 2004 presidential election.
And newly released documents confirming a pre-election threat by Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell against election board officials has added to the mix, as has the dismissal of Blackwell's highly publicized sanction attempt against attorneys who challenged the election outcome.
A paid Hocking County Election Board staff official, Eaton gained national notoriety when she blew the whistle on a Triad vote count technician. The technician swapped-out a hard drive in the tabulating computer located at the Board of Elections office before a statewide recount could be completed. According to a December 3, 2004 affidavit sworn by Eaton, the Triad technician "advised" the Hocking County Board of Elections' Republican Director Lisa Schwartze on how to "post a 'cheat sheet'" to make the recount match the officially reported election total. Advocates of the recount complain that the unexplained intrusion by the technician compromised the integrity of the vote count.
Dramatic New Charges Deepen Link between Ohio's "Coingate,"
Voinovich Mob Connections, and the Theft of the 2004 Election
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
The Columbus Free Press
Friday 29 July 2005
Columbus - New charges filed against Ohio Governor Bob Taft's former top aide have blazed a new trail between "Coingate" and the GOP theft of the 2004 presidential election.
Brian Hicks appears in court today to answer charges that he failed to report vacation trips he took to Coingate mastermind Tom Noe's $1.3 million home in the Florida Keys. A top Taft aide for a dozen years, Hicks stayed at Noe's place in 2002 and 2003. Another Taft aide, Cherie Carroll, is charged with taking some $500 in free dinners from Noe.
Noe is a high-roller crony of Taft, US Senator George Voinovich and President George W. Bush. Noe charged the Ohio Bureau of Workman's Compensation nearly $13 million to invest some $58 million. Ohio Attorney-General Jim Petro, to whom Noe once donated money, says some $4 million disappeared into Noe's pocket.
The new charges against Taft's former aide are at the edge of Coingate's links to Bush, Voinovich and organized crime. Through Noe's wife Bernadette, those links extend to the GOP theft of Ohio 2004.
Tom Noe, northwest Ohio's "Mr. Republican" and a close Bush/Rove crony, is under federal investigation for making possibly illegal contributions to the Bush/Cheney campaign.
Originally posted by Olafski
Originally posted by ledbedder20
Almost everyone who's vote was wrongly disqualified voted democratic and then that uhaul truck was found in the everglades with democratic absentee ballots.