05 April 2014

If you have a choice, vote the old fashioned way: At the polls,
allowing plenty of time, and ready to assert your right to vote, by
provisional ballot if necessary, if you are told your name is not on
the list. Although it is "easy and fun", vote by mail is second only
to Internet voting in the risk it presents to American democracy. To
get a glimpse of just how slipshod our control system for vote-by-mail
is, read the story of Jeffrey Dean and his prison companion, John
Elder:



While in prison, embezzler Jeffrey Dean became friends with a
narcotics trafficker named John Elder. While still in prison, on a
work-release program, Jeffrey Dean was tasked with creating a
computerized vote by mail program for King County, Washington. He
began this assignment while working for his brother, Neil Dean, whose
business had a contract with King County to provide temporary workers
for its huge absentee voting operation. At the time, King County had
about 1 million voters, 600,000 of whom voted by absentee.



Jeff and Neil Dean became involved in creating a vote-by-mail
automation program to handle mail processing and signature comparison.
Jeff Dean then left his brother Neil Dean's employment to launch his
own ballot printing and mailing company, then called Spectrum Print &
Mail. He brought in prison buddy John Elder to help him manage the
company.



One wonders how Jeff Dean ever got the money together to fund his
ballot printing operation, which featured high-end printing machines
from Europe. At the time he owed nearly half a million dollars in
court-ordered restitution for his embezzlement. Someone funded his
ballot printing operation, which almost immediately was given the
lucrative ballot printing contract for million-voter King County.



It's not that Jeff Dean didn't have political connections. In his
depositions, he claims that his embezzlement from the law firm back in
the 1980s was not really an embezzlement, but a kickback scheme for
some of the partners related to an off-the-books project they were
doing.



Now, Jeff Dean is a liar and a crook, there is no doubt of that (most
recently, he did an illegal, unregistered stock offering for an RV
park he owns in an Idaho resort area, bilking a lovely couple, the
Laners, out of their life savings; he purchased this expensive RV park
while declaring in Washington state that he was bankrupt, then sold
shares in it to unsuspecting investors).



I've looked at copies of the checks Jeff Dean wrote to himself while
allegedly embezzling from the law firm (he took an Alford plea, never
admitting guilt). He looks guilty to me, but his claim that he was
doing something off the books for the partners is interesting, given
the political nature of the firm and his immediate access to the King
County election system beginning while still incarcerated. One of the
partners, at the law firm Jeff Dean embezzled from was Bud Krogh, who
formerly headed the Watergate burglars under Richard Nixon. Jeff Dean
claims he took a fall for some of the partners on some off-the-books
deal they were doing. There is no doubt that he landed on his feet
unusually quickly post-incarceration.



After Jeff Dean was released, having already begun work on the
computerized vote-by-mail system which would later come to dominate
the US absentee voting market, he somehow launched a pricey print
shop, immediately got the biggest ballot-printing and mailing
assignment in Washington state, and then was assigned to work INSIDE
King County elections with the GEMS central tabulator and the voter
registration database. He was given a key and 24-hour access, and when
then-supervisor of elections Julie Anne Kempf dug up his prison record
and complained, she was fired but Jeff Dean and prison-buddy John
Elder were retained.



Jeff Dean then became a primary stockholder in what was then called
Global Election Systems, by selling his lucrative ballot printing and
mailing operation to Canadian-based Global Election Systems, which was
then purchased by Diebold. Dean pocketed a few million in the deal,
but due to a court judgment against him, hid the money by transferring
it to his son -- then taking assets purchased by the money back --
meanwhile declaring bankruptcy in Washington while hiding assets in
Idaho.



Under Diebold, Jeff Dean became a paid consultant and John Elder took
over the ballot printing and mailing, until 2004, when Black Box
Voting exposed the two felons, along with three more crooks involved
in the start-up of Global Election Systems (Michael K. Graye, Norton
Cooper, and Charles Hong Lee, who were convicted of embezzlement,
stock fraud, "defrauding the queen" and in the case of Charles Hong
Lee, ordered to pay restitution for bilking investors).



The story of what became the backbone of the US vote-by-mail software
doesn't end here, though. Neil Dean, Jeff Dean's brother and partner
during his initial design of the vote by mail software, sold his own
firm to Pitney Bowes, which came out with -- guess what? -- vote by
mail software. So now we have Pitney Bowes (which purchased Neil
Dean's outfit) and Vote Remote (Jeff Dean's software) dominating the
automated vote by mail industry in the USA.



John Elder, after being booted out of Diebold's print and mail shop
(which by then was national, handling Washington, California, Georgia,
Colorado, and many other locations), set up shop as an elections
consultant. What does he consult on, you may ask?



Black Box Voting has learned that John Elder has recently been acting
as a middleman, massaging the huge vote-by-mail databases for
California and Colorado counties before they go to the print shop. It
works like this: Counties contract with a middleman to help them with
their vote by mail; the middleman is findable through public records
for the contracts, but John Elder is not. Why? Because he acts as an
off-the-books secondary middleman. The first middleman sends the
database to John Elder, who massages the vote-by-mail data and sends
the database on to his friend at a print shop in Fresno.



Jeff Dean, meanwhile, lives in a huge home in Idaho overlooking Hell's
Canyon, along with his computer server and several expensive horses.
No one will ever serve a search warrant by surprise here, because his
mountaintop house is accessible only by a forest service road he can
watch from his panorama picture windows, and it takes a good 15
minutes of dusty driving to get up to his horse pastures.



Why is Jeff Dean and his server still of interest? According to court
transcripts, Jeffrey Dean admitted to remotely accessing the voter
databases and vote by mail programs for California counties during
live elections. So what we have (or have had) is a convicted embezzler
tinkering around by remote access in the vote databases that control
elections.



And that's the story on our vote-by-mail craze. What we need to be
focusing on is restoration of the public right to see and authenticate
every one of the four essential parts of elections. It may be "easy
and fun" to vote by mail, but with vote by mail we have just "easy and
funned" our way out of public elections. We have transferred power.



_________________________________________



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