Category "Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting"

How To Rig an Election: Electronic Voting in America Today

November 14th, 2012 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting

This is a must-read piece from Harper’s Magazine on the topic of election integrity, and the increasingly obvious threat to it from electronic voting. Its publication before the election in no way diminishes its all-too-relevant importance towards gauging real democratic legitimacy to the weilding of power within our society.

In fact, there has been a lot of talk about defacto GOP boss and SuperPAC king Karl Rove and his strangely nervous behavior on election night (in noticable contrast to his normal unflappable self), while serving as a commentator for Fox News when discussion the election results as they were coming in from Ohio, even after they were no longer necessary for an Obama win. As Tom Tomorrow posited, perhaps he knew something - or thought he did - that his Fox co-hosts didn’t know. Perhaps he expected Ohio’s Secretary of State John Husted to deliver another nick-of-time vote tally surge, just like former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (who was also simultaneously serving as the Bush/Cheney reelection campaign chair) did in 2004. Rove must have been dumbstruck that Husted couldn’t pull this one out, ala 2004.

Of real interest was the fact that while Rove was publicly objecting on network television to calling the Ohio results, Romney would not concede (even though every other news source had been calling the election for Obama for nearly an hour and a half). That seems fishy, perhaps a sign that Rove’s Crossroads SuperPAC operation and the Romney campaign had interlinking coordination to an extent that is almost assuredly illegal (even by the already thin and flimsy standards that have been established regarding this kind of thing).

What is important to note is that this report is not a matter of ‘conspiracy theory,’ but is the logical conclusion from empirical evidence compiled through ever-more sophisticated electronic forensics and statistical research.

Old-school ballot-box fraud at its most egregious was localized and limited in scope. But new electronic voting systems allow insiders to rig elections on a statewide or even national scale. And whereas once you could catch the guilty parties in the act, and even dredge the ballot boxes out of the bayou, the virtual vote count can be manipulated in total secrecy. By means of proprietary, corporate-owned software, just one programmer could steal hundreds, thousands, potentially even millions of votes with the stroke of a key.


As recently as September 2011, a team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory hacked into one of Diebold’s old Accuvote touchscreen systems. Their report asserted that anyone with $26 in parts and an eighth-grade science education would be able to manipulate the outcome of an election. “This is a national security issue,” wrote the Argonne team leader, Roger Johnston, using the sort of language that would normally set off alarm bells in our security-obsessed culture. Yet his warning has gone unheeded, and the Accuvote-TSX, now manufactured by ES&S, will be used in twenty states by more than 26 million voters in the 2012 general election.


HAVA’s [Help America Vote Act of 2002] impact has been huge, accelerating a deterioration of our electoral system that most Americans have yet to recognize, let alone understand. We are literally losing our ballot - the key physical proof of our power as citizens.

Even a former major elections official has heaped scorn upon HAVA’s mission. DeForest Soaries was appointed by George W. Bush to head the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which HAVA created to oversee security standards for new voting devices. Soaries stepped down in 2005, calling his office a “charade” and claiming that he had been deceived by both the White House and Congress. Washington politicians, Soaries declared in a 2006 radio interview, have apparently concluded that our voting system can’t be all that bad?after all, it got them elected. “But there’s an erosion of voting rights implicit in our inability to trust the technology that we use,” he added. “And if we were another country being analyzed by America, we would conclude that this country is ripe for stealing elections and for fraud.”


[Georgia Senator Max] Cleland lost by seven points. In his 2009 autobiography, he accused computerized voting machines of being “ripe for fraud.” Patched for fraud might have been more apt. In the month leading up to the election, Diebold employees, led by Bob Urosevich, applied a mysterious, uncertified software patch to 5,000 voting machines that Georgia had purchased in May.

“We were told that it was intended to fix the clock in the system, which it didn’t do,” Diebold consultant and whistle-blower Chris Hood recounted in a 2006 Rolling Stone article. “The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done. . . . It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state. . . . We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from [Bob] Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level.”

This brings to mind this attempt by Ohio Secretary of State John Husted to add “software patches” to Ohio’s electronic voting machines, only days before being used in the 2012 election.

Others argue that SmarTech’s role was far more insidious and involved partisan control of the total vote count. Stephen Spoonamore, an IT specialist (and Republican) who has consulted on cybersecurity for Boeing, MasterCard, the Navy, and the State Department, has studied the electronic “architecture map” used by Ohio during the 2004 election. He speculates that SmarTech might have been able to use Connell’s interface to gain access to and modify vote totals. In a sworn affidavit, Spoonamore said that the “variable nature of the story” and “lack of documentation available” would, for any of his banking clients, provoke “an immediate fraud investigation.”

Arnebeck hoped to have Connell testify in open court against Rove. But the prospective witness died on December 19, 2008, at age forty-seven, when his single-engine Piper Saratoga, which he was piloting alone, crashed en route from Washington, D.C., to Ohio. The circumstances of his death were viewed with suspicion by his family and close friends and sparked a firestorm of conspiracy chatter on the Internet, but no criminal investigation was launched. Whether Rove and his collaborators orchestrated the electronic theft of the 2004 election will likely never be known. Still, Election Day exit polls make a compelling case that somebody may have been tampering with the presidential vote count, in Ohio and elsewhere.

Late on Election Day, John Kerry showed an insurmountable lead in exit polling, and many considered his victory all but certified. Yet the final vote tallies in thirty states deviated widely from exit polls, with discrepancies favoring George W. Bush in all but nine. The greatest disparities were concentrated in battleground states’ particularly Ohio. In one Ohio precinct, exit polls indicated that Kerry should have received 67 percent of the vote, but the certified tally gave him only 38 percent. The odds of such an unexpected outcome occurring only as a result of sampling error are 1 in 867,205,553. To quote Lou Harris, who has long been regarded as the father of modern political polling: “Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen.”


It is Germany, however, that has now become the standard-bearer for clean elections. In 2009, that nation’s constitutional court upheld the basic principle of the public nature of democratic elections. By ruling that the vote count must be something the public can authenticate, and without any specialized expertise, the decision directly challenged the use of computers in elections.

Ireland followed suit in June 2012, sending all its electronic voting machines to the scrap heap. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan called the computerized voting system a poorly conceived, scandalous waste of money and said he was “glad to bring this sorry episode to a conclusion on behalf of the taxpayer.”

If there is a weakness to this report, it is that none of this is information is really new, and author Victoria Collier, far from being the first to document this problem, does not go into nearly enough detail referencing previous investigations into this disturbing subject. USTV Media has published extensively on this subject, referencing a whole host of information and journalistic sources that have been following this issue for decades. Most notably is Greg Palast’s essential work over the years, including in his book Armed Madhouse where he describes voting irregularities and vote stealing in the 2000 and 2004 elections. Avi Rubin’s work, as well as Bev Harris’, and Brad Friedman at The Brad Blog are just a few more among many in this field.

Read Victoria Collier’s complete report in Harpers Magazine.

‘Our Brand Is Crisis’ - Bolivian Elections as Templates for American Ones (and Vice Versa)

September 30th, 2012 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting, Video

Our Brand Is Crisis an important film to watch in order to better understand how our own elections work.

This stunning documentary by Rachel Boynton, is about democratic strategists James Carville and company working on the Bolivian election of 2002. They were paid political consultants (political mercenaries?) in support of the neoliberal Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, who ended up winning on 22.3% of the vote. This result was in large part thanks to the machiavellian tactics of Carville and company, who, ala Karl Rove, polluted the reputations of the main political rivals (and likely winners).

After his victory, Sánchez de Lozada went on to oversee a regime which committed acts of mass murder, and for which Sánchez de Lozada is now getting U.S. protection from facing criminal trial for his role in this.

This film unveils the kind of marketing of candidates and branding of campaigns that we are inundated with in the United States all the time. And just like in Bolivia, the actual nature of the policies and people who are there to execute them (no pun intended), are totally obscured by this onslaught of PRopaganda. Is it any coincidence that all of this has overtones to the campaign run by Lopez Obrador in Mexico?

A decent review of this film was provided by Juan Forero in The New York Times, back when the film was first released. Rumor had it that George Clooney was going to remake it, but I’m not sure what became of that.


Voter Suppression Video of the Moment: The Photo ID Scam Explained In Under 8 Minutes (And What You Can Do To Help Counter It)

September 24th, 2012 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting, Video

A short, quick and easy to watch documentary piece from John Wellington Ennis, one of the founders of the very important Video the Vote project, and a filmmaker who has been quite active in spotlighting election integrity issues for some time.

As Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog has pionted out, Ennis definitely has a way of making difficult ideas easy to understand and entertaining to watch. He does so again here…


October 31st, 2010 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting, Video

When you vote, make sure to do so ON PAPER BALLOTS ONLY! You have the right to them, so insist that your polling place worker provides you with one. Below is a short, two-minute animated piece explaining why. For more information on this issue, feel free to read through USTV Media’s Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting section.

D.C. Internet Vote Hacker Took Total Control of Server, Changed Votes, Stole Secret Ballots, Passwords, All In Less Than 36 Hours

October 17th, 2010 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting

Will your vote even count? Will it be counted? If so, by who? These are some of the stark questions being confronted by some important research findings from a computer science team from the University of Michigan, whose reports are being almost wholly ignored by just about every facet of the corporate media.

Brad Friedman has been one of the leading champions of reporting on this issue for years now, and for which we have tried to continually track at USTV Media ever since the time of the highly questionable electronic voting results in the 2004 election.

Much more on this pressing and underreported issue b>here

As we posited in our earlier coverage of D.C.’s Internet Voting scheme which was hacked with the University of Michigan fight song, J. Alex Halderman, asst. professor of electronic engineering and computer science at the university, was, indeed, at the heart of the hack.

He details how he and a small team of students were happy to participate in the test that D.C. election officials had announced, with just three days notice, inviting hackers to try and penetrate the system they planned to use this November, as developed with the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation.

Halderman writes in his explanation of how they did it:

Within 36 hours of the system going live, our team had found and exploited a vulnerability that gave us almost total control of the server software, including the ability to change votes and reveal voters’ secret ballots.

And if you think that’s chilling, Halderman goes on to note that all cast ballots on the system were modified and overwritten with write-in votes, all passwords taken — including the encryption key, which e-voting supporters constantly suggest will keep such systems safe — before they went on to install a back door to let them view any votes cast later, after their attack, along with the names of voters and who they voted for…

Read The Full Story Here

And for more on this, read this rather disturbing report on how Iranian, Chinese Computers Also Discovered to Have Been Hacking DC Internet Voting System.

A University of Michigan computer scientist and his team were not the only ones attempting to hack the Internet Vote scheme that Washington D.C. had planned to roll out for actual use with military and overseas voters in this November’s mid-term election. According to testimony given to a D.C. City Council committee last Friday by J. Alex Halderman, asst. professor of electrical engineering and computer science at University of Michigan, hackers from Iran and China were also attempting to access the very same network infrastructure, even as his own team of students had successfully done so, taking over the entirety of the Internet Voting system which had been opened for a first-of-its-kind live test.

The fraudulent joke of electronic voting systems is exposed once again. Any ‘official’ results that are based on the use of these systems should be considered illegitimate until verifiably proven through documentable written record. In other words, paper ballots.

Read The Complete Report Here

Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy In The Americas

November 4th, 2009 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting

The new documentary, ‘Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas,’ proves that democracy can and should be more than casting a ballot every four years. This empowering film gives hopeful and concrete examples from around the Americas of people taking back the reins of power and governing their own communities. ‘Beyond Elections’ is a road map for social change, drawing from communal councils in Venezuela and social movements in Bolivia to participatory budgeting in Brazil and worker cooperatives in Argentina.” The film gracefully succeeds in demonstrating that these grassroots examples of people’s power can be applied anywhere. Particularly as activists in the US face the challenges of an Obama administration and an economic crisis, this timely documentary shows that the revolution can start today right in your own living room or neighborhood.

Read The Full Interview with film producers Michael Fox and Silvia Leindecker, talking about how the film was created, what its aims were and what the film’s impact has been among viewers in the US.

What Happened In Ohio

February 8th, 2009 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting, Video

UnCommon Sense TV - “What Happened In Ohio” An interview with Ohio election auditors Eve Roberson & Joan Quinn, a former California election official and court attorney respectively. They report on the voting irregularities and possible evidence of voter suppression and vote fraud, if any, which took place in the election in 2004. Their research was presented to the Rep. John Conyers congressional committee investigation on voting problems in December in Columbus. Key portions of the committee’s 108-page report filed in January of 2005 were a result of their research.

Is The Election About To Be Stolen - Again?

November 3rd, 2008 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting

God help us if they pull this off again. This is a tremendously important story, with certain facts we first broached on USTV back immediately following the last presidential election. Of most note is the article’s practical guide to what people can do to help secure their vote during the election.

There is also information about Michael Connell, a name which should be front and center in all discussions about this election and go down in the annals of American political history.

Last Friday, a federal court judge in Cleveland, Ohio, ordered Michael Connell, an information-technology consultant to the McCain ‘08 campaign, to give a deposition in a court proceeding. Mr. Connell, whose firm, GovTech Solutions, built Ohio’s 2004 election results computer network, was in a position to have knowledge about the alleged manipulation of electronic voting results in that presidential contest (a technique known as “flipping”) in order to switch the winner in Ohio from Sen. John Kerry to President Bush. The deposition is scheduled to take place today, November 3, one day before the 2008 general election.

Connell is a former associate of Karl Rove, who is believed by those familiar with the events in question to have engaged in witness intimidation to prevent testimony about what happened in Ohio in 2004. They also believe that IT companies associated with the Republican Party have redeveloped the capacity to manipulate electronic voting results in Tuesday’s election, both within Ohio and outside, including Pennsylvania and other key battleground states such as Colorado and New Mexico. One such firm, Triad GSI, is managing voter registration databases in 55 of Ohio’s 88 counties and is hosting 25 of those databases.

All this has led to speculation that the McCain campaign’s insistence that they can win Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other states, despite being (in some places, significantly) behind in most of the polls, could be prompted by having been informed about planned cyber interference with electronic voting results. The reality is that a successful cyber attack only requires a few skilled IT experts with an in-depth understanding of digital security. Election returns in many states are presently emailed from local databases for statewide consolidation, without even the standard safeguards routinely used by banks and corporations. In other words, voting data can be relatively easily hacked.

Read the Full Report by Cynthia Boaz, Ange-Marie Hancock, David McCuan, Mark Crispin Miller and Michael Nagler.

Election Results Prematurely Leaked

February 27th, 2008 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting, Video

The Onion News Network has the scoop with their breaking story in this video report… Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

And in related election coverage from The ONN, here’s this insightful story.

Vote Early and Vote Often: State Legislator Hypocrisy

January 5th, 2008 by Andy in Elections & Electronic Black Box Voting, Video

This is a gem. One lawmaker, many votes. The Texas Legislature in action. I wonder how much this happens in other states as well? Funny how these so-called representatives try to crack down on ‘voter fraud’ and then casually and repeatedly commit the very same offense in their daily business.

Next Article »

Search Articles

USTV Recommended Read: