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10 March 2004
This article is part of the series E-voting.
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 |
Systematic fraud in US elections - Part 5

By Daan de Wit
The Dutch in the original article has been translated into English by Esther Doria.

The best thieves are modest. Stealing a little bit at a time is less conspicuous. Usually they get caught when they get too greedy. In Florida in 2000 they did get too greedy. We discussed this in previous parts of our series about the election theft by George W. Bush. In this part (and in the previous parts and in parts still to follow) we supply evidence to indicate that there is systematic fraud in the American elections.

Dutch prime minister Balkenende is licking the boots of Bush and will soon be visiting him again, but not everyone is such a good friend of the current American government. The Times of India writes that Tony Blair's wife believes that George W. Bush stole the elections: '"Cherie Blair still believed that Bush had stolen the White House from Gore," author Philip Stephens wrote in his book Tony Blair: The Making of a World Leader. '[...] She believed Al Gore had been "robbed" of the presidency and was hostile to the idea of her husband "cosying" up to the new President.' DeepJournal has written extensively about this theft. (see the rest of our series VoteScam). Also Gore Vidal, who is by now a regular guest of DeepJournal, is quick to respond.

Gore Vidal: Bush will lose (If the elections aren't conducted electronically)
The LA Weekly asked the renowned criticaster Gore Vidal in November of last year: '[... Is] George W. Bush going to be re-elected next year?
[Gore:] No. At least if there is a fair election, an election that is not electronic. That would be dangerous. We don't want an election without a paper trail. The makers of the voting machines say no one can look inside of them, because they would reveal trade secrets. What secrets? Is n’t their job to count votes? Or do they get secret messages from Mars? Is the cure for cancer inside the machines? I mean, come on. And all three owners of the companies who make these machines are donors to the Bush administration. Is this not corruption? So Bush will probably win if the country is covered with these balloting machines. He can’t lose.

[LA Weekly:] But Gore, aren't you still enough of a believer in the democratic instincts of ordinary people to think that, in the end, those sorts of conspiracies eventually fall apart?
[Gore:] Oh no! I find they only get stronger, more entrenched. [...] But getting back to Bush. If we use old-fashioned paper ballots and have them counted in the precinct where they are cast, he will be swept from office. He’s made every error you can. He’s wrecked the economy. Unemployment is up. People can’t find jobs. Poverty is up. It’s a total mess. How does he make such a mess? Well, he is plainly very stupid. But the people around him are not. They want to stay in power.' Meanwhile Bush is not doing well.

Progress results in a step backward for the voter
As Vidal speaks, America is being cram-packed with electronic voting machines thanks to the $3,9 billion of the Help America Vote Act 'to be given to the states over the next three years to replace outdated voting machines, improve voter education and train poll workers. [...] For the 2004 election, states will be required to have a computerized voter registration system'. Things are already going wrong: 'Maryland e-voting vulnerable to hackers - System poses significant security risks, report finds', headlines The Associated Press at the beginning of this year. 'RABA’s report, which focused on hardware, is the latest study by computer scientists to conclude that electronic systems pose significant security risks. Dozens of states are rushing to replace punch-card and lever systems with modern voting equipment to qualify for federal matching funds through the 2002 Help America Vote Act. Maryland is spending $55.6 million to move toward an entirely electronic system that does not provide traditional paper ballots that could be used in case of a recount.' The system that Maryland is acquiring is from Diebold.

Researchers: Diebold Software would have to be completely rewritten
Diebold has been under attack before. Not only did they have an unprotected server - a security leak that specifically bears out the problems of electronic voting - there was also a matter of software that was allowing vote fraud on a 'huge scale'. This was found in an investigation (PDF) of that software by John Hopkins University together with Rice University, according to an article by MSNBC in July of 2003. 'The software's vulnerabilities could allow someone to create a specially programmed smart card, and surreptitiously use it in the voting booth to cast multiple ballots. “A 15-year-old computer enthusiast could make these counterfeit cards in a garage and sell them,” Rubin said. [...] If attackers gained access to the link between the machines and the back-end servers, they could stir up even more mischief: “I click on George Bush and it’s really counted for Al Gore, I click on Al Gore and it’s really counted for George Bush,” Kohno said. [...] The company said its e-voting software is constantly updated to comply with certification requirements, but the researchers said the software would have to be rebuilt from scratch in order to address the security vulnerabilities they found.'

It's not just Diebold - VoteHere had security leak as well
It's not only Diebold that has been hampered by a security leak. VoteHere, a company 'developing encryption-based software for secure electronic voting has itself become the victim of a computer break-in', writes MSNBC in December of 2003. 'The company also has partnered with Sequoia Voting Systems for distribution of its paperless ballot verification system, but the software has not yet been deployed under that deal.' In previous parts of this series we have reported on the shadowy practices of Sequoia.

Electronic voting makes fraud possible and unverifiable
The crucial point is not the fact that hackers could break into the system - though that problem should be eliminated - but that 'the people' have no insight into how the ballots would be handled by those who collect them - 'the political system'. If they were to make a deal with the manufacturers of the voting machines without providing for a way to check up on the results of their cooperation, then this could be the finishing stroke to an already dilapidated democracy. Supporters of electronic voting extol the virtues of encrytion for getting the ballot safely from the voter to the ballot taker. In the meantime music and software distributors are continually having to admit that there security measures have once again been breached. The weakest link is in the part of the chain where the vote, be it encrypted or not, is received. As soon as the ballot reaches the person at the other end, he can do whatever he wants with it. One push of the button (or one that is previously programmed) and a vote for candidate A is changed into a vote for candidate B and with one more push of the button a receipt will come out stating that a vote has been cast for candidate A, where in fact candidate B has just received that vote. Another detail to be pointed out here is that voting anonymously via the Internet seems to be entirely impossible. MSNBC compares electronic voting to an electronic bank transaction: '[...] it’s OK if the bank knows how much money you have in your account — but it’s not OK if the election office knows how you voted.'

Three Republican candidates coincidentally get 18,181 votes each
'Winning vote totals uncanny in Comal', reads the headline in the San Antonio Express-News in November of 2002 regarding elections in Comal, Texas. 'What are the odds? Let's just say it's the proverbial "astronomical." Comal County elections officials noticed an extreme oddity after the final votes were tallied in Tuesday's general election. County Judge Danny Scheel received 18,181 votes in his victory over Lois Duggan. Republican state Sen. Jeff Wentworth also got 18,181 votes in Comal County in his win over Democrat Joseph Sullivan and Libertarian Rex Black. To make matters even stranger, Comal County also gave Republican Carter Casteel exactly 18,181 votes in her victory over Democrat Virgil Yanta in the race for District 73 state representative.
"Isn't that the weirdest thing?" County Clerk Joy Streater asked. "We noticed it right away, but it is just a big coincidence. I checked the precincts and the numbers are all different in every precinct for each of them. They just coincidentally all add up to 18,181." Scheel hadn't noticed the anomaly. "I'll be darned," he said when it was pointed out to him. "Look at that. That's weird"', according to the article.

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