June 30, 2004
To the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
cc: Election Center
I urge you to consider very carefully whether to accept the invitation that you have received to attend the program that is being put on, in August, by the Election Center. Why do I say this?
There is a very high concern about unethical conduct by the Election Center and its Chairman, R. Doug Lewis. It was revealed in March that Mr. Lewis and the Election Center receive funding from the voting machine vendors. From 1997 until 2000 they received $10,000 alone from Sequoia. Mr. Lewis also admitted to taking funds from ES&S and “probably Diebold." This information was revealed in an article written by Linda K. Harris for the Philadelphia Inquirer. It can be found at: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/8273865.htm Equally concerning is the fact that Mr. Lewis said he didn’t think accepting funds from the vendors was a breach of ethics or a conflict of interest.
If you look at the agenda for the program that is supposed to instruct local and state election officials and that is supposed to share information, you will notice that ES&S, Diebold, and Sequoia all play a large part in the program by providing parties and cruises to the attendees. Where is the ethical behavior in this program?
While a list of the speakers and instructors for this program is filled with PhD.’s nowhere on the program are PhD’s like Dr. David Dill, or Dr. Michael Wertheimer, or Dr. Rebecca Mercuri. Why is there no voter-verified paper ballot proponent on the program?
On the Election Center web page they have listed the “Principles of Elections / Registration Officials” and the “Standards of Conduct for Elections / Registration Officials”. In accepting funds from the voting machine industry and putting on a program that is strongly sponsored by the same industry, Mr. Lewis and the Election Center are violating their own principles and standards of conduct.
One class that is scheduled to be given during the conference is on Ethics. I certainly hope that Election Center is held-up as an example of how to bring ethical behavior into question. There is also a demonstration on the second day of the conference entitled, "Ethical Dilemma Presentation". The time frame for this demonstration shows how important Election Center feels ethics are; it gets 5 minutes.
Please do not allow the work of the Election Assistance Commission to come into question due to its association with questionable ethics.