In This Edition: Bigger Than Watergate! - How To Rig An
Election In The United States - Fantasy vs Reality - How We Discovered
The Backdoor - Evidence Of Motive - Evidence Of Opportunity - Evidence
Of Method - Evidence Of Prior Conduct - Consistent Unexplained
IMPORTANT NOTE: Publication of this story marks a watershed in
American political history. It is offered freely for publication in full
or part on any and all internet forums, blogs and noticeboards. All
other media are also encouraged to utilise material. Readers are
encouraged to forward this to friends and acquaintances in the United
States and elsewhere.
*** NEW *** FOLLOW UP STORY
About Black Box Voting Machines
The Truth About
the Rob-Georgia File
See Also Companion Article For Detail And Screenshots Of An Election
U.S. Election Vote Counting Program
Sludge Report #154
Bigger Than Watergate!
The story you are about to read is in this writer's view the biggest
political scandal in American history, if not global history. And it is
being broken today here in New Zealand.
This story cuts to the bone the machinery of democracy in America
today. Democracy is the only protection we have against despotic and
arbitrary government, and this story is deeply disturbing.
Imagine if you will that you are a political interest group that
wishes to control forevermore the levers of power. Imagine further that
you know you are likely to implement a highly unpopular political
agenda, and you do not wish to be removed by a ballot driven backlash.
One way to accomplish this outcome would be to adopt the Mugabe
(Zimbabwe) or Hun Sen (Cambodia) approach. You agree to hold elections,
but simultaneously arrest, imprison and beat your opponents and their
supporters. You stuff ballot boxes, disenfranchise voters who are
unlikely to vote for you, distort electoral boundaries and provide
insufficient polling stations in areas full of opposition supporters.
However as so many despots have discovered, eventually such
techniques always fail – often violently. Hence, if you are a truly
ambitious political dynasty you have to be a bit more subtle about your
Imagine then if it were possible to somehow subvert the voting
process itself in such a way that you could steal elections without
Imagine for example if you could:
- secure control of the companies that make the voting machines and
vote counting software;
- centralise vote counting systems, and
politicise their supervision;
- legislate for the adoption of such
systems throughout your domain, and provide large amounts of money for
the purchase of these systems;
- establish systems of vote counting
that effectively prevent anybody on the ground in the election – at a
booth or precinct level - from seeing what is happening at a
- get all the major media to sign up to a single
exit-polling system that you also control – removing the risk of
exit-polling showing up your shenanigans.
And imagine further that you;
- install a backdoor, or numerous backdoors, in the vote counting
systems you have built that enable you to manipulate the tabulation of
results in real time as they are coming in.
Such a system would enable you to intervene in precisely the minimum
number of races necessary to ensure that you won a majority on election
night. On the basis of polling you could pick your marginal seats and
thus keep your tweaking to a bare minimum.
Such a system would enable you to minimise the risks of discovery of
Such a system would enable you to target and remove individual
political opponents who were too successful, too popular or too
And most importantly of all, such a system would enable you to
accomplish all the above without the public being in the least aware of
what you were doing. When confronted with the awfulness of your
programme they would be forced to concede that at least it is the result
of a democratic process.
How To Rig An Election In The United States
So how would such a system actually work?
Well one way to run such a corrupt electoral system might look like
- Each voting precinct (or booth) could be fitted with electronic
voting systems, optical scanning systems, punch card voting systems or
the more modern touchscreen electronic voting machines;
- At the close of play each day the booth/precinct supervisor could
be under instructions to compile an electronic record of the votes cast
in their booth;
- They might print out a report that contains only the details of the
total votes count for that precinct/booth, and then file via modem the
full electronic record of votes through to the County supervisor;
- The County Supervisor could be equipped with a special piece of
software and a bank of modems that enables all these results to be
received and tabulated in the internals of the computer;
- The County Supervisors themselves could be assured that their
system was bullet proof, certified and contained tamper-protection
mechanisms par excellence;
- The Country Supervisor could be given a range of tools for looking
at the data within this software, but nothing to enable them to directly
manipulate the results;
- But unbeknownst to the County Supervisor the software could
actually create three separate records of the voting data;
- Meanwhile - also unbeknownst to the County Supervisor - these three
tables of voting data could be in fact completely insecure and
accessible simply through a common database programme, say Microsoft
- Having the three tables would enable you to keep the real data in
place – so the system could pass spot tests on individual precincts and
booth results (should a precinct supervisor be particularly astute)
-while simultaneously enabling you to manipulate the bottom line result;
- Finally you might also enhance the election hacker's powers by
including within the software a utility to enable them to cover their
tracks by changing the date and time stamps on files and remove evidence
of your tampering.
Fantasy Becomes Reality
The above description of a corrupt voting system is not the result of
an overactive imagination. Rather it is the result of a extensive
research by computer programmers and journalists working around the
globe. Principally it is the work of investigative Journalist Bev
Harris, author of the soon to be published book " Black Box Voting:
Ballot Tampering In The 21st Century "
And most important of all it is the result of research focussed on
investigating the actual software distributed by one of the
largest voting systems companies operating in the recent U.S. Elections.
CAVEAT: It is important to note that the research
into this subject has not established that the files we have been
working on were in fact in situ in County Election Supervisors offices
at the last election – nor have we proof that the back door we have
discovered - which might enable the rigging of elections - was
actually used in any recent election. However it is the considered
opinion of all those involved in this investigation that it is not up
to us as journalists or programmers to prove that elections were
rigged, rather it is a responsibility of the electoral system itself
to prove its integrity.
What you read here amounts to revelation of evidence of motive,
conduct , and a variety of items of, consistent
unexplained circumstantial evidence . Significantly we do not
believe we have sufficient resources to complete this investigation to
its conclusion and are therefore making available our findings to the
media, community organisations, political parties, computer scientists
and geeks in the anticipation that they will pick up the torch and
take extend this inquiry into every county in the United
How We Discovered The Backdoor
The story of how this story emerged is a great tale in itself, most
of which has already been told in this report by Bev Harris.
INTEGRITY FLAW DISCOVERED AT DIEBOLD ELECTION
The short version of the story is relatively simple.
In the course of investigating the issue of the integrity of new
electronic voting machines Bev Harris learned that people around the
world had been downloading from an open FTP site belonging to Diebold
Election Systems one of the leading manufactures of voting systems.
This website contained several gigabytes of files including manuals,
source codes and installation versions of numerous parts of the Diebold
voting system, and of its vote counting programme GEMS.
Realising we had stumbled across what might be the equivalent of the
Pentagon Papers for elections, the full contents of this website have
been secured around the world at several locations. The original website
was itself taken down on January 29th 2003.
We can now reveal for the first time the location of a complete
online copy of the original data set. As we anticipate attempts to
prevent the distribution of this information we encourage supporters of
democracy to make copies of these files and to make them available on
websites and file sharing networks.
As many of the files are zip password protected you may need some
assistance in opening them, we have found that the utility available at
the following URL works well:
Finally some of the zip files are partially damaged, but these too
can be read by using the utility at:
At this stage in this inquiry we do not believe that we have come
even remotely close to investigating all aspects of this data. I.E.
There is no reason to believe that the security flaws discovered so far
are the only ones.
Therefore we expect many more discoveries to be made. We want the
assistance of the online computing community in this enterprise and we
encourage you to file your findings at the forum HERE
Finally, for obvious reasons it is important that this information is
distributed as widely as possible as quickly as possible. We encourage
all web bloggers, web publishers and web media to re-publish and link to
this article and to its companion article by Bev Harris which contains
detailed descriptions of how to use the GEMS software to rig an
To conclude this overview article I will make a few more comments on
the evidence we have thus far that the U.S. election system has been
compromised. As stated earlier we do not at this stage have proof that
it has in fact been been compromised through this method, just a great
deal of circumstantial evidence that it could have been.
If this was Watergate, we are effectively at the point of discovering
evidence of a break-in and have received the call from deep-throat
telling us that should dig much deeper.
Proof will follow in time we expect, but only if the work we have
begun is completed and this inquiry is taken into every corner of the
U.S. electoral system.
Evidence Of Motive
This is probably the easiest part of this puzzle to get your head
around. The motivation of the Republican Party in general and the
current administration in particular to gain ever greater amounts of
power - by whatever means possible and damn the consequences - is
evidenced most recently in the Supreme Court's partisan appointment of
George Bush Jr. as President, the attempt to recall California Governor
Gray Davis, and the Ken Starr investigation and attempted impeachment of
Evidence Of Opportunity ,
Republican connected control over the major election systems
companies in the United States has been thoroughly researched.
Bob Urosevich, CEO of Diebold Election Systems is also the founder of
ES&S, a competing voting machine company. Together these two
companies are responsible for tallying around 80% of votes cast in the
United States. Also significant, from what we can determine about the
architecture of the software, is that its basic structure was
specifically a creation of Mr Urosevich's company I-Mark.
For more background on Diebold Systems connections to the Republican
The Face Of Modern Ballot
Meanwhile Presidential wannabee and Republican Party United States
Senator Chuck Hagel has been directly connected to ES&S via his
campaign finance director, Michael McCarthy, who has admitted that
Senator Hagel still owns a beneficial interest in the ES&S parent
company, the McCarthy Group.
Ethics Director Resigns; Senator Hagel Admits Owning Voting Machine
Evidence Of Method
The evidence of method has been detailed in a companion article by
Bev Harris, author of the soon to be published block-buster Black Box
U.S. Election Vote Counting Program
In this article – which contains screenshots from the software and
detailed instructions on how one might rig an election - Bev Harris
explains security flaws thus:
The GEMS election file contains more than one "set of
books." They are hidden from the person running the GEMS program, but
you can see them if you go into Microsoft Access.
You might look at it like this: Suppose you have votes on paper
ballots, and you pile all the paper ballots in room one. Then, you
make a copy of all the ballots and put the stack of copies in room 2.
You then leave the door open to room 2, so that people can come in
and out, replacing some of the votes in the stack with their own.
You could have some sort of security device that would tell you if
any of the copies of votes in room 2 have been changed, but you opt
Now, suppose you want to count the votes. Should you count them
from room 1 (original votes)? Or should you count them from room 2,
where they may or may not be the same as room 1? What Diebold chose to
do in the files we examined was to count the votes from
Evidence Of Prior Conduct
It is a recorded fact that every system of balloting established in
America has been gamed and rigged. I.E. America's political
practitioners have a very long history of ballot rigging and vote
tampering. This is nothing new and evidence of the sort we have
uncovered has been long predicted by computer scientists such as Dr
In more recent history investigative Journalist Greg Palast has
documented in detail Katherine Harris's use of electronic data matching
technologies to disenfranchise thousands of Florida voters in advance of
the 2000 Presidential election.
We highly recommend readers purchase a copy of "The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy" by Greg Palast to read much more about this.
A compendium of links on Palast's investigations can be found via a
Google search on:
palast florida katherine harris"
Consistent Unexplained Circumstantial Evidence
During the 2002 Mid-term there were numerous reports of unusual
happenings in counties throughout the United States.
Among the phenomena reported were voting numbers suddenly fluctuating
in the middle of the counting process, something you might expect to see
if the backdoor identified above were used clumsily.
An organisation called Votewatch was set up during the 2002 elections
to record unusual happenings and its archives can be viewed here.
It will suffice here to cite a couple of specific examples – these
are excerpts from the soon to be published " Black Box Voting: Ballot
Tampering In The 21st Century". These examples of actual events are
consistent with the existence and use of an electronic vote counting
hack described above.
November 1990, Seattle, Washington - Worse than the butterfly
ballot, some Democratic candidates watched votes alight, then flutter
away. Democrat Al Williams saw 90 votes wander off his tally between
election night and the following day, though no new counting had been
done. At the same time, his opponent, Republican Tom Tangen, gained 32
votes. At one point several hundred ballots added to returns didn’t
result in any increase in the number of votes. But elsewhere, the number
of votes added exceeded the number of additional ballots counted. A
Republican candidate achieved an amazing surge in his absentee
percentage for no apparent reason. And no one seemed to notice (until a
determined Democratic candidate started demanding an answer) that the
machines simply forgot to count 14,000 votes.
November 1996, Bergen County, New Jersey - Democrats told
Bergen County Clerk Kathleen Donovan to come up with a better
explanation for mysterious swings in vote totals. Donovan blamed voting
computers for conflicting tallies that rose and fell by 8,000 or 9,000
votes. The swings perplexed candidates of both parties. For example, the
Republican incumbent, Anthony Cassano, had won by about 7,000 votes as
of the day after the election but his lead evaporated later. One
candidate actually lost 1,600 votes during the counting. “How could
something like that possibly happen?” asked Michael Guarino, Cassano’s
Democratic challenger. “Something is screwed up here.”
November 1999, Onondaga County, New York - Computers gave the
election to the wrong candidate, then gave it back. Bob Faulkner, a
political newcomer, went to bed on Election Night confident he had
helped complete a Republican sweep of three open council seats. But
after Onondaga County Board of Elections staffers rechecked the totals,
Faulkner had lost to Democratic incumbent Elaine Lytel.
April 2002, Johnson County, Kansas - Johnson County’s new
Diebold touch screen machines, proclaimed a success on election night,
did not work as well as originally believed. Incorrect vote totals were
discovered in six races, three of them contested, leaving county
election officials scrambling to make sure the unofficial results were
accurate. Johnson County Election Commissioner Connie Schmidt checked
the machines and found that the computers had under- and over-reported
hundreds of votes. “The machines performed terrifically,” said Bob
Urosevich, CEO of Diebold Election Systems. “The anomaly showed up on
the reporting part.”
The problem, however, was so perplexing that Schmidt asked the Board
of Canvassers to order a hand re-count to make sure the results were
accurate. Unfortunately, the touch screen machines did away with the
ballots, so the only way to do a hand recount is to have the machine
print its internal data page by page. Diebold tried to re-create the
error in hopes of correcting it. “I wish I had an answer,” Urosevich
said. In some cases, vote totals changed dramatically.
November 2002, Comal County, Texas - A Texas-sized lack of
curiosity about discrepancies: The uncanny coincidence of three winning
Republican candidates in a row tallying up exactly 18,181 votes each was
called weird, but apparently no one thought it was weird enough to
audit. Conversion to alphabet: 18181 18181 18181 ahaha ahaha ahaha
November 2002, Baldwin County, Alabama - No one at the voting
machine company can explain the mystery votes that changed after polling
places had closed, flipping the election from the Democratic winner to a
Republican in the Alabama governor’s race. “Something happened. I don’t
have enough intelligence to say exactly what,” said Mark Kelley of
ES&S. Baldwin County results showed that Democrat Don Siegelman
earned enough votes to win the state of Alabama. All the observers went
home. The next morning, however, 6,300 of Siegelman’s votes inexplicably
had disappeared, and the election was handed to Republican Bob Riley. A
recount was requested, but denied.
November 2002, New York - Voting machine tallies impounded in
New York: Software programming errors hampered and confused the vote
tally on election night and most of the next day, causing elections
officials to pull the plug on the vote-reporting Web site. Commissioners
ordered that the voting machine tallies be impounded, and they were
guarded overnight by a Monroe County deputy sheriff.
November 2002, Georgia - Election officials lost their memory:
Fulton County election officials said that memory cards from 67
electronic voting machines had been misplaced, so ballots cast on those
machines were left out of previously announced vote totals. No hand
count can shine any light on this; the entire state of Georgia went to
touch-screen machines with no physical record of the vote. Fifty-six
cards, containing 2,180 ballots, were located, but 11 memory cards still
were missing two days after the election: Bibb County and Glynn County
each had one card missing after the initial vote count. When DeKalb
County election officials went home early Wednesday morning, they were
missing 10 cards.
**** ENDS ****
Anti©opyright Sludge 2003
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