Votergate: Was US Elections Rigged?

Posted on November 8, 2004 
Filed Under Uncategorized

A controversy — on the level of Watergate — is brewing over the possibility of voter tampering of electronic votes cast in the US elections.

The crux of the issue is the use of the touch-screen systems manufactured by Diebold Inc which may have been used by as many as one in three voters in November.

Bev Harris, the author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century, asserts that fraud took place in the 2004 election through such electronic voting machines.

Harris first drew suspicion about the machines nearly two years ago via a story that appeared, oddly enough, at a relatively unknown site called Scoop based in New Zealand.

In August, 2004 she finally got a chance to demonstrate how easy it is to steal an election as a guest on the CNBC program “Topic A With Tina Brown”. Brown was off and Governor Howard Dean subbed as guest host.

Harris showed that the central tabulator is – surprise, surprise – a Windows PC, and we all know how secure that is.

Journalist Thom Hartman describes what happened next: “So Harris had Dean close the Diebold GEMS tabulation software, go back to the normal Windows PC desktop, click on the ‘My Computer’ icon, choose ‘Local Disk C:,’ open the folder titled GEMS, and open the sub-folder ‘LocalDB’ which, Harris noted, ‘stands for local database, that’s where they keep the votes.’

Harris then had Dean double-click on a file in that folder titled Central Tabulator Votes, which caused the PC to open the vote count in a database program like Excel. ‘Let’s just flip those,’ Harris said, as Dean cut and pasted the numbers from one cell into the other. Harris sat up a bit straighter, smiled, and said, ‘We just edited an election, and it took us 90 seconds.'”

Several computer-security experts have weighed in the debate and demonstrated the flaws in tabulating software made by Diebold and Sequoia Voting Systems and how they could:

1. Alter vote totals without a password,

2. Record a vote for one candidate as a vote for another,

3. Cast multiple votes; or

4. Simply erase the vote totals completely.

In mid-August, Walden W. O’Dell, otherwise known as Wally, the chief executive of Diebold, made the ultimate faux pas when he went on record that he is “committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President” — in a fundraiser letter for the re-election of Bush.

In “Evidence Mounts that the Vote Was Hacked”, Hartmann writes on that the results in several counties in Florida using optically-scanned paper ballots fed into a central tabulator PC — and thus vulnerable to hacking — contained “substantial anomalies.”

In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3% of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only 2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush.

In Dixie County, with 4,988 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.

The pattern repeats over and over again – but only in the counties where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.

Did all these voters flip for Bush, or was there actual tampering post-election to favour the incumbent?

Here is a detailed version of how the Diebold System had flaws that should have been addressed prior to the election.

Scoop has an extensive collection of links that are worth reading over a cup of strong coffee or you could download the book in PDF format from


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