That the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen has become
an article of faith for millions of mainstream Americans. But there has been
barely a whiff of coverage in the major media about any problems with the electronic
voting machines that made those thefts possible---until now.
A recent OpEdNews/Zogby People's poll (http://tinyurl.com/hgkgl)
of Pennsylvania residents, found that “39% said that the 2004 election
was stolen. 54% said it was legitimate. But let’s look at the demographics
on this question. Of the people who watch Fox news as their primary source of
TV news, one half of one percent believe it was stolen and 99% believe it was
legitimate. Among people who watched ANY other news source but FOX, more felt
the election was stolen than legitimate. The numbers varied dramatically.”
Here, from that poll, are the stations listed as first choice by respondents
and the percentage of respondents who thought the election was stolen: CNN 70%;
MSNBC 65%; CBS 64%; ABC 56%; Other 56%; NBC 49%; FOX 0.5%.
With 99% of Fox viewers believing that the election was “legitimate,”
only the constant propaganda of Rupert Murdoch’s disinformation campaign
stands in the way of a majority of Americans coming to grips with the reality
of two consecutive stolen elections.
That the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post finally ran
coverage of problems with electronic voting machines this week is itself big
news. It says the scandals surrounding computer fraud and financial illegalities
at Diebold and other electronic voting machine companies have become simply
too big and blatant for even the bought, docile mainstream media (MSM) to ignore.
The gaping holes in the security of electronic voting machines are pretty old
news. Bev Harris's blackboxvoting.org has been issuing definitive research since
Florida 2000. Freepress.org warned of the impending electronic theft of Ohio
2004 with Diebold machines eight months before it happened.
After that election, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) issued a report confirming that
security flaws could allow a single hacker with a wi-fi to shift the vote counts
at entire precincts just by driving by. Then the Government Accountability Office
reported that security flaws were vast and unacceptable throughout the national
network of electronic machines.
Despite overwhelming evidence that George W. Bush has occupied the White House
due to the fraudulent manipulations of the GOP Secretaries of State in Florida
and Ohio, none of this has seeped into "journals of record" like the
Times and Post.
Until this week. The Times was sparked out of its stupor on May 11, after officials
in California and Pennsylvania warned that Diebold touch-screen machines, slated
to be used in upcoming primaries, were hopelessly compromised. Michael Shamos,
a professor of computer science and Pittsburgh's high-tech Carnegie-Mellon University,
called it "the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system."
Douglas W. Jones, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa, says
"this is a barn door being wide open, while people were arguing over the
lock on the front door."
The Times refers to the uproar as "the latest concern about touch-screen
machines" while having completely ignored dozens of complaints in Ohio
2004 that voters who selected John Kerry's name saw George W. Bush's light up,
or saw the light on Kerry's repeatedly go out before they could complete the
The Wall Street Journal ran the following kicker: "Some former backers
of technology seek return to paper ballots, citing glitches, fraud fears."
The WSJ could have ran that story last year after the bipartisan commission
on federal election reform co-chaired by President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary
of State James Baker noted in no uncertain terms that: "Software can be
modified maliciously before being installed into individual voting machines.
There is no reason to trust insiders in the election industry any more than
in other industries."
Indeed. There's every reason because of the unprecedented power and money involved
in U.S. politics to trust them less than anybody else.
In its March 2006 primary, it took a week to tally Chicago's votes because
of technical problems in Sequoia Voting Systems equipment. In Maryland, electronic
voting scandals prompted a unanimous vote by the State House of Delegate demanding
that touch-screen machines be scrapped. The Maryland Senate effectively killed
that bill, which is certain to come back.
Citizen law suits are being filed in Arizona, California, New York and New
Mexico by the nonprofit Voter Action organization.
The new concerns about Diebold's equipment were discovered by Harri Hursti,
a Finnish computer expert who was working at the request of Black Box Voting
Inc. The new report forced Diebold to warn of a "theoretical security vulnerability"
that "could potentially allow unauthorized software to be loaded onto the
In other words, one of the prime manufacturers of the machines on which America
casts its votes has admitted those machines can be hacked.
But as the Times has finally reported, the company, in one of the new century's
most truly laughable letters, has claimed that "the probability for exploiting
this vulnerability to install unauthorized software that could affect an election
is considered low."
A company spokesman has admitted the flaw was actually built into the system
to allow election officials to upgrade their software. But Diebold is apparently
confident that those officials would never, ever cheat. "For there to be
a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil
and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of
software," says Diebold's David Bear. "I don't believe these evil
elections people exist."
The Times has thus far chosen not to report on the staggering history that
frames such statements. As freepress.org reported in 2003, Diebold CEO Walden
O'Dell promised in a GOP fundraising letter to "deliver Ohio's electoral
votes to George W. Bush." The election chief in Florida 2000 was Katherine
Harris. In Ohio 2004 it was J. Kenneth Blackwell. Both controlled access to
their state's electronic voting machines, and are widely believed to have exploited
their now obvious flaws. Both served simultaneously as Secretary of State and
as state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. As of today, the electronic access
cards for Ohio's electronic voting machines have been ordered into Blackwell's
personal office, despite the fact that he is the GOP nominee for governor in
the upcoming November election.
Recently passed House Bill 3 in Ohio does not mandate post-election audits
of electronic voting machines, nor does the Help American Vote Act (HAVA) of
2002. The rush to electronic voting machines was fueled by the passing of the
HAVA Act, which authorized more than $3 billion in federal funds to purchase
new voting equipment. HAVA's principal architect was Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), whose
financial ties to Diebold, through disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, have yet
to be fully exposed.
Blackwell personally negotiated a no-bid contract for Diebold touchscreen Direct
Recording Electronic machines (DREs) while holding stock in the company. Under
HB3 Blackwell will decide whether the machine will be audited or not in an election
where he is running for governor.
"We're prepared for those types of problems," said Deborah Hench,
the registrar of voters in San Joaquin County, California, according to The
Times. "There are always activists that are anti-electronic voting, and
they're constantly trying to put pressure on us to change our system."
Aviel Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, did
the first in-depth analysis of the security flaws in the source code for Diebold
touch-screen machines in 2003. After studying the latest problem, The Times
reported Rubin said: "I almost had a heart attack. The implications of
this are pretty astounding."
More coverage from the mainstream corporate media may surface as the machines
malfunction in the 22 primary elections scheduled in May and June. The next
major e-vote meltdown should occur during the May 16 primaries in Kentucky,
Oregon and Pennsylvania.
There's still time to move to hand-counted paper ballots for the November 2006
election. And if current trends continue, some of the mainstream media may actually
start reporting on the issue.
Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis are co-authors of HOW
THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008, available at www.freepress.org.
They are co-editors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO? forthcoming
from The New Press.