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ELECTION 2008: VANISHING VOTES, DISAPPEARING DEMOCRACY AND MEDIA MISDIRECTION

By Brad Friedman

And You Lose Your Vote! And You Lose Your Vote! And You Lose Your Vote! It’s one thing when millions of voiceless Americans are disenfranchised in one form or another—as we saw in the Presidential elections of both 2000 and 2004—but it’s another matter altogether whenOprah’s vote gets “lost.” Now that’s a real problem. That’s what happened in November of 2008, when one of the country’s most well-known celebrities attempted to cast her vote for the Democratic Party phenomenon, whom she’d famously endorsed, and who would eventually become President—with or without Oprah’s vote.

Who knows if Oprah Winfrey’s vote was actually counted for Barack Obama? She doesn’t. She can’t. Nobody can. Oprah cast her vote, during the early voting period, presumably for Obama, on a 100 percent unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touchscreen) voting machine.

“When I voted yesterday electronically, the first vote that you vote for on the ballot is the presidential candidate,” she explained on TV,(i)breathlessly detailing her personal freakout upon discovering her selection for Obama had disappeared by the time she arrived at the e-ballot’s final “review screen.” Naturally, as most voters do, she blamed herself.

“It was my first time doing electronic, so I didn’t mark the X strong enough, or I held down too long,” she explained over audience gasps and screams. “Because then when I went back to check it, it had not recorded my presidential vote.”

Unfortunately, Oprah not alone in 2008.  An untold number of legal American voters saw their votes simply disappear into the ether on electronic voting systems. Others didn’t see it disappear. Millions of them, whether they saw the selection properly registered on the “review screen” or not, have no idea whether their vote was actually counted accurately, or even at all.

It’s 100 percent physically and scientifically impossible to know if any vote, for any candidate or initiative on any ballot, cast during any actual election, has ever been recorded accurately by a DRE voting machine. That’s just one of the “voting industry’s” dirtiest little anti-democratic secrets.  Until the human eye is capable of seeing electrons inside a computer, there remains no way to verify that the data was recorded accurately, much less recorded at all.

Incredibly enough, jurisdictions across the country continued to use these machines in 2008 anyway. Even more incredibly, the corporate media barely bothered to notice.

In Oprah’s case, while the report of her alarming tale gained enough interest to knock out my web server at BradBlog.com for several hours, and was noteworthy enough to merit a momentary blip on the crawl of the nation’s cable news outlets, it otherwise quickly disappeared. Just like her vote. The nation’s corporate media did little to find out how many other voters faced similar fates, even though the same model of voting machine that failed for her was used to cast and record millions of votes across the country.  In Chicago (Cook County, IL), the machine Oprah would have used(ii) was a Sequoia AVC Edge, the same system used in eleven states, including the swing states of Nevada, Missouri and Virginia.

Even Oprah didn’t bother to revisit the topic.  Had she done so, her starpower might have helped reform the nation’s entire, dangerously imperiled, now-almost-wholly corporatized and privatized system of “public” elections.

Sequoia was not the only private e-voting company whose mission-critical systems failed during the critical moment of their mission in 2008. All four of the major e-voting vendors—ES&S, Diebold (now calling themselves Premier), Sequoia, and Hart Intercivic—saw similar failures, similarly under- or mis-reported, on their DRE systems in state after state. And it wasn’t just touchscreen/DREs that failed either. Optical-scan systems, which allow voters to ink their selections on paper ballots, also failed to tabulate votes accurately, and sometimes not at all.

How many other legal American votes were lost and/or changed without the voters’ knowledge in 2008? Because none of them were Oprah’s, nobody actually knows.

First Worst in the Nation

In 2008 the country saw a record voter turnout throughoutone of the longest and most riveting Democratic Party primary contests in US history.

Long declared by the punditry to be the party favorite, Sen. Hillary Clinton was knocked for a loop when she faced an upset defeat from Illinois’ upstart freshman Senator Barack Obama in Iowa’s fully transparent—if often confusing, to those of us from outside the Hawkeye State—caucuses on Thursday, January 3.

The turnout in Iowa was unprecedented. Caucus-goer Kathy Barger told CNN that the room she was in was packed to the brim with a line out the door at her caucus site in Walnut, Iowa. “I don’t know how they are going to be able to fit everybody in the room, much less count the votes,” she said. [iii]

Yet within hours, the results, transparently recorded as citizens stood to cast their votes and bear witness to the counting first-hand across the state, were in. Clinton was soundly defeated, coming in third behind Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

The same pundits who had pronounced her the Democratic Party’s de facto nominee months, if not years before—including those on the Right who, oddly enough, seemed to be rooting for Hillary—quickly declared her bid for the Presidency was all but over, unless, just five days later on Tuesday, January 8 in New Hampshire’s “First in the Nation” Primary, she was able to become the new “comeback kid.”

Buoyed by his Iowa win, Obama surged in the pre-election New Hampshire polls.[iv] Rasmussen had him 8 points ahead of Clinton. CNN and Marist each favored Obama by 7 in their post-Iowa, pre-New Hampshire samplings. CBS predicted Obama by 5, and Zogby showed him up by an astounding 13 points. In all, the final average of dozens of independent pre-election polls predicted a +8.3 spread in Obama’s favor just prior to Election Day.

When New Hampshire voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to cast their votes on paper ballots, Hillary was on the ropes. Yet when the unofficial results of the election were tabulated—80 percent of them by Diebold’s AccuVote optical-scan system—Hillary Clinton would be declared the winner of the contest by 2.6 points over Obama, who quickly announced his concession before 11pm ET, before even a single Diebold-tabulated ballot had been checked for accuracy by any human being.

NBC’s Tim Russert quickly announced the results as “the most stunning upset in the history of politics.” Pundits and pollsters from across the corporate media and, disappointingly, even in the progressive blogosphere, turned tortured backflips trying to determine how they had “gone wrong” in their pre-election predictions.

Was it Clinton’s widely-reported, tearful moment at a town hall event over the weekend? Notoriously independent Granite State voters loathe to allow ‘hicks’ from Iowa to make up their minds for them? Mischievous Republicans voting for Hillary, believing her either more “conservative” than Obama, or otherwise easier to defeat in November? Could racism and the so-called “Bradley Effect[v]“”—where poll respondents answer one way to appear “politically correct,” only to vote another way when in the privacy of the voting booth—have played a part?

There were plenty of reverse-engineered explanations for the apparent remarkable come-from-behind victory for New York’s junior Senator. The trouble is, none of the explanations were actually verifiable; all were just best-guesses from the same “experts” who’d presumably gotten it so wrong in the first place (twice, if you count their wrong calls in Iowa, as well.)

All the while, as pollsters and pundits naval-gazed and second-guessed to determine how their polls and predictions could have been so terribly wrong, not one of them stopped to wonder if the reported election results were actually right. Not one.

Eighty percent of New Hampshire’s ballots were tabulated on Diebold AccuVote optical-scan systems. The other 20 percent are counted by hand, at the precincts, on Election Night, in one of the very few states where a tradition of citizen-overseen hand-counting still takes place.

Adding to the anomaly of New Hampshire’s reported results was the fact that where ballots were hand-counted, mostly in rural areas, Obama had won. In the more populated areas, where Diebold counted the votes, Clinton was reported the victor. A comparison of the hand-counted results versus the Diebold-counted results revealed they were virtually flipped, almost exactly opposite percentages of votes for Clinton and Obama. Overall, Clinton received an approximate 7 point bump (+4.5 for her, -2.5 for Obama) where machines tabulated instead of humans.

Blogger Ben Moseley analyzed the data from each town in New Hampshire in the days following the election. He noted that “the results were somewhat surprising:

[M]ore statistics from the data shows that Obama in non-Diebold towns garnering 38.7% of the vote to Clinton’s 36.2%. The results in Diebold towns show the exact opposite: Clinton with 40.7% of the vote and Obama with 36.2%. Not only are the positions swapped but the informal statistics have the second place candidate holding 36.2% in both cases, which could easily be a pure coincidence. . . . All the other numbers [are] almost exact for every candidate, even Edwards who received 17% of the vote in Diebold towns compared to 17.6% in non-Diebold towns. That still doesn’t make up for the extra 2% vote Clinton is receiving when she leads in certain towns compared to when Obama has the lead.”

There could be perfectly legitimate reasons for Obama’s popularity in the more rural areas where they hand-counted, and Clinton’s winning in the more metropolitan areas where Diebold counted the vote. I just don’t know what they are. Neither did the Wednesday morning quarterback pundits when they tried to explain them. They were, frankly, just guessing, rather than bothering to make sure the results were truly accurate.

In towns where machines were used to count, the Diebold AccuVote systems used were the very same make and model (down to the firmware) seen used to flip the results of a mock election in Leon County, Florida, in HBO’s Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy.[vi] The climax of the landmark film features a first-of-its-kind, “live” video-taped experiment, in which a computer expert exploits the flaws of the machines’ sensitive memory cards which are inserted into op-scan systems to store scanned ballot results.

In the experiment,[vii] eight paper ballots were cast in a mock election. Voters answered one simple YES or NO question: “Can the votes on this Diebold system be hacked using the memory card?”

On camera, all eight ballots are seen as they are run through the Diebold optical-scan machine. Six voters voted “NO”; two voters voted “YES”.

Yet, when the results of the tabulation were printed by the Diebold AccuVote, they were reported as a horrifying seven “YES”; one “NO.”

The results of the mock election—held on the very same make and model of electronic tabulating system used in New Hampshire’s 2008 Primary—had been entirely flipped. Only a manual hand-count would have revealed that fact. The computer expert had hacked the memory card used in the AccuVote system and exploited a programming flaw in Diebold’s operating system to “invisibly” reverse the results of the election.

Back in New Hampshire, where the announced results of the primary had produced another sea change in the 2008 Presidential race, not a single paper ballot from among the 80 percent tallied by Diebold had been checked to assure the machines had accurately counted them. That happened even though the results of the[viii] in December of 2005, as documented in the 2006 film, had caused reverberations across the nation at the time—at least among election officials, election vendors, and those in the election integrity community. The shocking discovery that a race could be flipped with little possibility of detection vis-a-vis a simple memory card exploit led Leon County, Florida to immediately dump their Diebold op-scan system. However, no changes were made in New Hampshire, nor in most other states that also used them. This same vulnerable system would be used in the “First in the Nation” primary in January of 2008.

To make matters worse, LHS Associates, the company that exclusively sold the machines and maintained and programmed the Diebold voting systems and their memory cards in New Hampshire (and most of New England), had a disturbing, and even criminal, history.

Its Director of Sales and Marketing, Ken Hajjar, the company owner’s childhood friend, had previously been sentenced to twelve months in prison after pleading guilty to a narcotics felony. Hajjar had also come by The Brad Blog some years ago to post a profane rant in comments, resulting in Connecticut’s Secretary of State banning him from working on their voting systems. He was angry that we’d posted photos after our visit to Diebold headquarters in Allen, TX showing voting machines sitting out in the open on their loading dock, unguarded and easily tampered with, before shipment to customers.

Moreover, Hajjar had previously admitted, on air, that he and other employees frequently swapped out Diebold memory cards—the same type used by to hack the mock-election in Leon County—in the middle of elections in Connecticut, where that is illegal. He told the stunned host of “Talk Nation Radio”: “I don’t pay attention to every little law.” This was the outfit running the crucial New Hampshire election on Diebold’s hackable voting machines.

Not only pre-election polls predicted a tidy Obama win over Clinton. Same-day exit polls had predicted similarly. Pollster John Zogby, who predicted a 13-point Obama rout in the days before the race, told me via email later that week, “The actual exit poll had Obama up by 3—41 percent to 38 percent.” He characterized many of the reverse-engineered explanations for Clinton’s upset as “preposterous,” noting in particular there was “no evidence that race was an issue.”

MSNBC’s Chris Matthew was also flummoxed[ix] about the full ten-point swing from independent pre-election polls to the final, mostly Diebold-reported results, and also reported on same day exit polls he’d been looking at on Tuesday afternoon indicating a “significant victory” for Obama.

On Thursday’s Hardball, following Tuesday’s primary, Matthews peppered his pollster guests to explain why “even our own exit polls, taken as people came out of voting, showed [Obama] ahead.”

“What’s going on here?” he wondered aloud.  Raw data from NBC’s exit polls, commissioned and shared by a consortium of corporate news outlets, has never been released to the public (it never is, even data from 2004, despite demands from statisticians and citizens across the nation who noted the infamous discrepancies indicating a John Kerry win over George W. Bush in state after state).

Virtually alone in the mainstream media, willing to note the disparity he’d seen with his own eyes in his company’s own internal exit data, Matthews asked questions during one show and promised viewers he would not revisit the topic after that day. He kept his promise. The exit polls were not discussed again and concerns about the results themselves almost as little. Obama never said a public word questioning any of it.

“It’s ludicrous,” Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s senior campaign representative, David Bright told me. “New Hampshire has the privilege of being the first in the nation. This election brings in 3 billion dollars to the economy, so you’d think a measly 70k would be part of the cost of doing business,” he told me the week following the election.

Bright was complaining about the $69,900 that New Hampshire was billing Kucinich for a complete hand-count of paper ballots in the Democratic race. As a candidate in the contest, the Ohio Congressman had standing to request such a count. “If Obama had done it, it would have been $2,000,” Bright noted, referring to state law allowing a candidate, in a close election, as Obama was, to pay just $2,000 total for a complete hand-count. The amount would have been a pittance, at the time, to the Illinois Senator. Instead, with a campaign war chest low on funds, Kucinich paid $27,000 for a partial count.

Hailing from the Buckeye State, home of 2004’s infamous election failures, Kucinich was particularly sensitive to voting machine concerns. “Ever since the 2000 election—and even before—the American people have been losing faith in the belief that their votes were actually counted,” he said when announcing his demand for a hand-count. “This recount isn’t about who won 39 percent or 36 percent or even 1 percent . It’s about establishing whether 100 percent of the voters had 100 percent of their votes counted exactly the way they cast them. . . . It is about the integrity of the election process.”

On the Republican side, where John McCain was reported to have won handily, an obscure candidate, Albert Howard, a Michigan chauffer, also demanded a hand-count after noting that he’d seen as many as 187 votes reported for himself on C-SPAN on election night, but only forty-four votes in the final reported tally.

“My real concern is the controversial Diebold Electronic Scanning machines . . . used for 81 percent of the vote counting in New Hampshire,” he echoed Kucinich when announcing his own call for a hand-count. “I believe it is better to take action now in the first primary than later.”

Howard’s recount was largely funded by supporters of Republican candidate Ron Paul. They had long been suspicious of electronic voting systems after watching the collapse of Diebold optical-scanners used in the 2007 summer GOP Iowa straw poll. That first contest of the 2008 Presidential Election ended up requiring a hand-count of thousands of ballots.

Paul supporters were further outraged when they witnessed, on video tape, Mitt Romney supporters literally “stuffing” the Sequoia touchscreen voting systems, voting again and again and again in the December 2007 GOP straw poll in Tampa, Florida.

Romney would “win” that contest, tallying 893 votes to Paul’s 534 (his supporters vowed to only once each). The documented multiple voting by Romney supporters resulted in the local GOP chairman threatening “bodily harm” to Paul supporters if they didn’t cease their public complaints.

Albert Howard paid just less than $60,000 to see all ballots on the Republican side hand-counted.

“I’m very concerned that this is not a fully transparent process that is happening there,” said voting rights attorney John Bonifaz, legal director ofVoterAction.org, a non-partisan organization that had successfully challenged the use of electronic voting systems in many states. He had traveled to Concord to witness the “recount” after becoming concerned about the Diebold tabulation in New Hampshire.

The sensitive memory cards containing the programming and tabulation from the Diebold op-scanners, he’d learned after speaking with the NH Secretary of State and Asst. Secretary of State and their Deputy Attorney General, were “missing in action” just one week after the contested race. He was told by Secretary of State William Gardner that his office doesn’t get involved in tracking what happens to memory cards, but he believed some had already been returned to LHS Associates, and may have already been erased.

“When you have a private company counting 80 percent of the votes, and you later learn that the memory cards are unaccounted for, you have a serious question about the transparency and accountability in that process,” Bonifaz told me.

Federal law requires the retention of all election-related materials for twenty-two months following federal elections. But whether memory cards are used in DRE or optical-scan systems, anywhere in the country, those cards are routinely erased for re-use shortly after elections, making any later forensic investigation—in order to determine if a Leon County-style attack, or mere failure, may have occurred—completely impossible. Lawsuits, Bonifaz noted, are likely needed to enforce the retention of those materials.

Partisan and non-partisan election integrity advocates from around the country descended on New Hampshire’s capitol to oversee, and document on video, every step of both the Democratic and Republican hand-counts—at least those parts they were allowed to tape. Howard, in filing for his hand-count, had demanded to examine the memory cards from the voting systems and other related materials, such as voting machine poll-tapes, poll books and unvoted ballots. He was told, however, that he would not be allowed to do so. Only the hand-counting of voted paper ballots would be included in the state’s “recount.”

This became a major issue for the assembled election integrity advocates.  Examination of the memory cards and end-of-day poll tapes might offer clues to whether the precinct-based scanners showed anomalies or different numbers than those reported by state tallies.  Unvoted ballots needed counting to make certain they were accounted for, and not somehow used to stuff ballot boxes or replace legitimate votes.  The chain of custody for ballots as they were transported to the state capitol to be hand-counted needed to be secure and verified.

Videos and photographs made their way onto the Internet—though rarely into mainstream press accounts—revealing the shoddy condition of cardboard boxes of ballots which election integrity advocates were able to reach directly into, even with so-called “security seals” still intact. The “security seals” themselves were, as seen on video, easily peeled off and restored without leaving a trace of tampering behind. The boxes of ballots were transported from towns across the state back to Concord by two state employees who called themselves Butch and Hoppy. There was virtually no oversight during that transport, and boxes were sometimes left in the open in the counting room at night during the several weeks of hand-counting.

New Hampshire’s Secretary of State Gardner is officially a Democrat, though by the 2008 Primary he’d been in office for sixteen terms, approved time and again by the Republican-majority legislature for most of those years. Despite his experience, he seemed wholly unprepared to handle the new generation of election integrity advocates who—wizened since the days of 2004—came armed with video cameras and demanding both answers and transparency in every step of the process. His consistent deer-in-the-headlights expression caught on camera by citizen activists only heightened concern about what quickly revealed itself as an horrifically sloppy process—at least to those bothering to pay attention. Stories in the mainstream press, however, painted a very different picture.

“We requested that unvoted ballots be counted, but they’re not being counted,” Manny Krasner, Kucinich’s local attorney overseeing the counting complained in frustration when I spoke with him following a front page story in the Concord Monitor[x] quoting some of The Brad Blog’s critical coverage of the hand-count. The paper described Krasner, however, as saying only that he “hadn’t seen anything suspicious.”

The paper quoted Gardner in response to advocates on the ground, complaining about a lack of transparency. They wrote: “‘If this isn’t transparent . . .’ Gardner said, raising his eyebrows and gesturing to the tables of counters and observers. ‘What could we do to make it more transparent!’”

The Union Leader editorialized[xi] on New Hampshire’s behalf with rosiest-of-scenarios: “Whatever the recount’s results, Gardner has opened the process to observers so there can be no question about the integrity of the count. Doubters on both sides should let this settle the issue. If they question Gardner’s integrity, then we’ll know for sure not to trust anything else they have to say.”

Problems of all sorts were discovered during Kucinich’s partial count. In addition to hundreds of ballots discovered miscounted by the Diebold machines, public records requests for trouble reports from Election Day indicated problems such as “Printout indicated 550 ‘blank voted’ ballots which indicated that bad pens were used” in the town of Stratham; “Corrupt Count” in the town of Lebanon; “P/U [pickup] 3rd Bad Machine per John S.” (likely a reference to LHS’ John Silvestro) in Manchester.

“If it wasn’t 550 ballots, but just 55 or so in some places, would they even have seen it and known to recount ALL of the ballots” on Election Night? BlackBoxVoting.org’s Bev Harris wondered after reviewing the trouble reports.

In the actual hand-count, in ward after ward, the Diebold op-scans had been found to have miscounted enormous numbers of ballots for almost all candidates. In Nashua’s Ward 5, for example, Hillary Clinton had received 1,030 votes according to Diebold, but according to the hand-tally, she received just 959, an error rate of 7.4 percent. John Edwards had also been over-tallied by Diebold at the same precinct. His actual results were 7.42 percent lower upon manual-examination, while Barack Obama gained just 5 votes at that ward (a .73 percent error rate).

Secretary of State Gardner and the friendly local papers downplayed the problems. They had good reason (billions of them, in fact) to paint that rosy scenario in hopes of retaining their “First in the Nation” status. Where Clinton might have lost thirty votes in one precinct, but gained twenty-nine votes in another, Gardner and the newspaper would report: “Minor discrepancies in recount, Clinton’s tally off by just 1 vote.”

The Eagle-Tribune opined,[xii] on Martin Luther King Day of all days, “It doesn’t matter” that machines failed to count every vote. The Democratic Party hand-count was part of a “conspiracy theory” and “destructive to Americans’ confidence in the democratic process.” They said Kucinich had “abused” the state’s recount law and “corroded public confidence in the electoral process . . . without a care for the damage he is doing to the country.”

The Eagle-Tribune didn’t mention Republican Albert Howard’s similar demand, which also found tally problems across the board for all candidates. But by the time he received his full count, following Kucinich’s partial count, the media had moved on to the next contests between the revitalized Clinton and the upstart sensation Obama.

As Kucinich’s counting funds ran out, he lodged a letter of complaint with Secretary of State Gardner, charging “significant percentage variances in four voting districts” in one county alone, and detailed miscounts of 10.6 percent here, 4.9 percent there, 7.5 percent over there. And that was just in the few areas he could afford to have counted. He requested Gardner use his “constitutional authority to order a complete and accurate recount of all ballots in the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary election.”

Instead, the next day, the Nashua Telegraph reported[xiii] Gardner as saying Kucinich was “satisfied at the integrity of the recount, and it has concluded. . . . The recount revealed no evidence of irregularities in cities and towns that used electronic voting machines.”

The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, passed in the wake of the Florida 2000 election debacle, allocated nearly $4 billion for states to “upgrade” their voting equipment to electronic systems. The legislation also specified a maximum allowable error rate of 0.0002 percent for those systems. That the results tallied by Diebold’s AccuVote systems in New Hampshire—the same model that was set to be used in upcoming elections in the days and months ahead in dozens of states across the country in the landmark 2008 Presidential election—far exceeded that maximum allowable rate by magnitude simply didn’t matter. The state’s local media didn’t want to report it, for fear of making “First in the Nation” New Hampshire look bad; the national media were more interested in making all-new predictions, based on all-new pre-election polls, whether or not they would be right or wrong again, for the unprecedented horse race galloping full speed ahead towards November.

When The Brad Blog and a handful of other independent, alternative media outlets and election integrity-focused sites covered the goings-on in the Granite State, we were derided, not just by the expected sources, but even from supposedly progressive outlets typically more sympathetic to issues of transparency and questions of election integrity.
Concerns about what had happened in New Hampshire needed to be painted as little more than stuff and nonsense by some, whether in pre-emptive defensiveness of Hillary Clinton, or the Democratic Party in general, or the state of New Hampshire, or out of the oft-heard, if wholly unsubstantiated, concern that voters might withdraw from the process should their confidence in its legitimacy be questioned in any way. Scrutinization of the process, in the wake of Tim Russert’s “most stunning upset in the history of politics,” was denounced as “conspiracy theory” bunk; “fringe elements were marginalized for allegedly suggesting “Hillary Clinton had stolen the New Hampshire Primary.” Never mind there were no such suggestions from serious critics of the New Hampshire process. Had the election in fact been “stolen” there were any number of potential “suspects”—including known election gamers, such as Karl Rove—who would have had a keen interest in seeing Clinton revive her bid for the Democratic nomination.

Even on Daily Kos, one of the most popular progressive-leaning websites, someone writing pseudonymously under the name of “DHinMI” the day after the election posted a front page article[xiv] headlined, “Enough with the ‘Diebold Hacked the NH Primary’ Lunacy.” The writer misdirected readers in attempting to “debunk” concerns by stating “New Hampshire has no touchscreen voting.  None.” Since paper ballots are used in New Hampshire, the pseudonymous writer argued, nobody would be foolish enough to hack the tabulators. “The incentive for hacking them is not very great,” the writer argued, because the culprit would be discovered if they did. “If Tuesday’s results really were the likely result of malfeasance, the Obama and Edwards campaigns would be raising holy hell.  They would be seeking a recount, and investigation of the voting, and they would be doing it because they saw the irregularities in the vote results.”

“DHinMI” had a short memory, already having forgotten the 2004 “irregularities in the vote results” in Ohio (and elsewhere) when John Kerry (and his running mate John Edwards) failed to either “seek a recount” or “raise holy hell” of any sort.

Other usually progressive sights deferred to the Daily Kos’ “debunking”[xv] of concerns about New Hampshire results before a single Diebold-counted ballot had been examined to assure any of them had been tabulated accurately. “There aren’t any serious irregularities in the results of Tuesday’s Democratic primary,” the Daily Kos writer pronounced in no uncertain terms. “New Hampshire has an excellent reputation for running clean elections.”

What “DHinMI” didn’t announce to readers is that he was Dana Houle, until only recently the Chief of Staff for New Hampshire’s Democratic US Congressman Paul Hodes.

As the dust settled and the Primary cycle moved on to other states, New Hampshire’s reputation as “First in the Nation” would remain largely intact. The Granite State could look forward to doing it all over again in four years, and seeing “billions of dollars” (as Kucinich’s representative had complained) once again pour into the state’s coffers in support of the kickoff of the 2012 Presidential Primary campaign.

Whether “paper or plastic,” it doesn’t matter. Without full transparency and citizen oversight of every aspect of elections, legitimate questions will persist, and democracy will remain in peril.

America Flips Out, Media Barely Notices, Parties Barely Care

While concerns about electronically tabulating paper ballots on oft-failing, insecure optical-scan systems would go underappreciated and underinvestigated by the mainstream media, electronic touchscreen voting systems (DREs) would be of moderately passing notice to the nation’s news outlets in the weeks and months following New Hampshire.

Failure after failure in primary after primary and state after state plagued the 2008 election. Where Oprah Winfrey’s problem received a modest moment of coverage, similar occurrences across the country on virtually every make and model of machinery from every vendor would receive little more than a blip of coverage, quickly downplayed as nothing but a “calibration issue” that could be handled with a quick maintenance procedure by election officials or employees of voting machine vendors.

Never mind that study after study by states such as Ohio, California, Colorado and others, and academic institutions such as Princeton and the University of California, had found virtually every electronic system highly vulnerable to error and/or manipulation, particularly if sensitive memory cartridges were accessed while in election-ready mode.  Yet the solution to touchscreen “vote-flipping” across the nation would be a quick, hands-on technical adjustment—or so argued the bulk of officials and vendors, whose careers and company solvency depended on minimizing such failures as little more than “glitches,” “hiccups,” “snags,” and “snafus,” as they were almost always downplayed in the media.

Whether marginalized or not, the failures were extraordinarily widespread in 2008, just as they were in 2004 (and in 2006), after which little was done before all would all be repeated again in the next Presidential election.

Some progress, one could argue, had been made in the intervening four years. At least reported occurrences of failures and vote flips were not as immediately dismissed as “conspiracy theories” that never actually happened, as they’d been frequently characterized in 2004. By 2008 enough citizens had become aware of known, documented problems with DRE voting, so reports were taken somewhat more seriously. And it didn’t hurt that many grassroots outlets such as Video the Vote had sprung up to document polling place problems, nearly instantaneously, by citizens armed with video cameras.

There were many notable failures on touchscreen systems even before early voting for the General Election kicked off. For example, in Horry County, South Carolina, in the Republican Presidential Primary held entirely on ES&S iVotronc touchscreen voting systems just days after the New Hampshire election, all machines in the county failed to fire up at all when the polls opened at 7:00 am.

As CNN reported[xvi] that afternoon, “Workers have been giving out paper ballots but at least one precinct has run out of envelopes to seal them in (not a sign of turnout—they had just 23 such ballots on hand).” Untold numbers of voters were sent away unable to vote at all, local news outlets reported. “Everyone is being turned away,” concerned voter Steve Rabe complained to News13, “There are no paper ballots. We were just turned away along with many of our neighbors. We were told to check back later . . . in the rain. This is a crisis.”

Tom Reynold wrote in, “I voted by paper ballot at the Socastee library and saw them run out of those while I was there at 10 am. I went to the Forestbrook precinct with a neighbor, picked up some paper ballots there and took them to the Socastee library. They told me they had ‘turned away’ 20 voters in the time I was gone! Turned away?! That’s not supposed to happen according to the Horry county elections commission.”

“All over the county,” it had been reported by evening, voters used scraps of paper, notebook paper, and even paper towels as ballots before officials were able to get most of the unverifiable touchscreens working around noon. The county would be forced to hand-count thousands of pieces of paper to determine results of the election that night.

Before the Democratic primary in the same state the following week, CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight would report on the meltdown and discuss the matter as an illustration of problems inherent in “paperless electronic voting machines.” CNN’s Kitty Pilgrim neglected to note in her report, however, that even if South Carolina’s DREs had “paper trail” printers, they would have been of no use since the machines failed to fire up at all, so they couldn’t have printed out so-called “voter-verifiable paper audit trails” featured on certain DRE models.

Given the disaster the week before, Democrats, in advance of their primary the next Saturday, instructed voters to print out sample ballots at home before going to the polls, just in case the massive failure of the Republican Primary was repeated. The machines “worked” the following week, even though it would still be 100 percent impossible to know if any machine succeeded in recording anybody’s vote accurately.

Three days later, in Palm Beach County, Florida’s primary (yes, ground zero for the 2000 Presidential paper ballot battle, prompting the hasty move to e-voting systems), Rush Limbaugh himself encountered problems with his touchscreen vote “when the screen seemed to freeze or ‘stick’ on the list of presidential candidates.” The Palm Beach Post blog[xvii] reported Limbaugh’s description to listeners on his widely-syndicated radio show.

“I hit ‘next’ and it didn’t go there,” Limbaugh explained, before he then hit the ‘back’ button and “got my candidate page again with the vote already recorded there.”

“So I said ‘hmmmmm, I wonder if this is going to count twice.’” He unclicked his candidate, selected it again and hit “Next” a second time, and saw his selection properly on the review screen. “I don’t know if I voted twice,” Limbaugh told listeners. “Probably not,” he guessed, not knowing for certain, of course, if his vote would count even once.

The following week, in New Jersey, on the February 5 “Super Tuesday,” Democratic Governor John Corzine “was unable to vote . . . at his designated polling site in Hoboken because the voting machines were not working,” as AP reported.[xviii] He was delayed for forty-five minutes when the AVC Advantage DRE systems, made by Sequoia, failed to start up, making it impossible to vote—not unlike what had happened to voters in South Carolina two weeks earlier. “The big question is why did this polling place not have any provisional ballots,” ABC 7 asked[xix] that day, noting “lots of people were obviously turned away” during the pre-work morning crush at the polls.

That same day, over at Daily Kos—the same site which pooh-poohed concerns about New Hampshire, and even purged users and diaries raising concerns about the 2004 election years earlier—a report[xx] was posted from a diarist noting her husband’s selection “reset” from Obama to Clinton, several times, on New Jersey’s touchscreen machines before he was able to push “the vote button” without it flipping back to Clinton.

The couple’s experience would become commonplace, repeated again and again, at polling place after polling place, in state after state, as the election ‘glitched,’ ‘hiccupped,’ ‘snagged,’ and ‘snafud’ towards November 3.

As early voting began in October, so too did nearly nonstop reports through Election Day of votes flipping and/or disappearing on DRE voting machines. As in previous years, the flips were almost always from Democratic candidates to others.  A few examples:

In Jackson County, WV, Virginia Matheney told the Sunday Gazette-Mail: [xxi]“When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain.” Others in the same precinct reported identical experiences on their ES&S iVotronics DREs. Who knows how many others didn’t notice, or didn’t report it.
In Putham County, WV, Martha Louise Harrington reported a similar problem with the same machines: “I was very cautious to put my fingernail in the middle of the square. I hit it in the square to vote for Obama. Immediately, it went to McCain.”
In Nashville (Davidson County), TN, Patricia Earnhardt—ironically, the Executive Producer of Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections, a documentary film focused on the dangers of touchscreen voting—saw her own ES&S iVotronic vote flip from Obama to Green Party Candidate Cynthia McKinney: “I touched ‘Obama’ for president & nothing lit up. I touched 2 or 3 more times & still nothing lit up. I called the poll worker back over to tell him I was having a problem. He said I just needed to touch it more lightly. I tried it 2 or 3 more times more lightly with the poll worker watching & still nothing lit up. The poll worker then touched it for me twice—nothing lit up. The third time he touched the Obama button, the Cynthia McKinney space lit up!” she emailed me, as reported on The Brad Blog at the time.
(In yet another irony, akin to Earnhardt’s—one that would momentarily light up the Internet with headlines such as “Election Integrity Journalist Sees Own Votes Flipped”—four of twelve of my own votes would be misprinted by the e-voting system in Los Angeles County during California’s June 2008 state primary.)

On Hilton Head Island (Beaufort County), SC, Nancy Roe discovered that races were missing on the review screen of her ES&S iVotronic touchscreen: “I’m real political, so I checked the ballot. If I had only given it a quick glance and punched ‘vote,’ I never would’ve known,” she told the Island Packet.[xxii] She solved the problem by voting with a paper ballot.
In Berkeley County, WV, again on the ES&S iVotronic, Roger Bolozier told poll workers when he tried to vote “straight Democratic ticket. But it switched my vote to Republican candidates five different times.” He was “concerned about a lot of people who might not notice or people who might be intimidated.”
In Palo Pinto County, TX, residents reported the by then too-familiar tale of problems with the ES&S iVotronic. Lona Jones told theMineral Wells Index:[xxiii] “When I cast an early vote at Palo Pinto County Courthouse, my vote was switched from Democrat to Republican right in front of my face—twice!” Teresa Crosier, an alternate election judge and office manager of the Palo Pinto County Democratic Headquarters had the same problem when she tried to vote straight party Democratic “and it came up straight party, Republican party.”
Back in WV, the problems on the ES&S systems continued, as the Sunday Gazette-Mail reported[xxiv] in late October, in at least six different counties (Jackson, Putnam, Berkeley, Ohio, Monongalia, and Greenbrier). And just one day after she’d held a press conference to discuss problems with ES&S vote-flipping in the state, West Virginia’s Secretary of State Betty Ireland actually presented an “award of merit” to ES&S vice-President Gary Greenhalgh, “a pioneer in the use of technology in the election process.” As ES&S’s vice president of sales, Wired reported,[xxv] Greenhalgh “helped the company win a $17 million contract to supply machines to West Virginia in 2005 and was the company’s point person for dealing with election officials.” It was the perfect illustration of our e-voting vendor/election official logrolling nightmare in a nutshell.
To the credit of Adams County, CO’s Clerk and Recorder Karen Long, a Diebold touchscreen system that had flipped votes from a Democratic candidate to a Republican was removed from service and quarantined, rather than allow it to be dangerously “recalibrated” in the middle of the election. But only after it happened to the Democratic state Representative who had tried to vote for herself, only to see it flipped to her opponent. “I always just trusted the machines, and it opened my eyes,” state Rep. Mary Hodge told the Colorado Independent.[xxvi]
Had anyone bothered to pay attention to Dan Rather’s breathtaking investigative HDNet report, “The Trouble with Touch Screens,” in the summer of 2006, they might have expected these problems, particularly from ES&S machines. Rather detailed nearly non-existent quality control in the Filipino sweatshop where many of them were built. Election officials may not have noticed Rather’s exposé, however, since not a single mainstream media outlet bothered to note, much less offer follow-up reportage on his award-worthy investigative report.

Even had those officials bothered to notice, most of them were, by then, so deeply in denial and/or millions of dollars into their commitment to the machines and private vendors who sold and serviced them, that dumping them for another likely-as-unreliable system was no longer an option—not if they wished to hold an election that year and continue their careers in the election industry thereafter.

Democrats Nowhere to Be Found

The Democratic Party—clearly with much to lose from the now-familiar pattern of e-voting systems adversely affecting attempted votes for their own candidates—was also in denial.

Just prior to the general election, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes fought tooth and nail—even in court—against providing “emergency paper ballots” at polling places. Only a federal court challenge from voting rights advocates and the NAACPforced the state to offer at least a few paper ballots at the precincts, in case of machine failures. Earlier in the year, just before the make-or-break Pennsylvania Primary, election reform journalist Jake Soboroff asked officials[xxvii] if they had concerns about DRE systems used virtually across the entire state. Democratic Governor Ed Rendell dismissed Soboroff, admitting he “didn’t know enough about it to answer” before pointing to state and federal approval of the machines (the same ones found insecure, inaccurate, and hackable by one state test after another by then).

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter summed up the thinking of so many elected officials on the issue of voting machines by telling Soboroff, “I just got elected on them last year,” so how bad could they be?

Subsequently and predictably there were major problems on Election Day in Pennsylvania, particularly in Philadelphia, that April. All the while, Democrats, including the Obama campaign, had long been singing their familiar 2004 refrain: ‘If anything goes wrong at the polls this year, we’ll have thousands of attorneys on the ground, ready to take care of it.’ Apparently, as in 2004, they were just kidding.

The day before the 2008 General Election, The Brad Blog reported on hundreds of incidents called into Obama’s election protection hotline in Nevada as detailed in their incident report database code-named “Atlas Voter Protection.” In one incident after another during the state’s early voting period, machines failed to turn on, candidate names were reported missing and so-called “voter-verifiable paper audit trail” printers failed to work on the state’s Sequoia DRE systems.

The Obama/DNC attorneys declined to demand any of the failed systems be removed from service, or that voters be given paper ballots to record votes instead. Rather, the entire matter was kept quiet, the information never shared with the public.

Earlier in the year, citizen journalist Michael Richardson and I had broken the story of the illegal certification and use of Nevada’s Sequoia DRE “paper trail” system in 2004 by then Secretary of State Dean Heller (now a US Congressman, elected on his own machines in 2006.) Heller publicly lied about machine failures as they were being tested by the US Election Assistance Commission’s woeful certification process.  He also lied about them being federally certified when he first used them in 2004, in violation of state law. The EAC, responsible for overseeing all such certification and testing of e-voting systems at the federal level, not only looked the other way, but actually colluded in helping Heller use the uncertified machines illegally. When notified, neither the new Democratic Secretary of State nor the mainstream media in Nevada batted an eyelash.  (Our complete investigative report was published as a chapter in Mark Crispin Miller’s 2008 Loser Take All, a compilation of similar election failures). Heller’s illegally certified machines would fail again during the 2008 cycle, as neither Obama nor the Democrats nor the mainstream media seemed to care.

There was, of course, reason for everyone to be concerned, particularly about voting machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc. The company had been on the verge of bankruptcy and hostile takeover all year, and—though they had told federal investigators that they had divested from Smartmatic, their Venezuelan-owned, Hugo Chavez-tied parent company, in late 2006, after a hue and cry from Republicans—all of their systems’ Intellectual Property rights had secretly remained under the ownership of the Venezuelan firm.

In May of 2008, The Brad Blog reported the exclusive story of Sequoia’s lie to federal investigators, including company CEO Jack Blaine’s admission on a company-wide phone call that they didn’t own the IP rights to their own products—Smartmatic still did. We also detailed his lies-by-omission to Chicago officials—who’d just purchased the company’s touchscreens (the ones to be used by Oprah)—concerned the divestiture had been “a sham transaction designed to fool regulators.” It was, indeed. But again, the corporate media failed to notice, and Sequoia was able to invoke claims of IP violations while arguing against independent examinations of their machines in a New Jersey court case after their touchscreens misreported vote totals on Super Tuesday, and in DC, where thousands of “phantom votes” appeared on the city’s optical-scan systems in their September primary.

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

While many Democrats were ultimately satisfied with the outcome of the 2008 elections, they were a mess nonetheless. Rather than the machinery of American democracy improving since 2002’s Help America Vote Act, democracy continued to disappear as corporate control solidified and citizens became farther removed from the ability to oversee their own elections.

The media, however, happily distracted the American people from the those issues. While offering wall-to-wall coverage of the GOP’s “ACORN Voter Fraud” hoax, real cases of disenfranchising voter registration fraud, revealed by the arrest of the head of the company hired by California’s GOP to register voters, was barely reported. (Had I not, myself, during an appearance on Fox News, noted the arrest, it seems unlikely the cable “news” channel would have reported it at all.)

While evidence-free allegations of Democratic “voter fraud” made headlines, the well-documented case of Ann Coulter’s actual voter fraudin Florida was almost entirely ignored.

The story of record turnout would eclipse stories of illegally purged voter rolls in state after state, as the same private voting machine companies who’d performed so abysmally with voting machines were given state contracts to computerize voter rolls.

While Republicans fought for photo ID requirements at polls, nuns, veterans, minorities, students, and the elderly who had no state-issued ID were turned away, disenfranchised, robbed of their rights.

While the media obsessed over Norm Coleman’s challenge to Al Franken’s victory in Minnesota’s razor-thin US Senate Race—featuring the most transparent, painstakingly accurate post-election recount in the history of the nation (thankfully, they had paper ballots and bothered to count them!) —few noticed when a citizen transparency project discovered hundreds of ballots deleted without notice by Diebold’s optical-scan system in Humboldt County, CA. The company admitted the problem had been known since 2004.

While easily debunked Republican conspiracy theories of Franken ballots appearing “mysteriously” in an election director’s car were echoed again and again, the corporate media took little notice of a small plane crash killing the GOP’s top IT guru, Mike Connell, after he’d allegedly been threatened by Karl Rove weeks earlier when subpoenaed to testify about GOP election fraud in 2004. (See Chapter 1 for details on The Brad Blog’s Project Censored Award-winning coverage of the Connell story.)

California’s investigation of Humboldt’s deleted ballots revealed that Diebold/Premiere’s audit log system was in violation of federal voting system standards. E-voting audit logs had been pointed to by vendors for years as insurance that any mischief could easily be spotted by reviewing the supposedly indestructible logs. As the state investigation revealed, however, Diebold’s audit log system allowed deletion of ballots without notice; misdated and mis-time-stamped entries, and featured a “clear” button allowing complete deletion of all audit log records with a single mouse-click.

A Diebold/Premier spokesman admitted,[xxviii] during a CA Secretary of State hearing in March of 2009, that the flaws in the Diebold GEMS audit log exist in every version of its tabulation software—the same software used in thirty-one states across the nation and, yes, in the state of New Hampshire, where our 2008 nightmares began.

But in the end, the story that would continue to be the most under-reported was the quiet, nearly-complete takeover of our public democracy by private corporations, paving the way for so many of those nightmares. VotersUnite.org’s Ellen Theisen warned in a critical, if largely ignored, August, 2008 report that “Vendors are Undermining the Structure of US Elections.”

As we approached the 2008 general election, the structure of elections in the United States—once reliant on local representatives accountable to the public—had become almost wholly dependent on large corporations, which are not accountable to the public. Most local officials charged with running elections are now unable to administer elections without the equipment, services, and trade-secret software of a small number of corporations.
Our dependence on vendor support has left our election structure vulnerable to corporate decisions that are not in the public interest, corporate profiteering, and claims of trade secrecy for information that is essential to public oversight of elections.

Theisen adds ominously, “If the vendors withdrew their support for elections now, our election structure would collapse.”

In Humboldt County, California , after the discovery that Diebold/Premier’s system deleted ballots without notice in March of 2009, the company quietly sent two letters to the county, unilaterally “terminating” them.

“Premier has chosen to terminate the County’s right to use Premier’s GEMS software upon certification of your upcoming May 2009 election,” one letter stated. Humboldt would no longer be allowed to use the voting system, which the county had already decided to abandon following discovery of the ballot deletions.

The second letter gave Humboldt ninety days to uninstall the company’s voter registration software, which the county had no problems with. The vindictive letter informed the company was “terminating its relationship with the County” in all regards, sending Humboldt scrambling for another voter registration system—likely from another private vendor—even as they were amidst ensuring accuracy and accessibility for all voters in their May 2009 state special election.

In 2010, a national census year, elections across the nation will help determine the political balance of power for the next decade as Congressional districts are re-drawn and re-apportioned to match new census numbers. Those in power after the crucial 2010 elections will draw the boundaries set to affect elections and power in this nation for at least the next ten years. Those elections will be almost wholly run by four private for-profit companies, accountable to virtually no one.

Unless the media do their job by stepping up to report these matters, helping to force election officials, elected officials and law enforcement to do their jobs, the citizens—the rightful owners of those elections—will be able to do little about it.

Is anybody paying attention to the man behind the curtain yet?

Friedman, Brad, Video: Oprah Sees Own Presidential Vote Dropped By Touch-Screen Voting Machine, October 21, 2008, http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6603.
[ii] See
http://verifiedvoting.org/verifier/map.php?state=Illinois&county=Cook&ec=allall&year=2008.

[iii] See http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/03/iowa.caucuses/index.html.

[iv] Real Clear Politics, January 8, 2008,http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/nh/new_hampshire_democratic_primary-194.html.

[v] Wikipedia, Bradley Effect, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_effect.

[vi] See http://hackingdemocracy.com/.

[vii] Susan Pynchon, “Around the States: The Harri Hursti Hack and its Importance to our Nation,” Florida Fair Elections Coalition, January 21, 2006, http://www.votetrustusa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=820&Itemid=113.

[viii] Latest Investigations from Black Box Voting, December 13, 2005, http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/1954/15595.html.

[ix] Brad Friedman and Chris Matthews, “Raw EXIT POLL Data ‘Indicated Significant Victory’ for Obama in NH,” January 10, 2008,http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5535.

[x] Dorgan, Lauren, “One Ballot at a Time,” January 18, 2008, Concord Monitor,http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080118/FRONTPAGE/801180340.

[xi] “The recount: Kucinich goes for answers,” NewHampshire.com, January 21, 2008,http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=The+recount%3A+Kucinich+goes+for+answers&articleId=8813e51e-89a1-4cc1-a917-f39324575beb.

[xii] “Our view: Recount won’t change New Hampshire result, The Eagle-Tribune online, January 21, 2008,http://www.eagletribune.com/puopinion/local_story_021103319?keyword=topstory+page=1.

[xiii] Kevin Landrigan, “Paul Backers Paid for GOP Recount,” Nashua Telegraph, January 24, 2008,http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080124/NEWS08/143908662/-1/news08.

[xiv] Dana Houle, “Enough With the ‘Diebold Hacked the NH Primary’ Lunacy,” Daily Kos, January, 9, 2008,http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/1/10/02623/2264/85/434176.

[xv] Josh Marshall, “Enough,” Talking Points Memo, January 10, 2008,http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/063292.php.

[xvi] “South Carolina primary plagued by bad voting machines, snow,” CNNPolitics.com, January 19, 2008,http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/19/south.carolina.gop/index.html?iref=newssearch.

[xvii] “Rush Limbaugh has Trouble Voting,” PlanBeachPost.com, January 29, 2008,http://www.postonpolitics.com/2008/01/rush-limbaugh-has-trouble-voting/.

[xviii] “Corzine can’t vote because of poll problems,” Associated Press, February 05, 2008,http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/02/corzine_cant_vote_because_of_p.html.

[xix] “McCain, Hillary Win in NJ, Polling Problems Earlier in the Day,” ABC, Feburary 6, 2008,http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/politics&id=5936011.

[xx] “Trying to Vote for Obama, Machine Resets to Clinton in NJ,” Daily Kos, February 5, 2008,http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/2/5/123158/7065/255/450294.

[xxi] Paul Nyden, “Some early W.Va. Voters Angry over Switched Votes,” WVGazette.com, October 18, 2008,http://wvgazette.com/News/200810170676.

[xxii] Renee Dudley, “Machine Ballots Omit Candidates’ Names,” Island Packet October 22, 2008, ,http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/645376.html.

[xxiii] See http://www.mineralwellsindex.com/local/local_story_298161535.html.

[xxiv] Paul Nyden, “Voting Machine Complaints Continue,” WVGazette.com, October 27, 2008,http://wvgazette.com/News/200810270020?page=1&build=cache.

[xxv] Kim Zetter, “W. Virginia Gives E-Voting VP an Award While Machines Malfunction,” Wired.com,http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/10/w-virginia-give/.

[xxvi] Ernest Luning, “Adams County ‘Quarantines’ Machine that Switched Candidate’s Vote,” The Colorado Independent, October 29, 2009, http://coloradoindependent.com/13187/adams-county-quarantines-machine-that-switched-candidates-vote.

[xxvii] “PA Officials: No Trouble With Touchscreens,” Why Tuesday?, April 17, 2998,http://www.whytuesday.org/2008/04/17/pa-officials-no-trouble-with-touchscreens/.

[xxviii] Kim Zetter, “Diebold Admits Systemic Audit Log Failure; State Vows Inquiry,” Wired.com, March 17, 2009,http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/03/diebold-admits/.

  • S June 1, 2010

    Odd, I had heard there have been many elections rigged, pretty much all major ones since 2000. What’s doubly odd is this election every one apparently comes out and points that it was rigged in favor of the LOSER, which is really suspicious, are they giving this batch more voice to make it look like the other elections were not completely rigged (the implication being despite some machines being rigged, the one the exit polls allegedly favored still won, this time, and probably all those other times as well, so no need to worry about the legitimacy in general, target audience being those who DO CARE). Also, since Barrack Obama most likely heard about it being “rigged in favor of” Hillary, why did he appoint her to such a high position (are you trying to discredit the very real election fraud going on by making the story not seem plausible or logical)?

  • Colin Genders December 29, 2010

    I fear that the democracy that was once seen as a light of hope to the rest of the world, that of the United States of America, is no more. The huge multinational corporations are now in control of the US of A. The oil, pharmaceutical giants and their like organizations, i.e. Wall Street, are now the center of governance in America. In addition to the ludicrous practice of turning the method of voting, and of tabulating the vote, to private companies via their touch screen video voting machines, is, to most of the democratic world, ridiculous.

    In most civilized countries, at least those interested in an honest vote, the electorate mark their choices on their ballots with a pen on a piece of paper, those votes are then counted, under the strictest supervision by representatives of the various entities involved in the election to assure an honest and accurate count. The same ballots can be recounted over and again should even the slightest question of impropriety arise. The citizens of the US appear to have allowed themselves to be blinded by the wonders of modern science and electronics. Unfortunately they seem totally unaware of the ease with which computers can and are manipulated to provide the results their owners want.

    It is just furtherance to the old adage that “Freedom of the Press applies only to he or she who owns one”.

  • Ferrous Sulfate January 30, 2011

    .`” I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives great information ;-“

  • freefall February 11, 2011

    So I am not the only one who realizes that elections are a fraud! Or that both candidates belong to the same party(the shadow government) which might help explain why the loser doesn’t pursue a recount. The fact is a lot of people can see what is going on but media does a fantastic job of fooling the impressionable among us into thinking everything is o.k. The entire communications industry and media industry is being controlled by god knows who? It is time a list of people who are responsible for the secret government take-over be compiled and published and distributed even if it has to be done by hand. We want some names and faces!

  • Jane Morris May 11, 2011

    The elections can be misleading. People say whatever they want to get into office.

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