11/08/2004

US election fraud scandal looms?

US election fraud scandal looms?

Explosive conjectures and evidence

By Egan Orion : Wednesday 09 July
2003, 07:03

STEALING ELECTIONS is a sordid tradition in the United States, though
it's certainly not unknown in some other countries, as well.

From Tammany Hall's machine politics in the 19th century through Mayor
Daley's grasp on Chicago elections, right up to Lyndon Johnson's first
election and John Kennedy's 1960 cliff-hanger defeat of Richard Nixon,
many US elections have been thought to have had "irregularities".

So much so that it's not really certain where "Vote early, and often!"
originated, whether in Boston, New York, or Chicago. It is also well
known that many lesser US cities had political corruption, including
rampant election fraud, at one time or another in their histories.

Now a New Zealand political activist has published suspicions, along
with supporting evidence, that electronic voting in the US is being
manipulated by right-wing politicians with the connivance of several
voting machine manufacturers. The story revolves around some highly
volatile conjectures and might be explosive, if fully investigated.

The article is reprinted below with permission, lightly edited merely
for formatting, minor typos and a minor fact (G.W. Bush isn't a Jr.).

Here at the INQUIRER, we can't help but notice that the highly, er...
accommodating database software that drives these allegedly dodgy and
easily tampered electronic voting machines is... Microsoft Access.

And we're trying to decide on a catchy term that ends in "gate".µ

L'INQ
www.scoop.co.nz

Sludge Report #154

Bigger Than Watergate!

The story you are about to read is in this writer's view the biggest
political scandal in American history, if not global history. And it is
being broken today here in New Zealand.

This story cuts to the bone the machinery of democracy in America today.
Democracy is the only protection we have against despotic and arbitrary
government, and this story is deeply disturbing.

Imagine if you will that you are a political interest group that wishes
to control forevermore the levers of power. Imagine further that you
know you are likely to implement a highly unpopular political agenda,
and you do not wish to be removed by a ballot driven backlash.

One way to accomplish this outcome would be to adopt the Mugabe
(Zimbabwe) or Hun Sen (Cambodia) approach. You agree to hold elections,
but simultaneously arrest, imprison and beat your opponents and their
supporters. You stuff ballot boxes, disenfranchise voters who are
unlikely to vote for you, distort electoral boundaries and provide
insufficient polling stations in areas full of opposition supporters.

However as so many despots have discovered, eventually such techniques
always fail - often violently. Hence, if you are a truly ambitious
political dynasty you have to be a bit more subtle about your methods.

Imagine then if it were possible to somehow subvert the voting process
itself in such a way that you could steal elections without anybody knowing.

Imagine for example if you could:

- secure control of the companies that make the voting machines and vote
counting software;
- centralise vote counting systems, and politicise their supervision;
- legislate for the adoption of such systems throughout your domain, and
provide large amounts of money for the purchase of these systems;
- establish systems of vote counting that effectively prevent anybody on
the ground in the election - at a booth or precinct level - from seeing
what is happening at a micro-level;
- get all the major media to sign up to a single exit-polling system
that you also control - removing the risk of exit-polling showing up
your shenanigans.

And imagine further that you:

- install a backdoor, or numerous backdoors, in the vote counting
systems you have built that enable you to manipulate the tabulation of
results in real time as they are coming in.

Such a system would enable you to intervene in precisely the minimum
number of races necessary to ensure that you won a majority on election
night. On the basis of polling you could pick your marginal seats and
thus keep your tweaking to a bare minimum.

Such a system would enable you to minimise the risks of discovery of
your activities.

Such a system would enable you to target and remove individual political
opponents who were too successful, too popular or too inquisitive.

And most importantly of all, such a system would enable you to
accomplish all the above without the public being in the least aware of
what you were doing. When confronted with the awfulness of your
programme they would be forced to concede that at least it is the result
of a democratic process.

How To Rig An Election In The United States

So how would such a system actually work?

Well one way to run such a corrupt electoral system might look like this.

- Each voting precinct (or booth) could be fitted with electronic voting
systems, optical scanning systems, punch card voting systems or the more
modern touchscreen electronic voting machines;

- At the close of play each day the booth/precinct supervisor could be
under instructions to compile an electronic record of the votes cast in
their booth;

- They might print out a report that contains only the details of the
total votes count for that precinct/booth, and then file via modem the
full electronic record of votes through to the County supervisor;

- The County Supervisor could be equipped with a special piece of
software and a bank of modems that enables all these results to be
received and tabulated in the internals of the computer;

- The County Supervisors themselves could be assured that their system
was bullet proof, certified and contained tamper-protection mechanisms
par excellence;

- The Country Supervisor could be given a range of tools for looking at
the data within this software, but nothing to enable them to directly
manipulate the results;

- But unbeknownst to the County Supervisor the software could actually
create three separate records of the voting data;

- Meanwhile - also unbeknownst to the County Supervisor - these three
tables of voting data could be in fact completely insecure and
accessible simply through a common database programme, say Microsoft Access;

- Having the three tables would enable you to keep the real data in
place - so the system could pass spot tests on individual precincts and
booth results (should a precinct supervisor be particularly astute) -
while simultaneously enabling you to manipulate the bottom line result;

- Finally you might also enhance the election hacker's powers by
including within the software a utility to enable them to cover their
tracks by changing the date and time stamps on files and remove evidence
of your tampering.

Fantasy Becomes Reality

The above description of a corrupt voting system is not the result of an
overactive imagination. Rather it is the result of extensive research by
computer programmers and journalists working around the globe.
Principally it is the work of investigative Journalist Bev Harris,
author of the soon to be published book "Black Box Voting: Ballot
Tampering In The 21st Century".

And most important of all it is the result of research focussed on
investigating the actual software distributed by one of the largest
voting systems companies operating in the recent U.S. Elections.

CAVEAT: It is important to note that the research into this subject has
not established that the files we have been working on were in fact in
situ in County Election Supervisors offices at the last election - nor
have we proof that the back door we have discovered - which might enable
the rigging of elections - was actually used in any recent election.
However it is the considered opinion of all those involved in this
investigation that it is not up to us as journalists or programmers to
prove that elections were rigged, rather it is a responsibility of the
electoral system itself to prove its integrity.

What you read here amounts to revelation of evidence of motive,
opportunity, method, prior conduct, and a variety of items of consistent
unexplained circumstantial evidence. Significantly we do not believe we
have sufficient resources to complete this investigation to its
conclusion and are therefore making available our findings to the media,
community organisations, political parties, computer scientists and
geeks in the anticipation that they will pick up the torch and take
extend this inquiry into every county in the United States.

How We Discovered The Backdoor

The story of how this story emerged is a great tale in itself, most of
which has already been told in this report by Bev Harris.

SYSTEM INTEGRITY FLAW DISCOVERED AT DIEBOLD ELECTION SYSTEMS
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0302/S00052.htm

The short version of the story is relatively simple.

In the course of investigating the issue of the integrity of new
electronic voting machines Bev Harris learned that people around the
world had been downloading from an open FTP site belonging to Diebold
Election Systems one of the leading manufactures of voting systems.

This website contained several gigabytes of files including manuals,
source codes and installation versions of numerous parts of the Diebold
voting system, and of its vote counting programme GEMS.

Realising we had stumbled across what might be the equivalent of the
Pentagon Papers for elections, the full contents of this website have
been secured around the world at several locations. The original website
was itself taken down on January 29th 2003.

We can now reveal for the first time the location of a complete online
copy of the original data set. As we anticipate attempts to prevent the
distribution of this information we encourage supporters of democracy to
make copies of these files and to make them available on websites and
file sharing networks.

http://users.actrix.co.nz/dolly/

As many of the files are zip password protected you may need some
assistance in opening them, we have found that the utility available at
the following URL works well:

http://www.lostpassword.com

Finally some of the zip files are partially damaged, but these too can
be read by using the utility at:

http://www.zip-repair.com/

At this stage in this inquiry we do not believe that we have come even
remotely close to investigating all aspects of this data. I.E. There is
no reason to believe that the security flaws discovered so far are the
only ones.

Therefore we expect many more discoveries to be made. We want the
assistance of the online computing community in this enterprise and we
encourage you to file your findings at the forum HERE


Finally, for obvious reasons it is important that this information is
distributed as widely as possible as quickly as possible. We encourage
all web bloggers, web publishers and web media to re-publish and link to
this article and to its companion article by Bev Harris which contains
detailed descriptions of how to use the GEMS software to rig an election.

To conclude this overview article I will make a few more comments on the
evidence we have thus far that the U.S. election system has been
compromised. As stated earlier we do not at this stage have proof that
it has in fact been been compromised through this method, just a great
deal of circumstantial evidence that it could have been.

If this was Watergate, we are effectively at the point of discovering
evidence of a break-in and have received the call from deep-throat
telling us that should dig much deeper.

Proof will follow in time we expect, but only if the work we have begun
is completed and this inquiry is taken into every corner of the U.S.
electoral system.

Evidence Of Motive

This is probably the easiest part of this puzzle to get your head
around. The motivation of the Republican Party in general and the
current administration in particular to gain ever greater amounts of
power - by whatever means possible and damn the consequences - is
evidenced most recently in the Supreme Court's partisan appointment of
George [W.] Bush [...] as President, the attempt to recall California
Governor Gray Davis, and the Ken Starr investigation and attempted
impeachment of President Clinton.

Evidence Of Opportunity

Republican connected control over the major election systems companies
in the United States has been thoroughly researched.

Bob Urosevich, CEO of Diebold Election Systems is also the founder of
ES&S, a competing voting machine company. Together these two companies
are responsible for tallying around 80% of votes cast in the United
States. Also significant, from what we can determine about the
architecture of the software, is that its basic structure was
specifically a creation of Mr Urosevich's company I-Mark. For more
background on Diebold Systems connections to the Republican Party see:

Diebold - The Face Of Modern Ballot Tampering
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0211/S00081.htm

Meanwhile Presidential wannabee and Republican Party United States
Senator Chuck Hagel has been directly connected to ES&S via his campaign
finance director, Michael McCarthy, who has admitted that Senator Hagel
still owns a beneficial interest in the ES&S parent company, the
McCarthy Group.

Senate Ethics Director Resigns; Senator Hagel Admits Owning Voting
Machine Company
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0301/S00166.htm

Evidence Of Method

The evidence of method has been detailed in a companion article by Bev
Harris, author of the soon to be published block-buster Black Box Voting.

Inside A U.S. Election Vote Counting Program
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0307/S00065.htm

In this article - which contains screenshots from the software and
detailed instructions on how one might rig an election - Bev Harris
explains security flaws thus:

"The GEMS election file contains more than one "set of books." They are
hidden from the person running the GEMS program, but you can see them if
you go into Microsoft Access.

"You might look at it like this: Suppose you have votes on paper
ballots, and you pile all the paper ballots in room one. Then, you make
a copy of all the ballots and put the stack of copies in room 2.

"You then leave the door open to room 2, so that people can come in and
out, replacing some of the votes in the stack with their own.

"You could have some sort of security device that would tell you if any
of the copies of votes in room 2 have been changed, but you opt not to.

"Now, suppose you want to count the votes. Should you count them from
room 1 (original votes)? Or should you count them from room 2, where
they may or may not be the same as room 1? What Diebold chose to do in
the files we examined was to count the votes from "room 2.""

Evidence Of Prior Conduct

It is a recorded fact that every system of balloting established in
America has been gamed and rigged. I.E. America's political
practitioners have a very long history of ballot rigging and vote
tampering. This is nothing new and evidence of the sort we have
uncovered has been long predicted by computer scientists such as Dr
Rebecca Mercuri.

In more recent history investigative Journalist Greg Palast has
documented in detail Katherine Harris's use of electronic data matching
technologies to disenfranchise thousands of Florida voters in advance of
the 2000 Presidential election.

We highly recommend readers purchase a copy of "The Best Democracy Money
Can Buy" by Greg Palast to read much more about this.

A compendium of links on Palast's investigations can be found via a
Google search on: "greg palast florida katherine harris".

Consistent Unexplained Circumstantial Evidence

During the 2002 Mid-term there were numerous reports of unusual
happenings in counties throughout the United States.

Among the phenomena reported were voting numbers suddenly fluctuating in
the middle of the counting process, something you might expect to see if
the backdoor identified above were used clumsily.

An organisation called Votewatch was set up during the 2002 elections to
record unusual happenings and its archives can be viewed here.

http://pub103.ezboard.com/bsoldiervoice

It will suffice here to cite a couple of specific examples - these are
excerpts from the soon to be published " Black Box Voting: Ballot
Tampering In The 21st Century". These examples of actual events are
consistent with the existence and use of an electronic vote counting
hack described above.

November 1990, Seattle, Washington - Worse than the butterfly ballot,
some Democratic candidates watched votes alight, then flutter away.
Democrat Al Williams saw 90 votes wander off his tally between election
night and the following day, though no new counting had been done. At
the same time, his opponent, Republican Tom Tangen, gained 32 votes. At
one point several hundred ballots added to returns didn't result in any
increase in the number of votes. But elsewhere, the number of votes
added exceeded the number of additional ballots counted. A Republican
candidate achieved an amazing surge in his absentee percentage for no
apparent reason. And no one seemed to notice (until a determined
Democratic candidate started demanding an answer) that the machines
simply forgot to count 14,000 votes.

November 1996, Bergen County, New Jersey - Democrats told Bergen County
Clerk Kathleen Donovan to come up with a better explanation for
mysterious swings in vote totals. Donovan blamed voting computers for
conflicting tallies that rose and fell by 8,000 or 9,000 votes. The
swings perplexed candidates of both parties. For example, the Republican
incumbent, Anthony Cassano, had won by about 7,000 votes as of the day
after the election but his lead evaporated later. One candidate actually
lost 1,600 votes during the counting. "How could something like that
possibly happen?" asked Michael Guarino, Cassano's Democratic
challenger. "Something is screwed up here."

November 1999, Onondaga County, New York - Computers gave the election
to the wrong candidate, then gave it back. Bob Faulkner, a political
newcomer, went to bed on Election Night confident he had helped complete
a Republican sweep of three open council seats. But after Onondaga
County Board of Elections staffers rechecked the totals, Faulkner had
lost to Democratic incumbent Elaine Lytel.

April 2002, Johnson County, Kansas - Johnson County's new Diebold touch
screen machines, proclaimed a success on election night, did not work as
well as originally believed. Incorrect vote totals were discovered in
six races, three of them contested, leaving county election officials
scrambling to make sure the unofficial results were accurate. Johnson
County Election Commissioner Connie Schmidt checked the machines and
found that the computers had under- and over-reported hundreds of votes.
"The machines performed terrifically," said Bob Urosevich, CEO of
Diebold Election Systems. "The anomaly showed up on the reporting part."

The problem, however, was so perplexing that Schmidt asked the Board of
Canvassers to order a hand re-count to make sure the results were
accurate. Unfortunately, the touch screen machines did away with the
ballots, so the only way to do a hand recount is to have the machine
print its internal data page by page. Diebold tried to re-create the
error in hopes of correcting it. "I wish I had an answer," Urosevich
said. In some cases, vote totals changed dramatically.

November 2002, Comal County, Texas - A Texas-sized lack of curiosity
about discrepancies: The uncanny coincidence of three winning Republican
candidates in a row tallying up exactly 18,181 votes each was called
weird, but apparently no one thought it was weird enough to audit.
Conversion to alphabet: 18181 18181 18181 ahaha ahaha ahaha.

November 2002, Baldwin County, Alabama - No one at the voting machine
company can explain the mystery votes that changed after polling places
had closed, flipping the election from the Democratic winner to a
Republican in the Alabama governor's race. "Something happened. I don't
have enough intelligence to say exactly what," said Mark Kelley of ES&S.
Baldwin County results showed that Democrat Don Siegelman earned enough
votes to win the state of Alabama. All the observers went home. The next
morning, however, 6,300 of Siegelman's votes inexplicably had
disappeared, and the election was handed to Republican Bob Riley. A
recount was requested, but denied.

November 2002, New York - Voting machine tallies impounded in New York:
Software programming errors hampered and confused the vote tally on
election night and most of the next day, causing elections officials to
pull the plug on the vote-reporting Web site. Commissioners ordered that
the voting machine tallies be impounded, and they were guarded overnight
by a Monroe County deputy sheriff.

November 2002, Georgia - Election officials lost their memory: Fulton
County election officials said 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. No hand count can
shine any light on this; the entire state of Georgia went to
touch-screen machines with no physical record of the vote. Fifty-six
cards, containing 2,180 ballots, were located, but 11 memory cards still
were missing two days after the election: Bibb County and Glynn County
each had one card missing after the initial vote count. When DeKalb
County election officials went home early Wednesday morning, they were
missing 10 cards.

Anti©opyright Sludge 2003
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=10393


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