In March, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Linda K. Harris, broke the news that R. Doug Lewis, the Chairman of the Election Center, had been receiving funding from election vendors.* A mistake by the Internal Revenue Service revealed that Mr. Lewis and the Election Center had received $10,000 a year from 1997 through 2000. Mr. Lewis then admitted that he had received funding from ES&S and “probably Diebold”. Mr. Lewis denied that receiving these donations was unethical or that it presented a conflict of interest on his part or on the part of the Election Center.
In August of this year, the Election Center will be holding their National Conference in Washington DC.** Showing no change in actions, the Election Center is allowing the vendors to play a large part in the ceremonies. Diebold will be sponsoring the welcome reception. A dinner cruise on the Potomac and “Monuments by Night Tour” will be co-sponsored by Sequoia. ES&S, not to be left out, is sponsoring the graduation luncheon and awards ceremony.
State and local election officials will be using their taxpayers' money to attend this 5-day conference. On tap are lectures about ethics and such topics as “The Media: Fighting Back--Getting the Story Straight” and “Voter Registration and Elections Litigation”. Nowhere on the agenda are discussions from anyone like Avi Rubin, David Dill, Michael Wertheimer, Barbara Simons, or Rebecca Mercuri. Also missing from the discussions are member of the Florida ACLU, League of Women Voters, and groups who are working to ensure that all presently registered voters are allowed to vote in November.
Also invited to attend the conference are the members of the Election Assistance Commission and the members of Congress who sponsored the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (Representatives Ney and Hoyer, and Senators McConnell and Dodd).