The Ohio Vote

This is hot off the presses and guaranteed to raise a stink:

Online Journal.com reported that the GAO report stated that “some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.”

Some of the GAO’s findings are:

1. Some electronic voting machines “did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected.” In short, the machines; provided a way to manipulate the outcome of the election. In Ohio, more than 800,000 votes were cast on electronic voting machines, some registered seven times Bush’s official margin of victory.

2: the report further stated that: “it was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works, so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate.” Very many sworn statements and affidavits claim that did happen in Ohio in 2004.

Next, the report says, “Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level.” The GAO found that falsifying election results without leaving evidence of doing so by using altered memory cards could easily be done.

The GAO additionally found that access to the voting network was very easy to compromise because not all electronic voting systems had supervisory functions protected by password. That meant access to one machine gave access to the whole network. That critical finding showed that rigging the election did not take a “widespread conspiracy” but simply the cooperation of a small number of operators with the power to tap into the networked machines. They could thus alter the vote totals at will. It therefore was no big task for a single programmer to flip vote numbers to give Bush the 118,775 votes.

While none of this means that it actually happened, it certainly means vote manipulation with electronic voting machines could happen and could have happened in Ohio in 2004. Again, this is a write-up from sources who tend to believe vote manipulation did happen, so I would recommend reading the GAO report (found here courtesy of BradBlog), and see for yourself if the write-up I have excerpted here accurately portrays the findings in the report. As I side note, if in fact, it does turn out that the vote was stolen in 2004, I better get used to the taste of crow because I am going to have to eat a few heaping servings.

Regardless, I have come to the conclusion that electronic voting needs to go the way of the Edsel– not because I believe anything has happened, as I do not think that has been demonstrated, but because of a much more pragmatic reason. Whether or not the vote is actually stolen, if enough of the electorate thinks the voted has been manipulated (and if you read the lefty blogs as I do and/or Marc Crispin Miller’s Fooled Again, as I have, a significant number do), that in and of itself does a great deal of damage and should be avoided at all cost.

I generally am of the belief that in government, if the truth is on your side, perceptions should take a back seat. This is not one of those cases.

I should also point out that the media silence on this is rather odd.

(h/t John S. in the comments)






111 replies
  1. 1
    Sojourner says:

    This should surprise no one who has been paying attention. How else to explain why the polls were off for districts that used electronic and not the others.

  2. 2
    John Cole says:

    Sojourner- let’s not leap from the possibility that something happened to a new ‘known fact’ that something did happen. The GAO report certainly doesn’t state that it did, so other than ‘suspicions,’ there is nothing else to warrant the belief that it did. This report just makes those suspicions less moonbatty than before.

  3. 3
    J. Michael Neal says:

    The point of the excerpt is that it isn’t just the case that it becomes easy to rig the vote, but that it is possible to do so without leaving a trace. Do I believe that the vote was stolen in Ohio? I doubt it. But you know what? I can’t say it with any more confidence than that, because we’ll never know.

  4. 4
    Pb says:

    I think it needs to go just because it isn’t verifiable. It’s a travesty that such a system got implemented at all, anywhere, much less all over America. However, it’s pathetic that something this lame is what Diebold–a company that makes *ATMs*–came up with. And once you start seeing quotes like “I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.” pop up from the head of their company to the Republican party… well, then it starts looking more criminal than anything else.

  5. 5
    rilkefan says:

    Apparently the election reform props in Ohio did much worse than the exit polling predicted, while the one R-sponsored prop performed as predicted. Curious.

  6. 6
    Jon H says:

    “let’s not leap from the possibility that something happened to a new ‘known fact’ that something did happen.”

    Well, that’s kinda the point of setting up a system that allows untraceable tampering, is it not?

  7. 7
    Sojourner says:

    Sojourner- let’s not leap from the possibility that something happened to a new ‘known fact’ that something did happen

    Fair enough. One might reasonably be suspicious when…

    This report just makes those suspicions less moonbatty than before.

    How about not at all moonbatty. It’s unclear whether this happened but there certainly are some facts that suggest it might have. Hence not moonbatty. I also remember reading some place that a statistical analysis of district results in Ohio showed that some results had an incredibly remote likelihood of happening without tinkering with the results. Proof? Maybe not but certainly giving people the right to not trust the vote counting system in this country.

  8. 8
    Vladi G says:

    Would any of you use an ATM that didn’t provide a receipt? Pb is absolutely correct. If Diebold or any other company developed an ATM that couldn’t, not wouldn’t, but couldn’t print a receipt, they wouldn’t sell one product. So how the hell do we end up with a system that allows people to cast votes electronically with no record?

  9. 9
    Steve says:

    In the last election in Virginia, there were reports that touch-screen machines were malfunctioning in that you’d hit one guy’s name but the other guy’s name would light up, and you had to press it several more times to get the right name to light up. Someone who wasn’t paying close enough attention might miss this and end up voting for the wrong guy even though they pressed the correct name. This is just another illustration that the new technology is really not any better than traditional machines in terms of getting the vote right. Sometimes it may be much worse.

  10. 10
    John Cole says:

    Would any of you use an ATM that didn’t provide a receipt?

    Actually, I do, and all the time. I never get a receipt. I just write it in the check book when I get home and then every month use my online report to balance everything out.

  11. 11
    Stormy70 says:

    Still no way it was stolen, but dream on.

  12. 12
    Mike S says:

    Stormy70 Says:

    Still no way it was stolen, but dream on.

    I’m one of those that has argued that it most probably wasn’t stolen, but that comment is just nonsense Stormy. The post shows that it could have been.

  13. 13
    Anderson says:

    Spooky stuff. I just can’t understand why we’re even having to have this discussion, unless the Republicans want to use the machines to cheat.

    A paper record just seems so obviously necessary. Someone enlighten me, please?

  14. 14
    Steve says:

    As usual, Stormy misses the point by a mile. Still, it was kind of fun last year to hear all the right-wingers scream about the elections in Washington State, using the same arguments they used to laugh off when the Democrats made them in Florida 2000. I’d imagine Stormy hasn’t taken 2 seconds to actually look at the issue of whether anything shady happened in Ohio, because after all, who would bother to investigate their own side’s win? But when R’s are on the losing team, they want to burn the place to the ground.

  15. 15
    Perry Como says:

    Actually, I do, and all the time. I never get a receipt. I just write it in the check book when I get home and then every month use my online report to balance everything out.

    Which provides a verifiable audit process. When Diebold, ES&S, et al. were selling their voting machines with no paper trail, I had a conversation with another programmer. I suggested we start a company that made voting machines where the hardware and software were completely transparent. Anyone could examine the how the machine and the software works, so there was no possibility of stealing an election.

    His answer was quite simple: “Why would anyone want a electronic voting machine you can’t rig?”

  16. 16
    Steve says:

    Perry, I understand the concept of open source and all that, but how would you create a machine where the code is subject to 24/7 real-time verification? Because, you know, as the machine sits there tallying up votes, I have no way of knowing that it is actually running the published program.

  17. 17
    rilkefan says:

    “A paper record just seems so obviously necessary. Someone enlighten me, please?”

    For one thing, it’s not worth anything – the (tampered) machine prints out exactly what you voted but records something different.

  18. 18
    demimondian says:

    how would you create a machine where the code is subject to 24/7 real-time verification

    There are ways to do that, actually. It’s just that nobody really wants to spend the kind of money necessary to build a voting machine which meets CC3.

  19. 19
    Perry Como says:

    It doesn’t need to be 24/7 real time. You keep a set of master binaries of the byte code that is compiled from the source. Before the machines are used in each election, you run a diff of the machine binaries and the master binaries to see if anything has been modified. That’s a very simple solution that would eliminate 99.99% of tampering with the source. The other .01% is more difficult, but not insurmountably so.

    Just the idea that some of these voting systems are built on MS Access shows what a hack job they are.

  20. 20
    KC says:

    Count me as one of the people who thinks paper backup for elections is what we need, everytime, all the time. Stand alone electronic voting is just plain a bad idea. Here in California, it made headlines when the Governor tried to vote and someone who tinkered with the electronic voting machine screwed up his ballot. He, of course, was allowed to cast another ballot. However, if it was you or me, I’m not sure we would have gotten that option.

  21. 21
    jcricket says:

    The results in Ohio weren’t just off a little. Some think they were “impossibly off

    Again, we can argue over whether specific elections were stolen or not, but there’s an easy way to solve this issue, once and for all.

    Set national standards for voting machine security and enforce them. Include requirements for up-front independent security audits of all voting technology and regular process audits for local procedures and facilities. Require voter-verifiable paper trails with third-party audit capability. Provide federal funding for local agencies to
    Set large fines and de-certify manufacturers and/or local agencies that refuse to comply.

    Not that f*ing complicated, and voting’s too important to leave it up to the “lowest bidder”

  22. 22
    a guy called larry says:

    the (tampered) machine prints out exactly what you voted but records something different

    At the grocery store, I get a reciept, but that’s not the only copy. Ever have to wait for them to change the little roll? There’s an internal copy of everything, so that there’s a record of the guy selling the $30 steaks to the cute girl for $3. It’s easier to trust people when you’ve got multiple copies.

  23. 23
    a guy called larry says:

    I forgot to say that the numbers on the reel should match the money in the till, too.

  24. 24
    Sean P says:

    Here in California, almost all of the non-absentee ballots cast were through electronic voting machines. Accordingly, the number of electronic ballots cast in California was probably many times greater than Kerry’s margin of victory. And yet, for some reason, nobody in the Bush Stole Ohio crowd has demanded an investigation into possible voter fraud in California — or, for that matter, in New Hampshire and Wisconsin, where the margin of victory for Kerry was less than Bush’s margin in Ohio and either of which would have rendered a Kerry victory in Ohio moot if they had gone for Bush instead.

    Strange.

  25. 25
    Perry Como says:

    For one thing, it’s not worth anything – the (tampered) machine prints out exactly what you voted but records something different.

    That depends on how it’s done. If the machine stores the paper internally then there’s no point. If the voter gets a receipt that is visually verifiable and the receipt is dropped into a separate ballot box, then you have an audit trail. If the election is challenged the recount is done with the paper receipts.

    Recounts with this current set of machines involves hitting the “results” button again. If it was broken with the first set of results, running the same flawed calculations a second time is not going to be any different…

  26. 26
    Perry Como says:

    nobody in the Bush Stole Ohio crowd has demanded an investigation into possible voter fraud

    Verifiable voting is a non-partisan issue. Plenty of people from all over the political spectrum have been screaming about electronic voting since it was proposed.

  27. 27
    a guy called larry says:

    The National Election Data Archive Project did an audit of the exit poll data in Ohio, and found that, among other things,

    The precinct level Ohio exit poll data provided in the ESI report shows mathematically impossible results in two precincts. In precincts #47 and #25 17 , even if all of the voters who did not complete exit polls (the “non-responders”) voted for Bush, the official Bush vote share could not have been as high as it was. In another precinct, #7, all non-responders would have had to vote for Bush to get Bush’s official vote count, despite a 34% Kerry vote among exit poll responders in that precinct.

    and

    57% of Ohio’s Exit-Polled Precincts Have Statistically Significant Discrepancies

    This is exit poll data only, not related to the GAO’s findings in any way. Except the obvious one.

  28. 28

    This is all fairly simple. All we need is a paper trail for the machines. You should get a voting “receipt” and then after checking it, place your voting receipt in a box for back-up.

    This should be made a federal law. Without a doubt, a paper trail should exist.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    a guy called larry says:

    Strange

    California a swing state? No? not strange.

  31. 31
    nycmoderate says:

    I’ve never understood the push for ATM-style voting machines, paper trail or not. When I lived in Minnesota, we had optical scan ballots. You went into the little booth, filled out your ballot, then put it into a reader machine thing and if there was a problem (undervote or overvote [except where there was only one candidate]), it spit it back out at you for you to correct, re-ballot, or accept (for instance, if you only voted the top races and left the municipal/judge spots blank).

    That seems decidedly more secure, accurate, and re-countable than any of the other systems. And yeah, someone can still screw it up, but that’s going to be true of any system you come up with.

  32. 32
    Jill says:

    This explains the buyer’s remorse that the American voters are experiencing so soon after an election, which ssems to have been another selection.

  33. 33
    Sojourner says:

    And yet, for some reason, nobody in the Bush Stole Ohio crowd has demanded an investigation into possible voter fraud in California—or, for that matter, in New Hampshire and Wisconsin, where the margin of victory for Kerry was less than Bush’s margin in Ohio and either of which would have rendered a Kerry victory in Ohio moot if they had gone for Bush instead.

    I want fair voting, even if the guy I want to win loses as a result. Anyone who doesn’t want that doesn’t believe in our democratic republic.

  34. 34
    Krista says:

    I better get used to the taste of crow because I am going to have to eat a few heaping servings.

    If that is the case, I’d like to say that the people here won’t break out into violent fits of the “I-told-you-so”s…but I think they’ll just feel too damn vindicated to do otherwise. If you can manage to eat your crow with grace and humour, it probably won’t be too bad. Just a friendly heads-up.

  35. 35
    jaime says:

    That seems decidedly more secure, accurate, and re-countable than any of the other systems

    It would seem so. The problem with optical scan is that it is ‘electronic’ as well. What happens is, the tallies from these machines are submitted electonically to a central tabulator via memory card. A vote can be switched either when inputted or when being tallied at the central tabulator. These are often run by Secretaries of State / Head of so and so’s re-election campaign.

    Discrepancies could go unnoticed because of the supposed accuracy of the optical scan. The way to prevent that is to either make the PAPER ballot THE ballot with the electronic count the back-up or verify the paper ballot against the official optical scan count.

  36. 36
    dano347 says:

    Sean P Says:

    “Here in California, almost all of the non-absentee ballots cast were through electronic voting machines. Accordingly, the number of electronic ballots cast in California was probably many times greater than Kerry’s margin of victory. And yet, for some reason, nobody in the Bush Stole Ohio crowd has demanded an investigation into possible voter fraud in California— [. . .]”

    The machines used in this election are different than the machines used last year in the presidential election.
    In this vote, paper ballots are cast and then read electronically – but there is still a verifiable paper trail, unlike the machines used last year. And what “possible voter fraud” do you allude to?

  37. 37
    Indy Voter says:

    “I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.”

    – Walden O’Dell, Chief Executive of Diebold Inc.

  38. 38
    Steve S says:

    Does anybody actually trust Republicans to not steal an election if they are given the chance?

    I’m not accusing them of tampering ballots in Ohio. But nobody should be giving that level of trust to anybody.

    This crap is ridiculous. It undermines the entire election process to have this level of doubt.

  39. 39
    Blue Shark says:

    …Problem is…NOBODY but a few of us left-leaning bloggers are even talking about Electoral Reform.

    …The entire Mainstream Corporate Media has taken a pass.

    …Nobody is gonna get something repaired if nobody knows it is broken. The Republicans, who (mysteriously) control every branch of government, the media, and most of the judiciary thinks the current system is just fine and should be, and is bieng, expanded. It works great for them.

    …Go Figure!

  40. 40
    bago says:

    Whoever designed/tested/approved/vetted/bought these machines should be fired.

    The technology to have accurate transactions with multiple copies of data, signed code, proper transactions, proper encryption, storage, and modification protection has existed for decades. The fact that someone could release a product that screws up EVERY one of those features should be setting off HUGE alarm bells.

    Do you think banks run software this crappy? Hell no! They’d be robbed blind in minutes if they tried to do business over software so insecure.

    We’re not talking about a random bug allowing unauthorized code to run, or a buffer overrun exploit, or even a man-in-the-middle attack. We’re talking about many FUNDAMENTAL design flaws.

    Either they had some intern still in college try and design and implement this thing in a weekend, or it was purposely flawed. There is no excuse.

    There is absolutely NO reason to not leave a paper trail/receipt, except for nefarious purposes. You can’t even buy a candy bar without a receipt being printed. Receipt printers are cheap, easy to maintain, and fairly reliable. They are very simple to program for, and provide a backup to the electronic record, as well as allow for a sense of security in the customer. The arguments against a receipt are what exactly?

    I am a programmer, and much like the other programmer mentioned in this thread, the only reason a system this bad would be implemented would be so that it could be controlled.

    The fact that a single compromised client on the network has access to the ENTIRE network is a dead giveaway. A hacker couldn’t possibly ask for a better gift. No logging or CRC’s on the data? Merry hackmas! You can’t get caught!

  41. 41
    Jcricket says:

    The banking analogy is good, with the caveat that we vote by ‘secret ballot’ so there are some issues relating to that.

    Banks allow for three kind of “audits”, with great results (although not zero fraud):

    1) Ad-hoc – User checks cash wad to make sure ATM spit out right amount of money. User balances checking account at end of month, by comparing to receipts. So users have some power here.

    2) Internal – Banks constantly check for fraud, looking for suspicious transactions, running security audits of procedures at branches, etc. Lots of fraud is caught this way. Banks can’t always recover the money, but they can identify how much was lost. Banks have a vested interest (pun intended) with not losing moeny.

    3) External – Banks are required by law to allow external auditors to access their books.

    No one of these auditing procedures is perfect. For example, if 90% of us don’t balance our checkbooks, we’ll never notice the bank skimming from us. Or if an internal bank employee is cooking the books, the internal auditor might not be able to tell. But the combination of coverage which limits fraud, and allows for the fraud to be well documented when it occurs. Basically everyone would have to be “in on the fraud” (which periodically happens) for the fraud to be undetected for any length of time.

    That’s what we need with voting. Give voters a chance to personally verify things. If enough of them see votes switched, that will trigger alarms. Give the local voting agencies the chance to do audits (i.e. hand recounts). Give the external auditors (either professional firms or the media) the ability to conduct their own hand recounts and to have access to the data.

    Couple this with strong regulations that require electronic voting machines and voting agencies to pass the type of security hurdles we require for banks, and follow up with auditing and we’d be fine. Good data encryption, physical security, two or three factor authentication, paper backup trails, monitoring of election employees, tamper proof seals on boxes, etc.

    It’s the “black box” aspect of our current electronic systems, combined with the patchwork of voting methods that leads to the ease of committing fraud and the current breakdown in voter trust of election results.

  42. 42
    Mother Jones says:

    The real issue is whether the electorate will trust it’s voting system. I do not. Millions of our fellow citizens do not. That is a fact that cannot be argued now. Eligeble voters no longer bother to register or vote. And…its not just electronic machines that are the problem.
    Our whole campaign finance system is an anethma to a democratic republic. Politicians are bought and sold.

    The Main stream media has failed to fill its obligations as the 4th estate to keep us well informed.

    Our instutions are all in decline. We will either reform these systems, or the people will abandon them and find alternatives.

  43. 43
    Jay C says:

    Maybe one reason for the “media silence” on this GAO report is the potential embarrassment factor. Casting doubt on already-certified election results has generally, up to now, been the province of cranks, fringies, and/or disgruntled losing parties. The blogosphere, in particular, has been chockablock with all sorts of claims and dismissals of said claims since the last Presidential poll: few media outlets are likely to want to admit that the “nuts” or “sore losers” are/were correct. Of course, the “cranks” and “sore losers” are all Democrats; when Republicans lose a close election, their complaints are FAR more justified!

  44. 44
    Jon H says:

    The computer voting terminals are useful in cases of disability or language issues.

    My preferred solution would be to use computers to mark cards with your votes (in both readable text and barcode), but the vote-selecting machine would have no network connection.

    You’d make your selections, collect your printed card, and take it to a second station. At that station, your card would be scanned, and your selections would be displayed on a screen (or read via headphones) so that you could verify the barcodes as being accurately printed on the card. (In case the first machine printed a barcode that didn’t match what you selected.)

    If you agree that the card’s barcodes are correct, the validating machine would submit them electronically to a central database, with the card acting as a human- and machine-readable receipt.

    Really quite simple, actually.

  45. 45
    John S. says:

    Cole-

    I am equally flabbergasted as to why this had to come from some podunk newspaper – as I have yet to see it anywhere else.

  46. 46
    Sojourner says:

    I am equally flabbergasted as to why this had to come from some podunk newspaper – as I have yet to see it anywhere else.

    Actually it’s been out for a while (Internet time). I downloaded it on 10/28.

  47. 47
    John S. says:

    Actually it’s been out for a while (Internet time). I downloaded it on 10/28.

    I meant other sources in print (or online). This was the first I had really come across it, and a quick search didn’t really show much coverage in the MSM.

  48. 48
    Vladi G says:

    Actually, I do, and all the time. I never get a receipt. I just write it in the check book when I get home and then every month use my online report to balance everything out.

    1) Even if you choose not to receive a receipt, you have the option of receiving a receipt. This alone provides an extra level of piece of mind.

    2) Your bank keeps a record of your transactions. Even if you don’t take a receipt, you most likely either a) get a statement every month against which you can check your transactions, or b) have access to an on-line statement.

    Neither is possible with Diebold machines. I wouldn’t put my money in a bank that said “you can’t ever check your balance, but trust us, we’ll keep track of it.” I don’t think you would either, John.

    And you probably wouldn’t put your money in a bank who’s CEO said “I am committed to making sure John Cole lowers his balance to zero this year.”

  49. 49
    Sojourner says:

    I meant other sources in print (or online). This was the first I had really come across it, and a quick search didn’t really show much coverage in the MSM.

    Sorry. I wasn’t clear. Because it has been out for a while, it should have been picked up by the MSM by now. So obviously they’re choosing to ignore it.

    Damn that liberal press!

  50. 50
    CaseyL says:

    There are perfectly obvious reasons why the MSM hasn’t picked up on this story.

    One, it’s “old news,” in that the election is over.

    Two, this is the same MSM that in 2000 kept hinting the country would fall into civil war if the Florida recount proceeded, and went along with the GOP “Sore Loserman” campaign. I’ve never figured that one out, since you’d think a stolen election would be a story any enterprising journalist would sell their nearest and dearest to cover. VRWC? or just laziness? You be the judge.

    Three, the man in the best position to cry foul and push for a full recount and investigation – i.e., Senator John “I’ll Fight for You!” Kerry – folded his tent and slipped quietly away into the night.

    What this means is that the results of two Presidential elections running were at the very least questionable. My own personal feeling is that 2000 was a fortuitous accident for the GOP (what with Nader, and the Palm Beach debacle) but gave its vote mechanics some great ideas about how to warp future elections; 2002 was the first major roll-out of those ideas (Chambliss’ victory over Cleland, as counted by Diebold machines, was later found to be, um, questionable); and 2004 was a masterpiece of fraud across the board.

    That’s why I worry about 2006. It won’t be enough for the country to start having some serious doubts about Bush and the GOP. A pre-election polling difference of 5% between candidates can be “finessed.” There needs to be a deep and total repudiation, 25% and higher, because those numbers are hard to overcome without being in-your-face obvious about it.

  51. 51
    John says:

    I remember a couple of years ago, those of us who were screaming that there was no proof that Saddam Hussein had WMDs which posed an “iminent threat” to the United States were dismissed as moonbatty conspiracy theorists (or Saddam loving Neville Chamberlains).

    And look how that turned out.

    Now, I’m not saying fraud took place in Ohio or anywhere else for that matter, but it seems kind of foolish to refuse to admit that it’s even a possibility.

  52. 52
    Mr Furious says:

    “…I never get a [ATM] receipt. I just write it in the check book when I get home and then every month use my online report to balance everything out..”

    So, in other words, you still have a paper trail and an electronic record to verify your transaction… Would you still use an ATM an bank that employed the “honor system” to keep track of your money?

  53. 53
    Buddy says:

    I worked for 7 years in county government and one of my jobs was working on county elections and running/maintaining the equipment, so I have a bit of insight into this stuff.

    Firstly most of these machines do have a paper trail internally. It’s just incredibly hard to do a paper recount in that manner because the paper audit reports suck. But it is there and COULD be done, at least on the machines as they were in FL. I’ve always said touch screen voting sucked, and indeed guided our voter reg office away from them when FL outlawed punch card voting. We bought optical scan machines (similar to scantron, or fill in the bubble lottery cards) which can be verified by paper vote if needed. Frankly they are no better than our old punch machines.

    The main reason I say that optical scan are no better than the mechanical form of punch card generated voting cards is that people are too stupid generally to follow directions. They put a single dot in the circle, they X the circle, the Circle the whole name. They bubble in a vote, and then bubble in the ‘write in’ vote and fill in their vote ‘just to make sure’ thereby disqualifying their vote when counting them electronically. At least with the old punch machines the holes were consistent.

    The SupElections of West Palm were a bunch of idiots for using those stylus cards. They suck and are quite unreliable. We used punch cards that required a mechanical device to generate the hole in the card, which are practically impossible to create a ‘hanging chad’, a ‘pregnant chad’ or anything else but a friggin hole as long as your elections people aren’t idiots and clean the trays out of the things once every few hours. Believe me, after that election, we TRIED and couldn’t do it with our style of punch machines. Maybe someone should make a mechanical device to ‘fill in the bubble’ on the optical scan cards or something. ‘Too Complicated’ probably.

    Secondly, according to FL protocol, these machines are not supposed to be hooked up to a network, period, at least as far as I know (we certainly didn’t allow it). If Ohio allows this, well take it up with their legislature, as it’s an incredibly stupid idea and shouldn’t be allowed. They do, however, have a modem bank connection (like an ATM central DB). One would have to know the phone number(s) and be able to hack into the box undetected to do any changing, or be the one operating the DB machine in the first place (which generally, and stupidly are usually running an Access DB). Possible? Yes. Do I believe it happened? Not really. In reality these things are REAL similar to an ATM on the backend from what I’ve seen, but I’ve not had a heck of a lot of experience with the Touch Screen crap, because they don’t have an ‘easily’ verifiable paper trail, and as I said we refused to buy them.

    Thirdly, it would require a conspiracy of mass proportions for someone to change the vote counts, from the SupElections to the county judge, the canvassing board, and all the Party chairs, etc in a particular county. You have a heck of a lot of open verification in a vote count (in FL, again, anyway, I know nothing of Ohio) A verify vote count is run immediately before the main count, and again immediately after on the counting machines. Any software discrepancy would be noticed in the counts. The memory cards are sealed into the tabulation machines with numbered, locking rings (like the rings that lock your meter box on your light pole) and are impossible to hack into unless one was to make an identical duplicate ring somehow. Once they are pulled, they are maintained in sight, under constant observation of the Canvassing board.

    In fact, the votes are generally transmitted to the central DB before even being removed from the machine, then a report is printed out of the vote tabulation machine and the totals are verified against the vote counting DB. Our SupElections was pretty pedantic about this sort of stuff, and I was too. We never released any numbers until we had triple checked (three people verified everything) The State Election Office, from what I recall, audits the tabulation code, and I believe it has a hashed identifier of some sort which would be pretty hard to fake. I just don’t buy it, unless Ohio has a bunch of damned fools for their elections supervisors from the state on down to the county level.

    That said, I think ATM/Touch Screen type voting machines that don’t generate a person-verifiable, secondary paper trail are the bane of hell. If one wanted to do a touch screen voting machine, then it should GENERATE something like an optical scan card that can be verified by the voter before dropping it into the box. That way you could use the electronic vote count, but if there was a charge of discrepancy, one could easily do a manual count, or a machine recount on verified equipment. The current generation of Touch Screen machines are just not up to par IMO. Are there problems with them? Sure, they could be improved, but I don’t buy the ‘ease’ of changing votes necessarily.

  54. 54
    Kimmitt says:

    This post is an example of the sort of glorious sanity that defines why I read this blog.

  55. 55
    Nelson Muntz says:

    A) Occam’s Razor.

    B) So Rethuglican Cole, what are you really going to do about this at your local and state and national level?

  56. 56
    SlickRick says:

    While the voting machines are a worry (Diebold promised to deliver Ohio for Bush!), don’t forget Blackwell’s rejection of voter registration forms (because he sent them out on the wrong weight of paper), his restriction of provisional ballots, stationing of partisan challengers in heavily Democratic areas, and the misallocation of voting machines (surplus in Republican areas, shortages in Democratic areas leading to extremely long waits). Much of this is documented in Congressman Conyers report (http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/010605Y.shtml). The truth is voter suppression in favor of Bush clearly occurred in Ohio and we will never know for sure if it made a difference in the election outcome. All the more reason to place stricter oversight on future elections.

  57. 57
    rilkefan says:

    Good stuff about the point of paper trails above, thanks.

    And thanks for the view from the trenches, Buddy.

  58. 58
    Perry Como says:

    Thanks for the insight Buddy. Diebold had an ATM hacked that some students ended up playing music on (Windows). Finding a phone number with the right response is just a war dialer away. The gambling industry has more stringent guidlines than our voting machines. There’s a problem. Our voting should be at least as important as electronic gambling.

  59. 59
    Jcricket says:

    I love this solution

    My preferred solution would be to use computers to mark cards with your votes (in both readable text and barcode), but the vote-selecting machine would have no network connection.

    I’ve often suggested we could go 100% vote by mail, which is being used with optical scan ballots to great success in places across the US. Optical scan ballots have a number of problems, as others have mentioned. Double and under-voting, failure to properly fill in the form, write-ins that are illegible.

    You can solve that with the following:

    1) Everyone gets a set of pre-printed envelopes (and only one set), with security features and what-not (one envelope goes inside the other). Just like absentee voting now (for the most part).

    2) People also a paper optical scan ballot that they can choose to fill-out by hand. This is for people without access to computers.

    3) People get the option of logging on to a web site and printing out a filled-in ballot (i.e. they fill in the ballot on-line, and print it on paper). The paper ballot is not stored anywhere. No database records. No need. You can print 20 of these, but you only get one envelope. The paper ballot has a barcode and a human readable version of the ballot (this allows for a hand-recount should the web site be hacked to print bar-codes with different results than the human readable section).

    People without computers could also print their ballots anywhere with web access (library, kinkos, wherever).

    I see this as having many advantages:

    1) By having only the vote by mail system, you eliminate issues with poll lines, old equipment, poorly trained poll workers, voter intimidation in public tactics, etc. It also seems to increase turn-out a little, especially in off-year elections (see WA State and OR for recent examples of this). We’re headed this way anyway. Democrats like vote-by-mail (for the most part)

    2) By having only one vote method and ballot type, you can focus your attention on properly managing voter rolls, rather than securing 1000+ polling sites, managing all those machines, training poll workers, etc. This is a favorite issue of Republicans, and while I’m against things like regularly requiring people to re-register to vote, I’m OK with auditing of voter registrations.

    3) Paper trails. Literally. Lots of audit potential. Who doesn’t love paper trails?

    4) Virtually eliminate the 2-3% spoilage rate and issues around “divining voter intent” due to the nature of hand-filled optical scan ballots. Who doesn’t hate the whole “hanging chad” or “well, they marked Jeb Bush but wrote in Jed Bush, what do we think they meant” issues? Computers can pretty easily prevent this.

    5) No database/hacking issues (since the results of your filled-in ballot are not stored online). Occam’s razor at work.

    6) Using bar-codes would probably make the votes scannable reasonably fast. Maybe even throw in some quality weight paper with the envelope if they could find one that would work on all home printers. That might reduce any issues with machines eating ballots when they come in (which is actually an issue with optical scan ballots right now).

    Throw in some common sense voting reforms, like making sure primaries are early enough that ballots can go out in enough time for general elections, requiring voter challenges to be made at least 4 weeks before an election, etc. and you’ve got a system with limited potential for fraud and voter suppression, that also manages to eliminate most of the major issues we’ve seen in the last 3 election cycles.

    Sure, it’s not as sexy as Internet voting or touch-screen voting, but it can be achieved with limited investment in technology, and small changes in business process.

  60. 60
    Chris says:

    Can one of you programmers comment on this from a Johns Hopkins prof?

    Dr Avi Rubin is currently Prof of Computer Science at John Hopkins U.

    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 particular stood out over all the rest:

    #defineDESKEY((des_KEY8F2654hd4″

    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 Hopkin’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 & is NO LONGER USED by anyone to secure prograns. F2654hd4 was the key to the encryption. Moreover, because the KEY was IN the source code, all Diebold machines wld respond to the same key. Unlock one, you have then ALL unlocked.

    I can’t believe there is a person alive who wldn’t understand the reason this was allowed to happen. This wasen’t a mistake by any stretch of the imagination.

  61. 61
    drmagoo says:

    One of the things I like about voting where I live now is that after the election I could go to the county website and check to see who I voted for, to compare it against who I thought I’d voted for. I’m glad to see that so many here treat this issue as seriously as I do – I wish we could get our politicians to agree that elections which are as honest and verifiable as possible are fundamental to the national interest, and as such, worth money. I’d like to see a system where the voter can get a paper copy, can check electronic records, and then watchdog groups (from the media and from both sides of the aisle) can do as much post-election checking as possible – hell, if everything’s computerized, much of it should be a matter of sticking a file in excel and adding. As a country, we should be willing to spend the time and money it will take to get as many bugs out of voting as we can – it’s too important.

    I’d also like to see Election Day be a national holiday, so more people can get the day off work, and we can celebrate the right to vote, which too many people take for granted.

  62. 62
    Chris says:

    Secondly, if this story is accurate, then something very odd happened in Ohio in the referendum voting earlier in the month.

    http://www.freepress.org/depar...../2005/1559

    The exit polling was different than the results not by something close to margin of error, but by dozens of percentage points. Which is odd, and while exit polling (depending on methodology) is only so accurate, its accurate enough that we use it to determine fraud in places like Uzbekistan, etc.

    Here’s an excerpt. The first issue voted along the lines of the exit polls. Issues 2-5 then finished wildly different, these were the voting reform issues. I’m just saying.

    ISSUE 1 ($2 Billion State Bond initiative)
    PRE-POLLING: 53% Yes, 27% No, 20% Undecided
    FINAL RESULT: 54% Yes, 45% No

    ISSUE 2 (Allow easier absentee balloting)
    PRE-POLLING: 59% Yes, 33% No, 9% Undecided
    FINAL RESULT: 36% Yes, 63% No

    ISSUE 3 (Revise campaign contribution limits)
    PRE-POLLING: 61% Yes, 25% No, 14% Undecided
    FINAL RESULT: 33% Yes, 66% No

    ISSUE 4 (Ind. Comm. to draw Congressional Districts)
    PRE-POLLING: 31% Yes, 45% No, 25% Undecided
    FINAL RESULT: 30% Yes, 69% No

    ISSUE 5 (Ind. Board instead of Sec. of State to oversee elections)
    PRE-POLLING: 41% Yes, 43% No, 16% Undecided
    FINAL RESULT: 29% Yes, 70% No

  63. 63
    Perry Como says:

    Chris, your concerns are way beyond the fundamentals. The “encryption” used could be rot-13. If there is no way to examine the source, or at least verfiy the output, the system is broken.

  64. 64
    nonny mouse says:

    Well, being a recalcitrant Luddite, I have never trusted ATM machines, preferring to deal with tellers inside the bank – and get a paper receipt. Now I can point to the Diebold manufacturers as justification for my mistrust. That, and – while as an ex-pat – I’ve learned that it is possible to request an absentee ballot before time, and vote early, on paper, with a trail. That is the ONLY way I will ever vote again. Until this government can regain the trust it has lost, the public would be wise to to maintain a healthy dose of suspicion.

  65. 65
    Shygetz says:

    OK, is there ANYONE here who is against voter-verified balloting of some sort (paper balloting, electronic balloting with an external paper receipt, etc.?)

  66. 66

    So Rethuglican Cole, what are you really going to do about this at your local and state and national level?

    Dunno about Rethuglican Cole, but former Rethuglican Slartibartfast doesn’t have to do anything at all. You see, in former Rethuglican Slarti’s district in the otherwise insanely corrupt state of Florida, we use optical scan ballots. Any attempt to go all touch-screen on us will be met with a great deal of resistance. I view electronic balloting as yet another layer of obfuscation in the struggle to see who can steal the most votes. Pretty soon we won’t have to go to the polls at all; just let the vote-stealers go at it.

    And…say, whose idea was electronic voting, anyway? And are there still any stocks lying about that we can pillory them in?

  67. 67
    BumperStickerist says:

    .

    Given the problems with the exit polling, any claim of fraud which starts with the presumption that the exit polling is accurate is moot.

    Optical scan is better thought of as an optical tabulator. The mark on the paper is the record of the vote and people can go back and tally the sheets.

    If we want to get all fancy schmancy, we could simply increae the size of the circles and have voters select their choices by pressing an ink-stained finger on their candidates choice.

    We could use purple ink. That seems to work pretty well.

    .

  68. 68
    Another Jeff says:

    All this talk of fair, open, and honest voting coming from the left is heartwarming.

    Would you like to come here to Philly in November of ’06 to make sure everything is on the up and up?

    Didn’t think so.

    Vote tampering, vote fraud, and everything else didn’t start in Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004. It’s been going on somewhat longer.

    And before you make the predictable response of “JUST BECAUSE IT HAPPENED SOMEWHERE ELSE BEFORE DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT”, i’ll say in advance that no, it doesn’t make it right if the still totally unproven allegations from Florida and Ohio are true.

    Just spare us the selective outrage.

  69. 69

    Vote tampering, vote fraud, and everything else didn’t start in Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004.

    By 2000, vote fraud in South Florida was nearly a given. The only people who were surprised were those who hadn’t been paying attention before then. I think the big news was the allegation that Republicans were doing it.

    For more, see the collected nonfiction works of conservative firebrand* Carl Hiassen.

    *Yes, I am kidding.

  70. 70
    Ada says:

    I’m shocked that you feel it wasn’t ‘proven’ in Ohio, like some writers above have stated, we all knew this information,and here’s the duh…from those of us that knew. Read Blackboxvoting.org, they’ve been on this, have won law suits, have proven to the system that this system was instituted with the intent to fraud! Nebraska ring a bell the testing ground…Hagel, then Georgia, etc.. etc..
    We will never be able to ‘prove’ the fraud without auditable machines, that’s the intent, so why are believers in our government so slow to realize this truth? Those same believers would never accept their credit bill without a detailed charges list and would they not accept the billing detail without having received receipts that they could ‘prove’ mis-charges with, so again why why the resistant to integrity? From governement it’s because they intend to fraud, from voters…it’s complete stupidity to chose to trust for such an important issue machines proven have the ‘fix’ for those with access. Shame on Americans for having the worst voting system in existance for free nations!

  71. 71
    Shygetz says:

    No selective outrage here, Jeff. If there was voter fraud in Philly, that’s crappy too. So why not take advantage of this consensus among the left to push for nationwide election reform, instead of just sniping for no reason at all?

  72. 72
    Ada says:

    PS…Optical scanners are not so safe as some think, go to blackboxvoting.org and read about it. The only solution is voter verifiable receipts, that are manually counted when elections are within 5% of each other automatically.

  73. 73
    Another Jeff says:

    So why not take advantage of this consensus among the left to push for nationwide election reform, instead of just sniping for no reason at all?

    Uh, let’s see, maybe because one of the best ways of preventing fraud would be to require a picture ID, and everytime that’s brought up the left brings up Bull Connor and Lestor Maddox.

  74. 74
    Ada says:

    One, it’s “old news,” in that the election is over.

    What type of insance statement is that? It’s not over till it’s fixed and I don’t mean fixed as it has been, but with like systems throughout the country where voters can verify their vote on visual, but non-removal continuous numbered tapes. And automatic recounts of the tapes when elections are within 5% of each other. Also do away the easy to cheat optical scanners too. In God we Trust, not in the Government!

  75. 75
    Chris says:

    My post of the story of the ballot inititiaves in Ohio mistakenly included the word exit polling, it was pre-election polling done by the newspaper that had a margin of error of 2.5 percent and a past record of accurately indicating the results to come.

    The pre-polling and final tallies were off by factors of over 10 percent, up to over 30 percent. Read the story at the link.

  76. 76
    Shygetz says:

    Uh, let’s see, maybe because one of the best ways of preventing fraud would be to require a picture ID, and everytime that’s brought up the left brings up Bull Connor and Lestor Maddox.

    Hey, I got no problem with photo ID, so long as it is free and easy to obtain for all people of voting age. If you make people buy it (which all of the proposals I’ve seen up till now have required), then it’s an illegal poll tax.

  77. 77
    Quincy says:

    I live in Ohio. Last year, my county was still on the punch-card system, and we went 54-46 for Kerry. I was part of the recount effort here, and our BoE allowed us to recount every single vote in the county. Of over 65,000 ballots, the final tally changed by only *one* vote to Kerry’s favor. In short, I think my county was on the up-and-up last year.

    This year, in 2005, we had Diebold touch-screen machines. You touched the candidate you wanted for each office, and at the end, you had to check everything twice–first on screen, and then on paper. There was a roll of paper under plastic on the right-hand side of the machine, and you hit buttons to make the paper scroll so you could check your results on the receipt. You couldn’t actually touch the paper (you didn’t get to tear it off and take it with you), and I don’t think the poll workers could either. It is true that any system can be tampered with if you try hard enough, but I felt better knowing that there was a paper record–including each name and yes/no vote, which I visually verified–providing a record of how I voted.

    I agree with those who have said that even if last year’s Ohio vote was not tampered with, the mere perception that it was in any way possible, regardless of whether it actually happened or not, is very damaging to the system as a whole–and it makes me feel very queasy, personally.

  78. 78
    neil says:

    Why does John Cole insist on smearing our nation’s election workers?

  79. 79

    If you make people buy it (which all of the proposals I’ve seen up till now have required), then it’s an illegal poll tax.

    How about this: you give it free of charge to those who don’t have a driver’s license. A picture ID would be invalid for driving, but good for voting and perhaps other activities where ID is needed. Of course, that’s arguably a poll tax, but it’s one that goes in a direction that Democrats could probably live with, and so can I.

  80. 80
    Shygetz says:

    That’s fine by me, Slarti–You either use a free ID card (it has to be easy to get–say at the post office) or your driver’s license. People who already had a driver’s license could still get a free ID card, but since their license is good for everything the ID card is good for, they probably wouldn’t waste their time (so no poll tax). Works for me.

  81. 81
    jack says:

    Republican vote fraud? Are you insane? John, keep the crow in the cornfield.

    I started reading Balloon Juice seriously during the Torricelli mess. I got to watch as Democrats argued that a race with a field of 6 candidates didn’t offer voters a choice–because Torricelli dropped out when it became apparent that he had no chance of winning. He wasn’t forced out either–he dropped out–after the deadline–because he couldn’t win. Then I watched judges allow the Democrats to flout election law to put up a different candidate.

    I’ve watched Democrats get a corpse on the ballot–and elected. And then they handed over it’s seat to someone NO ONE had voted for.

    I watched as the sitting Democrat mayor of Miami was removed because he’d had far too much support from felons, the dead, and Florid’as version of ‘motor voter’–you vote, then drive to another polling place and vote again.

    I got to watch the whole Gregoire farce in Washington. I get to hear the Democrat cries for less and less ID, less proof of residence–less and less of every actual thing that could secure our vote.

    And I’m supposed to worry about Republican vote fraud? When was the last time an elected Republican was removed from office because of proven vote fraud?

  82. 82
    Buddy says:

    Yes BlackBox has proven to some extent that the software COULD be modified. The problem is it really isn’t feasible for it to have happened without there being some massive collusion from the State EOC on down to each individual SupElect.

    Each Supervisors office programs the election params for their own precincts. These are NOT standardized across all counties, at least in FL and I would presume in OH, because the races across the board are not standard. I.E. in one county you have race XYZ but in another county you wouldn’t, and indeed in each county you have different districts, cards, and programming needed. In short, for the state to supply every county with a standard race parameter programming would be pretty damn hard, and I don’t know of anyone that does it.

    In short Diebold/some hacker has no way of knowing ‘across the board’ which race on the tabulation machine is ‘bushvgore’ or whatever to be able to modify the code to change the votes on the correct race because all the tabulation params in each county are all different. That is, unless they were in the supelect office. In that case I could see a means by which someone could load the software into the tabulation machines unknown, but it wouldn’t necessarily be easy.

    Presumably someone could dial in via modem bank and hack the code somehow, but that’s presuming nobody is watching the modem bank, etc. We had someone sitting there monitoring the bank all the while during the upload sequence, and the lines were disconnected physically after the fact. Im not sure what the handshake protocol between the tabulation machines and the CDB is so I really have no idea how secure it is. My guess looking at the rest of the system is it’s probably not that well thought out though. I could be wrong, but my opinion of Diebold is not very high, in general. My only comfort, in our case, was that we had the paper, and if we had any discrepancy we would have dug into it and found out what caused it. Maybe some SupElect offices are less diligent. I tend to think (or maybe hope) not, though.

    The code itself, while not Open Source as I would prefer, is held in escrow and audited at the State EOC, again, at least in FL. I would presume this is SOP for most EoC Offices. I’d rather the code be open, non-microsoft, non-proprietary, etc. Instead most of the central DB’s are running on (generally speaking probably) unpatched win2k boxes with (probably) unpatched MS Access as the DB backend. It’s just bad design all around, but I don’t let it concern me that much, in our case, because we used Optical scan, and compared our paper trails to our DB counts.

    Indeed it was open for anyone to look at and compare, hot off each individual Tabulation machine. We often had the party chairs, county judge, county commissioners, blah blah. Everybody was in there and whoever wanted to look at it had the ability to. This is pretty well SOP as far as I know for EoC offices. We had the paper trail, and indeed almost every election we had at least one race we had to hand recount, we always ran test counts immediately before and immediately after with known count totals, etc. There are a multitude of ways in which any discrepancy could have been noticed. Changing the Tabulation software in between those counts would be practically impossible.

    Again I’m not arguing these machines are perfect. I am saying that in order for vote changing to happen, there’d have to be a considerable conspiracy in a local SupElect office among a lot of people for it to happen, or else a lot of really, really unobservant, ignorant people doing the tabulation.. well wait, there was that thing in WPB… ugh.

  83. 83
    Buddy says:

    P.S.

    When i say

    “Presumably someone could dial in via modem bank and hack the code somehow, but that’s presuming nobody is watching the modem bank, etc.”

    I am talking about the central counting DB. Even if that got hacked, the counts on the individual tabulation machines would be valid, as they don’t respond to incoming modem calls. The tabulation machines PUSH data to the CDB, not the other way around.

    So anyway, even if the CDB was hacked, the numbers on the tabulation machines wouldnt match and someone would presumably go ‘wtf’.

  84. 84
    Buddy says:

    South Florida? Republican? Voter Fraud?

    All’s I have to say to that is
    HAHAHAHAHA.. Man you’re funny.

    Oh my…

  85. 85
    Cyrus says:

    Another Jeff Says:

    Uh, let’s see, maybe because one of the best ways of preventing fraud would be to require a picture ID, and everytime that’s brought up the left brings up Bull Connor and Lestor Maddox.

    What the hell? What would a picture ID possibly do about any of the issues people are talking about here? You can debate whether or not it’s an unreasonable burden on a par with a poll tax, but what does a picture ID have to do with hackable machines, incomprehensible interfaces, black-box systems, voting machines made by strong partisans, and all the rest? As KC linked, Schwarzenegger’s vote was tampered with, do you think the problem was caused by the poll staffer mistaking the hacker for him? And if the same thing was done to anyone else, do you think it would be as easy for them to be allowed to vote as it was for him? Requiring photo IDs to vote doesn’t solve any of the really big problems with the system, it just makes people feel better about them.

    And this isn’t aimed at Jeff but generally – could someone explain to me what’s wrong with paper ballots and hand counts? For various reasons all my voting has been by absentee ballot, so maybe I just don’t appreciate the logistical problems. But it would just skip all these problems with unreliable machines, and if Election Day is made a federal holiday like a lot of people want, then there’s a big pool of people to man polling stations – postal workers.

  86. 86

    My biggest concern about insecure electronic voting is not so much that it allows cheating, but that it potentially allows fewer cheaters to have a much larger impact.

    There’s always been some degree of election cheating, but in general the cheating in favor of one party in one district was probably balanced out by the cheating in favor of the other party in another district. Furthermore, any really massive cheating in the past would have involved a conspiracy by a sufficiently large number of people that word would probably inevitably leak out somehow. With insecure electronic voting, a relatively small handful of people could potentially alter a lot of votes, with no evidence being left behind. This makes the possibility of major abuse much, much greater. Even if no elections have been stolen so far, it will happen eventually if the temptation remains there.

  87. 87
    Buddy says:

    “could someone explain to me what’s wrong with paper ballots and hand counts?”

    Hand counts are more unreliable than a decently designed machine count. Period. Especially when you get to talking about 1 million votes. Have you ever tried to count one million votes by hand? I wouldn’t fathom to even want to try it, myself. I’ve helped do 7000 cards manually several times. That was hard enough. And every time we came up with a different number.

  88. 88
    jcricket says:

    Hand counts are more unreliable than a decently designed machine count. Period. Especially when you get to talking about 1 million votes. Have you ever tried to count one million votes by hand? I wouldn’t fathom to even want to try it, myself. I’ve helped do 7000 cards manually several times. That was hard enough. And every time we came up with a different number.

    This is an oft-made assertion, but is incorrect. Machine counts are reliable, but not as accurate as hand counts. Reliability means being able to produce the same result every time. Machine counts will (usually) give you the same count no matter how many times you feed the ballots in. Accuracy is a measure of actually “getting the count right”.

    However, if there are ballot imperfections (see “Brazil” and the fly on the “death” checkbox), the machine reader will reliably ignore those ballots each time. If there are issues with hanging chads, pregnant chads, pen ink quality, the machines will reliably “mis-read” those votes each time. If there are issues divining voter intent (i.e. they double-voted, writing in the same candidate as they filled in the bubble for). If ballots get stuck together, the machine will miss the second one every time.

    The machine tallied vote spoilage rate varies by the type of voting technology, but is generally between 1 and 3%.

    I will grant that some people think any voter error should result in a discarded vote. I don’t agree, and neither does the law in most states. Most states clearly understand that voter intent trumps machine readability in terms of counting a vote. And a lot of the vote spoilage is actually a result of misconfigured machinery, ballots stuck together or bent, etc. (i.e. not voter error).

    Also hand counts are not as simple as you and me sitting in a room counting cards. The procedures are quite complex and provide more accurate results, in the sense that every valid vote ends up counted, whether the ballot is machine readable or not. Every batch of ballots is indepedently double counted and that counting is directly observed by a third person. If there is any discrepancy, they count again and/or escalate.

    Simply put, a thoroughly observed properly conducted manual recount is more accurate than a machine recount, and is rightfully mandated in cases where the difference between winner and loser is lower than the residual vote rate for the voting technology being used.

    The Caltech/MIT Voting technology project is a good source of information on this subject.

    Here’s a human-readable summary of the issue. for those that don’t want to wade through the reports

  89. 89
    jcricket says:

    Oh, and the Caltech/MIT reports include recommendations on how to improve security around absentee ballots and voter roll maintenance, which I support. I’m not against things like IDs for voting (if they can be provided free), but that is almost never the issue Republicans make it out to be.

    Far more accurate and reliable vote tallies would be achieved if we did something as simple as standardizing on optical scan ballots. Throw in some good poll management, earlier primaries and everyone voting by mail and you’ve probably solved 95% of the problems with our voting system.

    The perfect is the enemy of the good.

  90. 90
    Gando says:

    What I don’t understand is how a company who makes ATM machines could get away with making such lame voting machines without more people calling foul.

    The lack of accountability on these machines is criminal: either intentionally left out so someone could commit voter fraud, or some level of heightened criminal negligence.

    Why do we stand such activity?

  91. 91
    Buddy says:

    “This is an oft-made assertion, but is incorrect. Machine counts are reliable, but not as accurate as hand counts.”

    Hence the reason I said ‘Decently Designed Machine’

    I.E. one that will seperate or identify overvotes/undervotes at the time of entry into the machine (like most optical scan systems do) so the voter can correct it.

    Hanging chads, pregnant chads, and the like are caused by ill designed, and KNOWN BAD voting systems. Pen Ink Quality? That’s why you have SOP manuals on this sort of stuff and tests. Or you design the system to generate the card for you when you vote. All of the above issues can be taken care of in a well designed voting system such as the one I described earlier. You want a touch screen voting system? Fine, make it generate a voter card which is deposited in the ballot box.

    Optical Scan? Sure, make it reject ballots that have under/over votes on them (or at least require personal verification that ‘yes I intended to undervote on that race’. No offense, but people over/undervote on purpose all the time. In fact MOST people do.

    Mechanically generated punch card? Sure, they work great too.

    Stylus Punch cards? Whoever invented this crap should be fired along with the SupElects that decided it was a good thing.

    I’ve had maybe 2 or 3 cards in 7 years of doing this that were ‘spoiled by machinery’ and we just duplicate the card, and move on.

    I much prefer accuracy, along side ‘verification’ for those votes that are in question than a human full hand count. you make the hand count out to be simple. I’ve done them. Many times. It’s not. Especially when you start to talk about cards with 50 different issues on them. You exponentially increase your count times.

  92. 92
    bay says:

    I live in ohio where in one county alone more than 93.000 votes were cast for bush than registered voters in 2004..Makes me sick..We have to stop this outrage..

  93. 93
    jcricket says:

    I much prefer accuracy, along side ‘verification’ for those votes that are in question than a human full hand count. you make the hand count out to be simple. I’ve done them. Many times. It’s not. Especially when you start to talk about cards with 50 different issues on them. You exponentially increase your count times.

    About this we agree, then. Optical scan ballots, filled out by computers, eliminate nearly all of the voter intent issues (unintentional under/over voting, stray marks, improperly filled out ovals, illegible write-in hand-writing, etc.). And, they don’t introduce any of the issues with touch-screen voting (no paper trail, hacking the central database, etc.)

    Just combine those computer-printed optical scan ballots with high quality readers and common sense verification of anything questionable. Probably closer to 99% of the way to eliminating the problem on the voting technology end.

    Managing voter rolls is the other side of the equation.

  94. 94
    jcricket says:

    Sorry, forgot to add. I still think that a full manual recount should be required if the margin between candidates is below the margin of error of the machines. No machine reader will ever be perfect.

    I understand you disagree that a manual recount gives more accurate results. I feel it does, and that the Caltech/MIT project has data to show that. However, a manual recount but will only be necessary in very, very close races.

    If you have “more perfect” ballots, this will eliminate most of the “controversial” parts of hand recounting (divining voter intent). Therefore the hand recount merely serve as evidence that the vote reading machines and the humans feeding the ballots into the machines did their jobs properly.

  95. 95
    Blue Shark says:

    …So another day…

    …another hundred reasonable opinions (more or less).

    …Where do we go from here?

    …All Paper Ballots – Hand Counted. Period.

    …so it takes a couple days…big deal. Look to Germany and others. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel, but we have to fix the spokes cuz Democracy as we have known it is stuck in the mud!

  96. 96
    bago says:

    A perfectly secure realtime electronic voting system is entirely possible. Setting up an encrypted tunnel to a primary server, where you can mask queries and anyone can take their receipt home and check the database at anytime for a record of how they voted. Anyone who had any discrepancies could take their receipt with their vote and their hash and it could be compared to the entry in the db, and with good logging ANY attempts at fraud would be easily discovered, in a highly deterministic method.

    This is not a hard problem, it has been solved DECADES ago. The technology is proven, reliable and it works processing billions of transactions a minute.

    The only reason for this level of incompetence is a desire to cause fraud. PERIOD.

  97. 97
    gr8gol4 says:

    The discrepancy in the historically accurate Dispatch poll on Ohio’s recent referendum voting shows, without a doubt, something is definitely wrong in Ohio. This is not a matter of Right vs. Left but right vs. wrong. It’s our democracy at stake here. I just can’t understand WHY the good people of Ohio are raising hell about this.

  98. 98
    gr8gol4 says:

    sorry- that should read;
    I just can’t understand WHY the good people of Ohio aren’t raising hell about this.

  99. 99
    Nathanael Nerode says:

    In case Republicans were wondering, these systems were pretty likely used as part of fraud by *Democratic* Party officials in Volusia County, FL a few years back, as reported by Black Box Voting. It’s really not a partisan issue.

    Election fraud will always exist. The trouble is that these machines are designed to make it *easier than before* and *undetectable*, and most of the mainstream media isn’t even reporting it. :-P

    I mean, gee, if you’re going to stuff the ballot box, you should at least have to actually go stuff a ballot box, not just type a few keys on a keyboard — and when you stuff an actual ballot box there’s evidence of it afterwards, while these things can be made to delete the evidence. The Diebold machines are the absolute worst, with their ‘fraud mode’ keeping two sets of books for the election, but most of the other companies’ machines are just as bad. BBV is probably the best at reporting specific problems.

    Thankfully many states have passed some form of verified voting law. If you live in Texas, you’re so out of luck, though.

  100. 100
    Avedon says:

    Here’s graphic for the discrepancies in the 2004 election results by method of count.

    Hand recounts only in close elections aren’t helpful, since someone who wanted to cheat would just have to make sure that they cheated enough so that the margin wasn’t that close. You have to insist either on a full hand-count for every precinct, or at least spot-checks (in random areas) not related to what the margin was.

    The trouble with off-site voting, whether mail-in ballot or online voting, is that a third party can monitor how you vote. The reason we have polling places in the first place is to make it impossible for your family members or boss to see how you vote – because people used to do that when we didn’t have a purely secret ballot. It’s all very well for me, as an American living abroad, to vote by absentee ballot, but I’m very uneasy with the idea that more and more people are doing this and it’s becoming so accepted that any day now I expect to hear of employers who insist on watching employees fill out their ballots.

    I do think election day should be a holiday – no one should have to choose between being late for work (or docked for time) and being able to vote.

    No one should have to wait eight hours in line, either; it should be illegal to under-resource polling places.

    Over here, they hand-count every ballot, in the precinct, on the night, in front of God and everyone. And it works. Exit polls for the last general election were right on the money, too. They have a heavier percentage of eligible voters actually going to the polls, as well, so maybe it could also work in the US.

  101. 101
    thea2b says:

    For those that havent heard of him Google “Clint Curtis”

  102. 102
    UnpaidHalfwit says:

    This should be a wake up call to everyone.

    Some of my more (I thought) paranoid friends from Ohio called this the day after the 2004 election. I did not believe them and continued to dispute them until this week. I am starting to eat crow myself. I believe that statistical analysis is a great tool (it’s the auditor’s best friend). The 2005 Ohio numbers fairly scream “fraud”.

    For Republicans who say, “Well, the Democrats do it and we can do it too” I’d like to point out that your vote and even your campaign contributions cease to be important when the ability to mess with the final tally is the deciding factor in an election. How responsive do you think even Republicans will be to you and your needs if we allow this to continue? This truly is a non-partisan issue.

  103. 103
    Kristin says:

    Electronic Frontier Foundation http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2005_11.php

    Diebold Attempts to Evade Election Transparency Laws
    November 18, 2005

    EFF Goes to Court to Force E-voting Company to Comply With Strict New North Carolina Law

    Raleigh, North Carolina – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is going to court in North Carolina to prevent Diebold Election Systems, Inc. from evading North Carolina law.

    In a last-minute filing, e-voting equipment maker Diebold asked a North Carolina court to exempt it from tough new election requirements designed to ensure transparency in the state’s elections. Diebold obtained an extraordinarily broad order, allowing it to avoid placing its source code in escrow with the state and identifying programmers who contributed to the code.

    On behalf of North Carolina voter and election integrity advocate Joyce McCloy, EFF asked the court to force Diebold and every other North Carolina equipment vendor to comply with the law’s requirements. A hearing on EFF’s motion is set for Monday, November 28.

    “The new law was passed for a reason: to ensure that the voters of North Carolina have confidence in the integrity and accuracy of their elections,” said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. “In stark contrast to every other equipment vendor that placed a bid with the state, Diebold went to court complaining that it simply couldn’t comply with the law. Diebold should spend its efforts developing a system that voters can trust, not asking a court to let it bypass legal requirements aimed at ensuring voting integrity.”

    On November 4, the day that voting equipment bids to the state were due, Diebold obtained a temporary restraining order from a North Carolina superior court, exempting it from criminal and civil liability that could have resulted from its bid. EFF, with the assistance from the North Carolina law firm of Twiggs, Beskind, Strickland & Rabenau, P.A., intervened in the case on behalf of McCloy, the founder of the North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting. In a brief filed Wednesday, EFF argued that Diebold had failed to show why it was unable to meet various new election law provisions requiring source code escrow and identification of programmers. North Carolina experienced one of the most serious malfunctions of e-voting systems in the 2004 presidential election when over 4,500 ballots were lost in a voting system provided by Diebold competitor UniLect Corp. Local officials were forced to re-run a portion of the election. The new transparency and integrity provisions of the North Carolina election code were passed in response to this and other documented malfunctions that have occurred across the country.

    The North Carolina Board of Elections is scheduled to announce winning voting equipment vendors on December 1, 2005.

    For the brief filed in the case:
    http://www.eff.org/Activism/E-.....Motion.pdf

    Contact:

    Matt Zimmerman
    Staff Attorney
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    mattz@eff.org

  104. 104
    Ed says:

    A lot of you have expressed outrage and asked what can be done. Well, there was and I believe still is a bill floating around to require paper trails, among other things. The bill is Rep. Rush Holt’s HR 550. I wrote to my congressman a couple months ago and asked him to support it. He responded saying that it is sort of tabled indefinitely and not indicating whether he would support it or not – which suggests to me that he doesn’t support it.

    Although I realize that with any bill, the devil is in the details, this sure seems like a positive piece of legislation for both right and left if they care about fair elections

  105. 105
    Jake Fegan says:

    Several posts ago, someone alluded to voter fraud in Philly as favoring Democratic candidates and that left-leaning citizens would not welcome scrutiny of irregular results that favored them. To me this is failing to see the forest through the trees. If it can be somehow proven with as much evidence as possible, as my gut tells me with 100% certainty, that our elections process is not only flawed, but beholden to corrput interests that will manipulate the vote, then the entire process can be blown wide open. I favor that much more than one singular presidential candidiate. Don’t we all? If your answer in “No” then you are a partisan hack and not an advocate of true representative democracy.

  106. 106

    […] I’ve been collecting a few links on the state of electronic voting. This one by Brad Friedman at the Huffington Post is a good introduction. John Cole at Balloon Juice points to a GAO report which states that “some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.” And the Brad Blog raises questions about the difference between pre-polls and actual Ohio voting results. […]

  107. 107
    John Dowd says:

    I’m surprised at the amount of discussion and speculation going on, without much reference to all that has been written about this issue. There are many facts and resources that people should know about. Here are some links that I think everyone will find of interest who cares about this issue, and who have not been following it. Get ready to be sick.

    Start with “20 Amazing facts about Electronic Voting”, Google it. Widely available. Daily Kos links to it here: http://nightweed.com/usavotefacts.html

    Someone mentioned Volusia county. That was where Deborah Tannenbaum in 2000, noticed that right after her county’s results went in, the state tally for Gore somehow DROPPED by 16,000 votes. That took a while to get corrected, but resulted in Gore’s early concession, which he later retracted. That really happened. You can google it, and it’s been written about in numerous places. Here’s one: http://www.independent-media.t.....e%20Family How can we KNOW that there were not countless other similar unexplained, but undetected “glitches”? We can’t. On the other hand, it’s hard to walk out of a polling place with 16,0000 uncounted paper ballots. Unlike electronic counts, you can’t just make paper ballots go away, so huge fraud required huge risk. Not so with electronic machines, where it’s as easy to change 16000 votes as it is to change just a few.

    Can’t resist this quote from Bev Harris on the Volusia incident: “The fact that “negative votes” could be applied to a candidate’s total demonstrates such a fundamentally flawed software model that it calls into question the competence and integrity of the programmers, the company and the certification process itself.”

    See http://www.blackbox.org for lots of information about how easy it is to hack these machines, and suggestive circumstantial evidence that it has happened. Really scary stuff. It will creep you out.

    Kathy Dopp’s group has marshalled some really compelling statistical evidence of fraud. They want to establish a national, public database of local precinct-by-precinct election results. Check out the website here, with many excellent links, and .pdf documents: http://www.electionarchive.org/

    Steven F. Freeman, a professional, academic statistician, says that the exit-poll discrepancy was so large that, there was virtually NO chance it could have happened by chance alone. Though he has been slimed for his trouble, I have not seen anyone take his arguments, or his data apart in a way that can stand scrutiny or calm rebuttal. This site has his article, plus many others: http://www.yuricareport.com/El.....Fraud.html

    Exit-polling has NOT changed and has proven to be sound time and time again–until just lately. Pollsters didn’t somehow just become hugely incompetent. Do you seriously want to argue that the voters somehow colluded in a massive conspiracy, and voted one way, while saying they voted in a different way? Come on. Parsimony, and the circumstantial evidence (the only kind there CAN be with no physical records) point to fraud commited by just a few people with deep knowledge of the machines, and with inside access. Until you have read Bev Harris’s “Blackbox Voting”, don’t try to tell me that is implausible. You have no idea how horribly open these systems are.

    Further stink is spread on all of this by the story of how the last county to report from Ohio, forced all reporters and observers to leave, claiming there was a terrorist threat, which the FBI later claimed they had no knowledge of. It was a total fabrication, but never was explained. Wonder why they didn’t want any observers present as they manipulated the final state totals? Smells bad though, doesn’t it?

    By the way, the circumstances surrounding the election of Chuck Hagel to the senate in Nebraska are particularly suspicious. Check out this article, and see if you don’t also think so: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0131-01.htm
    Hagel could be our next president. I think he’s unstoppable. He knows how to get the votes.

    And finally, check out this chilling link to see congressman Peter King say, before the 2004 election was over, “It’s all over now but the counting. And we’ll take care of the counting.” http://www.whatreallyhappened......eview.html

    I could go on and on. There’s no end to this stuff. It’s just not reported by the mainstream, corporate-owned and corporate-controlled media, except for a few journalists willing to jeapordize their careers, like Christina Borjesson, and Greg Pallast. Noam Chomsky (linguist) also has a good handle on the media silence. He has a recent, good book on propaganda and media control in this country.

    Feel a little ill perhaps? Sorry. I warned you. But you’ll look good in mylar.

    John Dowd

  108. 108
    Blue Shark says:

    …If that wasn’t wholy satisfactory perhaps a look through the following would be informative:

    The following with reference links:
    http://www.legitgov.org/coup_2004.html

    It’s official: Diebold election bugware can’t be trusted –The company implies as much By Thomas C Greene 30 Nov 2005 “Diebold would rather lose all of its voting machine business in North Carolina than open its source code to state election officials as required by law, the Associated Press reports.”

    Ohio’s Diebold Debacle: New machines call election results into question By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman 24 Nov 2005 “Massive Election Day irregularities are emerging in reports from all over Ohio after the introduction of Diebold’s electronic voting in nearly half of the Buckeye State’s counties. A recently released report by the non-partisan General Accountability Office warned of such problems with electronic voting machines.”

    The old reverso votefraud trick (xymphora.blogspot) 15 Nov 2005 “There were five ballot initiatives held in Ohio, four of which were to reform that state’s obviously corrupt voting system… The poll numbers before the election showed that the reform would win comfortably, or, at the very least, that the issue was still open and dependent on undecided voters. In spite of this, all the election reform initiatives were defeated, with dramatic discrepancies from the pre-election poll results (the only non-election-related initiative passed matching the poll results almost exactly)… The only results that Rove cared about in the whole country are the ones where the results didn’t match the polls, and the ones where the electorate provided the results that Rove wanted… Diebold computer voting machines were used in almost half the voting stations to (create) obtain the results.”

    Carter says Gore won 2000 election By John Byrne 22 Sep 2005 “Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter delivered a shocker at an American University panel in Washington Monday: RAW STORY has learned he told the crowd he was certain Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election. There is ‘no doubt in my mind that Gore won the election,’ the erstwhile President declared, saying the 2000 election process ‘failed abysmally.'”

    “Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election.” What They Did Last Fall By Paul Krugman 19 Aug 2005 “In his recent book ‘Steal This Vote’ – a very judicious work, despite its title – Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I’ve seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: ‘Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election.’ …Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary.”

    The 2004 US Elections: The Mother of all Vote Frauds “Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything.” –Joseph Stalin (What Really Happened) 2004

    The stolen election of 2004: welcome back to hell By Larry Chin 6 Nov 2004 “Using a variety of criminal methods that they have perfected over the past four years, the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney-Karl Rove syndicate stole another election, and extended their illegal occupation of the White House. Experienced, informed and unblinking observers were not fooled by any aspect of this utterly predictable goose-step towards full dictatorship.” [A must read]

    No Paper Trail Left Behind: The Theft of the 2004 Presidential Election By Dennis Loo, Ph.D. (August 2005) “In order to believe that George Bush won the November 2, 2004 presidential election, you must also believe all of the following extremely improbable or outright impossible things… 15) Exit polls in the November 2004 Ukrainian presidential elections, paid for in part by the Bush administration, were right, but exit polls in the U.S., where exit polling was invented, were very wrong.” [A must read]

    Rectenwald (CLG News) at Scarborough on e-voting Fraud, Bush/Bin Laden and PNAC –page by Nico Haupt of globalfreepress.com “…Did you know that George Bush Sr. was sitting in a room with bin Laden’s brother on the day that 9/11 happened?…And it was the Project For a New American Century that said we needed a new Pearl Harbor in order to mobilize their international agenda of a war in the Middle East… Once Diebold controls the election-and it‘s a Republican-owned corporation that promised the election for Bush from the outset, are we supposed to believe these results?..”

    Diebold Source Code!!! –by ouranos (dailykos.com) “Dr. Avi Rubin is currently Professor of Computer Science at John Hopkins University. He ‘accidentally’ 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 particular stood out over all the rest: #defineDESKEY((des_KEY8F2654hd4″ 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 Hopkin’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. I can’t believe there is a person alive who wouldn’t understand the reason this was allowed to happen. This wasn’t a mistake by any stretch of the imagination.”

    Diebold rewarded for coup 2004: Diebold selected by Riyad Bank of Saudi Arabia to expand ATM network –Diebold, Incorporated, a global leader in election fraud [‘providing integrated, self-service and security solutions’], has been selected by Riyad Bank to deploy 100 Diebold Opteva automated teller machines (ATMs) across the bank’s network.
    Diebold products: 1-800-999-3600, productinfo@diebold.com.
    Diebold, Incorporated
    5995 Mayfair Road
    P.O. Box 3077
    North Canton, Ohio USA 44720-8077
    Phone number 1-330-490-3790
    Fax number 1-330-490-3794

    The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy –by Steven F. Freeman, Ph.D. “As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states [Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania] of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error… The likelihood of any two of these statistical anomalies occurring together is on the order of one-in-a-million. The odds against all three occurring together are 250 million to one. As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error.”

    47 State Exit Poll Analysis Confirms Swing Anomaly –by Jonathan Simon “In the 12 critical states (CO,FL,MI,MN,NE,NV,NH,NM,OH,PA,WI,IA) the average discrepancy was a 2.5% red shift (= total movement of 5.0%), nearly twice that in the safe states. This in spite of the fact that the average sample size in the critical states was nearly twice that in the noncritical states and should have produced significantly more accurate results.”

    Post-vote reform is sought –Registration: Election officials target groups paid to register. Election officials sorting through several thousand provisional votes said Monday that state lawmakers should consider reforms targeting groups whose registration activity cost some Nevadans their right to vote on Nov. 2. Voter Outreach of America, operated by Republican-based Sproul and Associates of Phoenix, was singled out for most of the criticism directed at such groups. Some of its former workers in Nevada and other battleground states alleged they were told to register only Republicans and to ignore pro-Kerry people. Some said that completed Democratic registration forms were thrown out or ripped up. The head of the company is Nathan Sproul – a former Christian Coalition activist and one-time executive director of the Arizona GOP.

    Vancouver lawyer visiting U.S. cities to tell Americans how to emigrate –A Vancouver immigration lawyer is travelling to three U.S. Pacific Coast cities to tell Americans who can’t face another four years of George Bush how to find the life they hoped for in Canada. “A lot of people are feeling disenfranchised after the last election,” Kischer said. [And, after the previous ‘election,’ as well!]

    Footprints of Electoral Fraud: The November 2 Exit Poll Scam –by Michael Keefer “…[H]ow do we know the fix was in? Because the exit poll data also included the total number of respondents. At 9:00 p.m. EST, this number was well over 13,000; by 1:36 a.m. EST on November 3 it had risen by less than 3 percent, to a final total of 13, 531 respondents-but with a corresponding swing of 5 percent from Kerry to Bush in voters’ reports of their choices. Given the increase in respondents, a swing of this size is a mathematical impossibility. The same pattern is evident in the exit polls of two key swing states, Ohio and Florida.”

    House Dems ask GAO to investigate voting machines [It has began] (post by lawnorder on dailykos.com)

    Was It Hacked? –by Alan Waldman “Despite mainstream media attempts to kill the story, talk radio and the Internet are abuzz with suggestions that John Kerry was elected president on Nov. 2 – but Republican election officials made it difficult for millions of Democrats to vote while employees of four secretive, GOP-bankrolled corporations rigged electronic voting machines and then hacked central tabulating computers to steal the election for George W. Bush. The Bush administration’s ‘fix’ of the 2000 election debacle (the Help America Vote Act) made crooked elections considerably easier, by foisting paperless electronic voting on states before the bugs had been worked out or meaningful safeguards could be installed.”

    How Kerry Won –by Brian Cady “Here’s a ‘cartogram’, where each state’s area is proportional to its population, and where reliable 2004 early exit polling, not corrupt ballot results, guides red-blue coloring.” [A must see]

    GOP moves to facilitate future Reichwing coups: Exit poll data will be delayed –On future election days, news organizations that pay for surveys of voters leaving polling places won’t see results until late afternoon or early evening. The goal is to avoid a repeat of what happened this Election Day, when leaked information from exit polls was posted by Internet commentators known as bloggers about 1 p.m. [showing the truth: that Kerry was winning the election].

    Democracy in Question –by Ritt Goldstein “John Zogby, president of the polling firm Zogby International, told IPS he has been calling it ‘the Armageddon election’ for about a year. Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader believes the Republican Party was able to ‘steal it before election day.’ Facts suggest something went very wrong on Nov. 2. Speculation focuses upon a number of questions — purposeful miscounts, anomalies surrounding electronic voting (e-voting) machines, particularly the optical scan types; and numerous reports of voting ‘irregularities’ in heavily Democratic areas.”

    Another Stolen Election and the End of Formal American Democracy –by Anis Shivani “The result of this election was foregone. This is now a farcical, Third World type of situation, with a retarded dictator getting away with whatever he wants. Karl Rove must have told the President [sic] long ago, Relax, there’s nothing to worry about. The election is in our pocket. The fix was in when the country didn’t rise up with one voice against the theft of the 2000 election. The last nail in the coffin was the lack of surprise and protest at the utterly weird and incomprehensible 2002 election results, particularly in Southern states like Georgia. The liberal elite knows; everyone knows what’s happening; but no one can talk about it.”

    Complete US Exit Poll Data Confirms Net Suspicions —-by Scoop Co-Editor Alastair Thompson “Scoop.co.nz is delighted to be able today to publish a full set of 4pm exit poll data for the first time on the Internet since the US election… Figure 1: Graph showing the “red shift” between 2004 US General Election exit polls & the actual 2004 US Election results…”

    Activists protest electronic voting –Opponents of the technology gather at the Capitol and question exit-poll data –About 200 protesters and curious onlookers stood at the steps of the state Capitol on Saturday, with protesters toting signs that read “the machine ate my vote” and “paper ballots protect democracy.”

    Academia Still Fixated on John Kerry [coup 2004] –As states certify final election returns, an academic debate over their accuracy is heating up. Internet buzz that perhaps the exit polls were correct and the actual returns might be flawed grew louder this week when sociology graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley went public with an analysis arguing that Florida results in counties using electronic ballots differed from historical voting patterns.

    US Congress to investigate irregularities in November 2 vote –The Government Accountability Office, the investigating arm of the US Congress, will probe allegations of irregularities in the November 2 US presidential vote, lawmakers said.

    GAO to Investigate Voting Irregularies –Congress’ investigative agency, responding to complaints from around the country, has begun to look into the Nov. 2 vote count, including the handling of provisional ballots and malfunctions of voting machines. The Government Accountability Office usually begins investigations in response to specific requests from Congress, but the agency’s head, Comptroller General David Walker, said the GAO acted on its own because of the many comments it received about ballot counting.

    GAO Will Investigate 2004 Elections –Government Accountability Office to Conduct Investigation of 2004 Election Irregularities –posted by Murshed Zaheed (Washington, DC) “Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Jerrold Nadler, Robert Wexler, Robert Scott, and Rush Holt announced today that, in response to their November 5 and 8 letters to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the GAO has decided to move forward with an investigation of election irregularities in the 2004 election. The five Members issued the following statement…”
    Here is the list of the GAO signatories: John Conyers (D-MI) Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) Robert Wexler (D-FL) Robert Scott (D-GA) Melvin Watt (D-NC) Rush Holt (D-NJ) Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) Louise Slaughter (D-NY) George Miller (D-CA) John Olver (D-MA) Bob Filner (D-CA) Gregory Meeks (D-NY) Barbara Lee (D-CA) Plus Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

    Republican Challenges Presidential Election Based On Exit Polls (Comments by Greg Palast) “Tuesday, November 23, 2004 –from The New York Times ‘Citing the disturbing fact that official results diverged sharply from a range of surveys of voters at polling places, Lugar [Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R- hypocrite – Indiana] said, ‘A concerted and forceful program of election-day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or cooperation of governmental authorities.’ …This reporter was unable to reach Senator Lugar regarding the inconsistency of official election results and exit polls in the USA; the intimidation of minority voters in Florida and Ohio; nor the failure to count two million ballots cast, half by African-American voters, in America’s first post-democratic election held earlier this month.”

    The Honorable David M. Walker
    Comptroller General of the United States
    U.S. General Accountability Office

    Dear Mr. Walker:
    We write with an urgent request that the Government Accountability Office immediately undertake an investigation of the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election, how election officials responded to difficulties they encountered and what we can do in the future to improve our election systems and administration…

    Sincerely,
    John Conyers, Jr. Jerrold Nadler, Robert Wexler Members of Congress
    House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution

    “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. Even the journalists are pretty horrified. My source said they’ve also been forbidden to talk about it even on their own time, and he was calling from somewhere else. He was trying to figure out how to get the real news out on vote fraud. This is a person I’ve worked with off and on for nearly two years, and the voice was so somber it really bothered me.” –Bev Harris, blackboxvoting.org

    Nov. 7, 2004: Freedom of Information requests at http://www.blackboxvoting.org have unearthed two Ciber certification reports indicating that security and ‘tamperability’ was NOT TESTED and that several state elections directors, a secretary of state, and computer consultant Dr. Britain Williams signed off on the report anyway, certifying it.

    Exit polls match results where paper ballots were used –An *amazing* set of graphs, indicating a near match of the exit polls to actual results in states where paper ballots were used. In states where electronic ‘voting’ was implemented, exit polling was off by a country mile.

    House Dems Seek Election Inquiry –Three congressmen sent a letter to the General Accounting Office on Friday requesting an investigation into irregularities with voting machines used in Tuesday’s elections. The congressmen, Democratic members of the House of Representatives from Florida, New York and Michigan, cited a number of incidents that came to light in the days after the ‘election.’ …There were also problems with machines that counted absentee ballots in Florida. Software made by Election Systems & Software began subtracting votes when totals surpassed 32,000.

    Evidence Mounts That The Vote Was Hacked –by Thom Hartmann –“[Florida counties] In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely voted for Kerry. In Dixie County, with 4,988 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush. The pattern repeats over and over again – but only in the counties where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.”

    CLG Founder and Chair, Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D., appeared on: Radio Left at 5PM EST Nov. 5, 2004, to discuss Stolen Election 2004. At 6:00PM EST, Mike appeared on WRCT in Pittsburgh, 88.3 FM.

    Kerry won. Here’s the facts. (tompaine.com) Bush won Ohio by 136,483 votes. Typically in the United States, about 3 percent of votes cast are voided-known as “spoilage” in election jargon-because the ballots cast are inconclusive. Drawing on what happened in Florida and studies of elections past, Palast argues that if Ohio’s discarded ballots were counted, Kerry would have won the state. Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports there are a total of 247,672 votes not counted in Ohio, if you add the 92,672 discarded votes plus the 155,000 provisional ballots. So far there’s no indication that Palast’s hypothesis will be tested because only the provisional ballots are being counted. –by Greg Palast “Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. CNN’s exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio’s male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state. So what’s going on here? Answer: the exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, ‘Who did you vote for?’ Unfortunately, they don’t ask the crucial, question, ‘Was your vote counted?'”

    Carteret ‘loses’ 4,530 votes –Forget the old adage. Every vote doesn’t count in Carteret County. After candidates and voters awaited Tuesday’s election results for more than five hours after polls closed, the County Board of Elections announced a major computer problem that wiped out 4,530 of the 7,537 early votes cast at the elections office, an error admitted by the system’s manufacturer. While the company told the county the unit used for early voting could store up to 10,500 votes, it could only handle 3,005. But there were 7,537 early votes cast Oct. 14-30.

    Fixed – The Stealing of Another Election (Democraticunderground.com) –by EarlG –Kerry winning Exit Polls –“FRAUD LOOKS PROBABLE –SoCalDem has done a statistical analysis… …on several swing states, and EVERY STATE that has EVoting but no paper trails has an unexplained advantage for Bush of around +5% when comparing exit polls to actual results. In EVERY STATE that has paper audit trails on their EVoting, the exit poll results match the actual results reported within the margin of error. So, we have MATCHING RESULTS for exit polls vs. voting with audits vs. A 5% unexplained advantage for Bush without audits.”

    Exit Poll Director Claims Exit Polling Was Accurate –The exit polling was correct, maintains Joe Lenski of Edison Media Research, which conducted Tuesday’s exit poll with Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool, a consortium of the major television networks and the Associated Press. “No wrong projections [of winners] were made; the projections were spot on,” he said. “The members used this data with sophistication and understanding of what data can and cannot be used for.”

    John Kerry: “I promise you, the day will come, when your work and your ballots will change the world.” [Yes, even Kerry knows the election was stolen…]

    John Edwards: ‘Your cause will always be our cause.’ [Contrast an American hero such as Edwards like that to the piece of Halliburton garbage, Dick Cheney.]

    AP, NBC News: Senator Kerry has conceded the ‘election’ to Dictator Bush. [Editor’s note: Thank you so much for all of your supportive emails. I am behind on correspondence, but I want to make a general statement of appreciation. –Lori Price]

    *****

    Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, speaking for the Kerry/Edwards campaign, told a crowd of supporters in Boston that the Kerry/Edwards team would wait until all the votes are counted before deciding whether to concede the election or claim victory. Remarks by Senator John Edwards (D-NC) Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate –Boston, Massachusetts — 2:28 A.M. EST, Wednesday, November 3, 2004 “John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people that in this election, every vote would count and every vote would be counted,” Edwards said. “Tonight, we care keeping our word, and we will fight for every vote. You deserve no less.”

    CNN projects Kerry wins Michigan’s 17 Electoral College votes.

    MSNBC: Dictator Bush prepared to declare victory *without* concession call from Kerry, or final tallies received!!

    Statement from the Kerry campaign: “The vote count in Ohio has not been completed. There are more than 250,000 remaining votes to be counted. We believe when they are, John Kerry will win Ohio.”

    CNN: Broken machines and a delay in opening absentee ballots will delay Iowa reporting its final count in the presidential election, state election officials said.

    Through chicanery, lies, deception, polling intimidators (Brownshirts), Swift Boat Liars for Rove, Diebold, touch screen ‘voting’ machines, Kenneth Blackwell, Wally O’Dell, Therese LeGOPWhorePore, Dictator Bush now has 269 electoral votes, according to MSNBC. Why did exit polling indicate a Kerry victory? The same reason that exit polling indicated a Gore victory, in 2000: because Gore won. Another Bush coup d’etat is underway…

    The Bush dictatorship is flaming the *second* coup d’etat, by whining that Florida’s ‘exit polling’ does not ‘match’ the actual votes!! The Bush campaign is ‘predicting’ they will win Florida and Ohio.. why, what do they know that we don’t?????? Some people have not even *voted* yet in Ohio.

    Mega coup alert!! AP Will Be Sole Source of Vote Count –News organizations will be relying on The Associated Press for a quick and accurate [?!?] count of votes cast in Tuesday’s elections, from top of the ticket races like president, Senate and governor, down through state legislature.

    An Election Spoiled Rotten –It’s not even Election Day yet, and the Kerry-Edwards campaign is already down by a almost a million votes. That’s because, in important states like Ohio, Florida and New Mexico, voter names have been systematically removed from the rolls and absentee ballots have been overlooked-overwhelmingly in minority areas, like Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, where Hispanic voters have a 500 percent greater chance of their vote being “spoiled.” Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on the trashing of the election. “John Kerry is down by several thousand votes in New Mexico, though not one ballot has yet been counted. He’s also losing big time in Colorado and Ohio; and he’s way down in Florida, though the votes won’t be totaled until Tuesday night. Through a combination of sophisticated vote rustling-ethnic cleansing of voter rolls, absentee ballots gone AWOL, machines that ‘spoil’ votes-John Kerry begins with a nationwide deficit that could easily exceed one million votes.”

    Arming the Left: Is the time now? –by Charles Southwell

    Oil Down $2, Speculators Bet on Kerry Win — Oil prices fell heavily on Monday, taking U.S. crude below $50 on speculation that a U.S. election win for Senator John Kerry could ease the geopolitical friction that helped fuel this year’s record-breaking rally.

    Kerry tops Bush in virtual vote –Democratic challenger John Kerry has won a landslide victory over Dictator George W. Bush in a global sample of the world’s opinion on the race for the White House. More than 113,000 people from 119 countries made their choice at http://www.globalvote2004.org, handing Kerry a crushing win with 77 percent of the vote, a spokesman for the Web site said on Monday.

    John Kerry Promises Young People The Truth, Talks Eminem At Campaign Stop (mtv.com) “Gideon Yago: …Yago: Last time we talked, in March, you said that it’s important to listen to hip-hop because it gives you a sense of what’s going on in the street. Have you heard the new Eminem song that’s been out? Kerry: You know, I heard Eminem on ‘Saturday Night Live’ last night. I heard the song that he did. I don’t know if that’s part of his new [album] or not. I liked it. But that’s the only thing that I’ve heard in the last weeks. I’m on the trail. I’m campaigning every day.”

    Monster’s [Rove’s] Deadly Warning to ‘Red’ States –Bush bin Laden warned in his October Surprise video that he will be closely monitoring the state-by-state election returns in tomorrow’s presidential race – and will spare any state that votes against pResident Bush from being attacked, according to a new analysis of his statement. [LOL, if it wasn’t so pathetic. Karl Rove will say/do *anything* to steal the election for Dictator Bush, again.]

    CLG’s strategy in case of stolen elections: Part 1, The Ballot, The Bullet, and the Grand Refusal –by Michael Rectenwald, CLG Founder and Chair “…[A] postponed election, or the playing the fear factor for low voter turnout, are acts of terrorism in themselves. We are already being attacked. This warning is yet another in a series of attacks on our rights, on our democratic system, on our freedom, and on our self-determination.” July 13, 2004

    CLG’s strategy in case of stolen elections: Part 2, The Revolution Will Be Webcast! –by Michael Rectenwald, CLG Founder and Chair “What are the TRIGGERS, what ‘election’ events will trigger the Grand Refusal? The following list is by no means exhaustive. The Bush regime may very well alter their approach to stealing the election this time. But, this is a list that will guide us… The Real Revolution was against the people and the Constitution and took place in 2000 and continues to this day.” July 21, 2004

    Pendulum swings to Kerry landslide –Forget all the too close to call analysis, Australian psephologist Malcolm Mackerras says the US election will be a Kerry-slide. “My key prediction was this: ‘On Monday, December 20, 2004, the Electoral College will meet and 327 votes will be cast for John Kerry and 211 for George W. Bush.'”

    Young Mobile Voters Pick Kerry Over Bush, 55% to 40%, Rock the Vote/Zogby Poll Reveals: National Text-Message Poll Breaks New Ground –Polling firm Zogby International and partner Rock the Vote found Massachusetts Senator John Kerry leading Dictator Bush 55% to 40% among 18-29 year-old likely voters in their first joint Rock the Vote Mobile political poll, conducted exclusively on mobile phones October 27 through 30, 2004.

    Reichwing Media Prepping Us For Coup 2004: Another Wait Feared In Knowing the Winner –After four years of legislation, technology upgrades and other reforms aimed at avoiding a repeat of the 2000 coup [‘hotly contested 2000 elections’], a growing number of government officials and voting experts are preparing for the unthinkable. Americans may not know who won the presidential race on Tuesday night. Again. …Yesterday, in hotly contested Pennsylvania, Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D) agreed to a seven-day extension to settle a federal lawsuit in that state after initially resisting the idea. As a result, military ballots there may be received through Nov. 10. Republican officials are considering a new lawsuit to push back that extension further.

    Bush Seeks Limit to Suits Over Voting Rights –Regime lawyers argue that only the Justice Department, not the voters, may sue to enforce provisions in the Help America Vote Act. Bush dictatorship lawyers argued in three closely contested states last week that only the Justice Department, and not voters themselves, may sue to enforce the voting rights set out in the Help America Vote Act, which was passed in the aftermath of the disputed 2000 election.

    GOP Challenging Voter Registrations –Civil Rights Groups Accuse Republicans of Trying to Disenfranchise Minorities –Republicans yesterday continued to challenge the validity of tens of thousands of voter registrations in Ohio and other key states in the presidential election while a coalition of civil rights and labor groups sued the GOP, claiming the Republican efforts were aimed at removing eligible minority voters from the rolls. After initially saying he would not contest a Wednesday ruling halting the challenges, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) worked with other election officials [Rove made a phone call] who asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati to allow GOP challenges to 35,000 voters from mostly urban and minority areas to proceed before the election. Also yesterday, Republicans in Wisconsin attempted to challenge the registrations of 5,600 voters in Milwaukee but were turned down in a unanimous decision by the city’s bipartisan election board. Join us in stopping the 2004 coup!! Contact: ChallengeWithHammers@legitgov.org. ***Sign up*** challengewithhammers-subscribe@lists.legitgov.org

    Al-Jazeera Airs Videotape by Bin Laden –Osama bin Laden, reading a statement to the American people in a new videotape aired Friday, directly admitted for the first time that he ordered the Sept. 11 attacks and said “the best way to avoid another Manhattan” was to stop threatening Muslims’ security.

    Al-Jazeera broadcasts new bin Laden tape –Neither Bush nor Kerry can protect U.S., he says –Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in a videotape broadcast Friday on Al-Jazeera television, claims full responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States and warns Americans that “your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands.”

    The GOP’s Shameful Vote Strategy –by Harold Meyerson “With Election Day almost upon us, it’s not clear whether President [sic] Bush is running a campaign or plotting a[nother] coup d’etat. By all accounts, Republicans are spending these last precious days devoting nearly as much energy to suppressing the Democratic vote as they are to mobilizing their own… Today’s Republicans have elevated vote suppression from a dirty secret to a public norm.”

    E-vote vendors to submit software for safekeeping –But critics say the vendor move won’t guarantee integrity of system –With less than a week to go before the presidential election and concerns still lingering about the integrity and security of the software used by tens of thousands of electronic voting machines, five voting machine makers agreed to submit their software to the National Software Reference Library (NSRL) for safekeeping, federal officials said yesterday.

    *****

    Web design for Coup 2004: Mary Titus

    Lori R. Price is General Manager, Citizens For Legitimate Government.
    Michael D. Rectenwald, Ph.D., is Founder and Chair, Citizens For Legitimate Government.

  109. 109
    republican democrat says:

    Why don’t we make all election officials – city, county, and state non-partisan offices? Whether the vote was manipulated in Ohio or not, the fact the Secretary of State was also the Ohio chair for one of the candidates is preposterous. If Republicans are really concerned about “dead” voters and Democrats want every vote counted we should have something better than HAVA as our guide.

    It amazes me that elections in our country are starting to look like those in banana republics. We invented modern democracy and we can’t get election day right.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] I’ve been collecting a few links on the state of electronic voting. This one by Brad Friedman at the Huffington Post is a good introduction. John Cole at Balloon Juice points to a GAO report which states that “some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.” And the Brad Blog raises questions about the difference between pre-polls and actual Ohio voting results. […]

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