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Still no doubt that President Bush isn't "President" Bush? Still unwilling to listen to Andrew Gumbel? Well, listen to the non-partisan General Accounting Office:

The non-partisan GAO report has now found 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."

The United States is the only major democracy that allows private partisan corporations to secretly count and tabulate the votes with proprietary non-transparent software. Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others, has asserted that "public elections must not be conducted on privately-owned machines." The CEO of one of the most crucial suppliers of electronic voting machines, Warren O'Dell of Diebold, pledged before the 2004 campaign to deliver Ohio and thus the presidency to George W. Bush.

Bush's official margin of victory in Ohio was just 118,775 votes out of more than 5.6 million cast. Election protection advocates argue that O'Dell's statement still stands as a clear sign of an effort, apparently successful, to steal the White House.

Among other things, the GAO confirms that:

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 other words, the GAO now confirms that electronic voting machines provided an open door to flip an entire vote count. More than 800,000 votes were cast in Ohio on electronic voting machines, some seven times Bush's official margin of victory.

2. "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." Numerous sworn statements and affidavits assert that this did happen in Ohio 2004.

3. "Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level." 3. Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards can easily be done, according to the GAO.

4. The GAO also confirms that access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network. This critical finding confirms that rigging the 2004 vote did not require a "widespread conspiracy" but rather the cooperation of a very small number of operatives with the power to tap into the networked machines and thus change large numbers of votes at will. With 800,000 votes cast on electronic machines in Ohio, flipping the number needed to give Bush 118,775 could be easily done by just one programmer.

5. Access to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords. So even relatively amateur hackers could have gained access to and altered the Ohio vote tallies.

6. The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy, meaning, again, getting into the system was an easy matter.

7. One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail, re-emphasizing the fragility of the system on which the Presidency of the United States was decided.

8. GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel, confirming still more easy access to the system.

In essence, the GAO study makes it clear that no bank, grocery store or mom & pop chop shop would dare operate its business on a computer system as flimsy, fragile and easily manipulated as the one on which the 2004 election turned.

The GAO findings are particularly damning when set in the context of an election run in Ohio by a Secretary of State simultaneously working as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. Far from what election theft skeptics have long asserted, the GAO findings confirm that the electronic network on which 800,000 Ohio votes were cast was vulnerable enough to allow a a tiny handful of operatives -- or less -- to turn the whole vote count using personal computers operating on relatively simple software.

The GAO documentation flows alongside other crucial realities surrounding the 2004 vote count. For example:

The exit polls showed Kerry winning in Ohio, until an unexplained last minute shift gave the election to Bush. Similar definitive shifts also occurred in Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico, a virtual statistical impossibility.

A few weeks prior to the election, an unauthorized former ES&S voting machine company employee, was caught on the ballot-making machine in Auglaize County

Election officials in Mahoning County now concede that at least 18 machines visibly transferred votes for Kerry to Bush. Voters who pushed Kerry's name saw Bush's name light up, again and again, all day long. Officials claim the problems were quickly solved, but sworn statements and affidavits say otherwise. They confirm similar problems in Franklin County (Columbus). Kerry's margins in both counties were suspiciously low.

A voting machine in Mahoning County recorded a negative 25 million votes for Kerry. The problem was allegedly fixed.

In Gahanna Ward 1B, at a fundamentalist church, a so-called "electronic transfer glitch" gave Bush nearly 4000 extra votes when only 638 people voted at that polling place. The tally was allegedly corrected, but remains infamous as the "loaves and fishes" vote count.

In Franklin County, dozens of voters swore under oath that their vote for Kerry faded away on the DRE without a paper trail.

In Miami County, at 1:43am after Election Day, with the county's central tabulator reporting 100% of the vote - 19,000 more votes mysteriously arrived; 13,000 were for Bush at the same percentage as prior to the additional votes, a virtual statistical impossibility.

In Cleveland, large, entirely implausible vote totals turned up for obscure third party candidates in traditional Democratic African-American wards. Vote counts in neighboring wards showed virtually no votes for those candidates, with 90% going instead for Kerry.

Prior to one of Blackwell's illegitimate "show recounts," technicians from Triad voting machine company showed up unannounced at the Hocking County Board of Elections and removed the computer hard drive.

In response to official information requests, Shelby and other counties admit to having discarded key records and equipment before any recount could take place.

In a conference call with Rev. Jackson, Attorney Cliff Arnebeck, Attorney Bob Fitrakis and others, John Kerry confirmed that he lost every precinct in New Mexico that had a touchscreen voting machine. The losses had no correlation with ethnicity, social class or traditional party affiliation---only with the fact that touchscreen machines were used.

In a public letter, Rep. Conyers has stated that "by and large, when it comes to a voting machine, the average voter is getting a lemon - the Ford Pinto of voting technology. We must demand better."

But the GAO report now confirms that electronic voting machines as deployed in 2004 were in fact perfectly engineered to allow a very small number of partisans with minimal computer skills and equipment to shift enough votes to put George W. Bush back in the White House.

Given the growing body of evidence, it appears increasingly clear that's exactly what happened.

Posted by aalkon at November 7, 2005 8:56 AM

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By four million. Right.

This is a combination of the law of unintended consequences (ask for something, you get something else) and whining about said law. Hanging chads weren't enough to tip the balance, and the Commission on Civil Rights coudn't find any intentional fraud in the Y2K election; the clamor was raised that the voting process should be easier than punching cards with a stick; "electronic" voting was offered as a solution; opponents of said "solution" said the system could be hacked. Gee. Now you say it was. I have news for you: public or private code can be hacked, but it's more likely when the system is non-proprietary. Think of that famous cyber-thing called, "Microsoft Windows". It's the epitome of the kind of "open" architecture people seem to be advocating.

Take a better look at this article. When they say things like "the problem was allegedly fixed", it means they don't know, and either were incapable of finding this out or they were blocked by unspecified means. Innuendo is no sign of veracity.

Posted by: Radwaste at November 7, 2005 2:53 AM

Radwaste has it exactly backwards. Windows is neither open
nor non-proprietary. It's instead "user-friendly", especially
what the user is a hacker or virus writer.

The contrasting open system is Linux - complete source code
available to everyone. How many viruses and trojans have made
it into Linux vs. the secret, proprietary Windows system?

It's only with open, available code that you can have
people checking that there are no hidden trap doors or
accidental security exposures.

Similarly, in the field of cryptographics, it's been
shown time and again that secret cryptographic algorithms
are vastly inferior to those that have been published and
have withstood the test of peer analysis.

Posted by: Ron at November 7, 2005 4:30 AM

there is no version of windows that is secure: in fact, there is no operating system that is completely secure ONCE IT IS PLACED ON A NETWORK.
One of the main problems with the voting machines is that they are indeed on the internet, thus inherently insecure.

Did mechanical voting machines ever have to be hooked up to a network?

There is only one reason why those machines were on a network, and that was for the purpose of fraud, fraud by the right-wing republican party contributors who SOLD the government a bill of goods.


by the way, amy, I am stealing your article and I am going to post it to my site. thanks in advance.

Posted by: realo at November 7, 2005 1:25 PM

Ron: backwards? No. If your statement was correct, then my Macintosh would be riddled with spyware and viruses. I don't run any protection whatsoever. I do scans about once a month; they're all negative. I've been doing this since 1993. Count the days. Something about your assertion that MS architecture is "closed" just might be incorrect; have you counted the various ways you can connect/hack into Windows?

Realo: be sure you test each statement above against the fallacies they represent. You appear to be buying innuendo as if it were fact - which is curiously missing from the citation. Point by point, above, the report summary says nothing.

Posted by: Radwaste at November 7, 2005 3:32 PM

btw: The information I added is not based on the GAO report: additionally, you might check the NSA evaluation of operating systems. The information on their site supports the most important statement of MINE above

### No operating system on a network is considered "secure" ###

Any reason why, all of a sudden, voting machines should be placed on a network?

Several people have proven that the machines could be hacked via modem. Use google yourself and you'll see.


Posted by: realo at November 7, 2005 4:09 PM

Radwaste: The foundation of Mac OS X, Darwin, *is* open source (it's a UNIX derivate). Only the eyecandy is proprietary.
See for details.

Posted by: drunkVoodoo at November 8, 2005 1:10 AM

dVoodoo: I know that. Now - how about the foundation of OS9 and earlier? Totally Apple.

Thanks, realo, for the NSA citation.

By the way, I tried to flip Ohio for Kerry, but there were just too many military voters in the state, appalled by Kerry's record, to let me do that covertly.

The preceding paragraph is not true - but it is the equal of any paragraph from, above, in backing.

Posted by: Radwaste at November 8, 2005 2:39 AM

Realo, it isn't stealing if you credit me with a link.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 8, 2005 4:25 AM

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