September 05, 2003

Will Bush Backers Manipulate Votes to Deliver GW Another Election?

Remember the Triple Lock: #1) Outspend the Democrats
by at least 3-1 ratio with corporatist $$$, #2)
exercise undue influence, exerted through corporate
kulchur, over the "US mainstream news media,
#3)corporatist control over the voting process
itself...

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0904-10.htm

Published on Thursday, September 4, 2003 by Democracy
Now!
Will Bush Backers Manipulate Votes to Deliver GW Another Election?
by Amy Goodman and the staff of Democracy Now!

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who
count the votes decide everything."
--Russian Dictator Joseph Stalin

As millions of American voters prepare to use
electronic voting machines for the first time,
questions about who owns and controls these
vote-counting machines are rife. In at least two
states, companies with very close ties to the Bush
administration are in prime positions to control the
voting systems in the 2004 presidential elections.

In Illinois, Populex is the company that is creating
the electronic voting system for the state. It was
recently revealed that Ronald Reagan's former Defense
Secretary Frank Carlucci now serves on the company's
five-member Advisory Board. Carlucci is also the
chairman emeritus of The Carlyle Group, the defense
contractor often called the "Ex-President's Club"
because of the high profile partners and advisors on
its payroll. These include key players from George W
Bush's inner circle, such as former President Bush and
former Secretary of State James Baker III.

Meanwhile in Ohio, Diebold Inc. is one of the
companies vying to sell electronic voting machines in
that state. Diebold and its CEO have strong Republican
ties, specifically to the Bush administration.

A recent article by Julie Carr Smyth in The Cleveland
Plain Dealer reported that the head of Diebold is also
a top fundraiser for President Bush's re-election. In
a recent fund-raising letter Diebold's chief executive
Walden O'Dell said he is "committed to helping Ohio
deliver its electoral votes to the president next
year."

"I think the question that this has raised is, has he
crossed the line?," said The Plain Dealer's Smyth on
Democracy Now! "We hear a lot of comments that a
C.E.O. should be allowed to be as politically active
as he wants, he's a businessman, he's allowed to favor
the president. But I think in the business of election
systems, the question is, has this crossed the line?"

"Basically what we have is a company that is giving
money, hand over fist and helping in campaign
strategizing for a particular political party at the
same time as making the machines that count the
votes," said Bev Harris, author of Black Box Voting:
Ballot-Tampering in the 21st Century.

Harris told Democracy Now!: "We now know that the
machines that they're making that count the votes are
not secure from tampering. And add to that, we've got
a situation where everything inside the machines is
secret, we're not allowed the see how they count the
votes. So this is not an acceptable situation."

Ohio is anticipating spending about $161 million not
just on machines but also on the entire implementation
of the new system. Diebold is one of ten original
companies that came to Ohio to bid for the contract.

In July, O'Dell invited Vice President Dick Cheney to
his house for a fundraiser, which poured $500,000 into
Cheney's coffers.

On a trip to Ohio, President Bush visited one of
Diebold's board members - W.R. Timken - who took him
on a tour of the company. Timken, like O'Dell, is a
"Pioneer" - the name given to wealthy Bush
benefactors.

According to Harris, a study of the campaign
contributions made by Diebold and its employees
revealed an unusual pattern: Hundreds of thousands of
dollars were being funneled to a few Republican
candidates with very little to any other party.

Harris says that Diebold's electronic voting machines
are wide open to tampering. "There's actually several
different methods that we've been looking at. One of
the first things you do when you look at any kind of
fraud is look what they tell you not to look at," she
said.

Harris managed to obtain the source code that is used
in Diebold's electronic voting system simply by
searching the Internet.

Harris told Democracy Now! that she recently uncovered
another file on the Diebold site that she says "may
very well be the smoking gun that brings this thing
down."

The file, she claims, proves that Diebold has the
ability to keep track of election results as they come
in. More concerning she says technology exists that
would allow Diebold to alter election results.

Diebold has long claimed it does not track votes on
Election Day but Harris said this file of election
data from San Luis Obispo County, California shows
otherwise.

"It is impossible for this file to have existed if
there wasn't some sort of illicit electronic
communication going on for remote access," Harris
said.

"It's against the law to start counting the votes
before the polls have closed. But this file is date
and time stamped at 3:31 in the afternoon on Election
Day, and somehow all 57 precincts managed to call home
add them themselves up in the middle of the day. Not
only once but three times," Harris said. "If you have
no electronic communications between the polling
places and the main office, how does that happen?
Because what would you literally have to do is to shut
down the polling place in 57 places at once and get in
a car and drive this card into the county office.
That's not going to happen."

Technically, under the Diebold system that means it is
possible for someone who has access to the system to
monitor the progress of the voting results throughout
the day and to potentially manipulate them.

"You see, a modem is always two way," says Harris. "If
you can pull the information in, you can also push it
back through the pipeline the other direction. So that
means if they can pull the information in, they can
also send information back into those machines."

"We've known for some time that this is one of the
weakest areas," Harris said. "If you have remote
communication into the system at all, that gives you
access without physical access and that's very
dangerous."

Democracy Now! is a nationally syndicated radio and TV
show broadcast on over 160 stations.

Copyright 2003 Democracy Now!

###


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Posted by richard at September 5, 2003 01:33 PM