Faulty legislation passed by Congress in 2002 — The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), was hastily passed to avoid repeating the problems with the 2000 presidential election, when Bush was illicitly appointed to the presidendy by the U.S. Supreme Court — caused many states to invest in electronic voting systems in hopes that it would eliminate hanging chad problems, and other problems found in paper-based voting systems. The legislation is faulty because it opens loopholes that allow states to prejudice blocks of voters and make sure they can’t vote.
Six years later, many of the electronic voting machines are fraught with security and software glitches, designed to intentionally cause more harm than good. Electronic voting machines allowed voters and poll workers to place multiple votes, load viruses that crashed the machines and fake vote tallies, oftentimes flipping votes from one candidate to another. Many machines still have no paper trail that would allow results to be verified and audited later.
The only people involved in checking these systems are the vendors wanting to sell their equipment — some of which were later found to be adament supporters of one presidential candidate over another — and the local election officials who were ill-equipped to understand the security issues. Vendors of the machines had a certification process in place, but the certification process had little if anything to do with security. A very disturbing report regarding electronic voting machines and how they can be manipulated to get the desired results can be found from The Scientific American.
Millions of people — whose names aren’t intentionally purged to help Republicans win elections in heavily populated, potentially Democratic States — will be using reportedly flawed voting machines that won’t be fixed in time for the presidential election, allegedly because of a government backlog on testing the machines’ hardware and software.
Alleged Backlog at Testing Laboratories
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was supposed to address the flaws — which have cast a lot of doubt about using machines to provide a consistent, reliable vote count — but the EAC won’t be able to certify that flawed machines are repaired by the November election, or provide software fixes or upgrades due to a backlog at the testing laboratories used by the EAC.
Because the EAC will not “sacrifice the integrity of the certification process for expediency,” some election officials needing new equipment have no choice but to buy machines lacking current innovations and upgrades. At least 10 states have rules or laws requiring federal certification.
In Ohio, one state that requires federal certification, touch-screen machines used in 43 counties — by more than a million voters — dropped at least 1,000 votes as memory cards sent data to the central server in each county. The problem was caught and corrected, but election officials say the risk is too high. Newer software provided by the manufacturers fixes the problem, but since it hasn’t been certified, the state cannot use it.
The most populous county in Ohio has plans to use an optical scan machine lacking safeguards to prevent election officials from tampering with the ballots and affecting tallies. Some safeguards do exist on a later model, but that model is also uncertified. Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin face similar frustrations.
The EAC took over the certification process in February 2007. Since taking over the certifications, no new equipment or software has been certified. The EAC chose to certify systems from top to bottom, including software and hardware rather than certifying modifications to noncertified machines. Given the fact that this is a federal agency under the Bush administration, one has to wonder if this is an intentional stall tactic or not. More information can be found in the New York Times article.
600K Ohio Voters May Be Disenfranchised
A report from The Advancement Project details publicly available information showing that nearly 600,000 eligible Ohio voters could be placed on a caging list and challenged on Election Day, which, in accordance with Ohio law, could result in their removal from the voter rolls without due process.
Ohio legislation from 2005 overhauled Ohio’s election system. In part, the legislation requires voter information mailings and amends Ohio’s challenge statute(s). It requires 88 county boards of election to mail all Ohio registered voters a non-forwardable notice 60 days before the election. Lists are compiled by each of the 88 boards for returned — regardless of why it’s being returned — as undeliverable notices. The lists are available as public records to any individual or group wanting to use the list as a “caging list” to challenge voters. Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas and Summit counties had the largest number of returned notices prior to the March 2008 Presidential Primary.
The legislation no longer requires the county boards to provide Ohio voters with any notice that they are being removed from the voting rolls, and no longer requires a hearing for voters to defend themselves if challenged. The boards review their own records and can make the determination to the validity of the challenge. Interestingly enough, this law became effective in 2006 and covers all elections through the November 2008 elections, until it ‘sunsets’ on January 1, 2009. Ohio has some inconsistent laws that need to be fixed. More information can be found in the article from The Advancement Project and AlterNet.
Republicans are reportedly setting up for voter fraud in Virginia. Investigative reporter Greg Palast warns of a few other potentially problematic states:
“In swing-state Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State conducted the biggest purge of voters in history, dumping a fifth of all registrations. Guess their color.
In swing-state Florida, the state is refusing to accept about 85,000 new registrations from voter drives – overwhelming Black voters.
In swing state New Mexico, HALF of the Democrats of Mora, a dirt poor and overwhelmingly Hispanic county, found their registrations disappeared this year, courtesy of a Republican voting contractor.
In swing states Ohio and Nevada, new federal law is knocking out tens of thousands of voters who lost their homes to foreclosure.”
Diebold Hides Security and Operation Flaws
In November 2006, The Huffington Post reported on a critical study on the security of the Diebold Election Systems machines that count all of Maryland’s votes. Between the time the State of Maryland commissioned a study to evaluate the effectiveness and security of their electronic voting machines and the time the study was made public, critical pieces of information were edited, omitted, and in some cases, had words added to fundamentally alter the original meaning of the report’s conclusions.
Electronic voting machines were supposed to be the ‘cure’ to the hanging and dimpled chad on some paper ballots. Instead, secrecy, proprietary software and programmers designing software to flip vote totals for lots and lots of money have resulted in making it easier to commit fraud and steal elections.
Diebold and other manufacturers of the machines insist they are safe and secure, but every single cyber security expert and computer scientist has known for years that:
- The machines can be hacked, by the implanting of malicious code, at the factory,
- The machines can be hacked during transport from the factory.
- The machines can be hacked while on “Sleepovers” before the election.
- The machines can be hacked (in 1 minute with a .50 cent mini bar key) during the election, and
- These machines can be hacked, at the tabulator, after the election.
The report, titled “The Pentagon Papers of electronic Voting,” shows in black and white that what Diebold says to election officials and voters across the country is a lie, there are virtually no security protocols in place for certain Diebold machines that had security protocols purposely removed and that the analyzed Diebold machines were not functional nor secure to use in elections which raised serious doubts that the machines were ready for the November 7, 2006 Midterm elections.
Diebold would not allow the researchers to look at the source code of the voting machines and Diebold wanted to be able to go through the report line by line to redact anything and everything they felt was proprietary, had a potential for security breaches or could provide a roadmap for anyone wanting to compromise the system.
The source code is secret. So secret that election officials, Secretaries of State, Attorneys General and Governors don’t know anything about it. Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Hart (the manufacturers) are the only ones allowed to inspect the software and the source code…the only ones who know if the machines have operated properly or if there was, or is, malicious software used to alter the vote.
The document shows the massive difference between the public and private, redacted and un-redacted faces of Diebold. Congress has done nothing to uphold the integrity of those machines or to force the manufacturers to insure that results can’t be tampered with. The leaked, un-redacted report makes it clear that Diebold and possibly the other three manufacturers have been fraudulently hiding serious operational and security flaws from the states and the voters. A lot more information can be found in the article from The Huffington Post.
Same Old Politics, New ‘Leadership’
A lot of the people who executed the most extensive voter fraud this country has ever endured are now working for John McCain’s election campaign, and you can bet they will do anything to make sure the election is stolen for McCain like it was for Bush in 2004. In all fairness, some of the same old faces are also working for Barack Obama’s campaign too. For the most part, the entire election system is corrupt and badly in need of repair or replacement. Voting machines cannot be trusted, and since Republicans know that their candidate could never win an election so they need to steal them. John McCain needs all the help he can get. Since he’s running for Bush’s third term, he’s developed a habitual lying problem and warmongering, used deceptive tactics, he’s easily bought off and he has developed memory loss, among many other things.
Regardless of whether a Republican or a Democrat wins the 2008 presidential election, you can be sure that “change” will not happen the way the American people think it will. Until the political system is overhauled and undergoes drastic changes, America will be stuck with the same old politics under new ‘leadership.’ Democrats and Republicans are similar in a lot of ways, especially in Washington where, in keeping with tradition of destroying civil rights and liberties, most Congressional Democrats have bent over backwards and passed illegal legislation in their efforts to keep extensive incriminating crimes covered up, and done little if anything to stop Republicans from committing election fraud.
More information about the rising GOP ‘voter fraud’ scam can be found in an article from The Brad Blog. A December 2003 article from In These Times titled “Voting Machines Gone Wild!” details some problems and questions the involvement of the military industrial mucking about in the American electoral system. Until the U.S. election system and the corruption in Washington are alleviated and politicians are held accountable, not much is going to change.
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