February 20, 2003

Electronic Voter Fraud:
Watch This Closely

The most disgusting violation of the US democratic system yet is the voting machine fraud. This cannot be allowed to continue. It is the key to the future control of the US government by a corporate clique instead of a democratic majority.

According to an article in Salon, Joseph Richardson, a spokesman for Diebold Election Systems, now denies that a program patch was ever applied to the Georgia voting machines. He says, "We have analyzed that situation and have no indication of that happening at all."

But according to Black Box Voting:

Michael Barnes, of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Elections Office, says he actually helped install the patch himself, and though it was a big job, they “touched” every one of Georgia’s 22,000 voting machines before the November 2002 election.

Chris Riggall, the spokesperson for Secretary of State Cathy Cox, wrote a memo in August, 2002 detailing plans to install the patch on every machine in Georgia.

Was Dr. Brit Williams, the official independent examiner for the National Association of State Election Directors, just fantasizing when he remembers that teams of people drove around Georgia installing the program fix while he was doing acceptance testing on the last batch of voting machines?

Perhaps the 20 teams of technicians dispatched to install the patch simply hallucinated their journey.

It is already a crime and an outrage for voting machines to be in operation with proprietary codes in their operating systems, which are hidden from the public by perverted laws that protect the right of their corporate owners to hide them as "intellectual property". Once again the rights of corporations overrides the Constitutional rights of the people. The voting process must be transparent and trackable. No other outcome is acceptable.

This is one to take to the streets for. This is bigger than Iraq. In this issue as much as any other, it is clear that Americans must start from scratch to rebuild a democratic government on the ruins of the one that has been undermined and destroyed by the corporate oligarchy.

The right to vote is the most fundamental right of a democratic system. It is the basis of accountability, which we have seen eroded and we are now seeing the deleterious effects of that erosion.

Keep up on these crucial issues at Black Box Voting.

February 25, 2003

Rigged Voting Machines

Could there be any more crucial issue than the corruption of the democratic process through voting machine manipulations? The story has not leaked upward to the major media much yet, probably as an indication of how serious a threat it is to the established order.

What is left of the Constitutional process if the voting machines themselves are corrupted? It's the easiest way for the corrupters to undermine the democratic process. All the trouble and cost of paying off congresspeople would no longer be necessary.

Not only can the currently used voting machines be manipulated, in most cases there is not even a way to verify the process. There is no paper trail, nothing that can be checked. It recently came to light that the big Republican winner in Nebraska, Senator Chuck Hagel, who won by a practically unheard of margin of 83% of the vote, used to run the company that manufactures the voting machines, and is still a part owner, a fact he did not reveal on his financial disclosure forms.

In Georgia, according to Salon, "in an effort to fix a problem that was causing 5 percent of the machines in Georgia to freeze up, Diebold administered a software "patch" to all 22,000 machines in the state shortly before the November election. The patch -- which changes the code on the machine -- was certified 'by phone.'"

The findings of Bev Harris, of BlackBoxVoting.com have now surfaced in Salon. Will they break into the mainstream? See "Hacking Democracy". Stanford University computer scientist David Dill created the following statement, which could be a manifesto:

"Computerized voting equipment is inherently subject to programming error, equipment malfunction, and malicious tampering. It is therefore crucial that voting equipment provide a voter-verifiable audit trail, by which we mean a permanent record of each vote that can be checked for accuracy by the voter before the vote is submitted, and is difficult or impossible to alter after it has been checked. Many of the electronic voting machines being purchased do not satisfy this requirement. Voting machines should not be purchased or used unless they provide a voter-verifiable audit trail; when such machines are already in use, they should be replaced or modified to provide a voter-verifiable audit trail. Providing a voter-verifiable audit trail should be one of the essential requirements for certification of new voting systems."

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