Thursday, November 18, 2004
Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla has a whole passel of posts on newly discovered voting irregularities. A few of the highlights:
- Bev Harris and her team from BlackBoxVoting.org put in a FOIA request for voting records from Volusia County (FL) Elections Supervisor Deannie Lowe. But for some reason the county would not allow them to see the original polling-place tapes from Nov. 2 -- and that's where the story got lively:
There was a trash bag on the porch outside the door. Harris looked into it and what do you know, but there were poll tapes in there. [Officials] came out and glared at Harris and Wynne, who drove away a small bit, and then videotaped the license plates of the two vehicles marked 'City Council' member. Others came out to glare and soon all doors were slammed.Lawyers converged on the scene. The Diebold central server and the memory cards from Volusia County are now under lockdown pending further investigation.
So, Harris and Wynne went and parked behind a bus to see what they would do next. They pulled out some large pylons, which blocked the door. Harris decided to go look at the garbage some more while Wynne videotaped. A man who identified himself as "Pete" came out and Harris immediately wrote a public records request for the contents of the garbage bag, which also contained ballots -- real ones, but not filled out . . . .
Black Box Voting began to compare the special printouts given in the FOIA request with the signed polling tapes from election night. Lo and behold, some were missing. By this time, Black Box Voting investigator Andy Stephenson had joined the group at Volusia County. Some polling place tapes didn't match. In fact, in one location, precinct 215, an African-American precinct, the votes were off by hundreds, in favor of George W. Bush and other Republicans.
Hmm. Which was right? The polling tape Volusia gave to Black Box Voting, specially printed on Nov. 15, without signatures, or the ones with signatures, printed on Nov. 2, with up to 8 signatures per tape?
Well, then it became even more interesting. A Volusia employee boxed up some items from an office containing Lana Hires' desk, which appeared to contain -- you guessed it -- polling place tapes. The employee took them to the back of the building and disappeared.
Then, Ellen B., a voting integrity advocate from Broward County, Florida, and Susan, from Volusia, decided now would be a good time to go through the trash at the elections office. Lo and behold, they found all kinds of memos and some polling place tapes, fresh from Volusia elections office.
So, Black Box Voting compared these with the Nov. 2 signed ones and the "special' ones from Nov. 15 given, unsigned, finding several of the MISSING poll tapes. There they were: In the garbage.
So, Wynne went to the car and got the polling place tapes she had pulled from the warehouse garbage. My my my. There were not only discrepancies, but a polling place tape that was signed by six officials.
This was a bit disturbing, since the employees there had said that bag was destined for the shredder.
- Computer security expert Chuck Herrin (who turns out to be a Republican) points out that "No less than 5 of Diebold's developers are convicted felons, including Senior Vice President Jeff Dean, and topping the list are his twenty-three counts of felony Theft in the First Degree." Here's why he belives the vote was hacked:
I got involved with this because I have been against the adoption of these voting systems for years. It's a dumb-ass idea to implement them this way - our votes are too important. I wouldn't trust my Bank with computer systems this insecure; Hell, I wouldn't keep recipes on a system this insecure. When I saw all of the documentation regarding Diebold and their heavy partisan leanings, and then when the results came flooding in with a clear Bush victory when I seriously expected Kerry to win, I put two and two together. I am, by trade, a professional White-Hat Hacker, so I know how easily "secure" systems can be breached, especially by insiders. Roughly 80% of all computer crimes are perpetrated by insiders, so that's always the best place to look first. When the insiders also write the code and roll the machines out, there is no question that they have too much power and can not be trusted, whether they support my party or not. It's called "Segregation of Duties" in the professional world, and it is vital for system integrity.
But that was all theory and conceptual before I tried it myself. I knew that the descriptions and ideas were bad, but I hadn't actually seen a copy of the software. So I went to BlackBoxVoting.org following a link off of some website, I don't remember which, and saw Bev's plea - "Computer Guys - Test it yourself!". I thought, all right, I will. After all, this IS what I do for a living. It's like asking an accountant to balance debits and credits - nothing special, and besides, I was curious. Surely if our states are rolling this out to Hundreds of Millions of voters, somebody checked it. It can't be as bad as these liberal whiners are making it out to be - they're just pissed off that our folks turned out in mass.
What I found truly shocked me, and made me physically ill. That's what is documented on the other page. It IS that bad. I personally don't have conclusive evidence that voter fraud was perpetrated, but I can tell you as an Information Security professional that it would have been very, very easy to do. If I had to choose between someone conspiring with exit poll workers nationwide or someone changing values in an Access Database as the cause of the difference between the poll numbers and the "actual" results, I'll go with the easier, more effective option every time. Why choose the hard way when it's more trouble and you're less likely to succeed? Again, I'm staying clear of making specific allegations - I'll leave that to the activists who are gathering data - but I would be much more surprised if the election weren't hacked than to find out that it was.
- Finally, a research team from UC Berkeley will hold a press conference later today to report that:
[I]rregularities associated with electronic voting machines may have awarded 130,000 - 260,000 or more excess votes to President George W. Bush in Florida in the 2004 presidential election. The study shows an unexplained discrepancy between votes for President Bush in counties where electronic voting machines were used versus counties using traditional voting methods. Discrepancies this large or larger rarely arise by chance -- the probability is less than 0.1 percent. The research team, led by Professor Michael Hout, will formally disclose results of the study at the press conference.