A directory to EDA website content by subject categories.

EDA Election '08 Results and Findings

Holding Space for Results '08

When the EDA Election Data Analysis reports are ready, we will display on this page:

1. Summary comparison of national vote and (official) national exit polls (NEP)

2. Results summary of the independent citizen Election Verification Exit Polls (EVEP)
(Initially we will display just the presidential figures; we will add in the complete data later)

3. The summary table for the Survey USA telephone canvass data

Other pages linked to this one will display selected voter incident reports and additional news and commentary.

NOTE: Although the Obama tide was too overwhelming for a McCain theft to have succeeded, EDA found in the election night unadjusted exit polls, evidence that computerized election fraud did occur, altering the outcome of contests in the House and Senate.

To the best of our ability, EDA will be issuing detailed reports showing where this occurred, working with the indirect evidence of exit polls. EDA and the public alike are denied access to the incontrovertible direct evidence -- the ballots themselves -- because the American electoral system has been outsourced to private vendors who count the votes with secret software, exploiting claims of proprietary trade secrets to deny public access to the actual ballot records. Unfortunately, the U.S. judicial system continues, in the main, to uphold these outrageous corporate claims against the sovereign right of the people, and Congress has so far failed to enact national election transparency legislation affirming the public's right to direct observation and verification of all election processes and records.

EDA will send out announcements when this page is updated.
To be notified of this and other developments, please subscribe to the EDA Announcements list.

IN THE MEANTIME, we present:

1. A Summary of Election Day 2008 from the Ruckus Society, who were standing by in case things went rapidly downhill, as they very well might have;


2. the Turdblossom Lectures by Mr. Karl Rove, on the art and science of Swinging Elections.


We at EDA appreciated very much a call checking in on our well-being this afternoon from Sharon Lungo of Ruckus Society, as the first polls were closing in the East.

Thanks to the Ruckus Society for having the energy left to put out this wrap-up on Election Day 2008:

So for those who have been watching, to close the loop :)

This is a report on Election Protection issues today in a nutshell:

Overall there were a ton of problems during the early voting process and all day today. The turn-out was beyond even the highest expectations. There was also some deeply collaborative response work - election protection was finally addressed as a combined legal, media and grassroots organizing strategy. This is exciting growth, and something to smile about, and though there were problems there were also amazing responses, so we are documenting both here.

Reports fell into a couple of key clusters, so we're just gonna give y'all highlights, simple as possible:

1. Long Lines!

What happened: High turn-out combined with faulty machines, too few machines, and poorly trained poll workers made for some extremely long lines today.

Response: Organizers from various campaigns and amazing citizen activists who heard the call from us and other groups today went out to the polls with chairs, music, poems, rhymes and song to help support voters to stay strong. Folks video'd the vote, tweeted, called, and stayed out as long as they needed to keep people at the polls, and make sure their vote was counted.

2. Names not on the Rolls!

What happened: Towards the beginning of the day in particular, the reports were largely that folks showed up and their names weren't there. This wasn't just for new voters, a lot of the reports were from folks who had voted in the same place for more than 2 elections.

Response: Calls poured into 866-OUR-VOTE (over 50,000 today alone) and legal teams responded where possible, and well-prepared voter education teams reminded people to fight for their right to vote. Unfortunately in a lot of places that meant voting on provisional ballots, which are the last to be counted.

3. Machine Glitchery!

What Happened:

A. President Vote Disappearances: When folks selected a presidential candidate, then selected a straight party line, it somehow disappeared the presidential selection. Initially this was only being reported by Democrats, but there were isolated Republican, Green and other parties seeing this happen.

B. Machines Broke! Overuse? Sabotage? Just not enough of them? Time will tell. This is one area Black Box Voting and others covered very well, and we need to be prepared to follow their lead in the future.

Response: Voters who noticed this were given paper ballot options. In situation A, officials claimed it was counting in the magic machine even though it wasn't showing up. The power of voter organizing was in effect here and kept folks ensured that their vote would be counted, hopefully by paper ballot!

4. Nefarious Texting and Flyers!

What Happened: College students and others were reported as receiving messages telling them to vote on Wednesday due to long lines and last minute "change of plans." We received reports of this happening in TX, FL, PA, MT, GA, VA, NM, CO and UT. In some messages it was specified that Democrats should vote on Wednesday.

Response: Jaws dropped, and then folks sent out educational emails, texts and got the message to their organizers in the field to let folks know that the vote for all people was in fact November 4, 2008. Amazing viral outreach on this one!

There was more, there was so much more, but right now we have to run out in the street and act a fool.

One exciting point that for us is huge, cuz y'all know we have given our hearts to this: Young people, who made up 18% of the voters today, were out in force. Black folks were out in force. Gay folks were out in force. The energy of the day was remarkable, and we want to shout out our gratitude to everyone who hit the streets, phones, blogs, and polls for the last months and today starting at 3am.


And we'll be back to work tomorrow :)

--Adrienne Maree Brown and Jessamyn Delight Sabbag

It seemed like 2004 all over again.

Not only were touchscreen machines flipping votes from Obama to McCain in West Virgina.

It was also happening in Texas.

And Tennessee.

There's a reason for this. And a plan.

We've launched our Part Two in the "Swinging Elections Lecture Series" -- and it's going all over the country to young voters.

This short, animated video features Karl Rove/Turdblossom, demonstrating how the voting machines can be hacked.

In case you missed it, in Part One, Rove introduced his Plan.

Now, we've got to alert people to pay attention to the vote counting, not just go home, pop a cool one and watch the returns.

We really need to collect the evidence.

There are a lot of options: Fill out incident reports, poll monitor, audit the vote count, participate in citizen exit polls.

It's all in our hip and comprehensive Voters Guide

Please post this up on your site and forward the link to your friends.

All the material is substantiated in our Interactive Scrapbook.

Onward, with gratitude for all that you do,

-- Sheri Myers and the rest of the Wake Up team

Wake Up and Save Your Country's mission is to provide information about election protection to the grassroots using new media and off-the-blanket creativity.



Lecture Part 1

Lecture Part 2

For more from the talented team who produced the Lectures, see:

Don't miss the Kudzu Files


Evidence-PartTwo.pdf1.87 MB

2008 and 2004 Presidential Exit Poll Discrepancies Compared

Introductory Summation:

In 2008 the exit poll discrepancy was considerably smaller than in 2004, but it was still well outside the margin of error. I won’t calculate an exact number, since we don’t have all the data yet. But it’s safe to say that the difference is very unlikely to be explained by chance alone.

The fact that pre-election polls provided an estimate very similar to the exit polls in 2008 (The Obama lead was a little bit less in the pre-election polls, but it was surging upwards in the last couple of days, so probably the two were about equivalent) makes it even more likely that they were both accurate.

So that leaves two possibilities: Exit poll bias (and pre-election poll bias as well) or impaired election integrity – that is, election fraud.

Consequently, EDA undertook an effort yesterday to capture exit poll statistics from all major statewide races (President, Senator, and Governor) prior to “adjustment” of the statistics to match the official election results. (Once the statistics are “adjusted” to match the official election results they are worthless for the purpose of assessing the exit poll discrepancy because the “adjustment” erases the discrepancy.)
"What all this means is that, as in 2004, the Democratic candidate performed much better in exit polls than in the official vote count, and the difference was especially large in critical swing states."
To read the complete article, click here
Source: Time for Change's Journal, posted 11.05.08 06:22 PM

Comparison of the 2008 and 2004 Presidential Exit Poll Discrepancies and their Significance

By Dale Tavris, EDA Coordinator for Election Data Analysis

The presidential exit poll discrepancy of 2004 generated a great deal of controversy in some quarters because it raised the suspicion of a stolen presidential election. There were two types of extreme and opposite reactions to that controversy that I believe were unhealthy to our democracy.

At one extreme were those who chose to ignore it. These were people who, if they were aware of it at all, simply felt that it wasn’t important. Probably some of these people just couldn’t bring themselves to acknowledge even the possibility that a presidential election could be stolen in our country. Or maybe many of them believed that it is “bad sportsmanship” to question the results of an election once it is officially declared final.

At the other extreme were those who felt that the 2004 exit poll deficiency was proof of unlimited power by the Republican Party to steal elections. Consequently, they believed, any traditional efforts on behalf of Democratic or other liberal political candidates is meaningless in the absence of conversion to an election system that involves nothing but hand counted paper ballots.

The reality of the situation is somewhere in between those two extremes. Large exit poll discrepancies should be taken very seriously and investigated to ascertain their cause – especially with an eye to evaluating the possibility of wide scale election fraud. But at the same time it is highly counterproductive to assume an unlimited capability of Republicans for election fraud and to abandon traditional efforts to win elections.

In this post I will briefly describe the presidential exit poll discrepancy of 2004, compare it with what we know – so far – of the presidential exit poll discrepancy of 2008, and discuss the possible reasons for and importance of gaining a better understanding of the causes of these exit poll discrepancies.
A brief description of the 2004 presidential exit poll discrepancy
The 2004 Edison-Mitofsky national exits polls predicted very different results than the official Presidential election results. Whereas Bush won the official results by 2.5%, the exit polls predicted a Kerry victory nationally by 3% – a 5.5% difference.

In addition, state exit polls predicted a Kerry victory in four states that Bush won – Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, and Nevada – and a virtually even race in Florida, which Kerry lost officially by 5%. Of these states, the difference between the exit polls and the official results (which we refer to as “exit poll discrepancy” or “red shift”) were statistically significant (beyond the margin of error) only in Ohio and Florida.

In Ohio, Kerry lost officially by 2.5%, while winning the exit poll by 4.2% a difference of 6.7%. Winning either Ohio or Florida would have meant an electoral victory for Kerry. On the other hand, none of the states that Kerry carried in 2004 were predicted in the exit polls for Bush. None of this is controversial or denied by any knowledgeable person.
What we know so far about the 2008 presidential exit poll discrepancy
The Election Defense Alliance (EDA), for which I work as a volunteer, was established shortly after the 2004 Presidential election, partly (or solely) in response to what its founders perceived as a stolen Presidential election. Their perception of a stolen election was based largely (or solely) on the presidential exit poll discrepancy.

Consequently, EDA undertook an effort yesterday to capture exit poll statistics from all major statewide races (President, Senator, and Governor) prior to “adjustment” of the statistics to match the official election results (Once the statistics are “adjusted” to match the official election results they are worthless for the purpose of assessing the exit poll discrepancy because the “adjustment” erases the discrepancy.)

I was assigned three states to monitor and document – Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina. In addition, I periodically peeked at some other results of major interest. When very early in the evening I noted large Obama exit poll leads in Virginia and Ohio, a medium sized lead in Indiana and a smaller lead in North Carolina, I was elated, believing that all this signified an almost certain Obama victory – so I posted my opinion on this.

The exit poll information I had at the time was approximately the following:

Indiana: Obama by 5
Virginia: Obama by 9
Ohio: Obama by 8
North Carolina: Obama by 3
Pennsylvania: Obama by 15
Georgia: McCain by 2

National: Obama by 8.3

As it turned out later (which is not surprising), as in 2004, the Democratic Presidential candidate performed substantially better in exit polls than in the official vote count:
Official vote margin and discrepancy between exit poll and official vote count
Indiana: Obama by 1; exit poll discrepancy of 4
Virginia: Obama by 5; exit poll discrepancy of 4
Ohio: Obama by 4; exit poll discrepancy of 4
North Carolina: Obama by 0; exit poll discrepancy of 3
Pennsylvania: Obama by 11; exit poll discrepancy of 4
Georgia: McCain by 5; exit poll discrepancy of 3
National: Obama by 6.1; exit poll discrepancy of 2.2

Most of these exit poll discrepancies are beyond the margin of error or very close to the margin of error. That national exit poll discrepancy, though smaller than the others, is well beyond the margin of error because the sample size is much larger than for the state polls.

What all this means is that, as in 2004, the Democratic candidate performed much better in exit polls than in the official vote count, and the difference was especially large in critical swing states.
Possible reasons for discrepancies between exit polls and official vote counts
When exit polls differ substantially from official election results, there can be only three reasons (or combination thereof):

1. Random error, or chance
2. Biased polls
3. Impaired election integrity

The first step in the assessment of any statistical discrepancy is to assess the role of chance in producing the discrepancy. The likelihood of the discrepancy between the 2004 national exit polls and the 2004 official national results occurring by chance was estimated by Jonathan Simon and Ron Baiman as being close to one in a million.

The original response to the Edison-Miftofsky report by US Count Votes (USCV) estimated that the likelihood of the discrepancy between the combined state exit polls and the official state results occurring by chance was about one in ten million.

A proper combined likelihood of such a large discrepancy in both the national and state polls would multiply those two numbers, to give a result of one in ten trillion.

Although the exact number can be and has been computed in different ways by different investigators, nobody, including Warren Mitofsky, disputed the fact that the likelihood of this discrepancy occurring by chance is so small that it should not even be considered.

In 2008 the exit poll discrepancy was considerably smaller than in 2004, but it was still well outside the margin of error. I won’t calculate an exact number, since we don’t have all the data yet. But it’s safe to say that the difference is very unlikely to be explained by chance alone.

The fact that pre-election polls provided an estimate very similar to the exit polls in 2008 (The Obama lead was a little bit less in the pre-election polls, but it was surging upwards in the last couple of days, so probably the two were about equivalent) makes it even more likely that they were both accurate.

So that leaves two possibilities: Exit poll bias (and pre-election poll bias as well) or impaired election integrity – that is, election fraud.
Then why did Obama win if election fraud was committed?
First of all, let me say that I don’t know for a fact that election fraud is the primary explanation for the exit poll discrepancies, either this year or in 2004. The issue was extensively investigated in 2004, and the results were not fully conclusive either way.

Two possible reasons why the results were not fully conclusive were that:

1) Independent voter activist organizations were not provided access to all of the raw data, and
2) Nobody was provided access to the “proprietary” voting machines.

But let’s assume for a minute that election fraud in general, and programming of electronic voting machines to switch votes to the Republican candidate was the major reason for the exit poll discrepancies in both elections. Why then did Obama win, if the Republicans had the capability of committing that kind of election manipulation?

The answer to that is that their election fraud capabilities are not infinite. Both pre-election polls and exit polls showed Obama winning in 2008 by a much larger margin, especially in critical (and formerly red) swing states, than John Kerry in 2004. Kerry ended up with only one state (Ohio) that was very close and would have given him an electoral victory.

Obama, on the other hand, would have won with any ONE of a number of formerly red states, all which showed him with both exit poll leads and pre-election poll leads or virtual ties (including Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado or Nevada.

So when I saw Obama with huge exit poll leads in VA and OH (of 9 and 8 points respectively) and good leads in NC and IN as well, it seemed highly unlikely to me that such large leads could be overcome with election fraud.

Part of the reason for that belief was the Democratic performance in Congressional races in 2006. There were indeed substantial exit poll discrepancies in those elections – similar to what was seen in the 2004 Presidential election. But if Republicans had unlimited capability for election fraud, then why did they allow Democrats to take over Congress in 2006?

And furthermore, this issue has been given a lot of attention since 2004. Obama’s leads in both the pre-election and exit polls in critical swing states this year were so great that the theft of a third consecutive Presidential election could have been too much for American citizens to bear. Even if the exit poll discrepancy this year had been substantially greater than in 2004, Obama still would have won. The theft of this election would have been much more difficult to swallow than the theft of the 2004 election.
Why this issue is so important
Like all other activities, some sort of independent monitoring is needed to ensure that election processes are conducted fairly. To settle any of a variety of disputes in our country we have courts of law and investigators to gather evidence. Our sporting events require referees. Elections are the backbone of our democracy. Without fair elections we have no democracy.

The central process of our elections is the counting of our votes. Yet we now have electronic machines that count our votes out of view to American citizens – in other words, in secret. That is not acceptable for a democracy. As noted above, a large discrepancy between exit polls and the official vote count means either exit poll bias or election fraud. This is not a matter of making political points, or rubbing in a sound Democratic victory in the faces of our opponents.

Exit polling is considered a standard practice for monitoring elections, and it is especially important when vote counts are conducted electronically, with no paper trail. There is a good reason for this: Large discrepancies between exit polls and official vote counts provide an important warning sign regarding the integrity of elections.

In the presence of large exit polls discrepancies, there is no way to know whether or not extensive fraud has been committed without an extensive investigation, including access to the voting machines. After three consecutive national elections manifesting large exit poll discrepancies well beyond the margin of error, and all in the same direction, it is way past time that we find a way as a nation to ensure that our elections are conducted fairly.

Counting our votes in secret has no place in a democracy – especially when those doing the counting are heavy contributors to one of the participants. In the next few days, weeks, or months the EDA will be conducting a thorough analysis to see what we can find out about the 2008 presidential election exit poll discrepancy.

We won in 2006 and 2008 because we had large, virtually fraud-proof leads. Had those elections been close, as in the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, we probably would not have won. Look what happened when we lost those elections. We just can’t allow that to keep on happening.


The 2008 Minnesota recount for U.S. Senator is providing the American public an exemplary model for the resolution of close or inconclusive elections, by conducting an open, public hand recount of all the legally cast ballots.

We're opening up this new Recounts section under the Topics menu to cover recount-related stories around the country.
Coverage of the 2008 MN Senate recount features live and replay video of the MN recount provided by a citizen journalism website, The video feed will resume coverage of the MN recount board when it reconvenes Monday, Jan. 5. An official determination of the Senate winner is expected to be announced.

Complementing the live Minnesota recount coverage is the article "Seating Franken and Burris: Memo to Congress" by frequent EDA contributor Michael Collins, who provides a thoroughly resourced explanation of the state laws and U.S. Constitution governing the conduct of election recounts, interim appointments, and the seating of members of the U.S. Senate.

Collins observes that "the laws and rules that Congress should follow are fairly straight-forward and the underlying principals are clear" -- yet Republican senators are threatening to block the seating of Al Franken as U.S. Senator for Minnesota, while Democratic senators are threatening to reject the appointment of Roland Burris as U.S. Senator for Illinois, as though they are under no obligation to abide by clearly articulated law and can override electoral process at will.

We will be adding articles about recounts occurring around the country to this Recount section of the website. Send in your leads and recommendations, or post articles directly to the editorial queue using the Add Content to Public Pages" link under the Create Content menu in the lefthand column.

April 22: MN Senate Recount Live Video Updates

April 20:  The Norm Coleman for Senate campaign has filed a notice of appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court today, asserting unequal protection arguments in challenging the results of the Minnesota election contest recount for U.S. Senate.  Citizen journalists with The UpTake project covered the Coleman campaign's news conference today, as well as a response from the Al Franken campaign. Coverage and commentary from The Uptake  is available via the embedded video in this EDA article below.

MN Recount Downloads:  We have added recount court documents, a guide to the 2008 recount prepared by the Minnesota secretary of state, and a Recount FAQ list, which are available from the attachment links you will find at the foot of this article.

The video will take a little while to load.  Turn on the sound by clicking the speaker icon control.

Between replays of the press conferences today, The Uptake will be providing additional recaps, commentary, and information about their project.

Notice that in the video control bar, you can select LIVE for live feed, and also ON DEMAND, which opens a menu to play other recount videos and access  a print blog, recount documents, and other information that will bring you up to date on the history and current status of the contest. 


April 13: Recount Court Rules Franken the Winner

April 9:  No Final Ruling Yet in MN Election Contest

GOP indicates Coleman campaign will ask for additional recount of 4100 ballots

Check The Update's Twitter or Live Blog for updates at

APRIL 9 Update

Source: Government Technology

Franken-Coleman Recount Dispute Highlights Ballot-Count Shortcomings

Apr 9, 2009, By Wayne Hanson

Al Franken, smiling bigAl Franken is the apparent winner by about 300 votes.

Only a few hundred ballots separated Minnesota's U.S. Senate race between Senator Norm Coleman the incumbent, and challenger Al Franken. After a ballot recount and following a laborious process of contesting rejected absentee ballots, it appears that Franken has won by around 300 votes. However, inconsistencies in how absentee ballots were dealt with may become the subject of a legal challenge to the outcome, according to media reports.

In a release earlier this week, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said that 351 absentee ballots were counted that had been previously uncounted. A three-judge panel ordered the counting of the ballots after hearing seven weeks of testimony and considering thousands of exhibits. Of the 351 ballots opened, Coleman received 111 votes, Franken 198. An additional 42 ballots were cast for other candidates and voters who opted to not vote in the Senate race. There were no votes challenged by either campaign.


More news articles on history of recount and court challenges follow; click Read More.

April 7:

Franken Extends Lead Over Coleman to 312 Votes in Election Contest Recount

Last update: April 7, 2009 - 12:41 PM

Democrat Al Franken today extended his lead over Republican Norm Coleman in the U.S. Senate election, following the counting of about 350 formerly rejected absentee ballots this morning by a three-judge panel.

Unofficially, Franken took 198 of the ballots, while Coleman added 111. The ballots added about 87 to Franken’s recount lead, enlarging his margin over Coleman to more than 312.

Continued at Star Tribune

LINKS to NEWS COVERAGE of the MN Senate Contest Recount

Senate recount: Officials begin counting nearly 400 formerly ... -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

Franken's lead grows in ballot recount -- Alexandria Echo Press

Ballots to be counted this week illustrate the tale of the recount -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

all 442 news articles »







Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

Minnesota Stare Elections director Gary Poseer center, monitored the progress of
verifying ballots before the recount of 387 additional absentee ballots
at the Senate recount trial on Tuesday in St. Paul.

contest_ruling_apr_13_2009.pdf2.2 MB
court_order_for_opening_ballots_april_7_2009.pdf969.92 KB
order_for_delivery_of_ballots.pdf1.92 MB
recount_guide_2008.pdf678.16 KB
recount_faqs.pdf18.18 KB

MN Recount Streams Live, Jan. 5

MONDAY Jan. 5, Breaking: Franken declared winner over Coleman 05 Jan 2009.

Al Franken was declared the winner over Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) in the Minnesota Senate race, but the Coleman campaign has announced it will be contesting the results in a post-election challenge. The state’s Canvassing Board declared that Franken defeated Coleman by 225 votes. However, the election will not be certified by the state until all the legal challenges to the race are completed. Coleman's lawyers have already indicated they will file an election contest -- meaning it could be weeks, if not months until there is a clear winner.

Live MN Recount Vote Totals for Saturday, January 3rd, 2009


(We discovered and put up this live video feed (below) at 4:00 pm Sat. as the Minnesota hand recount was in progress, with Franken 225 votes in the lead. The vote counting ended for the day at about 7:15 p.m. Eastern time with a press conference by the Franken campaign, the Coleman campaign, and a summation by MN Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.
The official recount by the 5-member state recount board will resume and is expected to conclude Monday.
Click the spreadsheet and other links below to see count details provided by the website

With the conclusion of the live recount and press conference at around 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, the video feed has since switched to replay of an assortment of Election '08 videos, but will resume live streaming coverage of the MN recount on Monday, Jan. 5.) --Ed.

952 Absentee Ballots Counted Saturday Jan. 3.

Days' Count Ends with Franken 225 Votes in the Lead

Coleman campaign files request for an emergency order from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The writes: See the spreadsheet we use to keep track of the votes counted today. It changes as we update it.
Also, see our vote totals in a popup if you wish.

Video stream may take a while to load, but is worth the wait.

Motion_for_Emergency_Order_12.31.08.pdf333.33 KB

Seating Franken and Burris: Memo to Congress

"Republicans are threatening to delay the seating of Franken, even when he's certified the winner of the Minnesota Senate seat. Senate Democrats all signed a letter of implied threat to the governor of Illinois regarding his selection of Roland Burris as the U.S. Senator from Illinois.
. . . Is this the new national unity we've been hearing about?"

Al Franken (D-MN) left and Roland Burris (D-IL) right
Image cc
Image cc

Memo to the U.S. Senate:
Try Following the Rules

Michael Collins

We've seen what happens when people don't follow the letter and intent of important laws, particularly those where there is a general consensus and an absence of moral ambiguity. Consider our history from the implosion of Enron through stock market collapse. This extreme damage was enabled by the deliberate defiance, evasion, and perversion of rules and laws, all in the service of personal gain for a very few. Citizens lost $6 trillion in that episode of lawlessness.

President Bush and his administration consistently broke the laws of the United States by illegally tapping phones and emails, "selling" the Iraq invasion based on outright lies, and, in the case of six cabinet officials, participating in the "choreography" of torture sessions. All of them found the Constitution a nuisance and rendered it meaningless by their actions. The cost of these violations is incalculable.

A government gains legitimacy through the assent to shared rules and laws by the vast majority of citizens. No government can retain legitimacy, however, when the legislature fails to enforce and live by the very laws that they are sworn to protect.

Democrats and Republicans are now unified along party lines in their defiance of the laws. Is this the new national unity we've been hearing about?

Yet this is exactly what is happening in the cases of the legally appointed Senator from Illinois, Roland Burris, and the soon to be certified winner of the Minnesota senatorial election, Al Franken. Republicans are threatening to delay the seating of Franken, even when he's certified the winner of the Minnesota Senate seat. Senate Democrats all signed a letter of implied threat to the governor of Illinois regarding his selection of Roland Burris as the U.S. Senator from Illinois.

The final vote count for Franken shows him winning by a narrow margin. The same elections system that conducted the recount will recommend and likely receive certification of the election quickly by the authorized state authority.

Burris was appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) according to the laws of Illinois. There's no provision that says a governor can't make a selection if he's been indicted for any crime. The Illinois Supreme Court refused to remove the governor when the request was made by the State Attorney General. The Illinois legislature could have impeached him but it didn't. He is still the governor of Illinois.

Senate objections to Franken and Burris show that the United States Senate has thrown out the rule book and is ignoring established law when it comes to plans for the "presumptive" Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, and the legally appointed Senator from Illinois, Roland Burris.

The Laws of the United States, Illinois, and Minnesota Were Followed

A candidate or appointee only has three requirements to be a legitimate Senator.

Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution states: "No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen." (Author's emphasis) Link

Both Al Franken and Roland Burris pass muster for these requirements.

The XVII Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlines the popular election of Senators and the authority and procedures required to replace them in case they leave for some reason.


"Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913.

"Note: Article I, section 3, of the Constitution was modified by the 17th amendment.

"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

"When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

"This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution. (Author's emphasis) Link

This amendment provided for the popular election of Senators. This is so simple. Elected and appointed Senators should be immune from the actions of any judicial authority unless there are violations of state or federal law in the process of appointments.

But the Senate has one slim provision that can be invoked in the case of a real controversy or a contrived political event.

Article I. Section 5 states that: "Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members" (continues) Link

This provides the Senate with the option of rejecting a prospective member. In point of fact, there have been more than a few challenges to elections, mostly in the House. No Senator has ever been denied a seat as a result of Article I, Section 5.

Seat Al Franken as the United States Senator from Minnesota

Al Franken lost the initial vote count by less than one half of one percent of the total vote. That qualified him for an automatic recount. Minnesota election law clearly specifies a recount process and even states that the recount vote will be different than the initial reported election result: "Once the recount is over, the state elections board certifies the election. The election is over at the point the results are certified."

"The final results as modified, if necessary, by the recount are considered the final results of the election and are certified as final by the canvassing board."
Minnesota Election Recounts: Federal, State, and Judicial Offices

The Uptake.Org reported late Saturday night that final recounting is finished and Franken has a 225 vote lead. The Minnesota Secretary of State commented at a post recount conference Saturday night that any election contest challenging the recount would be futile. He praised the openness and fairness of the recount. At a post recount press conference, Coleman's representatives said they'd recommend a challenge in the form of a Minnesota election contest but indicated that the former Senator (his term expired Jan. 3 at noon) had not reached a decision.

The recount proceeded in an open and transparent way. Results were reported by the Secretary of State and in the states major newspapers daily. Controversies between the campaigns were handled by the appropriate courts and decisions were made in a very timely fashion.

Franken followed every single rule. He did what many candidates fail to do. He fought for the right of Minnesota voters to have their ballots counted and the right of all citizens of that state to have a Senator elected by a majority of the voters. Norm Coleman, the initial winner, chided Franken for taking the option of a mandatory recount. Franken didn't back down or complain. He simply followed the rules and will very likely be certified as winner and therefore U.S. Senator from Minnesota.

But Republicans are now talking about making up their own rules. They don't want Franken seated until the conclusion of an anticipated appeal of the election through an "election contest." Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, threatened "chaos" if the Democrats tried "to jam this issue through the Senate and seat a senator who has not been determined to be the winner of the election", Jan. 3, 2009.

Wait a minute! The canvassing board is the duly empanelled body that "determines" the "winner" of the election. Franken will most likely be certified Monday, Jan. 5. Coleman's term expired at noon Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. Does this mean that any certified winner of a Senate race can be denied his seat by a legal challenge of the final decision?

It's absurd. Sen. John Cornyn, (R-TX) can object all he wants. The rules are clear. Franken should be seated if certified the winner, as anticipated. There is no valid precedent in any of the election contests in the past to deny him that seat (See Appendix B).

"Should a contest be brought against a senator-elect prior to his being sworn in, the chamber's custom has been to seat the individual contingent upon his credentials being in order. (10) Thus, the precedent has been that a senator-elect has a "prima facie" right to the seat, while the contest brought against him is being investigated. Moreover, the individual is considered seated "without prejudice" to himself or to the office. This pseudo-legal arrangement allows the Senate to remove the individual by a simple majority vote, should a subsequent investigation find him not to be entitled to the seat. Otherwise, the Senate's only course of action would be "expulsion," which would require a two-thirds majority (12)." Partisanship and Contested Election Cases in the Senate, 1789-2002, Jeffery A. Jenkins, Northwestern University. Studies in American Political Development, 19 (Spring 2005), 53-74, Cambridge University Press. (Author's emphasis)

This is outlined in a report by the Senate outlining the election contests to date.

If Coleman pursues a post certification election contest, the Minnesota canvassing board certification becomes "provisional" by state law indicating that a contest is under way. It may take three months to resolve the election contest. The citizens of Minnesota will be denied representation should the Senate refuse to seat the declared winner after certification.

Seat Roland Burris Now

Roland Burris, the former Illinois Attorney General and Comptroller, was selected by indicted Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill the term of President elect Barrack Obama. The day after the governor's arrest, Illinois senior Senator, Richard Durbin (D-IL), appealed to Blagojevich to call for a special election rather than make an appointment to fill President-elect Obama's vacated Senate seat.

"Please understand that should you decide to ignore the request of the Senate Democratic Caucus and make an appointment we would be forced to exercise our Constitutional authority under Article I, Section 5, to determine whether such a person should be seated.

"We do not prejudge the outcome of the criminal charges against you or question your constitutional right to contest those charges. But for the good of the Senate and our nation, we implore you to refrain from making an appointment to the Senate."

Signed by the entire Senate Democratic leadership and all members of the Democratic Caucus. Sen. Richard Durbin, (D-IL), Dec. 10, 2008

In the first paragraph above, Sen. Durbin says that the Democratic Caucus "would be forced to exercise its "Constitutional authority" to review the appointment. This is a reference to Article I, Section 5 above. The "Senate Democratic Caucus" has no authority under the United States Constitution. It isn't even mentioned. The Senate does have the authority to "be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members." But no Senator or group of Senators is "forced" to do this.

Doesn't this sound like an implied threat? 'We want a special election not an appointment by you, Rod. Go right ahead and we'll invoke that section of Article I, Section 5 on Qualifications.'

How would they proceed? Will they reject this fully qualified man as a United States Senator because the governor filling the vacancy, unlike all other citizens, is judged guilty as charged without the right to a trial by a jury of his peers. Gov. Blagojevich has been charged, not convicted. Is it is still possible to say this: the governor is innocent until proven guilty.

How does it look when the Senate throws away the presumption of innocence by threatening to obstruct a legal appointment based on the presumed guilt of the governor making the appointment?

Why didn't just one Senator stand up and point out that the appointment of Roland Burris was made by a sitting governor according to the laws of the State of Illinois, as the Constitution provides?

Will just one Senator on the Republican side take Sen. Cornyn to task for his obstructionist threat regarding Al Franken?

Why are they so special that they don't have to follow the rules?

We're witnessing the beginning of the 111th Congress engaged in the wholesale disrespect of the law in favor of partisan bias. There is no regard for the law, no regard for process, and no indication of even the slightest degree of insight on the part of those flaunting the laws. There isn't even one objection to the violation of process, rules, and law from any Senator.

The majority of citizens are subject to the laws as they stand. If you steal an iPod, that's a felony in most states. You'll do some time if you can't afford an attorney. If the felony stands, you'll lose your right to vote in many states. In all instances, a felony places huge barriers to gainful employment, including a career in any of the professions.

Yet when it comes time to obey the Constitution that they're obliged to honor and protect, what do the Senators do? They allow their personal bias and political interests to trump the Constitution without any noticeable objection from the legislative body.

This type of disregard for the law by lawmakers is not only unacceptable; it impedes citizens from implementing their own "bailouts" and "recovery" programs by denying them access and positive influence on the government in this critical period of our history.

Memo to Congress: Try following your own rules, precedents, and, most importantly, the Constitution of the United States. The laws and rules that Congress should follow are fairly straight forward and the underlying principals are clear -- respond to the will of the people and respect their right to representation.


NB: The obedience to what I characterized as "important laws, particularly those where there is a general consensus and no moral ambiguity" in no way diminishes the utility of civil disobedience for morally repugnant laws like those resisted by Martin Luther King, and others.

This article may be reproduced in part or in whole with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

See this link for Appendix A (Minnesota election law) and Appendix B (Senate precedents and history on election challenges to U.S. Senators)

July 5 Mexican Election Winner Will Be. . . the Party of Abstention

Michael Collins

The boycott of the election by registered voters will gain a clear plurality, around 48%, and possibly a majority, of registered voters.

The 2009 Mexican boycott includes those who deliberately nullified their ballots and those who simply chose not to vote.  Early reports indicate that 8% are actively nullifying their vote (voto nulo) and that another 40% of registered voters are not showing up at all.  That combined figure, 48% or so, will handily beat the vote totals for the ruling PAN Party and the former rulers, the PRI, without out any doubt.  While totals will change, there is no way that PAN and PRI can overcome the anulistas and those who stayed away from the polls.

Abstentions in Mexican mid term elections for the 500 member Chamber of Deputies have grown from 32% in 1991 to 42% in 1997.  In the most recent election for the Chamber in 2003 58% of citizens chose to avoid the polls (Mexidata).  There is an argument, I suppose, that the formal boycott was the voto nulo movement, defacing ballots that would be counted as such.  But that argument fails when we consider that there's a long term trend by those able to vote who simply boycott elections in Mexico and elsewhere.

Mexico's voters experienced what many believe to be a stolen election in 2006.  That experience plus widespread disillusionment with the performance of government gave rise to the voto nulo movement.

The prediction that "boycott" would win could have been made at most any time prior to the election without much risk.  But the press and politicians fail to even acknowledge this largest voting block, citizens who, by and large, see no purpose in voting.  If they did, they would vote (except for those still barred by institutional barriers).

Los Anulistas

Vote nullification advocates celebrate their sure victory July 5, Election Day by SalamandraNegra

While the voto nulo movement is not responsible for those who stayed at home, it should speak in their behalf.  Unless barred from voting or disenfranchised through election fraud, people who choose to stay home on Election Day are making a number of statements.  The clearest statement is simply this -- the return on investment from voting is not there.  There is no point in voting.  It's a simple conclusion.  No further studies are required on motivation, except in those cases were institutional barriers are created (e.g., voter suppression).

In a Zogby Poll* from Aug. 11 through Aug. 15, 2006 of 1068 registered voters in the United States, a subgroup was created for those who stayed home in the last election.  The unpublished data from a larger survey showed that at least 47% of those responding indicated that there was either no point in voting based on candidate performance after the election  (19%) or that the process was too inconvenient (27%).  Adding the two together in a "no point in voting" group shows 47% of those not voting so because there's simply no point; it's not worth the effort.

Those boycotting U.S. presidential elections are the "permanent plurality."

Here are the boycott party victories since 2000.  An easy winner in 2000 and 2004, the very low regard for the incumbent party plus then Democratic candidate Obama's campaign efforts turned 2008 into a horse race but boycott would not be denied.  It won beat candidate Obama 37% to 33%, a solid victory.  There are good reasons to think that boycott will return to its 40% to 45% range in 2012.

When voters think that there's no point in voting, that it is simply not worth the trouble, the system in power rules as a minority government, one without the authority of a majority or plurality of the people that approaches a majority.

It's time for boycott to get credit as the leading vote getter in every U.S. and most Mexican elections for at least the two decades.

What does that say about our leadership?

What does it say about the free flow of information in our societies that this potent political force is ignored?

One thing for sure, the rulers and the public institutions that prop them up simply can't deal the truth - boycott prevails over and over with no campaign apparatus or funds.   But the point is clear, the meaningless of the voting process is reflected by those who abstain and do something else on Election Day.

It's time to give more attention to this group of citizens who prevail time and again.


* The referenced Zogby Poll of 2006 was sponsored by Paul Lehto with support from Nancy Tobi and the author.  See here and here for the published results of the poll.  Previous analysis and comment on the 2009 Mexican election here and here.

This article may be reproduced in whole or part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

2008 Election Theft Investigations

Those who stole their way into power in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006 have no intention of being voted out of power in 2008-- or ever.

They have election theft and public deception down to an art of propaganda and a science of suppression and election count rigging.

Here in brief is the plan to steal Election 2008:

Stack the US Justice Department with partisan ideologues, then abuse official prosecutory powers to suppress opposition voters and candidates.

Exploit centralized state voter registration databases mandated by HAVA to covertly, illegally, deliberately knock millions of voters off the voter rolls

Promote the myth of a "voter fraud" epidemic as justification for enacting state "Voter ID" legislation and other variations on Jim Crow poll taxes to further suppress the vote. (This also serves to divert attention from the real ongoing campaign to commit mass election fraud).

Rig voting machines to manipulate the selection of candidates in the presidential primaries

Manipulate tracking polls to create false impression that the presidential contest is a dead heat

Control the computerized voting machines to deliver a razor thin margin consistent with the prepared cover myth of a close contest.

Conceal the real exit poll numbers and secretly "adjust" them to match the rigged votes.

Control the corporate newsmedia to present false cover stories explaining the contrived election results, while blacking out evidence of the theft.

The Spoonamore Revelations: The Rig is In to Steal 2008

Credits: Introduction below from Mark Crispin Miller's blog, News from Underground. Investigation and videos by Velvet Revolution.

Here, in this shattering new interview, Stephen Spoonamore goes into harrowing detail about the Bush regime's election fraud, past, present and--if we don't spread the word right now--to come. Since he's the only whistle-blower out there who knows the perps themselves, and how they operate, we have to send this new piece far and wide.


Here Spoon tells us that McBush's team--i.e., Karl Rove and his henchpersons--have their plan in place to steal this next election: by 51.2% of the popular vote, and three electoral votes.

He also talks about the major role played by the Christianist far right in the electronic rigging of the vote.

And he defines our electronic voting system as a major threat to US national security, calling for it to be junked ASAP, in favor of hand-counted paper ballots.

Since Spoon is a Republican and erstwhile McCain supporter, as well as a noted specialist in nosing out computer fraud, his testimony is essential--not only for its expertise, but, no less, for the impact that his views will surely have on those Republicans who have been loath to see what Bush Co. has done to our election system.

That whole story's just about to break . . . starting with today's news on a breakthrough in the lawsuit that Spoon's testimony has enabled, and on other aspects of that all-important case.


New Spoonamore Interview - E-voting Machines are a National Security Threat
Last week, VR interviewed GOP  Cyber security expert  Stephen Spoonamore about the upcoming election and his testimony in the new Ohio litigation to take depositions of Karl Rove and others.

The video is posted in full below with ten short clips for You Tube viewing.  This interview is so important and explosive that we urge everyone to watch it.

Spoonamore says that the GOP wanted e-voting to steal elections but now foreign governments will be hacking and the winner will be determined by the best hackers.  He says that if the GOP wins the hacking competition, McCain will win 51.2 percent with three electoral votes over Obama, and it will be a stolen election.

Spoon also makes a crucial point about the people who have been implicated in much of the election theft: "They are religious extremists."  He names those who know about stolen elections, and he insists that the only way to protect this election is with paper ballots, hand-counted.  Check out this extraordinary interview here.


Entire Spoonamore video
Full-length video

Spoonamore video in 10 YouTube episodes

It's a network, people

Electronic voting machines are a national security threat

The genie is out of the bottle. . .

Fifty ways to steal an election

Mike Connell: Bush IT Guru

The Rapp Family: Ohio election cover-up

Evangelicals and voting machines

Paper ballots please

McCain/Palin will win by theft

People should doubt the vote, it's being stolen

Connell, "Ghost in Machine," Deposed in OH 04 Election Inquest

Source: RAW STORY, 11/03/08

Scarborough Warns 'Ghost in the Machine' Could Upset Obama Victory

The Ghost in our Election Machine might well be a man named Michael Connell, or one of his colleagues. What this article does not mention is the fact that Connell is an advisor to the McCain Campaign and Karl Rove's top IT guru.

Michael Connell was deposed [Monday] in Columbus, Ohio by Cliff Arnebeck, lead lawyer in the civil lawsuit King-Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Brunner (Blackwell).

This news story was covered in national news by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now and Thom Hartmann on Air America. Transcripts and mp3s should be available at their respective websites. News from the deposition which began at noon today is expected soon.

Connell was first subpoenaed in the case in after Stephen Spoonamore, a renowned cyber-sleuth and information security expert, came forward as an expert witness.

On Democracy Now this morning, Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media culture and communication at New York University and author "Loser Take All: Election Fraud and The Subversion of Democracy, 2000–2008" described Spoonamore as

"…a very unusual and particularly unimpeachable kind of whistleblower. He is a conservative Republican. He is a former McCain supporter, but above all he is renowned and highly successful expert at the detection of computer fraud. He works for big banks, he works for foreign governments, the Secret Service, his job is to figure out how computers are used to steal money or information, or votes."

Spoonamore affidavits filed in connection with the case along with arguments made in a Cleveland courthouse Friday led the judge in the case to reject a motion to quash a Connell subpoena. In a surprise ruling, the judge ordered Connell to appear in the deposition, on the eve of the election.

For lead lawyer Cliff Arnebeck, the timing is auspicious given his concern about the security of the 2008 election. Speaking to earlier pleadings to the court and State of Ohio litigants, Arnebeck explained, “We submitted two affidavits and argued that the same people who stole 2000, 2004 are still in business and are engaged in a plan to steal 2008."

That the Ohio litigants agreed to the consent order to lift a two-year-old stay in the case, is evidence of growing concern among the general public and elected officials that elections employing electronic voting machines and vote counting tabulators are seen as vulnerable to manipulation or theft by those who control or can gain access.

See also:

Mike Connell, Rove's IT fixer, ordered to testify on Monday

Investigate Why Bush/Rove IT Expert Mike Connell Asked How to Destroy White House Emails{5A2941D9-1DD5-4287-AD8E-E4A91D8A94DD}&dist=hppr

Federal Judge Compels Testimony from Mike Connell

Documents reveal how Ohio routed 2004 voting data through company that hosted external Bush Administration email accounts

GOP IT Consultant Subpoenaed Regarding OH '04 Rigging

By Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane

COLUMBUS -- A high-level Republican consultant has been subpoenaed in a case regarding alleged tampering with the 2004 election.

Michael S. Connell was served with a subpoena in Ohio on Sept. 22 in a case alleging that vote-tampering during the 2004 presidential election resulted in civil rights violations. Connell, president of GovTech Solutions and New Media Communications, is a website designer and IT professional who created a website for Ohio's secretary of state that presented the results of the 2004 election in real time as they were tabulated.

At the time, Ohio's Secretary of State, Kenneth J. Blackwell, was also chairman of Bush-Cheney 2004 reelection effort in Ohio.

Connell is refusing to testify or to produce documents relating to the system used in the 2004 and 2006 elections, lawyers say. His motion to quash the subpoena asserts that the request for documents is burdensome because the information sought should be "readily ascertainable through public records request" - but also, paradoxically, because "it seeks confidential, trade secrets, and/or proprietary information" that "have independent economic value" and "are not known to the public, or even to non-designated personnel within or working for Mr. Connell's business."

According to sources close to the office of Clifford Arnebeck, one of the Ohio attorneys who brought the case, Arnebeck intends to ask the court to compel Connell to testify. An emergency conference with the judge, originally scheduled for Monday, is to be rescheduled.

King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell

The case, known as King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell, was filed against Kenneth J. Blackwell on Aug. 31, 2006 by Columbus attorneys Clifford Arnebeck, Robert Fitrakis and others. It initially charged Blackwell with racially discriminatory practices -- including the selective purging of voters from the election rolls and the unequal allocation of voting machines to various districts -- and asked for measures to be taken to prevent similar problems during the November 2006 election.

On Oct. 9, 2006, an amended complaint added charges of various forms of ballot-rigging as also having the effect of "depriving the Plaintiffs of their voting rights, including the right to have their votes successfully cast without intimidation, dilution, cancellation or reversal by voting machine or ballot tampering." A motion to dismiss the case as moot was filed following the November 2006 election, but it was instead stayed to allow for settlement discussions.

The case took on fresh momentum earlier this year when Arnebeck announced in July that he was filing to "lift the stay in the case [and] proceed with targeted discovery in order to help protect the integrity of the 2008 election." The new filing was inspired in part by the coming forward as a whistleblower of GOP IT security expert Stephen Spoonamore, who said he was prepared to testify to the plausibility of electronic vote-rigging having been carried out in 2004.

Arnebeck's hope was that in the course of the discovery procedure it would be possible to subpoena Michael Connell, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and others to obtain additional information and improve the focus of the case. The stay was lifted Sept. 19, 2008 by an order from Magistrate Judge Terrence P. Kemp of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and a subpoena was served to Connell on the following Monday, Sept. 22.

Allegations Against Connell

The interest in Mike Connell stems from his association with a firm called GovTech, which he had spun off from his own New Media Communications under his wife Heather Connell's name. GovTech was hired by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to set up an official election website at to present the 2004 presidential returns as they came in.

Connell is a long-time GOP operative, whose New Media Communications provided web services for the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Republican National Committee and many Republican candidates. This in itself might have raised questions about his involvement in creating Ohio's official state election website.

However, the alternative media group ePlubibus Media further discovered in November 2006 that was hosted on the servers of a company in Chattanooga, TN called SmarTech, which also provided hosting for a long list of Republican Internet domains.

"Since early this decade, top Internet 'gurus' in Ohio have been coordinating web services with their GOP counterparts in Chattanooga, wiring up a major hub that in 2004, first served as a conduit for Ohio's live election night results," researchers at ePluribus Media wrote.

A few months after this revelation, when a scandal erupted surrounding the firing of US Attorneys for reasons of White House policy, other researchers found that the gwb43 domain used by members of the White House staff to evade freedom of information laws by sending emails outside of official White House channels was hosted on those same SmarTech servers.

Given that the Bush White House used SmarTech servers to send and receive email, the use of one of those servers in tabulating Ohio's election returns has raised eyebrows. Ohio gave Bush the decisive margin in the Electoral College to secure his reelection in 2004.

IT expert Stephen Spoonamore says the SmartTech server could have functioned as a routing point for malicious activity and remains a weakness in electronic voting tabulation.

According to Spoonamore's Sept. 17 affidavit, the "computer placement, in the middle of the network, is a defined type of attack." Spoonamore describes this as a "Man in the Middle Attack" or MIM.

"It is a common problem in the banking settlement space," he writes. "A criminal gang will introduce a computer into the outgoing electronic systems of a major retail mall, or smaller branch office of a bank. They will capture the legitimate transactions and then add fraudulent charges to the system for their benefit."

"Any time all information is directed to a single computer for consolidation, it is possible, and in fact likely, that single computer will exploit the information for some purpose," he adds. "In the case of Ohio 2004, the only purpose I can conceive for sending all county vote tabulations to a GOP managed Man-in-the-Middle site in Chattanooga before sending the results onward to the Sec. of State, would be to hack the vote at the MIM."

Hold letters were sent out in July to parties in the case, informing them of their obligation not to destroy relevant documentation. One such letter went to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, asking him to advise the federal government of its responsibility to preserve emails from Rove.

Arnebeck explained, "We expressed concern about the reports that Mr. Rove destroyed his emails and suggested that we want the duplicates that should exist [be put] under the control of the Secret Service and be sure that those are retained, as well as those on the receiving end in the Justice Department and elsewhere, that those documents are retained for purposes of this litigation, in which we anticipate Mr. Rove will be identified as having engaged in a corrupt, ongoing pattern of corrupt activities specifically affecting the situation here in Ohio."

More recently, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff has revealed that John McCain's presidential campaign paid nearly a million dollars for web services to a firm called 3eDC, created and partly owned by McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. According to an archived version of a 3eDC webpage from 2007, that firm's five "strategic partners" included not only Connell's New Media Communications but also Campaign Solutions - a firm run by Connell's sometimes-partner, Rebecca Donatelli - and a component of SmarTech called AirNet.

The Origin of the Case

The roots of the King Lincoln Bronzeville case go back to the case of Moss v. Bush, which Arnebeck, Fitrakis and other attorneys filed immediately after the 2004 presidential election. In that filing, they challenged the results of the Ohio voting on the basis of numerous irregularities and allegations of fraud and sought to depose President George W. Bush, Vice President, Dick Cheney, and then-White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, as well as Secretary Blackwell.

That case was dropped by the plaintiffs in January 2005, after the US Senate accepted the casting of Ohio's electoral votes for George W. Bush. Two weeks later, Ohio's Republican Attorney General James Petro attempted to sanction and fine the attorneys for what he described as a "frivolous filing," but they were supported by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) - then the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee - who had already held a hearing at which Arnebeck and Jesse Jackson testified concerning the suppression of minority votes. Those same concerns are now at the heart of King Lincoln Bronzeville.


Larisa Alexandrovna is managing editor of investigative news for Raw Story and regularly reports on intelligence and national security stories. Contact:

Muriel Kane is director of research for Raw Story.

Related Stories

- GOP security expert suggests Diebold tampered with Georgia election

- Documents show Georgia Secretary of State knew about Diebold patch before election

- Break-ins plague targets of US Attorneys

UPDATED New Hampshire 2008 Primary Analysis

This page is an evolving compilation of citizen investigation of the highly suspicious New Hampshire primary voting results. We are borrowing and synthesizing from many sources cited and credited here. See links to all additional NH primary articles at foot of this page.
Monday, Jan. 21:

Correcting Factual Errors in Salon: "Was the New Hampshire Vote Stolen?"

by Bruce O'Dell and Theron Horton, Election Defense Alliance
Friday, January 18: See today's EDA Blog entry:

The Outsourced, Unaccountable New Hampshire Election System

and Implications for the Recounts

by Bruce O'Dell, EDA Co-Coordinator for Election Analysis

RECOUNTS of all Democratic and Republican ballots cast in the New Hampshire primary are underway.

January 16th: In a telephone conversation with Nancy Swett of the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office at 3:02 p.m. (EST) today, it was confirmed that the required prepayment for the hand-recount of all Democratic Party ballots cast has been received.

Status regarding the receipt for the prepayment of the Republican recount remains unclear at this time.

Those who would like to express appreciation to the Kucinich campaign for taking this stand for national election integrity may read more here:
Kucinich Campaign Files and Pays for Recount of NH Democratic Primary

CORRECTED Statewide New Hampshire 2008 Democratic Primary Analysis
See CORRECTION Note further below (jump link: Read More)

Clinton: statewide optical scan tally

Obama: statewide optical scan tally

Clinton: statewide hand-count tally

Obama: hand count

While the actual difference between Obama and Clinton hand count and optical scan margins are not a mirror image of each other to four decimal places as we had initially believed*, the undeniable fact that Obama appears to have carried the hand-counted tally statewide, while Clinton carried the optical scan statewide tally -- by almost exactly opposite margins -- remains a remarkable result.

* See Correction Note below for full explanation of originally posted information.

MORE links to New Hampshire Primary News and Data.

Overview of NH Polling and Vote Count Discrepancies

Table of Machine vs. Hand Count Differentials (Democratic Primary)

"I Count" Volunteer Signup to Hand Count Paper Ballots

NH Primary Voting Data Spreadsheets -- EDA
2008NHDemPrimComplete-EDA.xls (Democratic) and

2008NHRepPrimComplete-EDA.xls (Republican)

New Hampshire Binomial Statistics

CORRECTION Note on EDA's Previously Reported Statewide Anomaly

On January 10, 2008, analysts at the Election Defense Alliance (EDA) reported that, based on the official results on the New Hampshire Secretary of state web site, there was a remarkable relationship between Obama and Clinton votes, comparing votes tabulated by op-scan to votes tabulated by hand in a head-to-head contest between the two candidates:

Clinton: statewide optical scan tally

Obama: statewide optical scan tally

Clinton: statewide hand-count tally

Obama: hand count

EDA subsequently learned that the list of New Hampshire hand-count voting districts used in our initial analysis on January 10, 2008 was outdated information. Shortly after that list was downloaded the New Hampshire Secretary of State published a corrected list showing 14 districts previously listed as hand-count, as having in fact been counted by Diebold optical scan.[1]


[1] -- Voting method information was downloaded November 22, 2007 but was subsequently updated November 26, 2007.
The 14 locations that the state of New Hampshire had previously listed as hand-counted but that are actually optical scan, are:

Carroll County -- Moultonborough, Ossipee, Tamworth
Cheshire County -- Fitzwilliam
Grafton County -- Campton, Plymouth
Hillsborough County -- Hillsborough, New Boston
Merrimack County -- Newbury
Rockingham County -- East Kingston
Strafford County -- New Durham
Sullivan County -- Claremont Wards 1, 2 and 3

The net effect was to reduce the hand-count vote and increase the optical scan vote in each county.

[2] -- See Real Clear Politics (below) for a summary of 7 pre-election public tracking polls from 1/5 to 1/7/08, showing Obama in the lead at 38.3%, with Clinton trailing 8 points at 30.0%.

Head to head percentages were calculated as: Clinton = 30/(30+38.3) and Obama= 38.2/(30+38.3)

Real Clear Politics [2] 1.05.08 -- 01.07.08

Average of Seven Pre-Election Polls

Clinton 43.9%
Obama 56.1%

Whenever the outcome of an election is strongly correlated with the method of voting – given the well-known vulnerabilities of the specific model of Diebold equipment in use – additional investigation is warranted. This is especially urgent when the margin between two candidates for ballots counted by hand conforms to the margin between two candidates reflected in hand-count optical scan vote is so far apart -- and the hand count matches the pre-election polling so precisely. Our analysis has continued, and additional findings will be published separately.

NH Primary Voting Data Spreadsheets -- EDA

2008NHDemPrimComplete-EDA.xls (Democratic) and

2008NHRepPrimComplete-EDA.xls (Republican)

Spreadsheets Include:

* Official Democratic and Republican primary voting results as reported on the New Hampshire Secretary of State webpage

* Voting equipment type / hand-counted paper ballot indicator for each voting location

* Election 2000 results and 2000 Census demographics, for each voting location.

Other tabs:

* Original voting equipment type and method data courtesy of Blackbox Voting

* Complete set of 2000 election and Census data for all counties

2008CORRECTEDNHRepPrimComplete-EDA-with anomaly.xls820.5 KB
2008CORRECTEDNHDemPrimComplete-EDA-with anomaly.xls902.5 KB

Binomial Analysis of Clinton vs. Obama Contest in New Hampshire

Binomial Analysis of Clinton vs. Obama Contest in New Hampshire:

The Dichotomous Returns from Hand-Counted-Paper-Ballot Precincts and Diebold-Optical-Scan Precincts Are “Statistically Impossible"

"The Excel spreadsheet shown below gives the binomial probability that the boundaries of the hand-counted paper ballot (HCPB) and Diebold optical scan precincts should have, by sheer accident, corresponded to parts of New Hampshire that had bizarrely dichotomized into 6% pro-Obama and 6% pro-Clinton enclaves, respectively. That probability (corresponding to 17 standard deviations, or “SDs”) turns out to be so infinitesimally small that I haven’t yet found a look-up table for it. Seventeen SDs is about as close to “statistical impossibility” as one ever gets to see."

See full commentary on hypothesis and method, below chart

COMMENTARY by David L. Griscom, EDA Co-Coordinator for Investigations
January 20, 2008

As a Ph.D. research physicist for nearly 42 years, I am accustomed to gathering data and then deciding what these data mean. That is, I (and any physicist worth his salt) seek hypotheses suitable for explaining all existing data. Hypothesizing usually begins with an educated guess. But it can never end there. As soon as a guess is on the table, the challenge is to quantify its predictions. And to do that requires mathematics.

Since my retirement from the Naval Research Laboratory seven years ago this month, I have continued to carry out research and publish papers in peer-reviewed journals using data I had gathered at NRL but not yet published, data gathered as a visiting professor somewhere, or data gathered by colleagues still working in well equipped laboratories. It has really been impossible for me to give up the habit of being a physicist.

However, in recent years I have increasingly turned my attentions from physical phenomena to “political” phenomena, including the 9/11 attacks, insider manipulation of the financial markets, and insider-perpetrated election fraud. Once again, educated guesses have been my starting points, but I never stop there. Typically, I gather all data available from public sources and make sure that none of these data contradict the hypothesis I may be hatching. Then it comes time for the mathematics.

Binomial Analytic Method Evolved from Investigation of 2004 Presidential Election in Pima County, AZ

With my friend and colleague John Brakey, I have been on the trail of election fraud in Pima County, Arizona, ever since the 2004 election. This has culminated in the chapter I wrote for publication in a book being edited by Mark Crispin Miller entitled Loser Take All (which will also feature chapters by many of my distinguished colleagues from Election Defense Alliance and elsewhere, all of whom exhibit research skills and methodology matching those of any good physicist).

In my paper, I exploit publicly-available data for the 2004 presidential vote at 63 precincts belonging to a single Tucson legislative district. My educated guess, or operating premise, was that on the average the Bush and Kerry vote shares for any given precinct should be closely the same for the three modes of voting used in 2004: mail-in voting, at-the-precinct voting, and voting by provisional ballots. I found this premise to be true within 95% statistical confidence (the math I brought to bear at that point) when comparing the mail-in voting to the provisional ballot voting.

I used data for provisional ballots that were accepted by the county registrar; therefore, the vote shares represented there had to have been honest since the registrar had to verify the name and signature on the affixed voter affidavits and check to see that those persons were voting in the correct precinct and had not voted by mail. Thus, to my surprise, I was force to conclude that the mail-in vote had not been stolen despite the ease with which this could have been done, given that these ballots are counted by Pima Election Department officials without witnesses.

But when I compared the at-the-precinct presidential vote shares to the now-shown-to-be-(mostly)-honest mail-in vote shares for these 63 precincts, I found a large shift favoring Bush that was outside of 95% statistical confidence. Still, the mathematics I was using then were crude – and I wanted to sharpen in my mind the concept that was to become my hypothesis. That is, there certainly must be random variations in people’s choices whether to vote by mail or in person at the precinct. And to prove fraud I must prove that differences in the public record substantially exceed the nominal limits of such random variations.

I realized that such situations are mathematically described by the binomial distribution function. So I searched for and found a handy calculator of this function on the Internet, and did the math. (N.B. This is the same function that gives you your chances of flipping heads x times in n tries.) In this way I proved that there was only one chance in 15,773 that the at-the-precinct vote for the entire legislative district (56,930 Bush-plus-Kerry voters) was not flipped by 3.4% from Kerry to Bush (for a net vote shift of 6.8%).

How the 2004 Arizona Methodology Applies to the 2008 New Hampshire Primary

The New Hampshire primaries were held only two days after I turned in the final version of my chapter to the publisher of Loser Take All. And there staring me in the face were these Clinton-plus-Obama data: Clinton took 46.8% of the hand-counted paper-ballot (HCPB) vote but fully 52.7% of the Diebold optically-scanned vote. Obama was virtually the reverse, taking 53.2% of the HCPBs but only 47.3% of the Diebold vote! Now, just how probable is that? Another job for the binomial distribution function calculator!

I reason that the boundaries of the Diebold op-scan precincts and those of the HCPB precincts had been drawn up years ago, either arbitrarily or with an idea toward somehow giving an advantage to Democratic or Republican candidates (depending on which political party did the deciding). Such a demographic bias, if it even exists, should in my view have little impact on a Democratic primary contest between two Republican-lite candidates. It was inconceivable to me that the distribution of HCPB and Diebold precincts was anything but random with respect to the Clinton-Obama contest. But, hey, why listen to my opinion when the binomial distribution function speaks with far greater authority?

The Excel spreadsheet shown above gives the binomial probability that the HCPB and Diebold precinct boundaries should have, by sheer accident, corresponded to parts of New Hampshire that had bizarrely dichotomized into 6% pro-Obama and 6% pro-Clinton enclaves, respectively.

That probability (corresponding to 17 Standard Deviations, or “SDs”) turns out to be so infinitesimally small that I haven’t yet found a look-up table for it. Seventeen SDs is about as close to “statistical impossibility” as one ever gets to see.

In my humble opinion, this should be sufficient proof that insiders hacked the Diebold GEMS central tabulator for the New Hampshire Democratic primary op-scan ballots. As a corollary, in the event that a recount should show the paper ballots in the Diebold machines to match the GEMS count, then the binomial distribution function would assure us that the ballot boxes had been stuffed as well.

Correcting Factual Errors in Salon: "Was the New Hampshire Vote Stolen?"

Jan. 22, 2008
by Bruce O’Dell and Theron Horton, Election Defense Alliance

Problems with Manjoo’s Source Data

In Farhad Manjoo’s article, “Was the New Hampshire vote stolen?” the author acknowledged in the text that he had based his article on an anonymous partisan website,, stating

“The most thorough analysis I've seen was performed by an anonymous supporter of Ron Paul.”

The origin of the site was described by its webmaster as follows:

This site was birthed out of a late night whim to try to see if I could make better sense of the numbers I saw coming in from the New Hampshire primaries. It was originally just an exercise in data formatting, but during the night, with the great help of fellow Ron Paul supporters from, I began to add data points to my charts.[1]

However, this “most thorough analysis,” though well intentioned, was initially based on incorrect data and on ad-hoc statistical categories.

In fact, the webmaster, who has consistently acted responsibly to correct all issues with his new site/project, subsequently removed the voting district size categories that Manjoo used as the basis of his January 11 article. According to a screenshot from the evening of January 12:

I have changed the size of the town breakdown because it was brought to my attention by another person offering vote stats that for the hand-counting in large towns, there wasn't enough data for it to be statistically significant.”[2]

Nor did Majoo check his source’s primary data. The official tallies were available on the Official New Hampshire Secretary of State Website on the morning of January 10. Yet as-of 9:18 AM CST on Monday, January 14, 2008, a full six days after the New Hampshire Presidential Primary, still listed the total vote for Clinton as 112,238 and the total vote for Obama as 104,757, while the New Hampshire Secretary of State website’s official vote total for Clinton was 112,610 and the total vote for Obama is 105,007. Also as of that time, had not corrected the voting methods for numerous voting districts.

Errors on Size of Hand-count Voting Districts

In paragraph 11 Manjoo, utilizing the data, states “in places with more than 1,500 votes, here, Clinton, not Obama, did better in hand-count areas”.

However, there were no hand-counted voting districts that had “more than 1500 votes”. The largest Democratic hand-counted voting district had only 1,172 votes, in Newport in Sullivan County. When we brought this the attention of the author, he indicated that he was referring to “Claremont and Franklin Counties”.

The three voting districts that comprise each of these towns - rather than “counties” - had been consolidated into a single number on the website at the Concord Monitor Online[3]. The consolidation of the voting districts’ vote totals distorted Manjoo’s analysis of the data. But there is a more serious problem with his analysis.

Error on Voting Method in Claremont

If Majoo truly intended to use Claremont as one of the “places with more than 1,500 votes” to make the assertion that, “Clinton, not Obama, did better in hand-count areas” there is a problem. According to the Official New Hampshire Secretary of State Website, Claremont Wards 1, 2 and 3 are actually not hand-count voting districts; they use Accuvote optical scanners. In fact, the Claremont City Clerk’s Office verified by phone that they Accuvote[4]. Again in this case, Manjoo was using as his source. has subsequently acknowledged that the Claremont voting method data that they had originally provided was incorrect.

Error on Clinton Performance in Large Hand-count Voting Districts

Additionally, the hand counted paper ballot analysis provided in paragraph 12 states (emphasis from the original document) :

Manjoo: “Let me say that again: In large areas, Clinton did better in places where votes were counted by hand than where votes were counted by machine.”

First, “large areas” is a spurious category; second, there is no apparent factual basis for Manjoo’s statement.

According to the Secretary of State’s original posted data, Clinton won 35.56% of the vote in “the larger hand-count voting districts” (defining those, as voting districts between the maximum size of 1,172 votes and ones half that size, or 550 voters) and Clinton got 41.02% of the vote in the “larger optical scan districts” (defining those as voting districts between the maximum of 5,542 and one half that size, or 2,771 votes). Even if you simply look at the 32 largest hand count v. the 32 largest optical scan voting districts, Clinton’s margin was 35.56% for the 32 largest hand count districts, and 40.85% for the 32 largest optical scan districts.

Finally, paragraph 13 identifies Amherst as a “county”; it is a voting district.

Errors Should Be Corrected

These factual errors should be corrected, and the thesis of the article should be re-examined.

Why Is It that People Vote Differently on Optical Scan?

We wish that it was possible to dismiss concerns about the outcome in New Hampshire simply by saying optical scan tallies vary from hand-count results because people who use optical scan equipment are clustered in communities that tend to vote differently. If you accept the basic integrity of the current voting system, that’s a reasonable and comforting position; but assuming the integrity of the vote as a premise of your argument against those impeaching the integrity of the vote is circular reasoning. It is also possible that optical-scan voting districts have different voting patterns than hand-counted paper districts simply because that’s how the equipment says they tend to vote.

There is no certain way to resolve which alternative is correct as long as votes are counted in secret by machine.

Where Do We Go from Here?

That’s why we do agree with Manjoo, when he says that that “…as many voting-reform experts have argued, manually counting the votes should be a routine in any race… we should, at least, conduct a randomized, accountant-approved audit of ballots” - but we would add, only if ballots can one day be handled with the same care – and controls - we apply to cash. You’ll not likely soon see boxes of cash at the corner bank stored in a cardboard boxes secured with stick-on paper seals, and grudgingly brought in to be double-checked weeks after their deposit - only if and when someone else offers to pay for it.

We wish we could share Mebane and Manjoo’s confidence that the host of well-documented computer system and voting procedural vulnerabilities are not being actively exploited, and specifically, their stated faith in the official outcome of the Ohio Presidential election and recount there in 2004. The jailed election officials who gamed the Cuyahoga County recount and their counterparts in the fifty seven Ohio counties that lost or destroyed their 2004 ballot records, despite court orders to preserve them, hardly require “conspiracy theorists” to call attention to their actions.

No one calls an IT auditor at a bank an “embezzlement theorist” when he or she states that security vulnerabilities discovered in accounting procedures or in the bank’s software might actually have been exploited.

[1] See: (note correction: changed from .../home on 01/23)

[2] See: screenshot of the website 1/12/07 10:06 PM CST


[4] Claremont County Clerk’s contact information: VOICE 603.542.7003 • FAX 603.542.7014

Machine vs Paper Count Differential in NH Democratic Primary

Original source:

2008 New Hampshire State Primary Results

A Closer Look At The Count

UPDATE: WOW!!! Almost 65,000 views from over 33,000 unique visitors in the last 24 hours!!! Keep it up! (01/09/08 11:40PM MST)

With all the activity and stories today, the thousands and thousands of views to this page in the last 12 hours, I wanted to emphasize a few
key points.

First, all of the numbers here are either untouched from the latest polling results or pretty simple calculations using those results.

Second, these results by themselves are NOT enough to prove that any fraud occured. They simply show that some things stand out as being odd
and worthy of further investigation.

Third, my purpose in all of this is to simply bring attention to these apparent anomalies. The anomalies appear in the votes for both parties.
My only agenda is that the voters on both sides be accurately represented.

Last, please be civil and courteous with those whom you discuss these issues. Do not attack, slander, or otherwise disparage anyone until
there has been verified fraud if that happens to be the case. And even in that case, take the high road. Again, all we should be trying to do
is make sure that every vote is accurately reflected and counted.


Switch To Republican Results OR Switch To Democrat Results

Vote data sourced from:
Who's Here?
web tracker

Table Comparing Machine vs Hand Counts

Candidate Total Votes Avg. Overall Votesby Machine Avg. Overallby Machine Votesby Hand Avg. Overallby Hand Machine VS Hand Votesby Unknown** Avg. Overallby Unknown
Clinton 112,166 39.003% 91,600 40.121% 20,529 34.703% 5.419% (15,584 votes*) 37 31.897%
Edwards 48,618 16.906% 38,210 16.736% 10,402 17.584% -0.847% (-2,437 votes*) 6 5.172%
Gravel 402 0.140% 317 0.139% 85 0.144% -0.005% (-14 votes*) 0 0.000%
Kucinich 3,893 1.354% 2,801 1.227% 1,090 1.843% -0.616% (-1,771 votes*) 2 1.724%
Obama 104,639 36.386% 81,633 35.756% 22,944 38.785% -3.029% (-8,711 votes*) 62 53.448%
Richardson 13,235 4.602% 9,936 4.352% 3,290 5.561% -1.209% (-3,478 votes*) 9 7.759%
Other 4,627 1.609% 3,810 1.669% 817 1.381% 0.288% (827 votes*) 0 0.000%
TOTALS: 287,580   228,307   59,157     116  

*Votes are tentatively won or lost with the assumption that the machines are conferring advantages or disadvantages.

**Unknown towns (where the data doesn't specify counting method) include: Harts Location, Waterville, Wentworth's Location

Table Comparing Machine vs Hand Counted Votes in Small Towns (less than 750 votes)

Candidate VotesSmall Towns Avg. OverallSmall Towns VotesSmall Townsby Machine Avg. OverallSmall Townsby Machine VotesSmall Townsby Hand Avg. OverallSmall Townsby Hand Machine VS Handin Small Towns
Clinton 14,753 34.132% 2,167 37.369% 12,549 33.635% 3.733%
Edwards 7,609 17.604% 1,077 18.572% 6,526 17.492% 1.080%
Gravel 69 0.160% 10 0.172% 59 0.158% 0.014%
Kucinich 754 1.744% 65 1.121% 687 1.841% -0.720%
Obama 16,865 39.018% 2,032 35.041% 14,771 39.591% -4.550%
Richardson 2,489 5.758% 339 5.846% 2,141 5.739% 0.107%
Other 685 1.585% 109 1.880% 576 1.544% 0.336%
TOTALS: 43,224   5,799   37,309    

Table Comparing Machine vs Hand Counted Votes in Medium Towns (between 750 and 1,500 votes)

Candidate VotesMedium Towns Avg. OverallMedium Towns VotesMedium Townsby Machine Avg. OverallMedium Townsby Machine VotesMedium Townsby Hand Avg. OverallMedium Townsby Hand Machine VS Handin Medium Towns
Clinton 23,133 38.600% 17,044 40.233% 6,089 34.662% 5.572%
Edwards 10,805 18.029% 7,706 18.190% 3,099 17.641% 0.549%
Gravel 77 0.128% 55 0.130% 22 0.125% 0.005%
Kucinich 823 1.373% 453 1.069% 370 2.106% -1.037%
Obama 21,463 35.813% 14,643 34.566% 6,820 38.823% -4.257%
Richardson 2,847 4.751% 1,853 4.374% 994 5.658% -1.284%
Other 782 1.305% 609 1.438% 173 0.985% 0.453%
TOTALS: 59,930   42,363   17,567    

Table Comparing Machine vs Hand Counted Votes in Large Towns (more than 1,500 votes)

Candidate VotesLarge Towns Avg. OverallLarge Towns VotesLarge Townsby Machine Avg. OverallLarge Townsby Machine VotesLarge Townsby Hand Avg. OverallLarge Townsby Hand Machine VS Handin Large Towns
Clinton 74,280 40.276% 72,389 40.184% 1,891 44.172% -3.988%
Edwards 30,204 16.377% 29,427 16.335% 777 18.150% -1.815%
Gravel 256 0.139% 252 0.140% 4 0.093% 0.046%
Kucinich 2,316 1.256% 2,283 1.267% 33 0.771% 0.496%
Obama 66,311 35.955% 64,958 36.059% 1,353 31.605% 4.454%
Richardson 7,899 4.283% 7,744 4.299% 155 3.621% 0.678%
Other 3,160 1.713% 3,092 1.716% 68 1.588% 0.128%
TOTALS: 184,426   180,145   4,281    

Quick Overview of Hand-count/Machine-count Discrepancies

Original source: Notes from Underground blog, Mark Crispin Miller

Where Paper Prevailed, Different Results By Lori Price 09 Jan 2008

2008 New Hampshire Democratic Primary Results --Total Democratic

Votes: 286,139 - Machine vs Hand ( 09 Jan 2008
Hillary Clinton, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 39.618%
Clinton, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 34.908%

Barack Obama, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 36.309%
Obama, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 38.617%

Machine vs Hand:
Clinton: 4.709%* (13,475 votes)
Obama: *-2.308%* (-6,604 votes)


2008 New Hampshire Republican Primary Results --Total

Republican Votes: 236,378 Machine vs Hand ( 09 Jan 2008

Mitt Romney, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 33.075%
Romney, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 25.483%

Ron Paul, Diebold Accuvote optical scan: 7.109%
Paul, Hand Counted Paper Ballots: 9.221%

Machine vs Hand:
Romney: 7.592% (17,946 votes)
Paul: -2.112% (-4,991 votes)

NH: "First in the nation" (with corporate controlled secret vote counting)
By Nancy Tobi 07 Jan 2008

81% of New Hampshire ballots are counted in secret by a private corporation named Diebold Election Systems (now known as "Premier").

The elections run on these machines are programmed by one company, LHS Associates, based in Methuen, MA.

We know nothing about the people programming these machines, and we know even less about LHS Associates.

We know even less about the secret vote counting software used to tabulate 81% of our ballots.

See also CLG

Recount Appeal Filed in New Hampshire Primary

GOP Candidate Albert Howard Files Recount Appeal with NH Ballot Law Commission

Petition of Appeal, noted violations, and weaknesses in NH recount cited below

Petition of Appeal to the Ballot Law Commission
c/o Office of the Secretary of State, William Gardner
State House
Concord, New Hampshire 03301

by Albert Howard, Republican candidate for President of the United States
New Hampshire Primary Election of January 8th, 2008
Date: February 15, 2008
Petitioner: Albert Howard, Pro Se 710 Apple St. Ann Arbor, MI 48105-1750

Subject of Petition: Appeal of results of the Presidential Primary recount completed February 11, 2008; examination of contested ballots in that recount.

Relief Requested: That the Ballot Law Commission and the Secretary of State’s office disclaim any opinion on the accuracy of the Presidential primary election AND the statewide Republican recount because checks and balances to maintain the integrity of the ballots and the total counts were either not followed, or not in place.


New Hampshire has the distinct honor of having the first Presidential primary in the country and has always been viewed as a model state because of its election system and methodology of holding elections in an open, transparent fashion. I, for one, thank you for keeping the tradition of being one of the few states in the country that still has a paper ballot for every person who votes. Your standards for transparency and support of the democratic process are admirable and much appreciated.

I ask that you view the following petition as an opportunity to improve your procedures and policies. The scrutiny of election observers has brought with it a chance to correct areas of vulnerabilities and potential breakdowns and holes in the system. As a candidate I am requesting you work with me and together we can open up meaningful dialogue to bring better procedures and amend areas that need attention based on my experience and in consultation with many experienced and dedicated election integrity advocates.

If this Commission chooses to follow through and act on my questions, requests and recommendations, I am certain it will make New Hampshire’s electoral system even stronger and an even better leader for other states to follow.

This Petition is not about me. This Petition represents the requests of the people this Ballot Law Commission represents. Every person who voted in this Primary election wants to know that their vote was accepted and counted as cast. They want to have no doubt about the integrity of New Hampshire’s election process.

I am asking for the opportunity to work with you, to initiate an open, meaningful dialogue regarding how we can bring further reform to an already good system. My goal is to walk away from this process with both sides feeling that meaningful agreement was reached for all parties. and that together we have identified and addressed the few weak spots.

New Hampshire has a long and proud election tradition. Transparency is a key component of this tradition and the remedy suggestions included in this Petition are intended to enhance that tradition.


Petitioner contends that the results of the statewide Republican recount are potentially invalid due to violation of various state election laws, procedures of the Ballot Law Commission, and written procedures governing the handling and securing of the ballots. Furthermore, discrepancies shown between the results of those ballots counted by hand versus those counted by Diebold optical scan counters (see Appendix 1), together with violations of HAVA requirements, indicate a high risk and opportunity for manipulation of ballots and vote totals, thereby invalidating the results of both the Primary election and the recount.

Examples of violations of statutes or procedures follows. The sequence, in accordance with that outlined in the statutes of the Ballot Law Commission, will be the violation, the remedy requested, and the citation of the appropriate statutes or regulations. Exhibits illustrating most of the violations will follow.

VIOLATION #1: Machine failures were handled improperly -- and possibly altered the outcome of the election.

Fact: Election Day problems with the Diebold Optical Scan machines clearly demonstrated that many of the machines malfunctioned during the Primary election. Do we have any way of knowing that the new memory cards had been examined and approved by the Ballot Law Commission (BLC) as required? Did local election officials allow illegal substitution of election devices that had not been examined and certified? Shouldn’t these machines have been declared unfit for service as dictated by state law?

Town clerks have told Dori Smith, a journalist from Connecticut, that memory cards were “switched out” in some towns by LHS employees, counter to state election laws, calling into question the chain of custody of these critical “electronic ballot boxes”.

Secretary of States MANUAL P. 34-35: The seal for the memory card should be replaced for each election when the newly programmed card is re-inserted into the machine for the pre-election testing of the card. The card should remain sealed until after the recount period ends following the election. The seal for the cover of the machine should only be broken by LHS when it services the machine. The cover must be resealed by the clerk when the LHS technician has completed any service work. Each time any of the two seals are broken and the machine is resealed it should be documented in the log.

Exhibit A documents the reports by LHS of (at least some of) the day’s problems. A few examples are included below from reports received by LHS and forwarded to the Secretary of State’s office.

Town of Manchester, two examples:

“solution listed (What happened here? This was the 3rd machine to be replaced that day in this location.)

Problem: P/U 3rd bad machine per John S.”

“Problem: Machine taking ballots but counter not incrementing

Solution: Swap to spare machine to reburn a new card.”

(What happened to the votes on the first machine and first memory card?

Does “reburn a new card” mean the memory card could have been illegally reprogrammed?)

Town of Barnstead:

“Problem: Ballots rejecting a lot, even during test. They did not call (?)

Solution: Told them I would have someone bring a new machine. They said no – It was working”

(What really happened here? Improper testing or a machine failing a test should have disqualified the machine from usage in an election. State statute VI. cites as a misdemeanor violation a person knowingly violating testing procedures and/or ignoring a machine failing testing.)

REMEDIAL ACTION REQUESTED: Some states have approved their equipment conditionally, so that investigations such as this would be paid by the vendor, in this case Diebold. As well, the New Hampshire statutes could be tightened so that, just as LHS must bear the cost of an invalid recount due to an employee’s failure to properly program and test LHS’ machines (RSA 656:42: V), LHS could as well be obliged to reimburse all costs related to investigation of their procedures. In the case of this Violation, it would mean that they would bear responsibility for investigating the accountability for every memory card

Their records and their doors must also be open to you for all testing, all maintenance, programming, bookkeeping, etc. The State, perhaps the Office of the Secretary of State or the BLC with the addition of a few citizen election activists should be welcome at all times to review/witness their work, their procedures, their books, etc.

An inquiry should be undertaken immediately for accountability of each memory card used in the Primary election, as well as the whereabouts and the sequence of events surrounding all memory cards used, including all delivered cards, all cards found to be problematic on Election Day, any substitute cards, “reburned” cards, and any unused cards delivered to the jurisdictions. Results of inquiry to be delivered to Petitioner.

I, as Petitioner, pursuant to RSA 656:42, request the opportunity to inspect the offices of LHS along with at least two computer technical experts of my choosing. (RSA 656:42, Section IV: Each person described in paragraph III shall designate, in writing, an agent for service of all process, including, but not limited to summonses, writs, orders, petitions, and subpoenas, and shall agree in writing that the Attorney General, in conjunction with any election investigation, may inspect its records, machines or other devices, and premises.)

I also request a full report of every visit by an LHS-related technician to a jurisdiction on January 8th, 2008 and ask that this report be compiled and examined as part of this inquiry. In the meantime, we are requesting that the Secretary of State consider sending out an order that all voting machines used in the State be impounded and vote totals NOT BE CLEARED until this formal inquiry is completed. I further request that no ballots or other election materials be destroyed prior to the 22 month waiting period as mandated by federal law. Several of the boxes of ballots received at the State Archive Building for the recount were marked: “Destroy November 2009” and these must be corrected to “2010.” See Exhibit A.


656:41 Approval by Ballot Law Commission. The Ballot Law Commission shall act as a board to examine voting machines and devices for computerized casting and counting of ballots. … Any voting machine or device that is altered must be re-approved before it is used in any election in this state. For the purposes of this section, a machine shall be considered altered if any mechanical or electronic part, hardware, software, or programming has been altered.

RSA 656:42 III. Any company, partnership, proprietorship, or other person, wherever located, which supplies, maintains, or programs voting machines which are used in elections in New Hampshire is subject to regulation by this state. (The following amendment to RSA 659:42 will take effect January 1, 2007)

RSA 659:42 Tampering with Voting Machines. Whoever shall tamper with or injure or attempt to injure any voting machine or device for the computerized casting and counting of ballots to be used or being used in an election or whoever shall prevent or attempt to prevent the correct operation of such machine or device or whoever shall tamper with software used in the casting or counting of ballots or design such software so as to cause incorrect tabulation of the ballots or any unauthorized person who shall make or have in his or her possession a key to a voting machine to be used or being used in an election shall be guilty of a class B felony if a natural person or guilty of a felony if any other person.

Secretary of State Manual page 34 - 35: The seal for the memory card should be replaced for each election when the newly programmed card is re-inserted into the machine for the pre-election testing of the card. The card should remain sealed until after the recount period ends following the election. The seal for the cover of the machine should only be broken by LHS when it services the machine. The cover must be resealed by the clerk when the LHS technician has completed any service work. Each time any of the two seals are broken and the machine is resealed it should be documented in the appropriate log.

Bal 604.02 Zeroing and Sealing Machines. (b) When a voting machine or device has been prepared for election, it shall be locked against voting and sealed and the keys shall be retained by the designated election officials. After the voting machine has been transferred to the polling place, it shall be the duty of the designated election official to provide protection against molestation, tampering or injury to the machines or devices.

Bal 606.04 Damaged Machines. In the event that any voting machine or device used i n any voting district during the time the polls are open, become damaged or disabled so as to render it inoperative in whole or in part, the election officials shall forthwith if possible, substitute a perfect machine for the damaged one. At the close of the polls, the votes shown on the counters of each machine shall be added together in ascertaining the results of the election. In the event that no other machine can be prepared forthwith for use at such election and the damaged one cannot be repaired in time, the provisions of RSA 658:35 shall apply.

VIOLATION # 2: Machine failures render equipment non-compliant with HAVA regulations.

Fact: HAVA requires that the error rate of machines used be no greater than one error in 500,000 ballot positions. In one of the most recent tests, at the University of Connecticut, the Diebold Precinct-Based Optical Scan Accuvote 1.94W system (AV OS), demonstrated a failure rate of roughly 3.4 %. This puts New Hampshire in an unfortunate situation and the integrity of its election results in question. I urge the Ballot Law Commission and the Secretary of State’s office to seriously consider restoring elections utilizing 100% hand counted paper ballots. The fundamentals are in place for a meaningful and transparent election. The Diebold Optical Scan equipment you currently use is indeed problematic due to its proven vulnerabilities and inaccuracies. Diebold itself issued a Product Advisory Note about this machine on January 25, 2008 describing a known failure.

See Exhibit B for articles describing the serious vulnerabilities and high error rate for the Diebold Optical Scanner.

REMEDIAL ACTION REQUESTED: The very best thing New Hampshire could do is decertify the current equipment and find alterative means of vote counting. I strongly recommend hand counting all of the ballots. New Hampshire has established such an excellent system for community vote-counting, and the hand count method - especially the sort and stack method as was used for the recounts --that has time and time again proven to be the most accurate and by far the least costly method of counting citizens’ votes.


HAVA 301(a)(5) references the rate in the VSS - FEC Voting System Standards: Error rates: The error rate of the voting system in counting ballots (determined by taking into account only those errors which are attributable to the voting system and not attributable to an act of the voter) shall comply with the error rate standards established under section 3.2.1 of the voting systems standards issued by the Federal Election Commission which are in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act. (HAVA is referencing the 2002 VVS.)

Section 3.2.1 of the 2002 VVS: Accuracy Requirements: Voting system accuracy addresses the accuracy of data for each of the individual ballot positions that could be selected by a voter, including the positions that are not selected. For a voting system, accuracy is defined as the ability of the system to capture, record, store, consolidate and report the specific selections and absence of selections, made by the voter for each ballot position without error. Required accuracy is defined in terms of an error rate that for testing purposes represents the maximum number of errors allowed while processing a specified volume of data. This rate is set at a sufficiently stringent level such that the likelihood of voting system errors affecting the outcome of an election is exceptionally remote even in the closest of elections. The error rate is defined using a convention that recognizes differences in how vote data is processed by different types of voting systems. Paper-based and DRE systems have different processing steps. Some differences also exist between precinct count and central count systems. Therefore, the acceptable error rate applies separately and distinctly to each of the following functions: a. For all paper-based systems: 1) Scanning ballot positions on paper ballots to detect selections for individual candidates and contests; (partial omission here) For each processing function indicated above, the system shall achieve a target error rate of no more than one in 10,000,000 ballot positions, with a maximum acceptable error rate in the test process of one in 500,000 ballot positions.

VIOLATION #3: The location of the memory cards post-election were reported “unknown.”

Fact: According to election observers who spoke with Secretary Gardner during the recount, the location of memory cards used in the Primary Election on January 8th, 2008 was unknown. In conversations with observers he referenced the likelihood that town clerks/moderators had secured the cards but he was unaware of their exact location. Each memory card equates to an entire electronic ballot box. Ballots (which should include paper or electronic ballots) according to federal law must be preserved for 22 months following an election.

REMEDIAL ACTION: Since the memory cards are key to transparency, I request the State amend current procedures/statutes by creating a rigorous set of statutes regarding chain of custody for the memory cards, ballots and equipment as well as the memory card holders and workers, and further define how citizens can, in a timely manner, monitor the chain of custody and the content of said cards. I ask you to consider appropriate disciplinary actions, including felony or other charges to be filed against all persons whose responsibility it is to follow the laws pertaining to ballot retention but who failed to do so. One central location, through the Secretary of State, should be made responsible to account for all memory cards before, during, and after an election, and make those records available to the public in a timely manner if requested.

CITATIONS: I believe this is an implicit responsibility. The security of the ballots is tantamount and it is understood that they should be safeguarded at all times. The memory cards, as has been stated elsewhere, are equivalent to a ballot box filled with ballots.

VIOLATION #4: The boxes of ballots were not picked up for the recounts by State Police.

Fact. A van driven by two state employees, followed by a state trooper, drove around to pick up boxes of ballots at the various jurisdictions throughout the state. Their transport in a van driven by two state employees is not the same as the ballots being in the custody of the State Police. Election observers following the vans observed them speeding at 85 and 90 mph in 55 mph zones; speeding through school zones with school zone lights flashing; going 45 and 50 mph in 25 and 35mph residential areas, and making obvious and successful attempts to “lose” the citizen observers. The observers were left to wonder what was being done with the unsecured ballots inside the van and during the times after the van successfully “lost” their vehicles.

See Exhibit C.

REMEDIAL ACTION: I request that in the future that state police do transport the boxes. If one additional state employee rides with the trooper to carry the boxes, the statute should direct him to be in sight of said trooper at all times, including when the vehicle is in motion. When the vehicle is traveling all troopers and/or trooper and other state employees must be in passenger seats, separated from the boxes of ballots. This will prevent any appearance of possible ballot tampering while the ballots are being transported.

660:5 - Conduct of Recount. If directed by the secretary of state, the state police shall collect all ballots requested from the town or city clerks having custody of them and shall deliver them to the public facility designated by the secretary of state.

VIOLATION #5: Ballots were not stored and transported in boxes provided by the Secretary of State’s office.

Fact: Boxes arrived at the State Archive Building for the recount in non-uniform boxes, with various methods of taping, many not properly sealed. One jurisdiction sent their ballots in bundles wrapped in newspaper. Others came wrapped in brown paper. Some boxes came with no tape. Many ballots were returned in the same boxes in which they were received from the printer/Secretary of State’s office, but this led to some ambiguity about when and by whom openings in the boxes had been made.

See Exhibit D.

REMEDIAL ACTIONS REQUESTED: In the future, the boxes for transport of the ballots from the municipalities following an election, will in fact be different from the ones in which the ballots were delivered to the jurisdictions, to prevent any ambiguity about former openings in the boxes. The boxes should have no ‘clutter’ on them; and the boxes should be new, never used prior and be devoid of any writing other than instructions found in State Statutes (The New Hampshire government may take as many measures as possible to be frugal and mindful of expenditure of taxpayer money, but the additional boxes in this case would be a very small expenditure in the broad scheme of things and would go a long way to allay/prevent any suspicions, as well as to ensure security.) I am also requesting that the seals used on the boxes be of a more permanent nature where any unauthorized entry can be easily detected. In all future elections, I am requesting that the Office of the Secretary of State f ollow the statutes and procedures more closely regarding the conduct of elections. I also ask that greater scrutiny be paid by the Attorney General to all election and election recount operations. I would request that disciplinary consequences be mandated and enforced by the Secretary of State’s office for any future violations of any current regulations, of any remedial measures requested in this Petition of Appeal, or other future regulations.

659:95 Sealing and Certifying Ballots. I. Immediately after the ballots cast at a state election have been tabulated and the result has been announced and the return has been made, the moderator or the moderator's designee, in the presence of the selectmen or their designee, shall place the cast, cancelled and uncase ballots, including such ballots from any additional polling places, and further including the successfully challenged absentee ballots still contained in their envelopes, in the containers provided by the secretary of state as required by RSA 659:97 and shall seal such container with the sealer provided by the secretary of state as required by RSA 659:97. The moderator or the moderator's designee shall then enter in the appropriate blanks on such sealer on each container the number of cast, cancelled and uncast ballots in such container and shall endorse in the appropriate place on such sealer a certificate in substance as follows: Enclosed are the ballots from the state election in the town of (or in ward____ in the city of ) held on ________, 200__ required by law to be preserved. The moderator and the selectmen or their designees shall sign their names in the appropriate blanks on the sealer.

659:97 Secretary of State to Prepare Containers, Sealers. The secretary of state shall, before any state election, prepare and distribute to each town and ward clerk containers to be used for preserving ballots and sealers to seal each such container. He shall prepare special containers and sealers to be used for preserving any special and separate ballots for questions to voters and shall prescribe the form of any endorsement blank printed upon the sealers provided that the blank is in substance consistent with the provisions of RSA 659:95.

VIOLATION #6: Many ballot boxes were not properly sealed, and what were referred to as “seals” would not safeguard the ballots from tampering.

Fact: “Seals” meant to secure the boxes were in fact “labels”; they did not stick securely to the boxes, could be easily removed and re-attached, and left no evidence of having been removed and reattached from the box on which they’d been placed. As such they were not “seals” to the boxes; in order for the ballots to be secure, real tape was needed to bind the boxes. Many ballot boxes were delivered to the State Archive Building for recounting with tops not secured and with slits in them large enough for a hand to fit through.

See Exhibit E.

In all future elections, the Office of the Secretary of State would clearly regulate for the cities and towns the appropriate means of securing all boxes of ballots. The seals ordered in the future must indeed be seals that seal the boxes in an unequivocally secure manner; if such seals are removed from any box prior to the time of any recount, it must be easily apparent to all observers. In any future recounts where boxes are found not to comply, the entire election would be deemed invalid.

659:95 Sealing and Certifying Ballots, cited above 659:97 Secretary of State to Prepare Containers, Sealers. The secretary of state shall, before any state election, prepare and distribute to each town and ward clerk containers to be used for preserving ballots and sealers to seal each such container. He shall prepare special containers and sealers to be used for preserving any special and separate ballots for questions to voters. The secretary of state shall prescribe the size and form of such containers and sealers and shall prescribe the form of any endorsement blank printed upon the sealers provided that the blank is in substance consistent with the provisions of RSA 659:95.

VIOLATION #7: The uncounted ballots were not always kept overnight in the security of the “ballot vault.”

Fact. At least on the night of the recount January 17 (and possibly other nights as well) boxes of uncounted ballots were not stored in the “vault” in the State Archive Building, but rather in the “counting room”, which is not a secure room. Election observers heard Secretary Gardner claiming that the room was secure because he put one of the easily-removable and easily-restick-able “seals” (see #6 above) across each of the double door entries to the room. See Exhibit F.

New Hampshire could indeed lead the nation as an example of chain of custody security. Much is already in place. I ask you to consider adding some statutes that cover every aspect of the “chain of custody” of the ballots, such that every stage of the “chain of custody” is explicitly spelled out by future statute. These statutes would in turn be distributed to every office employee of the Secretary of State, to every city and town clerk and selectperson, to the state police, and to every other person involved in said chain of custody. Such future regulations must be complied with to the fullest degree. We recommend that you consider adding penalties and charges for any violations to every chain of custody statute. I feel it is important and critical to any democratic election that every step of the chain of custody of ballots, software, hardware and voting equipment be open to citizen scrutiny and observation. I am hopeful that you would also consider requiring all election officials to keep a log of every time any employee or outside companies such as LHS work on and/or make any changes to any aspect of the system. Ideally, cameras should be set up to be on the ballot boxes at all times and broadcast election day events live over the internet for citizens to oversee. (This could be extended to include the counting procedures as well.) Such a system -- and New Hampshire has much of it already in place -- would exemplify a secure chain of custody of ballots and of all related election materials that must be protected. The security of the ballots is tantamount and it is understood that they should be safeguarded at all times.

VIOLATION #8: Ballots were not always delivered in an open and public manner.

Fact: On many days of the recount, ballots were delivered after the recount had ended for the day, after dark, when most of the employees were gone from the building, and their delivery was not witnessed by any member of the public or citizen monitors.

See Exhibit G.


CITATIONS. Same as # 7 above.

In the process of analyzing the recount and election procedures, I have identified the following two items as “ weaknesses” in current procedure:

1. The candidate in a recount cannot get access to all the different categories of ballots: Cast,. Spoiled, Blank, Uncast.It's critical for the integrity of the process that the candidate be able to account for the total number of all ballots in each category

Remedy: Either we have to adjust the recount procedure so that the uncast ballots are NOT excempt from Right to Know requests, OR have the Right to Know requests for all of these categories of ballots honored immediately upon submission of request.

2. There are inconsistencies in the execution of some election and recount protocols.

Remedy: We would like to be able to examine the actions and responsibilities of each Assistant and Deputy Secretary of State in order to determine which party is responsible for each step of the election and recount process.

To reiterate: Petitioner is proud to be an American when witnessing the organized, orderly, open and communal vote-counting process as executed in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, I also observed some gaps in ballot security and understand the vulnerabilities of the machines used in vote tabulation. I submit this petition with the desire and the belief that with a little attention and a few statutes addressing such things as ballot security and chain of custody, we can close those gaps. New Hampshire will be first in the nation to hold its Presidential Primary and it will be first in the nation in this century to have elections with observability, accountability, checks and balances, and real transparency.

The Ballot Law Commission’s rules places the burden of proof on the Petitioner for any and all complaints and allegations. Yet, it is impossible to completely fulfill the “burden of proof” obligation when the State refuses to provide me in a timely fashion with requested election data through the “Right to Know” law, and without giving me sufficient time to review the requested data prior to filing this petition within the three day period as required by law.

I am therefore requesting that the Secretary of State provide me with copies of all the data I have requested (on January 14, 2008 and February 1, 2008) from him and from LHS through the New Hampshire “Right to Know”; that I be given 14 days to review this data once received; and that I be allowed to re-file this petition if I so desire and to add additional violations and/or Exhibits if applicable.

As required by RSA 665:6, I am filing these Complaints today, February 15, 2008.

Signed and attested to by Albert Howard

Register for the "I COUNT" Corps to Hand Count Paper Ballots

Original Content at

January 10, 2008

Sign Up to Take Back Our Elections – Register for the "I COUNT" Corps

By Andi Novick and Sally Castleman

At best there is “uncertainty” about the reported outcomes of the NH primary. Undoubtedly many other articles in this issue of OpEd News will be discussing them.

What we do know is that once again some doubt is being cast on the viability of machine counting of our votes. We believe it is time for us, the citizens of our nation, to take the actions that our ‘leaders’ have been refusing to take.

We are entitled to honest, transparent elections with appropriate checks and balances that the oblique processes of a computer prevent.

It is time for us to build our own corps of citizen counters. WE will count the ballots on election night. We propose that we, the people, sign up to count ballots on election night after the polls close. Much like jury duty, only one needs to commit for only 4 hours.

Our proposal is to hand count the federal races, which is never more than 3 races – President, Senator (some years), Representative. Calculation shows that only 1 in 4 citizens will ever be needed just once in their lifetime for a 4-hour stint to fulfill this highest order civic duty. Some, of course, may choose to do it more often.

Every team of counters would have a representative of at least two different parties. Citizens would be vetted, just as they are before being chosen to sit on a jury.

We urge anyone interested in learning more or anyone ready to sign up for the “I COUNT” corps, to sign up at We will send you more details.

Andi Novick & Sally Castleman
Election Defense Alliance

Had Enough of "Faith-Based" Elections Entrusted to a Corporate Machine?

Tell Congress and the Media You Want Paper Ballots Counted By Hand in The Precincts

Click Here for a quick, one-click way to write
your U.S. Senators, your Representative, and your regional newspaper all at once.

We provide a sample letter you can adapt to make your own. Copy, paste, alter, and add what you want to say.

Click here to Act

When you're done, click to see the messages other citizens are sending too.

"Man in the Middle" Attacks to Subvert the Vote

Source: Original article by Bev Harris published at Black Box Voting

A recent OpEdNews article details information about the pending subpoena of Mike Connell in connection with a transfer of the Ohio election results server to a partisan server in 2004. Black Box Voting has learned that similar "man in the middle" server exploits are already set up in Illinois, Colorado, and Kentucky for the 2008 presidential election.

At this point citizens need to get on a search and expose mission for every state to learn the routing of election results production and publication. [See the PROTECT THE COUNT self-organized citizen action plan ].


To learn more about the new discovery of results middlemen in Colorado, Illinois and Kentucky, scroll down.

First: more on the Ohio subpeona that is the subject of the article linked above. That article deals with allegations of an inappropriate middleman presence in the routing of 2004 Ohio election results. It does not provide evidence of tampering, as headlines claim. The critical kernel in these stories is that Ohio election results in 2004 appear to have been routed to a partisan middleman operation before publication.

A screen shot on ePluribusMedia shows that the Ohio election site was -- oddly --transferred to Smartech hosting shortly before the Nov. 2004 election, then transferred back to the state of Ohio. Even more damning, the election results were again temporarily transferred to the Smartech server shortly before the 2006 primary, then transferred back again afterwards. I have not been able to corroborate the source data for the screen grab at ePluribusMedia.  The screen grab looks authentic. If authentic, grab your britches for the wild ride, because that subpoena will be fascinating.

The extreme partisanship and inappropriatness of Smartech as a server for anything to do with government elections is easy to corroborate. By paying a couple hundred bucks at WhoIs, you'll see that the Smartech site hosts dozens of sites that could not be more partisan: numerous sites for the Republican National Committee, many anti-Obama propaganda sites (but no anti-McCain sites and no Democratic sites); Republican candidate domains; over a dozen sites from various domains owned by "Prosperity for America", a partisan think tank that traces back to principals from an enormous privately held oil companyKoch Industries.

Perhaps most concerning, Smartech also hosts the Voter Vault sites. Voter Vault is the powerful data mining Republican database which can tell you what kind of syrup you like on your french toast, who you vote for, every address you've ever lived, and which magazinesare your favorite. Black Box Voting has obtained corporate documents showing that Voter Vault was set up by Bruce Boram, a political operative who got into hot water in Washington State for deceptive political activities.


The Spoonamore affidavit referenced in the Ohio lawsuit deals only with theoretical issues. It should not be characterized as evidence that anything in particular occurred. It describes one man's concept of what could potentially occur, based on a set of assumptions that are not necessarily accurate.

This could steer away from what the results middleman may actually have been doing, which could be as simple as waylaying results for "first look". Private, secret "first looks" are exceptionally dangerous because it is common for subsets of results to be delayed for various reasons. Gaining "first look" enables operatives to contact those with custody of the delayed returns to relay details for precisely how much is needed to alter the outcome.

As Spoon postulates, electronic man in the middle attacks are possible under certain scenarios. He describes an attack which travels backwards down the pipeline to alter contents inside the voting system; a simpler method may be to just change the published report, letting locals with inside access make the necessary adjustments on their end.



The Illinois middleman is connected with a partisan evangelical Baptist named David Davoust, who owns Robis, Inc. -- a firm that sells an electronic handheld device for pollworkers called "Ask Ed". Davoust controls the Internet domain names for a variety of churches, for DuPage County Elections chief Robert Saar's personal Web site, for the DuPage County Results site, and for the DuPage County Elections Board. But it doesn't stop there:

Davoust also controls a number of domain names for GBS, which stands for Governmental Business Services. This entity sells and programs Diebold/Premier voting systems and also produces and publishes results for 17 counties in Illinois.
GBS purchased Fidlar Election Services, which in turn controls results for a total of 27 Illinois counties and one in Indiana. In 2006, it also listed four Iowa counties.

According to the GBS Web site, GBS was at one point acquired by Business Records Corp (BRC). What GBS doesn't mention: BRC was acquired by voting machine manufacturer Election Systems & Software in 1997. It's hard to understand why an apparent subsidiary of ES&S is producing Diebold election results and has a domain name owned by a guy named David Davoust, but we're trying.

According to the Illinois Secretary of State Web site, Fidlar's registered agent is Ernest Riggens, who joins the odd-name parade in which Diebold spokesperson Chris Riggall is marching, along with Riggins, Idaho which is the current residence of embezzler/voting machine programmer Jeffrey Dean.


In May 2007, Kentucky voting machine programmer Harp Enterprises, owned by Roger Baird, was involved in secret negotiations to purchase the firm that does many Kentucky county Web sites. Roger Baird, owner of Harp Enterprises, is found in corporate documents also controlling the LLC for this firm, indicating that the deal was consummated. Harp programs the voting machines, prints the ballots, and provides election day technicians; Baird's other firm provides web sites and election results for Kentucky counties.


The Colorado middleman is the most troubling situation. LEDS, LLC has obtained a contract giving access into every voting system in Colorado, and this firm, run by a Castle Rock man named John Paulsen, is now tasked with preparing the results for the Colorado secretary of state.

Problem is, Paulsen is involved in an ethics scandal right now which has just led to the resignation of the Colorado Elections Director. According to an article in the Rocky Mountain News, there's a little matter of a half-million-dollar condo owned by Paulsen that state Elections Director Holly Lowder was living in, with no one being properly apprised of the residential arrangement as they did the deals.

Here is the contract on the LEDS LLC results middleman in Colorado:
(1,700 KB)

I don't get the shivers much anymore, having looked at a lot of election situations that no American should have to see, but that contract made me feel like a bully was stealing all our lunch money.

If citizens make video records of the precinct tally tapes as explained in the Protect the Count
video (capturing video of the results on the voting machine results tapes BEFORE they leave the polling place, posting on YouTube) this will kick the legs out from under man-in-the middle attacks.

Black Box Voting has developed training and infrastructure to upload snapshots and contribute links to video of poll tapes, but we are NOT going to attempt to organize this.

I have been involved in many conference calls to collaborate with other organizations on this, but we should not assume that it's getting done -- EVERY CITIZEN NEEDS TO TAKE INTIATIVE ON PROTECT THE COUNT ACTIONS, which vary according to the counting system used in your location. Please get ready for action.
Plan to be out in the field for 90 minutes on Election Night.

Stay tuned. 


Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.

2008 Primary Elections as a Voter Confidence Game: Evidence and Analysis

The 2008 election season has been fraught with widespread voter registration breakdowns, suspect caucus maneuvering, and "surprise" upsets in which reported election results confound all expectations raised by pre-election voter trends and contravene the exit polls with reversals frequently in the double digits.

Beginning with New Hampshire, New Mexico, California, Ohio, Texas, (even Rhode Island!), we will be adding more evidence as the election deception is pulled and twisted into whatever distorted taffy confection the election cooks think the American public will swallow.

Introducing the standout feats of believe-it-or-not from the primary season so far is Jonathan Simon with his article,
"Big Julie's Blank Dice and the Texas Two-Step: Thoughts on March 4th and Computerized Elections".

NEW! Released May 21 - A study of systematic rigging in the 2008 Democratic primaries,

by Jonathan Simon and Bruce O'Dell, Election Defense Alliance
"The Democratic Primaries 2008:
Managing Electoral Dynamics Via Covert Vote-Count Manipulation"

2008 Texas Primary

Tall tales coming out of Texas, and some citizens riding to the rescue.

One-Party Counties in Texas in the 2008 Primary

Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.

Last night I posted a compilation of election results from Tuesday’s presidential primary in Texas, showing that in 21 counties there were no votes cast in the Republican primary, and in three counties there were no votes cast in the Democratic primary. (The original posting is appended). I asked for an explanation, and I received one from David Rogers, an attorney in Austin, Texas, described as a supporter of election integrity.

As I had noticed, the 24 counties in question are quite sparsely populated, accounting for 0.73% of the registered voters in the State of Texas. Rogers explained that a number of these counties "have no county chairmen (particularly on the Republican side). With no county chairman, there is no one to organize or run a primary. Perversely, some of the counties with no Republican chairmen consistently go Republican at the top of the ticket in November, but all the local officials are Democrats."

I was startled by the explanation. It seems that there were no Republican primaries in 21 counties, and no Democratic primaries in three counties. This would explain the numbers, but it would still be a fact that voters of one party or another are disenfranchised, countywide, in many counties in Texas. To me, this seemed unacceptable in a democracy.

Rogers replied that, unacceptable or not, this is the most likely explanation for the results I observed. "Republicans have been disenfranchised like this in Texas for over a century (in fact, getting the number of no-Republican-primary counties below 25 is a recent and remarkable achievement.)"

Rogers explained that while ballots, voting machines, and election workers are all paid for by the state government, the local parties at the county level have to bear the costs of administration and accounting; and they have to find someone to do the paperwork, and somewhere to store the paper. "The costs in time and money to the parties aren't much, but they aren't nothing."

"The failure is almost entirely organizational," Rogers said. "The state party tries to help the local counties some, so which counties have no party changes some from year to year, but the state party can’t force the locals to
organize if they don’t want to."

"If there aren’t enough Republicans in a county to organize themselves and pay the costs required," Rogers concluded, "I would say the Republicans are self-disenfranchising." A "party whose members can’t bestir themselves enough to set up a primary obviously aren’t that interested."

I deeply appreciate Rogers’ explanation. In short, political parties at the county level can decide not to participate in a primary election by deciding not to organize for it and not to pay administrative, accounting, and storage costs. In the disinterested counties, interested voters must undertake to organize the primary themselves and to find some way to bear the financial burden, or vote in the other party’s primary, or not vote at all.

For the record, in the 21 counties in which there was no Republican primary last Tuesday, Kerry outpolled Bush by 21,089 to 19,732 in the 2004 presidential election, and Bell (the Democrat) outpolled Perry (the Republican) by 9,508 to 6,820 in the 2006 gubernatorial election. In the three counties in which there was no Democratic primary last Tuesday, Bush outpolled Kerry by 3,194 to 456 in 2004, and Perry outpolled Bell by 1,279 to 208 in 2006.

The fact that these counties are sparsely populated does not make me feel any better about the disenfranchisement of their voters. There are 93,131 registered voters in these 24 counties. Failure to engage in political organizing should not be grounds to deny or abridge the right to vote.

But far be it from me to tell the State of Texas how to run its elections. In the State of New York we have our own methods of voter disenfranchisement. Voters had to declare their party affiliation by October 12, 2007 in order to vote in the presidential primary of February 5, 2008.

Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.

March 5, 2008

Didn’t anybody notice this?

It is now 24 hours after the polls closed in Texas. In 21 counties, with 100% of precincts reporting, nobody voted in the Republican presidential primary. In three counties, with 100% of precincts reporting, nobody voted in the Democratic presidential primary.

In the 21 counties with no Republican voters, there were 87,919 registered voters, and 36,239 ballots cast, all of them Democratic.
In the three counties with no Democratic voters, there were 5,212 registered voters, and 1,865 ballots cast, all of them Republican.
In Maverick County, all 9,661 ballots cast were Democratic. In Hansford County, all 1,235 ballots cast were Republican.

But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself.

Election officials in the State of Texas have some explaining to do.

Richard Hayes Phillips is the author of the definitive book on the 2004 presidential election in Ohio – "Witness to a Crime: A Citizens’ Audit of an American Election." For more information: richardhayesphillips[at]yahoo[dot]com

One-Party Counties in Texas.pdf85.16 KB

Texans Monitor Elections with Citizen Exit Polls

For Immediate Release March 7, 2008
Attn: Political Assignments Desk

Contact: Vickie Karp, 512/775-3737
Karen Renick, 512/496-7408

Citizen Exit Polls a Huge Success in Texas!
Voters Willing to Sign Name to Questionnaire to Monitor the Election !

March 7, 2008, Austin, Texas

Austin-based election integrity group VoteRescue executed a highly successful Citizen Exit Poll in Travis and Williamson Counties on Tuesday in order to monitor the "official" results tallied by secret vote counting on electronic voting machines, both the screen-types and the ballot scanners.

The project was executed along with VoteRescue's coalition, Texans for REAL Elections, and in coordination with a national effort called "Project Vote Count" which originated in Florida by activist Mark Adams. Florida had high participation in the Exit Poll project during their January 29th primary; Ohio also participated in the Exit Poll effort on March 4th, the same Primary day as Texas.

Austin area Exit Pollers secured 1566 Exit Poll Questionnaires in five precincts: Three in Travis County, and two in nearby Williamson County. The respondent rate was very high, ranging from 21.3% up to 58%. Respondents were willing to sign the questionnaires, which were formatted to be used as affidavits if broad discrepencies were found between Exit Poll results and official county results.

The fact that voters were willing to forego their secret ballot in order to make sure their votes were accurately counted was a statement to VoteRescue and the Coalition that people share their legitimate concerns and doubts about the secret vote counting that occurs when they vote on a screen-type of voting machine such as the Hart InterCivic E-Slate, or even when they vote on a paper ballot,
but that ballot is counted by the computerized optical scan counting device such as the ES&S type used in Williamson County, Texas.

Both types of voting equipment have been decertified in three states during the last few months due to expert studies showing the ease with which they can be hacked and vote totals manipulated without detection: California, Ohio, and Colorado.

While our Citizen Exit Poll results cannot be released immediately, it can be reported that some discrepencies were found in the numbers of two of the five precincts polled. The group is analyzing the data to determine if such discrepencies are signicant enough to challenge
the official results.

VoteRescue and its coalition have been working for years to eliminate all electronic voting systems both statewide in Texas, and nationally.

The group supports a return to hand-counted paper ballot elections, with enhanced security procedures, and citizens monitoring the election and counting the votes in public view, then posting totals at the precinct level. The current system of corporate-controlled secret vote counting
in Texas does not even meet UN standards for election integrity in third world nations.

# # #

Big Julie's Blank Dice and the Texas Two-Step

Big Julie’s Blank Dice and the Texas Two-Step:
Thoughts on March 4th and Computerized Elections

by Jonathan Simon, Election Defense Alliance

Last week, as I was watching what could be watched of the crucial March 4th Democratic primary elections and downloading for analysis such data as was made publicly available, a hilarious scene kept coming unbidden to mind. The scene is from Guys and Dolls and it takes place somewhere in the sewer system of New York, where Nathan Detroit’s floating crap game has found a temporary and rather sarcastically colorful and well-lit home.

Big Julie, a scar-faced high-roller in from Chicago to “shoot crap,” is down on his luck and out about 10 Gs. Nathan (Frank Sinatra) says it’s time to go home, but Big Julie is not the kind of mug to go gentle into that good night without his 10 Gs, plus interest. So he challenges Nathan to roll him personally for the dough and Nathan (putting up cash to Big Julie’s “marker” and, to narrow down his choices somewhat, at gunpoint) accepts.

Big Julie, to change his luck, is going to use his own dice. The trouble (for Nathan at least) is that the dice don’t have any spots; they’ve worn off. But, not to worry, Big Julie remembers where they were.

The results (“Hah! Seven! I win . . . . Hah! Snake Eyes! You lose”) are, shall we say, predictable—though Nathan does manage to win when Big Julie rolls him for $1—and Nathan kisses off his last few grand with a resignation worthy of Gore, Kerry, a host of other candidates who would not appear on Karl Rove’s A-list, and the Democratic Party as a whole.

The scene is hilarious, but Tuesday night was not. Nor was New Hampshire, nor 2006, nor 2004, nor 2002, nor any election in America since the vote counting went wholesale into the darkness of proprietary cyberspace and the spots were rubbed off the dice, leaving the equipment vendors, with their avowed partisan proclivities and their secret computer code and memory cards, to tell us who won (“Hah! Seven!”) and who lost (“Hah! Snake Eyes!”).

Before proceeding to analyze yet another evening of bizarre numerical happenings, I want to suggest that we look at some of the occurrences in our New Millennium elections as if they hailed not from our own beloved Beacon of Democracy but from Vladimir Putin’s Russia—from a place, that is, where we have learned to discount the official story as the typical cover job of a pretend democracy. We will find—as we might in Russia, or Kenya, or Ukraine—a parade of numbers and patterns that don’t add up, don’t fit the official story. And all we have to assure us that our democracy and our nation are not being subverted are code and memory cards we are never permitted to see, providing us with very shiny and precise-looking vote totals that may or may not have any correspondence to the votes actually cast—in other words, a pair of Big Julie’s blank dice.

The Democratic primaries held Tuesday shared with the New Hampshire primary the distinction of being do-or-die contests for candidate Clinton. It was effectively conceded by the Clinton campaign that losses back in New Hampshire in January and in Texas or Ohio last week would have spelled curtains for her candidacy. There were four primaries held on March 4th and, leaving aside the delegate-poor and noncompetitive contest in Vermont, there were New Hampshiresque—which is to say somewhere between suspicious and stunning—developments in each of them. Taking them in alphabetical order:


The numerical story in Ohio was the old familiar one of exit poll-vote count disparity. Without examining any specific incidents or allegations of foul play, we are confronted with an initial exit poll (EP), posted shortly after poll closing, showing a 3% Clinton margin (51.1% to 47.9%) and a final votecount (VC) showing a 10% Clinton margin (54.3% to 44.0%). This disparity is outside the EP’s margin of error (MOE) even allowing for the “cluster effect.” The VC is, moreover, a significant departure from a compendium of pre-election polls (PEP), showing Obama gaining ground and approaching equality (

Viewed in isolation, Ohio could be explained as a late Clinton surge that caught the pre-election pollsters on the hop. Primaries are indeed more fluid and volatile as elections go, and there is the crossover voting phenomenon to be considered. But Ohio takes its place among a parade of contests in important states in the 2008 nomination battle in which a substantial EP-VC disparity worked in Clinton’s favor: New Hampshire obviously, but also Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Arkansas, Arizona, California, and now Ohio and, as we will see, Texas and Rhode Island. In contrast, we have observed no battleground states with an EP-VC disparity working in the other direction. As anyone who has spent any time in the countryside of Ohio (or NH, MA, IL, NJ, AR, AZ, CA, TX or RI for that matter) can tell you, when all the cows are facing in one direction, there’s a reason for it (it’s going to rain).

Given the directionality of the disparities, it is also worth noting that we have received no assurance that the first posted EP of the evening has not in fact already been partially adjusted toward conformity with the incoming VC, a process which continues in several steps throughout the evening until virtual full conformity with the final VC is achieved. Edison/Mitofsky, which performs and processes the EPs for the media consortium known as the National Election Pool (NEP), acknowledges that the adjustment process begins with “Quick Counts,” which are available from selected precincts and early voting tabulations immediately upon poll closing. Especially in instances where the first EP posting is delayed by more than a few minutes after poll closing, there exists ample opportunity to begin the process of adjustment, which of course has the effect of minimizing the observable EP-VC disparity.

Rhode Island

There’s not a whole lot to say about Rhode Island other than if exit polls are this far off, why bother exit polling? And if vote counts are this far off, why bother voting?

The EP-VC disparity in RI was 14.1%; that is, the exit poll posted after poll closing had Clinton up 4.1% (51.6% to 47.5%) over Obama, and the official vote count had Clinton up 18.2% (58.8% to 40.6%). This is far outside the most generous calculation of the EP's MOE, and on a par with the similarly perplexing 15.5% disparity favoring Clinton in Massachusetts on Super Tuesday.

Now since EP-VC disparities of suspect, if not outright stunning, magnitude have become commonplace in the era of computerized vote tabulation, it is clear enough that something is not happening according to Hoyle. What that something is has been settled on by the mainstream media and all analysts under contract to such: Since we dare not question the vote counts, the exit polls must be off again. . .and again . . .and again. In fact it is now established that the exit polls are always off (recently joined by the pre-election polls, especially in the wake of New Hampshire 2008) and no longer worthy of our attention, because they just keep on disagreeing with the vote counts—pretty much always in the same direction—and we dare not question the vote counts. . . .

And so the circular argument goes, by now repeated with enough reassuring smiles to take on the polished finish of fact. Except if they really cared to find the truth, the logic of the denialists would puncture, like an overinflated balloon, with one prick of a pin, and all would agree that without first investigating and verifying the vote counts—without, that is, putting the spots back on the dice—no one can conclude that all those polls are “off.”


The striking phenomenon in Texas was the magnitude not of the EP-VC disparity (it was a relatively modest 4%, in the usual direction, but withheld from the public until more than an hour after poll closing, allowing ample opportunity for extensive adjustment toward conformity with the in-coming vote count) but of the early voting (EV) vs. at-precinct voting (APV) disparity, which was of staggering proportions that at first seemed to defy explanation.

The earliest returns posted on network websites showed a total of approximately 740,000 votes cast in the Democratic primary with 0% of precincts reporting. This then was the early/absentee vote tally, which in most states is pre-counted and available for release immediately upon poll closing. Obama’s margin at that point was 436,034 to 303,276 for Clinton, or 59% to 41%. By the time the counting was done the next morning, Clinton had a 51% to 48% victory, a whopping 21% margin reversal.

What was even more stunning, however, was that Clinton had caught up to Obama before even a quarter of the precincts had reported: with 23% of the precincts reporting (and almost exactly as many APVs as EVs counted), the count stood at Obama 711,759, Clinton 711,183 (49%-49%), a dead heat. To catch up so quickly and produce those numbers, Clinton had to win the APV in that quarter of Texas precincts by 59% to 41%, an exact reversal of the EV Obama landslide. Judging by the county-level results posted, that APV Clinton landslide came predominantly from the rural areas of the state.

So what we saw until that point were essentially equal and opposite landslides, as if we were observing two not only separate but radically divergent electorates, one that chose to vote early and one that chose to go to the polls. Ordinarily explanations for a divergence of such magnitude, particularly in intra-party contests, would be found only in such time-specific phenomena as late-breaking gaffes, scandals, debate blowouts and the like. But there was no such occurrence. The early voting period inTexas extends from 17 days to 4 days prior to the election. During this period the average of 13 pre-election polls was Clinton 45.6%, Obama 46.7%. In the three days before the election, after the early voting period had ended, the average of eight polls was Clinton 46.8%, Obama 46.1%, a very modest change and certainly not the 21% mega-reversal displayed by the EV and APV vote counts.

Since ordinary political dynamics fail to explain the bizarre Texas numbers, we look to the extraordinary. There has been much made in the March 4th post-mortem period of the impact of crossover voting, specifically Republican voters exhorted by Rush Limbaugh and other lesser-known leaders, to hold their noses and vote in the Democratic primary for Clinton.

To digress just a bit from our analysis of the March 4 numbers, the Limbaugh appeal brings into the open the motive and strategy that go a long way to explaining virtually all of the bizarre disparities and anomalies that have beset at least the Democratic side of the 2008 primary season. It has for some time been quite apparent that the goal of Republican strategists, finally exposed in Limbaugh’s rather desperate public exhortation, has been to make sure the Democratic nomination process is as drawn out, bitter, procedural, and ugly as possible, culminating in a brutal battle involving superdelegates and credentialing, one that will turn off (to say the least) the public and leave festering wounds in the party itself.

If the goal had been simply to have Clinton win, that could have been easily achieved through cross-over voting and/or rigging--remember that Obama won something like a dozen contests in a row, most of which could have been pushed far enough in Clinton's favor to give her a decisive delegate edge. This wasn't done. What was done instead was to revive Clinton's campaign (it appears by rigging) when she was on life-support in NH, keep her within striking distance on Super Tuesday, let Obama gain popularity and momentum, then revive Clinton again on March 4, just when the Democrats nationally were getting comfortable with Obama as their candidate (again see

Now it will get really ugly and whoever emerges as the nominee will have been undermined enough--so the story will go, anyway--to manage to 'lose' to McCain; i.e., either Clinton or Obama will have accumulated plenty of plausible defeatability. And the story of Democratic 'civil war' (as the MSM is already gleefully framing it) and disarray may even be good enough to 'explain' how they failed to capitalize on the enormous structural and dynamic advantages they hold on the Congressional side, setting the stage for currently unimaginable Republican gains in Congress in November.

Perhaps crossover voting accounts for both the magnitude of the Clinton victory in Ohio and the miraculous reversal of Obama’s early voting margin in Texas. Or perhaps it was crossover voting and some computer voting (that is, voting by computers) for good measure. Is there any way to know? It does not take all that much imagination to see Clinton’s successive resuscitations as Karl Rove's specialty of the house, his apotheosis as conscienceless strategist: to go into 'retirement' and apparent seclusion, give scholarly and apparently appealing speeches from above it all on the lecture circuit, and meanwhile find the exact alchemic strategy to turn a pile of rusty Republican political scrap metal into gold. But strategy is one thing and rigging something else entirely. Or is it?

Of course a “fit” is not tantamount to proof. But when you have a multi-year parade of numerical anomalies combined with unexpected outcomes that a brilliant and apparently conscienceless strategist would bring about if he could, must it not at least shake the blind faith that Americans, cued by their opinion leaders, continue to place in the honesty of their black-box electoral system?

Isn’t it time to stop rolling for our nation’s future with blank dice?

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Little Stat Helper: A Guide to Sampling Statistics and Election Assessment

Little Stat Helper

By Jonathan Simon, Election Defense Alliance

The benefit of statistical sampling lies in the surprisingly strong power of a small part to predict the behavior of a large whole. Although we tend to accept the results of polls and other research based on sampling, most people if they really thought about it would find it quite a head-scratcher that you could predict with great accuracy the preferences of a nation of 300 million--whether in candidates, policies, or favorite kind of cheese--by questioning a mere 3000, or .001%, of them. This is nevertheless the case, providing that certain conditions apply and certain procedures are followed.

To get highly reliable results it is important that the sample be done as randomly as possible. If bias or convenience enter into the sampling process all bets are off and statistical process loses its "crispness," the cut-and-dried rule of simple equations. More on that in a moment, but the key stumbling block I have found for acceptance of statistical sampling is the mind's natural and intuitive protest that larger wholes require larger samples. Once we reach a whole of a certain size--i.e., the size we are dealing with in federal elections--though, larger wholes in fact do not require larger samples, however counterintuitive this may seem. Not only has this been established theoretically, it has also been demonstrated in thousands of experiments. It's just the way it is. High-school statistics, chapter 1.

Now, bearing this basic concept in mind, here are the terms that get thrown around, and that must be understood to have a rational discussion of any statistical protocols and proposals:

Margin of error (MOE) of a sample refers to the range in which we expect to find the discrepancy between the count of the sample and the count of the whole from which the sample is drawn. In most research a +/- x% MOE means that 95% of the time, or 19 out of 20 times, we expect the count of the sample to fall within x% of the count of the whole; that is, the "confidence level" for that MOE is 95%, the standard used in most scientific research. 5% of the time a random sample with an x% MOE will count up more than x% off from the whole.

That's just the way it is. You don't get 100% certainty. But what is certain is that if you ran that sample a billion times, the number of times it missed the whole by more than x% would approach 50 million (5%) very closely. That's why computer simulations are so helpful, because you can actually do this and check the results.

A confidence level of 99% (or better), which I've recommended for votecount checking, would tell you to expect a result within the MOE 99 out of 100 times (or better).

The size of the whole numerically has virtually zero impact on the size of the sample needed (once you get above a whole of, say, 50,000; although there is a simple formula, irrelevant here, used for adjusting for such small targets).

As I've said, probably the most difficult and counter-intuitive thing to swallow about sampling is that you don't need to increase your sample size when the size of the target whole jumps from, say, 1,000,000 to 250,000,000; your 30,000 ballots would work about as well as a sample of the whole country as of Rhode Island. Hard to accept but it's true and very elementary statistics.

Given a random sample of a large (numerous) whole, the MOE and Confidence Level as defined above can be calculated quite easily. For a competitive election (60%-40% or closer), the magic formula boils down to: MOE at 95% Confidence = 1/square root of the number of ballots sampled (generally referred to as "N").

So, to plug in a few numbers: If you sample 10,000 ballots, then 1/sqrtN = 1/100 = 1%, and you'd say that your MOE is +/-1%. You would expect the sample results to differ from the total tabulated results by less than 1% in 19 out of 20 such elections. If you looked at, say, 1000 such elections, you'd find that the sample/whole difference was less than 1% in just about 950 of them. The more elections you ran, the more exact that 19 out of 20 would become.
If you sampled only 400 ballots, then 1/sqrtN = 1/20 = 5%, and you'd say the MOE is +/-5%, and you'd expect the sample results to differ from the total tabulated results by less than 5% in 19 out of 20 such elections.
If you sampled 30,000 ballots then 1/sqrtN = 1/173.2 = 0.58%, and you'd say your MOE is +/- 0.58%, and you'd expect the sample results to differ from the total tabulated results by less than 0.58% in 19 out of 20 elections.

Now all those examples presumed a Confidence Level of 95%, the standard for most research. But what that would mean is that if the MOE were used as a trigger for full hand counts or any other relatively drastic check of the results, elections officials would be obliged to proceed to such a step once in every 20 elections or races in the absence of mistabulation, in essence because we set the trigger at an MOE that's only expected to "work" 19 out of 20 times. The Confidence Level that is standard for most research would probably be seen as inadequate for checking on elections.

Fortunately, given a sample size N, a MOE can be easily calculated for any Confidence Level. To find the MOE at a 99% Confidence Level, for example, just take the MOE numbers above and multiply by 1.29: 10,000 ballots would give you a MOE of +/-1.29%; 400 ballots would give you a MOE of +/-6.45%; 30,000 ballots would give you a MOE of +/-0.75%; all at 99% confidence. This would mean that in only one out 100 elections would the difference between sample and whole exceed the MOE in the absence of mistabulation. We believe that one such "false positive" per 100 races would be tolerable to most BOEs (especially since the sample can be run again--that is, resampled--after such a result, rather than proceeding directly to a full hand count).

By the way, the "magic number" of randomly sampled ballots needed for a +/-1% MOE at a 99% Confidence Level is about 16,500, as can be checked on a nice website -- -- very helpful in such calculations.

And, to illustrate an earlier point about the irrelevance of the size of the whole: For a state with 5,000,000 votes, you'd need 16,533 ballots, for a state with 10,000,000 votes, you'd need 16,560, and for a country with 100,000,000 votes, you'd need 16,585. To boost the confidence level to 99.9%, so that you could tell a BOE that they'd have to deal with a "false alarm" only once in 1000 elections, the magic number would be 27,000 ballots.

For a given venue (be it state or Congressional District) of known or predictable size (i.e., number of votes expected to be cast) coming up with sample sizes is child's play, just a question of plugging in a few numbers on a calculating website such as that given above. What's left to tackle is randomness.

There are several factors that can get in the way of randomness in sampling, but in the context of elections they all boil down to convenience or bias. And, given the proper protocol, they all can be avoided. Bias generally crops up when interviews are necessary, as with polling and exit polls. Interviewers may select respondents they "like" rather than say every 7th person to walk through the door; they may frame questions in a leading manner; they may hear what they want to hear in the response and mark it accordingly. Respondents, for their part, may be more likely to participate with an interviewer they like, or may give the interviewer answers the respondent thinks the interviewer wants to hear.

All of these possibilities create higher potential for error and are very difficult to quantify. Convenience can take the form of trying to capture your respondents in "bunches," such as at a few precincts (no exit pollster, for example, has the resources to send interviewers to every precinct, so they pick a few precincts carefully based on their likelihood to reflecting the whole), or at a certain time of day, or from the top of a big stack of ballots. Here too error is increased, in a way that is very difficult to quantify, turning statistics from crisp to soggy, straight science to a science-art hybrid.

A well-designed and administered hand-count sampling of ballots avoids all of these pitfalls, and is indeed "crisp" (and in this way very different from exit polling and targeted audits). Since we're counting ballots rather than interviewing, the bias pitfalls are eliminated. Since we propose counting a fixed proportion of the ballots at every precinct (rather than counting all or some of the ballots at selected precincts, as some have proposed), we avoid the principal convenience pitfall of a "clustered" sample.

All that remains is to insure that the ballots to be sampled at each precinct are, in effect, "shuffled" and a good random sample drawn. This can be achieved by literally shuffling the ballots after they are retrieved from their bin and then selecting ballots from the pile according to a predetermined choosing scale: say, every 15th ballot or every 87th ballot, depending on the overall number needed from the venue. With a modicum of observation and supervision, a random sample can be guaranteed.

Questions will surely arise as to cheating, attempting to rig the handcount sample as well as the machine count. The best answer is in the purpose of the handcount protocol and what cheating would in fact achieve. Since, unlike that of the machine count, the purpose of the handcount is not to get as many votes as possible for your guy, but to match the machine count within the MOE and thereby avoid a full handcount, the incentive for "stuffing" the handcount with extra ballots for your guy wherever possible vanishes.

In fact election officials' goal becomes to do the handcount sample as accurately as possible in order to avoid triggering a full hand count. Even granting that a given official or group of officials knew that the machine count had been rigged to add an extra 5% to "their guy," consider how difficult it would be for them to add the necessary number of handcount ballots to hit that rigged number within the MOE, given that it would have to be done in dozens if not hundreds of precincts in view of both partisan and neutral observers. Effectively impossible.

Now let's turn to a few more concrete numbers. In a Congressional District (CD), a competitive race draws between 200,000 and 250,000 voters. Picking the lower bound, we can achieve a +/-1% MOE at 99% Confidence Level by sampling about 15,000 ballots, or 7.5% of the total cast. Given an average precinct size of 500, that would work out to an average of just about 40 ballots to count at each precinct. Not very labor intensive.

Looking at a medium sized state such as Ohio, with 5,000,000 voters and 11,000 precincts, we'd need about 16,500 ballots, or 0.33% of the total cast. This works out to an average of just 1.5 ballots per precinct. This is so easy that it leads naturally to the idea of a bigger sample, so that the Confidence Level can be improved even further. And indeed it turns out that you can reach a 99.99% Confidence Level (that is, one false alarm in every 10,000 elections!) with a +/-1% MOE by sampling 37,500 ballots or an average of less than four (4) per precinct. Woo hoo!

In the state of California a Confidence Level of 99.99% requires those same 37,500 ballots, which boils down to an average of less than two ballots per precinct. In such a large venue, therefore, we can do even better: we could go to a MOE of +/- 0.5% at 99.99% confidence by taking 150,000 ballots, or about eight ballots per precinct. Such a MOE would sound the alarm on outcome altering mistabulation of any race decided by greater than one half of one percent. Woo hoo times two!

In conclusion, we propose a uniform, omni-precinct, proportional handcount sampling of ballots -- the Universal Ballot Sample method* -- be used as the most reliable check mechanism of machine counts, where full hand counting of paper ballots is not yet an acceptable alternative. Such a protocol obeys "crisp" laws of statistics and is highly reliable, with little or no incentive for gaming or practical way to do so.

It can be implemented where paper ballots are in use, whether with opscan systems or, somewhat more problematically, where DREs are fitted with a paper ballot printer. The labor involved at the precinct level is reasonable and within the capacities of virtually every local BOE. The consultant work to generate the parameters is also minimal.

The uniform, omni-precinct, proportional handcount sampling of ballots is a viable and practical protocol that can be rapidly implemented to serve as a check mechanism on computerized recording and tabulation of votes where full hand counts have not been adopted.

Download link for the UBS paper:

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Managing Electoral Dynamics Via Covert Vote-Count Manipulation

Published by EDA, May 21, 2008. Click to download a PDF copy of this article.


The Democratic Primaries 2008:

Managing Electoral Dynamics Via Covert Vote-Count Manipulation

By Jonathan Simon and Bruce O’Dell, Election Defense Alliance

Summary Statement

We present evidence supporting the hypothesis that systematic attempts are being made to manipulate the results of the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination contest, through overt means such as crossover voting by non-Democrats, and through covert means targeted at the electronic vote tabulation process itself. The net effect has been to prolong the nomination battle and sharpen its negativity, thereby boosting the prospects of the Republican nominee and making more plausible his “victory” in November—either by an honest count, or through continued exploitation of the proven security vulnerabilities in American voting systems.


Perhaps John McCain is, as Humphrey Bogart says of the young Bulgarian who wins the money for his family’s exit visa at the roulette table in Casablanca, “just a lucky guy.”

Lucky that the Democrats find themselves locked into a protracted primary season inexorable in its dynamics and increasingly destructive in its impact. Lucky that Hillary Clinton has been magically revived each time she has found herself on electoral life support, to assume a position just far enough behind Barack Obama to be induced to resort to desperate measures and increasingly-negative ads, yet not so far behind as to be forced to bow out.

Lucky that dynamics ostensibly out of McCain's control have combined to give him such material assistance. Perhaps.

But there is compelling evidence that something other than luck is at work. With 82% of Americans polled convinced the nation is on the wrong track, self-destruction by the Democratic party is the only remaining credible means by which, come 2008, the GOP could sustain the perpetual rule envisioned by Karl Rove. (Rove, of course, has hardly retired and is now working from home, beyond the reach of the mandatory email backup system installed at the White House just before he left to “spend time with his family.”)

The goal of Democratic party self-destruction in 2008 could most reliably be brought to pass by one progression of events, one choreography: if a candidate, Hilary Clinton, known for her sense of entitlement, lifelong ambition, tenacity—and willingness to go negative—could be placed and kept in a desperate but not quite hopeless position, the result would follow, quite predictably.

What the mainstream media have now set up and trumpeted as an epic “blood feud” in the Democratic Party, whether or not it actually undermines the party’s prospects in November, will certainly pre-establish a plausible “explanation” for the defeat of whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be.

The same is true for US Senate and House races, where Democrats are heavily favored to expand their majorities, given the large number of open seats this November that were formerly held by Republican incumbents and a string of recent special election victories. But Democratic congressional candidates in both houses are arguably now facing the prospect of negative coattails.

By setting the stage for post-election “spin” for the Presidential and congressional races in November, any outcome-determinative electoral manipulations would become much less “shocking,” and that much less likely to trigger investigation and ultimate detection. This jaundiced overview of the Democratic primary season1 is unfortunately supported by a body of evidence that goes well beyond the odd anomaly or two.

When we examine—as the media has steadfastly refused to do—the numbers and disparities discovered in a parade of key states that determined the path the Democratic contest has taken to date, we find a telling pattern. This pattern is consistent with a tactical manipulation of the primary election vote counts in the service of the strategic choreography alluded to above: Keeping Clinton in the race and desperate. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1 There were significant oddities on the Republican side as well, beyond the scope of our analysis here. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There are sound reasons why the Clinton campaign itself is not among the suspects: If Clinton’s campaign or supporters had the capacity and the will to alter election outcomes, it is reasonable to conclude that she would have won, or at least be ahead in, the race; and the ownership and operation of electronic voting equipment remains almost exclusively in the secretive hands of vendors (Diebold/Premier, ES&S, Hart, and Sequoia) with avowedly right-wing Republican political sympathies.

Our examination includes the Democratic primaries in the following key states: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, each of which had surprising and unexpected results. In each of these critical elections there was a significant pro-Clinton disparity when comparing pre-election surveys and Election Day exit polls against the official vote counts.

1/8/08: New Hampshire

This was the first of the “must-wins” for Clinton. She went into New Hampshire on the heels of an embarrassing third-place finish in Iowa and a 20%+ defeat in Wyoming, had lost momentum, and was trailing by substantial margins in every pre-election poll in the Granite state (the range was from 5% to 13%, with both Obama’s and Clinton’s internal polling also showing a double-digit Obama margin).

Observers consistently reported Obama rallies that were far larger and more enthusiastic. There was no sign of a Clinton groundswell. Yet on Election Night the voters apparently changed their minds, and gave her a 3% victory. The media pundits scratched their collective heads and scrambled to explain this stunning reversal, which would have been remarkable enough if it had been a double-digit shift from a single reputable tracking poll, but was truly staggering when viewed against the backdrop of the entire phalanx of tracking polls.

There was palpable grasping at straws—but never even a hint that perhaps the polls had it right and something was wrong with the vote counts. Nor was there a mention that the first posted National Election Pool (NEP) exit poll had Obama ahead 39.4% to 38.1%, while earlier unposted NEP exit polls put Obama further ahead.

The first posted exit poll was already weighted to a carefully calibrated demographic profile of the electorate, and therefore as reliable an indicator of voter intent as is available. Indeed, that first-posted exit poll may already have been partially adjusted toward conformity with the incoming vote counts, thereby understating the apparent exit poll-vote count disparity.

That exit poll was largely spot-on for the other candidates; only Clinton and Obama's exit poll numbers shifted significantly as votes were tabulated. The mainstream media also did not mention the extraordinary disparity between votes that were counted by hand (Obama + 6.5% head-to-head with Clinton) and those tabulated by computerized optical scan devices (Clinton + 5.5% head-to-head with Obama).

Although the counting method (machine vs. hand) was not strictly homogeneously distributed throughout the state, neither was it clustered in such a way that would readily explain the huge statistical disparity in results. When considering benign reasons for such surprising and unexpected outcomes, conventional explanations all begin and end with the unquestioned belief that the computerized vote counts are valid. Quite an assumption in light of the parade of anomalies, disparities, and machine failures witnessed nationwide since the advent and proliferation of computerized vote counting.

Official election results are assumed valid, even though the votes are tabulated by secret software2 concealed on memory cards immune to inspection and under the strict proprietary control of an outsourced corporate vendor; in New Hampshire, the vendor is LHS, about which unanswered questions abound. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2 Remarkably enough, we know with certainty that the precise model of optical scan voting equipment in use in New Hampshire, Diebold Accuvote OS Model 1.94W, is vulnerable to outcome-altering manipulation by insiders. A live demonstration on that very Diebold model was captured in the HBO documentary "Hacking Democracy". _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
In an on-going epilogue, the New Hampshire primary remains under scrutiny. Investigators are amassing detailed evidence of pervasive mistabulation, focused in certain counties. On the Democratic side, there were an alarming number of polling sites reporting more votes than voters. Recounting was rendered effectively useless by a nonexistent chain of custody, which permitted more than ample opportunity for ballot substitution and revision.

Memory cards were reported as having been erased and were never made available to investigators. Even something as basic as a reconciliation of the number of ballots delivered to number of ballots voted, spoiled, and uncast was lacking. Nor was there reconciliation of number of voters checked in at the polls to number of ballots cast.

At this first critical turning point in the Democratic contest an Obama victory would have, in the view of most analysts, effectively ended Clinton’s campaign. That victory—augured in pre-election polling, exit polls, and hand-counted ballots—vanished into the black box scanners provided by Diebold and programmed by LHS. Instead, Clinton was credited with a stunning comeback, given new life, and the nomination battle continued.

2/5/2008: Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday was essentially a standoff, each candidate doing what was necessary to remain viable. There were, however, several exit poll-vote count disparities far beyond the expected margin of error, each involving a shift toward Clinton.

In Massachusetts, another LHS state like New Hampshire, the shift was a whopping 15.5%, turning a projected narrow Obama victory into a 15% Clinton rout.

In Arizona, site of some of the most dubious counting antics over the past several election cycles, the pro-Clinton shift was 11%, again reversing the outcome.

And in New Jersey, where machines are currently under high scrutiny supported by a court order, the shift was 8.6%.

Each of these shifts was well beyond the margin of error of the respective polls. Each resulted in shifts in delegate count to Obama’s detriment, as well as the loss of two victories that would have put a very different complexion on the outcome of Super Tuesday as a whole. The overall effect was, again, to maintain Clinton’s viability.

3/4/2008: Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas

In the weeks following Super Tuesday, Obama racked up a succession of impressive wins—including every caucus state, where vote counting is often face-to-face, and subject to greater scrutiny. As a result he pulled well ahead in the delegate count, and began to take on the mantle of inevitability.

Once more, pundits were calling the race all but over, and Texas and Ohio were often described as Clinton’s last stand. She needed wins in both states, it was flatly stated, to continue in the race. Even Clinton’s own campaign conceded as much. In the weeks before the election, Obama had closed an initial gap in both states and was running even or ahead in pre-election polling.


In Ohio once again we are confronted with a discrepancy between exit polls and official tallies. The initial published exit poll, posted shortly after poll closing, showed a 3% Clinton margin (51.1% to 47.9%), while the final official vote count showed a 10% Clinton margin (54.3% to 44.0%). This disparity was well outside the exit poll’s margin of error. The official vote count was also a significant departure from a compendium of pre-election polls, which showed Obama gaining ground and approaching equality.3

Viewed in isolation, Ohio could be explained as a “late Clinton surge” that caught the pre-election pollsters by surprise. Primaries are indeed fluid and volatile, as elections go, and there were reports of organized attempts to encourage Republican crossover voting for Clinton, though the Republican crossover vote may have been less robust than initially reported.

It can also plausibly be viewed as another in a succession of “cover stories” (for example, the massive but phantom after-dinner Evangelical turnout offered up by Rove as a factor in reversing the outcome in 2004) that could well provide a relatively benign explanation for more nefarious operations. But instead there was a parade of contests in important states in the 2008 nomination battle in which a substantial exit poll-vote count disparity worked in Clinton’s favor—including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Arkansas, Arizona, California, and now Ohio and, as we will see, Texas and Rhode Island.

In contrast, we have observed to date no battleground state primary with a significant4 exit poll-vote count disparity in Obama's favor. Some have invoked the so-called “Bradley effect” to account for this string of disparities. According to this theory, some white voters who would not vote for a black candidate in the privacy of the voting booth are “shamed” into indicating to pollsters (i.e., in public) that they chose that candidate.

But research into the Bradley effect has established that it is, at best, an inconsistent and relatively rare phenomenon, very unlikely to account for such a pervasive pattern as identified above. It is only if one is unwilling to consider any possibility of computerized vote mistabulation that such superficially plausible theories as the Bradley effect take their place in the front of the line of explanations. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3 See 4 In this case, significant means "larger than the exit poll margin of error." _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Rhode Island

The exit poll-vote count disparity in Rhode Island was 14.1%; the exit poll posted after poll closing had Clinton up 4.1% (51.6% to 47.5%) over Obama, yet the official vote count had Clinton up 18.2% (58.8% to 40.6%). This is far outside the exit poll’s margin of error, and on a par with the similarly perplexing and bizarre 15.5% disparity favoring Clinton in Massachusetts on Super Tuesday. It is reasonable to ask, if exit polls are this far off, why bother exit polling? (Or perhaps just as reasonable to ask, if vote counts are this far off, why bother voting?)


In Texas there was a relatively modest 4% discrepancy between the first posted exit polls and official tallies—in the usual direction and larger than the margin of error, and also in this case, withheld from the public until more than an hour after poll closing.

While most primary exit polls are posted a few minutes after the polls close, an hour's delay enables ample opportunity for adjustment of exit polls toward conformity with the incoming vote count, and so the posted exit polls may understate the magnitude of the discrepancy.

But the disparity in Texas between early voting results vs. Election Day in-precinct voting was of staggering proportions that seemed to defy explanation. The earliest returns posted on network websites showed a total of approximately 740,000 votes cast in the Democratic primary with 0% of precincts reporting. This was the early/absentee vote tally, which in some states is tabulated and available for release immediately upon poll closing. Obama’s vote at that point was 436,034 to 303,276 for Clinton, or 59% to 41%, an 18% margin.

But by the time the counting was done the next morning, Clinton had a 51% to 48% victory . . . a whopping 21% margin reversal. What was even more stunning, however, was that Clinton had caught up to Obama before even a quarter of the election day vote had been tallied: with 23% of election day precincts reporting and almost exactly as many at-precinct votes as early votes counted, the overall count stood at Obama 711,759, Clinton 711,183 (49%-49%), a dead heat.

To catch up so quickly and produce those numbers, Clinton had to win the at-precinct vote in that quarter of Texas precincts by 59% to exact reversal of the early voting Obama landslide. What we saw in Texas were essentially equal and opposite landslides, as if we were observing two not only separate but radically divergent electorates, one that chose to vote early and one that chose to go to the polls.

The early voting period in Texas extends from 17 days to four days prior to the election. Ordinarily explanations for a divergence of such magnitude, particularly in intra-party contests, would be due to time-critical phenomena such as late-breaking gaffes, scandals, debate blowouts and the like. But there was no such occurrence.

During the early voting period the average of 13 pre-election polls showed Clinton 45.6%, Obama 46.7%. In the three days before the election, after the early voting period had ended, the average of eight polls was Clinton 46.8%, Obama 46.1%, a very modest change and certainly not the 21% mega-reversal displayed by the early voting and at-precinct vote counts.

While there is no obvious explanation for the pattern observed, one hypothesis worthy of investigation is that one set of counting equipment (either early-voting or at-precinct voting) was accessed by malicious insiders and manipulated. If the pattern of pro-Clinton shifts were to hold, the place to investigate first would of course be the at-precinct voting equipment and county central tabulators.

Having won Ohio and Texas, Clinton remained viable but still in dire straits, leading directly to the most polarizing and divisive phase of the nomination battle.

4/23/08: Pennsylvania

In the ‘quiet’ interval during the six weeks prior to the Pennsylvania primary, the effects of Clinton’s revived (but precarious) position had ample opportunity to play out. The Clinton campaign went on the offensive, with the type of personal, negative attacks that both campaigns had previously eschewed. Obama was relentlessly portrayed as elitist and out-of-touch by the Clinton campaign (and by Clinton herself), a depiction the mainstream media began to echo almost as relentlessly.

And, sure enough, incidents emerged that played into this depiction—most notably Reverend Wright’s sermons and Obama’s own quote that seemed to both pigeonhole and patronize the working-class voters of Pennsylvania. These were replayed by the mainstream media in an endless barrage of coverage, all keyed to the theme that Obama might be too out-of-touch, and too close to the radical black fringe, to be president. Obama appeared to successfully counter that round of negative attacks, and it appeared to have little or no impact in his polling support nationwide – nor, indeed, in Pennsylvania.

Obama went into the April 23 primary trailing Clinton by 5% or less in pre-election polls, with no late movement to Clinton detected. It was viewed as essential by mainstream media pundits that Clinton win “by double digits” to maintain her viability and pick up the momentum required to win decisive superdelegate support.

First-posted exit polls5 for Pennsylvania reflected pre-election expectations, with Clinton leading 51.6% to 47.8%, a 3.8% margin. By late in the evening, however, with the count mostly in, it was Clinton by 9.4%--close enough somehow for the morning papers, networks, and websites to lead with Clinton’s “double-digit” win.

As with New Hampshire, Ohio, and Texas, there was a wide range of irregularities, glitches, and vote suppression incidents reported. Again, an exit poll disparity beyond the margin of error. Again, a departure, in the familiar direction, from the range of pre-election polling. And once again the final result was that Clinton received just enough to sustain her campaign, her “double-digit” victory, courtesy of a generous round-off. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 5 Weighted, 1421 respondents, approximate margin of error +/- 3%. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Upshot

Just as with a spaceship's carefully-calibrated mid-course corrections that make an ultimate difference of millions of miles, it does not take much to radically change the course of a multi-election political contest. A few quick bursts from the retrorockets at the right moment(s) will do the trick. Of course the dynamics of a campaign can change legitimately, as a result of the thrust and parry process, exposure of weaknesses, refutation of apparent inevitability, etc.

But the shift in dynamics of the 2008 Democratic nomination contest strongly correlated with a string of election results that raised serious red flags independent of their impact on the race. Glaring discrepancies far beyond the margin of error of exit polls and pre-election polls, and the confounding of the expected electoral dynamics, produced results that had the precise impact of prolonging and intensifying the nomination battle. Had the primary election results jibed with those independent measures and expectations, it would long since have been wrapped up.

Anyone actually in a position to take advantage of the vast array of security vulnerabilities in the computers that run our elections would have an obvious interest in remaining undetected. The safest path would be to take only what you need to achieve your bottom-line goal, and not one vote more. Anything beyond adds risk without reward.

Thus, in keeping with our hypothesis that the fundamental goal of primary contest electoral manipulation was to create “plausible defeatability” for the Democratic ticket in November, we would expect little additional manipulation in the last stages of the Democratic contest. It is apparent that an Obama defeat in November (and more extensive Democratic losses in down-ballot races) can be spun as a plausible consequence of the intra-party strife that has already been depicted as weakening the party and its nominee, and of apparent Obama weaknesses exposed in the course of the grueling nomination battle.

With such a cover story safely in place, even an against-the-odds Republican “victory” in November could be successfully spun and sold to the candidates, their parties, the media, and the voters.

The “Mystery Adjustment” Factor in Polling

One final observation concerning the pre-election polling that sets expectations for candidates, the mainstream media, and the voters themselves. We are deeply concerned that these polls too paint a false backdrop against which the signs of computerized electoral manipulation by insiders will appear diminished in magnitude over time, or even disappear.

The reason for this concern is obviously not that the fraternity of pollsters are knowingly acting to support or conceal systematic computerized electoral manipulation, but rather that pollsters simply cannot expect to stay in business if they consistently fail to predict the “actual” electoral results. The worst problem for a pollster is to be consistently “off” in the same direction.

Put another way, pollsters are not paid for achieving some abstract statistical purity but rather for accurate predictions—however achieved. If one places oneself in the position of a pollster who, time and again, is faced with results that are, say 6 – 8% more Republican than their predictions, or shifted in the direction the right wing would desire, it becomes clear that one would begin making a “mystery adjustment” to whatever data emerges from a clean survey methodology.

Such an adjustment can be easily generated by changes in demographic weighting that can at least in part be justified by reliance on data emerging from previous elections, themselves manipulated. Call it a fudge factor if you will, but it keeps the pollster in business, while failing to make such a correction would be professional suicide.

By way of corroboration of this phenomenon, in public dialogue with a major-party polling consultant, the following shocking admission was made: If the Democratic candidate is not leading by 10% going into the election in their internal polling, they expect the race to be a toss-up. This internal candidate polling is—unlike polls published for public consumption—intended to paint a ruthlessly accurate picture of contest dynamics to help the party prioritize expensive get-out-the-vote drives and last-minute media blitzes.

The fact that even major-party pollsters must adjust their own results to account for the “mystery swing” to the right is a strong indication that much the same distorting protocol is already being employed in public pre-election polling. When manipulated elections serve as the calibration tool for pre-election polling, we lose yet another independent check mechanism on the official computerized vote tabulation process. This only deepens the crisis.


Election theft is certainly hard to prove, with virtually all hard evidence withheld as proprietary; and even well-supported allegations by credible journalists, computer scientists, security professionals and election integrity activists are given a wide berth by both the mainstream media and the established political powers of both major parties.

Yet, even with the limited tools at our disposal, we keep discovering evidence—in pre-election polls, exit polls, and published election results–that is consistent with a pattern of widespread covert manipulation of vote counts.

We will continue to investigate and report these anomalies until a thorough and unblinking investigation of suspicious results is undertaken by those in position to collect the additional evidence needed to establish incontrovertible proof.

But since many of those in the best position to investigate election anomalies are themselves elected officials, our best hope may be to follow the recent example of Ireland and the Netherlands—dispense with voting computers, and simply count our own paper ballots by hand.

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4 Actions Anyone Can Do to Protect the Count

NEW Black Box Voting videos added: Actions 2, 3, 4 -- See Below


"Plan to be out in the field for 90 minutes on Election Night." While everyone's watching the VOTING, not enough people are watching the COUNTING!

Black Box Voting was asked by YouTube to prepare an easy-to-follow plan to Protect the Count on election night and the days that follow. In collaboration with, Election Defense Alliance, and YouTube, Black Box Voting has created a YouTube channel called Video Your Vote. This Protect the Count video series contains important information and several video clips never before made public. Every citizen needs to take initiative to protect the count. Actions vary according to the counting system used in your location.


1. View the 4 Protect the Count videos on this page and choose the action that best matches the voting system used in your locale. 2. Then read and download the complete Protect the Count action descriptions and instructions here:

Action 1. Video the Precinct Tally Tapes (4 min)

This action applies to most locations in America, and is the most important thing you can do to Protect the Count. The printed poll tally tapes show the voting machine vote totals BEFORE they leave the polling place. If citizens record the tally tapes as shown in this video, it will kick the legs out from under man-in-the-middle server substitution attacks.

This video moves a mile-a-minute, so be prepared to hit the "pause" button for a closer look. This Precinct Poll Tape action takes 90 minutes on Election Night. Go to your local polling place and make a video record of the precinct tally tapes posted on the poll doors at close of election. Then upload your videos to
Post links or comments for what you find in the state and jurisdiction folders at

If you live anywhere in America that has polling place results tapes, please also watch video # 3 (below) which shows what to look for to identify tampered poll tapes and the kinds of small errors on tapes that can appear with memory card tampering. Continue reading for Parts 2, 3, and 4 of the Protect the Count self-directed election monitoring plan.

Please distribute immediately and as widely as you can.

You can easily E-Mail this page by clicking the "E-mail Page" link at at the foot of this article.

Action 2. Protect the Count: Absentee/Central Count Ballots (8 min)

This action applies to 13 states with centrally counted ballots and/or heavy absentee voting). These are the most challenging Protect the Count locations.

Action 3. Protect the Count: New England/New Hampshire (5 min)

If you live anywhere in New England and can drive to any voting machine location in New Hampshire to observe and video poll closing, please do so.

Action 4. Protect the Count: New York (9 min)

New Yorkers are probably in the best shape for Election 2008, but not for long. This shows the details of how the counting of the lever machines proceeds after polls close, and gives you the details of the fight New Yorkers will have on your hands in 2009.

Pick 1 of the 4 actions above, then go here to download complete instructions to carry with you:

For guides to voting machine types by state and county, see: The VERIFIER

Upload your video reports to

Then post your video link to the appropriate state and county folder at the Black Box Voting (BBV) website,

Note: You will need to create a BBV user account to file your links. Once you have a username and password, click the prominent "Go To Your State Folder" button on the home page. Scroll down, click the folder for your state and drill down to the folder for your county to file your report.

Black Box Voting has developed training and infrastructure to upload election evidence but we are NOT going to attempt to organize this. This has to be up to YOU, THE CITIZENS, to self-organize using the four methods outlined in the Protect the Count plan.

Do not assume that someone else is protecting this election. I'm counting on you to be as proactive as possible to fight for your voting rights.

The actions in the Protect the Count series are self-serve, simple to do, and designed for just grabbing a neighbor or a buddy and taking action.

Don't worry about blanketing every area or organizing the whole state. Just pick a place and DO it.

I guarantee it will be a fascinating and important experience, and could provide THE crucial evidence in the very undesirable event that the election turns out not to be fair.
-- Bev Harris Founder - Black Box Voting

Let it be known:

Public citizens, observers, poll workers, will be Protecting the Count anywhere, randomly, unpredictably. Would-be cheaters: In 2008, tamper at your own peril. You'll never know where you're being watched!

Black Box Voting is working with Election Defense Alliance, YouTube and many other organizations. Let us know if your organization would like to be part of Protect the Count!

Pass this along to everyone you know.

Use the "E-mail this page" link at the foot of this story.

You can also plant the EDA News Widget (front page, right column) on any blog or website, where it will relay the current rotation of front-page articles from EDA, including this one on Protect the Count.

Election Protection, Voter Reports, and Direct Action Links

Where Is My Poll Site?

Caution on Provisional Ballots

Most at risk: OH AZ FL CA CO WI IN MI


National Election Protection Hotlines 1-866-OUR-VOTE 1-866-MY-VOTE-1

VOTER STORY Online Incident Report Form Fill out form in side bar, at RIGHT >>>>>>>>>>>>>

CNN Incident Report System EDA Poll Incident Report Form at right>>>>>>>>>

Download Incident Report Form


4 Actions to Protect the Count How-to Videos

Protect the Count Instructions and Download PDF

Wake Up and Save Your Country Voters Guide

Poll Monitoring Guide by Count the Vote/VotersUnite


A Call to Electoral Action by the Ruckus Society

Election Action Toolkit Download

EDA Code Orange Rapid Response -- Nonviolent vigilance on election night and forward. Register your phone number for emergency action calls

No More Stolen Elections -- Voter Assemblies on the day after and forward


Swinging Elections




Poll_Incident_Rpt_Form.pdf71.87 KB
Poll_Monitoring_Guide_VU.rtf.pdf54.3 KB
BBV_EDA_Protect_the_Count_08.pdf133.67 KB

Ellen Brodsky Vindicated, Broward County Drops Charges


Congratulations to Ellen Brodsky and her attorney Tanner Andrews

Florida election integrity advocate Ellen Brodsky was arrested last November on false charges of misdemeanor trespass, for attempting to witness a public meeting involving counting of the votes in Broward County. Now, Broward County has dropped all charges, basically admitting they had arrested her without legal cause. This is an outrage for a citizen like Ellen to be arrested for exercising her rights to make sure our votes are counted accurately.

A post-acquittal news interview with Ellen Brodsky and her attorney Tanner Andrews

Video URL:

BradBlog has covered the story in detail:

Exclusive: All Charges Dropped Against FL Election Integrity Advocate Arrested Last November

Broward County, FL, has dropped all charges against a local Election Integrity advocate whose arrest, described by an election official and other colleagues at the time as "outrageous," was captured on video tape late last year. Ellen Brodsky, who had been a non-partisan candidate for Supervisor of Elections in last November's election, was arrested at the apparent behest of the office of the county's current Supervisor of Elections --- Brodsky's Democratic opponent in the race --- Dr. Brenda C. Snipes, while trying to view public, post-election counting and canvassing of ballots.

She was charged, at the time, with "disorderly conduct" and "trespassing," forced to spend the night in jail, and not released until nearly 6:00am the next morning, even though her son had posted the required $25 (twenty-five dollar) bail for her by 8:30pm on the evening of her arrest. The "disorderly conduct" charges were dropped some time later, following the release of a video tape of the incident as posted by The BRAD BLOG in the days following the arrest.

The tape, reposted again at the bottom of this article, revealed that Brodsky's conduct had been anything but disorderly when the county police were summoned by Fred Bellis, a deputy election official from Snipes' office, and Brodsky was thrown into handcuffs and hauled away. While Brodsky's trial on a "trespassing" charge had been set to start today, a last-minute offer to drop all charges, in exchange for admissions by Brodsky that she would not be disruptive in the future, was sent to her last night from Snipes' attorney.

See BradBlog for the complete story:


Some Comments in Reply to the YouTube Video:

Tanner and Ellen you are HEROS ! Shame on the Broward State Attorney for not dropping this right off the bat- Ellen had video tape (thank god, or she would still be in jail) proving that she was not inside the building at the time she was arrested. Huge amounts of shame on Benda Snipes and her assistant Fred Bellis for sending Ellen to jail for exercising her RIGHTS as a citizen. Broward is such an anti-democratic backwater sometimes!


Ellen Brodsky demonstrated great courage when she risked her safety in order to exercise her right to observe the counting of votes. Her vindication following maltreatment and incarceration is a lesson to timid citizens that is possible to prevail when defending one's constitutional rights. The state attorneys also need to be appreciated for following the law in this instance, instead of attempting to confect a case that would further punish the defendant.


Ms. Brodsky had to agree to obey the law even though she had committed no crime, and Broward county had merely to agree to obey the law even though they HAD committed several crimes (intimidation, harassment, false arrest, wasting taxpayer money with a frivolous case, and barring the public from public meetings), probably to cover up OTHER crimes (rigged elections). Is it justice to treat habitual criminals (Broward county) and a law-abiding citizen (Ms. Brodsky) exactly the same way?








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2004 Election Investigations

What Had Happened?
From Hermes Press

Dissenters, subjected to the usual "get over it" routine, had to go to the International Press Service for a hearing. Ralph Nader described radical Republican tactics to the IPS, "What they 'do' is minorities, and make sure that there aren't enough voting machines for the minority areas. They have to wait in line ... for hours, and most of them don't. There are all kinds of ways, and that's why I was quoted as saying, 'this election was hijacked from A to Z.'"

Harvey Wasserman, author and lecturer, told the International Press Service,

"As far as I'm concerned, this election was clearly stolen. What they did in Ohio was systematically deny thousands of African Americans, and other suspected Democrats, the vote.

"It was like Mississippi in the fifties, and it was deliberate ... had there been enough (voting) machines, and had people equal access to the polls with a reliable vote count, there is no doubt that John Kerry would have carried Ohio."

2004: The Stolen Election

Original can be found here

By Michael Parenti
The Columbus Free Press
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The 2004 presidential contest between Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry and the Republican incumbent, President Bush Jr., amounted to another stolen election. This has been well documented by such investigators as Rep. John Conyers, Mark Crispin Miller, Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, Bev Harris, and others. Here is an overview of what they have reported, along with observations of my own.

Some 105 million citizens voted in 2000, but in 2004 the turnout climbed to at least 122 million. Pre-election surveys indicated that among the record 16.8 million new voters Kerry was a heavy favorite, a fact that went largely unreported by the press. In addition, there were about two million progressives who had voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 who switched to Kerry in 2004.

Yet the official 2004 tallies showed Bush with 62 million votes, about 11.6 million more than he got in 2000. Meanwhile Kerry showed only eight million more votes than Gore received in 2000. To have achieved his remarkable 2004 tally, Bush would needed to have kept all his 50.4 million from 2000, plus a majority of the new voters, plus a large share of the very liberal Nader defectors.

Nothing in the campaign and in the opinion polls suggest such a mass crossover. The numbers simply do not add up. In key states like Ohio, the Democrats achieved immense success at registering new voters, outdoing the Republicans by as much as five to one. Moreover the Democratic party was unusually united around its candidate-or
certainly against the incumbent president. In contrast, prominent elements within the GOP displayed open disaffection, publicly voicing serious misgivings about the Bush administration's huge budget deficits, reckless foreign policy, theocratic tendencies, and threats to individual liberties.

Sixty newspapers that had endorsed Bush in 2000 refused to do so in 2004; forty of them endorsed Kerry. All through election day 2004, exit polls showed Kerry ahead by 53 to 47 percent, giving him a nationwide edge of about 1.5 million votes, and a solid victory in the electoral college. Yet strangely enough, the official tally gave Bush the election. Here are some examples of how the GOP "victory" was secured.

---In some places large numbers of Democratic registration forms disappeared, along with absentee ballots and provisional ballots. Sometimes absentee ballots were mailed out to voters just before election day, too late to be returned on time, or they were never mailed at all.

---Overseas ballots normally reliably distributed by the State Department were for some reason distributed by the Pentagon in 2004. Nearly half of the six million American voters living abroad---a noticeable number of whom formed anti-Bush organizations---never received their ballots or got them too late to vote. Military personnel, usually more inclined toward supporting the president, encountered no such problems with their overseas ballots.

---Voter Outreach of America, a company funded by the Republican National Committee, collected thousands of voter registration forms in Nevada, promising to turn them in to public officials, but then systematically destroyed the ones belonging to Democrats.

--- Tens of thousands of Democratic voters were stricken from the rolls in several states because of "felonies" never committed, or committed by someone else, or for no given reason. Registration books in Democratic precincts were frequently out-of-date or incomplete.

---Democratic precincts---enjoying record turnouts---were deprived of sufficient numbers of polling stations and voting machines, and many of the machines they had kept breaking down. After waiting long hours many people went home without voting. Pro-Bush precincts almost always had enough voting machines, all working well to make voting quick and convenient.

---A similar pattern was observed with student populations in several states: students at conservative Christian colleges had little or no wait at the polls, while students from liberal arts colleges were forced to line up for as long as ten hours, causing many to give up.

---In Lucas County, Ohio, one polling place never opened; the voting machines were locked in an office and no one could find the key. In Hamilton County many absentee voters could not cast a Democratic vote for president because John Kerry's name had been "accidentally" removed when Ralph Nader was taken off the ballot.

---A polling station in a conservative evangelical church in Miami County, Ohio, recorded an impossibly high turnout of 98 percent, while a polling place in Democratic inner-city Cleveland recorded an impossibly low turnout of 7 percent.

---Latino, Native American, and African American voters in New Mexico who favored Kerry by two to one were five times more likely to have their ballots spoiled and discarded in districts supervised by Republican election officials. Many were given provisional ballots that subsequently were never counted. In these same Democratic areas Bush "won" an astonishing 68 to 31 percent upset victory. One Republican judge in New Mexico discarded hundreds of provisional ballots cast for Kerry, accepting only those that were for Bush.

---Cadres of rightwing activists, many of them religious fundamentalists, were financed by the Republican Party. Deployed to key Democratic precincts, they handed out flyers warning that voters who had unpaid parking tickets, an arrest record, or owed child support would be arrested at the polls---all untrue. They went door to door offering to "deliver" absentee ballots to the proper office, and announcing that Republicans were to vote on Tuesday (election day) and Democrats on Wednesday.

---Democratic poll watchers in Ohio, Arizona, and other states, who tried to monitor election night vote counting, were menaced and shut out by squads of GOP toughs. In Warren County, Ohio, immediately after the polls closed Republican officials announced a "terrorist attack" alert, and ordered the press to leave. They then moved all ballots to a warehouse where the counting was conducted in secret, producing an amazingly high tally for Bush, some 14,000 more votes than he had received in 2000. It wasn't the
terrorists who attacked Warren County.

---Bush did remarkably well with phantom populations. The number of his votes in Perry and Cuyahoga counties in Ohio, exceeded the number of registered voters, creating turnout rates as high as 124 percent. In Miami County nearly 19,000 additional votes eerily appeared in Bush's column after all precincts had reported. In a small conservative suburban precinct of Columbus, where only 638 people were registered, the touchscreen machines tallied 4,258 votes for Bush.

---In almost half of New Mexico's counties, more votes were reported than were recorded as being cast, and the tallies were consistently in Bush's favor. These ghostly results were dismissed by New Mexico's Republican Secretary of State as an "administrative lapse."

Exit polls showed Kerry solidly ahead of Bush in both the popular vote and the electoral college. Exit polls are an exceptionally accurate measure of elections. In the last three elections in Germany, for example, exit polls were never off by more than three-tenths of one percent.

Unlike ordinary opinion polls, the exit sample is drawn from people who have actually just voted. It rules out those who say they will vote but never make it to the polls, those who cannot be sampled because they have no telephone or otherwise cannot be reached at home, those who are undecided or who change their minds about whom to support, and those who are turned away at the polls for one reason or another.

Exit polls have come to be considered so reliable that international organizations use them to validate election results in countries around the world.

Republicans argued that in 2004 the exit polls were inaccurate because they were taken only in the morning when Kerry voters came out in greater numbers. (Apparently Bush voters sleep late.) In fact, the polling was done at random intervals all through the day, and the evening results were as much favoring Kerry as the early results.

It was also argued that pollsters focused more on women (who favored Kerry) than men, or maybe large numbers of grumpy Republicans were less inclined than cheery Democrats to talk to pollsters. No evidence was put forth to substantiate these fanciful speculations.

Most revealing, the discrepancies between exit polls and official tallies were never random but worked to Bush's advantage in ten of eleven swing states that were too close to call, sometimes by as much as 9.5 percent as in New Hampshire, an unheard of margin of error for an exit poll. In Nevada, Ohio, New Mexico, and Iowa exit polls registered solid victories for Kerry, yet the official tally in each case went to Bush, a mystifying outcome.

In states that were not hotly contested the exit polls proved quite accurate. Thus exit polls in Utah predicted a Bush victory of 70.8 to 26.4 percent; the actual result was 71.1 to 26.4 percent. In Missouri, where the exit polls predicted a Bush victory of 54 to 46 percent, the final result was 53 to 46 percent.

One explanation for the strange anomalies in vote tallies was found in the widespread use of touchscreen electronic voting machines. These machines produced results that consistently favored Bush over Kerry, often in chillingly consistent contradiction to exit polls.

In 2003 more than 900 computer professionals had signed a petition urging that all touchscreen systems include a verifiable audit trail. Touchscreen voting machines can be easily programmed to go dead on election day or throw votes to the wrong candidate or make votes disappear while leaving the impression that everything is working fine.

A tiny number of operatives can easily access the entire computer network through one machine and thereby change votes at will. The touchscreen machines use trade secret code, and are tested, reviewed, and certified in complete secrecy. Verified counts are impossible because the machines leave no reliable paper trail.

Since the introduction of touchscreen voting, mysterious congressional election results have been increasing. In 2000 and 2002, Senate and House contests and state legislative races in North Carolina, Nebraska, Alabama, Minnesota, Colorado, and elsewhere produced dramatic and puzzling upsets, always at the expense of Democrats who were ahead in the polls.

In some counties in Texas, Virginia, and Ohio, voters who pressed the Democrat's name found that the Republican candidate was chosen. In Cormal County, Texas, three GOP candidates won by exactly 18,181 votes apiece, a near statistical impossibility.

All of Georgia's voters used Diebold touchscreen machines in 2002, and Georgia's incumbent Democratic governor and incumbent Democratic senator, who were both well ahead in the polls just before the election, lost in amazing double-digit voting shifts.

This may be the most telling datum of all: In New Mexico in 2004 Kerry lost all precincts equipped with touchscreen machines, irrespective of income levels, ethnicity, and past voting patterns. The only thing that consistently correlated with his defeat in those precincts was the presence of the touchscreen machine itself.

In Florida Bush registered inexplicably sharp jumps in his vote (compared to 2000) in counties that used touchscreen machines. Companies like Diebold, Sequoia, and ES&S that market the touchscreen machines are owned by militant supporters of the Republican party. These companies have consistently refused to implement a paper-trail to dispel suspicions and give instant validation to the results of electronic voting.
They prefer to keep things secret, claiming proprietary rights, a claim that has been backed in court.

Election officials are not allowed to evaluate the secret software. Apparently corporate trade secrets are more important than voting rights. In effect, corporations have privatized the electoral system, leaving it easily susceptible to fixed outcomes. Given this situation, it is not likely that the GOP will lose control of Congress come November 2006. The two-party monopoly threatens to become an even worse one-party tyranny.

Michael Parenti's recent books include The Assassination of Julius Caesar (New Press), Superpatriotism (City Lights), and The Culture Struggle (Seven Stories Press). For more information visit: © 2006 The Columbus Free Press

Ohio Justice Campaign Pursues 2004 Ballot Destruction in Ohio

Ohio's Democracy Warriors, Smoking Guns, and Preventing Unwanted Presidencies

The Ohio Election Justice Campaign

  • 62 DAYS & COUNTING... Read the latest letter (10/08/07) from The Ohio Justice Campaign to Marc Dann and Jennifer Brunner!
  • UNCOUNTED -- This controversial feature length film by Emmy award-winning director David Earnhardt examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S.

"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known
better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph"
-- Haile Selassie

Yes, believe it! Pictured right are white stickers placed over the Kerry-Edward ovals. Photos of these 2004 opti-scan ballots from Clermont County were taken by Richard Hayes Phillips and Paddy Shaffer on August 6, 2007 at the office of Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner.

What did SOS Brunner have to say about this startling discovery? According to Paddy Shaffer, “We requested that Jennifer or other top staff
come to room 1706 and look at these ballots, actual physical evidence of the theft of the 2004 election.  We were there for several hours working... not one person showed up, even though we were right in their own office.”

Also worth noting,  Phillips and Shaffer only found and photographed two stickered ballots.  Back in December `04, recount observers from Clermont County remarked, "On some ballots, there was a sticker on the ballot, the Kerry vote was covered with a sticker — no one could explain these stickers...May have to invoke tampering, defiling statutes."
More information about Clermont County is available on

Where were the rest of the stickered ballots?  Perhaps in those boxes of unused ballots that the Clermont County Board of Election
failed turn in to the SOS’s office.  Add those to the staggering total of over 1.6 million election ballots that have been shredded, dumped, soaked by coffee, flooded, lost, or disappeared by 56 of 88 Boards of Elections across Ohio.
To understand the significance of these ballots, read "Shreds of Evidence"

by Richard Hayes Phillips, PhD.

How could this happen? Prior to the 2004 election, Secretary of State Blackwell reminded Ohio’s 88 BOE officials that all election-related
materials would be under federal protection until September 2, 2006.  Then, on August 31, 2006, in response to the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville civil rights suit against Blackwell, Judge Marbley ordered all of Ohio's 88 counties to "…preserve all ballots from the 2004 presidential election on paper or in any other format, including electronic data, unless and until such time otherwise instructed by this court." 

Clearly, some election officials didn’t take their job to protect the ballots very seriously. Read this partial list of excuses!

Voting rights activists in Ohio and across the country want to know if Attorney General Mark Dann is going to prosecute any officials for destroying ballots. Federal and state laws have been broken:

  1. Elections officials who "destroy, or mutilate any" elections records under Ohio Revised Code 3599.16 are guilty of a Fourth Degree Felony
  2. “Destruction of election records before expiration of time for contest” Ohio Revised Code 3599.34 is a Fifth Degree Felony
  3. "Tampering with ballots" Ohio Revised Code 3599.26 is a Fifth Degree Felony

Incredibly, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner appears to be defending the officials’ behavior, saying they didn't intentionally
destroy the ballots. Shaffer disagrees. “Actually they did destroy those ballots on purpose.  Warren and Fayette Counties wrote that they ‘intentionally destroyed’ them in their letters of explanation."

Promises, Promises!
Be sure to watch excerpts of campaign promises made by Jennifer Brunner, Marc Dann, John Eastman and Tim Kettler posted by Jeffrey Kirkby, owner of the movie production company, Voices of Cleveland and Beyond Productions LLC.

The Ohio Election Justice Campaign, led by Paddy Shaffer, (founder of Artists for Justice) is demanding an investigation into the election
crimes of 2004 and the willful destruction of the ballots in 56 of 88 Ohio counties.  To that end, nearly 100 national and local election activists,
investigators and experts have signed on to meet with Brunner, and Dann, to present evidence and ask for action.
Check out the guest list!

If you are an Election Integrity Advocate or expert wishing to present material regarding the Ohio 2004 election, or a member of the media wanting to cover this event, email Paddy Shaffer for more information.

There are smoking guns in Ohio, and for the sake of our democracy, we need to find them. The Ohio Election Justice campaign needs
your financial help!  All proceeds from the sale of “Cheated!” will help fund this all-important cause. Click here to buy your copy!

Need more information? Check out all of the news stories and documents collected below:

Compiled by Ohio Justice Campaign; first published by Nancy Tobi at

OH_Shreds_of_Evidence_RHPhillips.pdf126.04 KB

Ballot Evidence Proves 2004 OH Election Fraud

Investigator Richard Hayes Phillips' evidentiary declaration in the lawsuit King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association, et al. vs. Kenneth Blackwell: 18 pages of evidence of ballot manipulation in 11 Ohio counties, based on direct examination of the actual ballots.

Click here to display PDF file

Election Night Timeline: Kerry Winning, Computer Goes Down, Bush "Wins"

Click here to download a PDF of this illuminating Timeline of Election Night, Nov. 2nd, 2004 developed by Beth Peterson and originally published by the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition.

Recount-Proof Manual Hack of OpScan Ballots in AZ, 2004

Originally published at OpEdNews

June 5, 2006

How the 2004 Election was Stolen on Optical Scanners:
John Brakey and the "Hack and Stack"

By David Griscom

Early in the wee hours of 3 November 2004, the day after Election Day, the website showed an updated exit poll which had Kerry leading Bush nationally by 2.6%. But soon thereafter the vote counting equipment reported Bush ahead of Kerry by almost the mirror image: 2.8%.

Never before had the U.S. national exit polls been so wrong …or WERE they?

11 November 2004, David Cobb and Michael Badnarik, the Green and Libertarian candidates for president, announced their intentions to file a formal demand for a recount of the ballots cast for president in the pivotal state of Ohio. This recount (conducted by Ohio SOS Kenneth Blackwell!) was officially terminated on 31 December 2005 after a recount of about 3% of the vote, which found 734 additional votes for Kerry and 449 additional votes for Bush.

Flash forward to 31 August 2005: Two Ohio election officials are indicted for failing to RANDOMLY pick the precincts to be recounted:

Then on 10 March 2006 the Associated Press told us that "[T]he third highest-ranking employee at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has been indicted on charges of mishandling ballots during the 2004 presidential election recount."

What was the big deal about failing to randomly select precincts for recounting?
The answer lies in John Brakey's "Hack and Stack."

Let us return to Election Day 2004. John Brakey is going about his duties as Democratic Cluster Captain for four precincts in a heavily Hispanic,80%-non-Republican district of Tucson, Arizona. When he entered these polling places to collect "tear sheets" (carbon copies of the record of the names of voters issued ballots) he was met with hostility by poll workers at three of them, and he observed irregular things going on at these three stations throughout the day.

Finally, more than an hour after the polls were closed, John returned to the Pct 324 polling place (his home precinct) where, to the mutual shock of all concerned, he stumbled upon the poll workers apparently in the process of altering the records. These workers cursed and menaced John until he withdrew [see p. 132 in Mark Crispin Miller's book, Fooled Again - How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)].

Like the "mild mannered Clark Kent" who became Superman when "truth, justice, and the American way" needed defending, John had risen up in the past to successfully sue a company that had been cheating subcontractors in Tucson. And, given that part of the court-ordered settlement required him to become publicly silent on what he knew, he headed "south of the border" for 14 years, where before long he was butting heads with crooked Mexican politicians in his successful defense of the Gulf of California against over fishing by commercial interests.

Now flash back once again to the morning of 3 November 2004. John Brakey took a page from election-theft-sleuth Greg Palast and went back to the Pct 324 polling place to poke in the trash. What he recovered there were the "ballot information slips" (3x3" slips of paper used by poll workers to record each arriving voter's registration number, party affiliation, and whether or not required to vote a provisional ballot) But these particular slips proved to be replete with non-standard indexing notations not normally used by poll workers. It was a consecutive numbering scheme (including some "alternate" consecutive numbers!!!), which would have enabled these poll workers to reorder (or alter) all other Election Day records at their whim.

What John did next was the most astonishing. He began working 18-hour days, seven days a week, collecting all public records relating to the nearly 2,000 voters registered at Pct 324 -- including those who didn't vote in 2004, as well as the 895 who officially voted (and 33 who signed a document at the polling place on Election Day but whose ballots were NOT counted). John manually entered these data into immense color-coded Excel spreadsheets which he and I began to pore over. By New Year's Day 2005, John had put in about 1,000 hours! My own contribution might have reached a paltry 300 hours.

By way of self-introduction, 2006 marks my 40th year as a research physicist. I am therefore well-accustomed to sifting through Mother Nature's misleading clues in an ongoing struggle to understand some of the realities that she tries so hard to conceal from us. But, like Isaac Newton, I have to admit that own my successes owe largely to my "standing on the backs of giants." That is, physicists of the past provided me a legacy of proven theories as starting points. (In popular terms, I was spared having to "reinvent the wheel.")

But Karl Rove's election fraudsters appear to have created a system that, in retrospect, must have been designed specifically to confound crime scene investigators (at least until after the Joint Session of Congress met to accept the Electoral College results on January 6th). The laws of physics were of zero help to me here. I found myself sifting through misleading clues conjured, not by Mother Nature, but by human beings -- ones possessed of especially criminal minds.

John Brakey found most of the irregular patterns in the data, and I dedicated myself to trying to decide which of these patterns were causes and which were effects. In particular, I wanted to be able to deduce which causes or effects were incidental/innocent and which were artifactual/criminal. I was greatly aided in this quest by bouncing my ideas off Tucson-voting-machine-expert and Ph.D. electrical engineer, Tom Ryan. Tom tended to be the devil's advocate for "incidental/innocent." His counterpoint to my suspicious nature forced me to assemble John's data into all possible quantifiable categories, and seriously consider possible innocent explanations of each. When the dust finally settled, my conclusion was that the evidence irrefutably favors of "artifactual/criminal."

I won't go deeper into my evidence or arguments, beyond emphasizing the following: The poll-worker-instigated annotations on the ballot information slips that John recovered from the morning-after-Election-Day trash at Pct 324 provided a workable mechanism for deliberately creating numerical patterns that are "statistically impossible" if they are supposed to have happened by random accident (longer story available on request).

Suffice it to say that we have found evidence that Pct-324 poll workers STUFFED the (optical scan) ballot box with HAND COUNTABLE PAPER BALLOTS (HCPBs) that had the effect of shifting the presidential vote in this precinct by at least 12.8%. If the paper ballots in the box were to be RE-counted by hand, the votes on paper would agree with the votes counted by the (un-hacked) optical scanner -- even though by my count 44 Kerry valid ballots were made to disappear and 80 Bush ballots were illegally created by the poll workers.

John calls such an act by colluding poll workers "the STACK." The type of person who would shamelessly commit such a crime against our democracy has been examined in immense detail by Mark Crispin Miller in his book Fooled Again. There are certainly enough of these folks (around 40 million) to have infiltrated most or all poll-worker positions in several percent of the polling stations nationwide.

I suppose that by now everyone knows about "the HACK" (specifically, the "Hursti Hack"):

But let my just give the technical summary. In 2004, approximately 25 million Americans voted on optical-scan voting machines employing 1.94w memory cards. The 1.94w card illegally contains "interpreted codes" which can be hacked to change the final ballot counts without leaving a trace ...EXCEPT for the HCPBs inside the ballot box.

So if just a few percent of the ballot boxes are stuffed in the manner that John Brakey and I have uncovered at Pct 324 -- and crooked election officials manage to pick only those precincts for recounts (which are SUPPOSED to have been randomly selected) -- the more widely executed HACK would be covered up.

Is there evidence that this might have been what happened?

The reader should decide for him/herself by inspecting the accompanying graphic labeled "2004 Florida and Pennsylvania Registration and Voting." This graphic was picked from a now-defunct internet site,, which employed raw data found (and still available) at

American Image's unique contribution was to show

(a) voter registration by party,
(b) 2004 ballot tallies for president,
(c) voting machine type, and
(d) county size,

ALL ON THE SAME GRAPH, by using a color scale to portray both (a) and (b).
The most spectacular thing you will see in this graphic is that the 25 smallest counties in Florida THAT EMPLOYED DIEBOLD OPTICAL-SCAN machines were the most skewed toward Bush.
That is, the dark-to-medium blue colors in the left column signify that 10 to 30% of the electorate were registered Republican in these 25 counties, whereas the medium-green-to-red-magenta colors in the second column signify that 45 to 80% of these same voters appeared to choose Bush in 2004.

Why should the pro-Bush skew be confined (mostly) to the smallest counties? And why is this skew mainly confined to voters who voted on optical-scan machines?

My answer to the first question is that
(1) the smallest counties are probably the most vulnerable to takeovers of the polling places by colluding poll workers (the "STACK"),
(2) small counties are less likely to be checked by exit polls, and
(3) Karl Rove is thereby enabled to play on the myth of the "Dixiecrat effect" in small rural counties in Florida.

As for the second question, it is easy to suppose that Karl knew that the touch-screen machines would the objects of much suspicion, so by minimizing vote theft on the touch screens (this time), an illusion of honesty could be achieved.

Greg Palast
believes that the 2004 Election was stolen by means of the disappearance of 3.6 million ballots that were cast but not counted. (The U.S. Census Bureau places the figure at 3.4 million.)

However, a September 2005 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office
recognizes that there is evidence that security weaknesses in voting machines "…have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and MISCOUNT [emphasis added] of votes." So, while Palast focuses on the LOST votes, John Brakey and I have homed in on the MISCOUNTS.

One method of miscounting has been demonstrated by Harri Hursi (links above). Namely, it entails flipping votes for candidate A to candidate B and vice versa, by inserting executable codes into the 1.94w memory cards associated with the optical-scan ballot boxes (the "HACK").

When the HACK is covered up by the STACK (i.e., only precincts where the ballot boxes were stuffed by colluding poll workers are "randomly selected" for hand recounting), we become victims of a scam that John Brakey has termed the "HACK and STACK."

That is, a hand recount of the HCPBs in a STACKED precinct would be found to agree with the official ballot tally - even though the poll workers had shuffled ballots in and out in order to skew totals away from the way the voters actually voted.

On the other hand, the remaining, NON-STACKED precincts using optical-scan ballot boxes with 1.94w memory cards are vulnerable to HACKING, which could be adjusted to skew the official tallies to approximately the same degree as the STACKED ones. But big the difference is that any hand recount of a HACKED-but-NOT STACKED precinct would instantly reveal the actual MISCOUNT.

With 25 million voters voting on optical-scan machines in 2004, the HACK and STACK alone could have been sufficient to steal the election -- despite the fact that voter-marked HCPBs were employed. If only a few percent of the precincts had only been truly RANDOMLY SELECTED for hand recounts, the HACK would have been detected. Then we would now be talking about a conspiracy to steal the election as a PROVEN FACT instead of denigrating election-integrity researchers as "conspiracy theorists."

Moral: As long as optical-scanners are with us, we must assure TRULY RANDOM RECOUNTS.

Authors Bio: David L. Griscom, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, retired in 2001 from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, where he had been a research physicist for 33 years. He has subsequently held visiting professorships of research at the Universities of Paris and Saint-Etienne, France, and Tokyo Institute of Technology; he was also Adjunct Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at The University of Arizona in Tucson. By virtue of his collaboration with John Brakey, Griscom was an invited presenter at both the National Election Reform Conference (Nashville, April 2005) and the Election Protection Hearing (Houston, June 2005)

How American Elections Became a Criminal Enterprise

Click here for an outstanding summary and pictures of the 2004 stolen election.

Cuyahoga, 2004: How Kerry Votes Were Switched to Bush

OHIO 2004: 6.15% Kerry-Bush Vote-switch Found in Probability Study

Defining the vote outcome probabilities of wrong-precinct voting has revealed, in a sample of 166,953 votes (1 of every 34 Ohio votes), the Kerry-Bush margin changes 6.15% when the population is sorted by probable outcomes of wrong-precinct voting.

The Kerry to Bush 6.15% vote-switch differential is seen when the large sample is sorted by probability a Kerry wrong-precinct vote counts for Bush. When the same large voter sample is sorted by the probability Kerry votes count for third-party candidates, Kerry votes are instead equal in both subsets.

Read the revised article with graphs of new findings:

The 2004 Ohio Presidential Election: Cuyahoga County Analysis
How Kerry Votes Were Switched to Bush Votes

Also, see the PowerPoint presentation:

Why the 2004 Election Matters More than Ever

Link: "Scoop" Independent News

Notes from the Underground
Why the 2004 Election Matters More than Ever

Notes from the Underground Richard Jacksties © with permission

Part 1: The Meaning of the Legend

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC
Part 1 of series
Election 2004: The Urban Legend

Election Magic

Imagine a night at the theater.* A magician comes on stage with a corpse in tow. A doctor from the audience confirms that it is in fact the very real human corpse of a middle aged white male. The magician passes his hand over the corpse just once. It gets up, dances a gig, and leaves the stage. The reanimated middle age man who was once dead returns for an encore.

You’re aghast! You go back stage and confront the magician, “How did you do that?” The magician responds sincerely, “I have no idea.”

Does that make him a magician?

Now imagine that after you question the entertainer, he rolls out another corpse, which is undoubtedly a quite dead middle aged white male. The magician says, “Just pass your hand over the corpse once.” You do, and the corpse arises, dances a gig and leaves the dressing room asking the first person he sees where to get a cab.

Does that make you a magician?


On election night 2004, the networks came on the air and announced that George W. Bush had won the presidential contest to become 43rd president of the United States.

Earlier in the day, there were leaked reports revealing the results of the networks’ own exit polls conducted by a distinguished polling firm. The reports had the White House in a panic. Bush was sure to lose given the trends. According to the exits, he was losing his base, the rural segment of the population that had carried him to victory in 2000. Turnout in the Republican suburbs was not much greater than in the country as a whole, and new voters were going for Kerry 60% to 40%.

The final leaked poll was enough to bring broad smiles to the faces of Democratic leaders and committed campaign workers who had gathered in union halls and hotel ballrooms across the nation.

Then, as if by magic, the 11 pm Election Day vote tallies told a different story. These were accepted by the network reporters as an ex cathedra dictate from the American electorate. We were told that the pious Red prevailed once again over the decadent Blue, a replay of 2000 we were told. Bush was reelected.

The optimistic mood of the Kerry campaign and Democratic faithful was crushed in the twinkling of an eye. What happened? What about the exit polls?

The still corpse of the Bush campaign had been reanimated. It arose from the death of certain defeat, danced a gig, and trotted off center stage to do its considerable damage for the next three years: death and destruction in Iraq; dismantling of the United States Constitution; the abandonment of Katrina’s survivors (for all the world to see); augmented by an impressive and elaborate parade of other calamities that are all attributed to this feat of magic on election night.

How Did They Do It?

Quite simply … by magic. According to the final exit poll, the only heat Bush won, he had two million less votes in the rural segment of the population. That segment went from 23% of the electorate in 2000 to 16% in 2004. Bush made marginal gains in the suburbs. He was headed for disaster rolling into the cities. He picked up steam in cities with populations 50,000 to 500,000, by breaking even in 2004 after a 17% loss to Gore in 2000.

But it was big city dwellers that passed their collective hand over the Bush corpse and brought it to life. He was on life supports before the big city totals were factored in. All that Kerry had to do was match the Gore big city percentage and he would be the next president. According to the day after election final exit poll, big city turnout was up 66%, Bush votes increased 153% (Fig. 5) over 2000 there, and white voters (Figs. 6 & 7) in big cities went from five million in 2000 to nine million in 2004.

Had some would-be campaign operative passed his hand over our largest cities and reanimated white males in sufficient quantity to save the seemingly doomed Bush and doom the rest of us?

Election 2004: The Urban Legend

On June 13th of this year, “Scoop” Independent News published Election 2004: The Urban Legend. I wrote the article based in large part on the research of Internet poster Anaxarchos. The figures cited above from the final national exit pool exit poll and the absurdist conclusions forced from those figures demonstrate that there is no reason to have faith in the final poll result and, as a result, no reason to believe that there is a coherent narrative to justify the election results and the Bush victory.

We’re like the incredulous audience member who went back stage to confront the magician. Even though we can do the trick ourselves by passing our hands over the questionable reported results and the final exit poll to justify continued political life to someone who looked like a sure loser, there’s a foul magic to the process.

Where are the Critics of the Urban Legend?

When the article was published, it received wide spread attention across America’s only uncensored news source, the Internet. Multiple sites posted the article in full, not a common event for a 7,500 word analysis. Major figures in the free and fair elections movement provided their endorsement including Mark Crispin Miller and Ernest Partridge.

We anticipated a full scale assault from friends of the network’s long time polling company, Edison Mitofsky (EM). Nothing much materialized. This was surprising since our reporting and interpretation of the network – EM presentation of the urban results dooms that poll to the status of a failed effort, at the very least, and, more likely, one of the biggest ever failures in public opinion polling.

Anaxarchos Responds to the Missing Critics

Recently, I received a letter from Anaxarchos containing his remarkable comments on the few criticisms offered and, more importantly, an elaboration on the initial article. I’d encourage you to read the full letter (see Appendix) as well as this article.


Anaxarchos: “Having looked carefully at the critical reviews, it appears to me that your critics have entirely missed the import of your piece and its underlying analysis. I could review many of the subsidiary points they raise, but that seems unimportant compared to the two larger points that they don’t mention.”

He’s correct. Those who ridicule critics who question the results of the 2004 election were restrained to say the least. This was surprising. The Bush defenders have left no criticism of the election results unturned, particularly those related to the exit polls. Why the restraint?

There were no substantive responses to Urban Legend because there could be none. The claim that turnout in the big cities (500,000 or greater) went up 66% was demolished entirely through simple political commentary. Why would urban residents’ turnout in waves propelling Bush to victory when the rest of the country was only at a 16% increase in turnout? What had Bush done for them to justify this first ever rousing level of support? More importantly, when in our history did an incumbent president lose share and actual votes in his strongest area (in this case, the rural segment) and gain steam and secure an election victory in hostile territory (the big cities)?

The claim of the 66% increase in turnout was also put to a final rest by the incorporation of actual city turnout data made available on election night and finalized shortly there after. Specifically, actual city voting results showed that city turnout increases were only about 16%, (Chart 1) the reported average for the country. These big city results were, in some cases, reported on election eve by the very networks that paid for the exit polls and by the exit pollsters who claim to reconcile their final results to the election results. One must wonder if the right hand was giving to the left the full story.

Could the polling company and their sponsors, the major networks (plus CNN and the Associated Press) have been this ignorant of what was happening in New York City? The results reported on local news outlets owned by the networks showed a 12% increase in turnout? That’s 54 points below the claimed urban increase of 66%. New York is, after all, the headquarters of the television network poll sponsors and near the headquarters of the polling company. Did they simply ignore these results in their haste to produce their version of the final exit poll the day after the election? And why wasn’t there any comment on the more than obvious disparity between the actual results for big cities, particularly on turnout, and the polling results they continued to show long after the certified vote count for big cities became available to everyone. This is a critical question addressing the integrity of the entire exit polling and reporting process for 2004.

The Entire Narrative of the Election

Anaxarchos elaborates the first big error of the exit pollsters and network consortium

Anaxarchos: “It seems to me that the most important implications of “Urban Legend” are these:

1) The entire narrative of the 2004 election is built on the foundation of the exit polls. There is virtually no other real-time source of data on who voted how, why, and where. Indeed as the critics of the use of exit polls for fraud detection have pointed out on many occasions, this voter survey is precisely what the exit polls are “intended” to provide, and why they are funded by the consortium of media outlets, the NEP. The Charlie Cook reference in your piece was typical. The Exits provided the sum total of the data behind his analysis of the election.”

Based on the final exit poll two distinguished analysts, Charles Cook and Ruy Teixeira stuck their necks out in different directions. Cook called the Bush victory a display of political genius and immediately made a fundamental mistake. He claimed that defections from the Kerry camp by black, Latinos, and Jewish voters had done the trick for Bush. Had he examined the data available at the time, he would have known that there were only marginal changes in these groups. Teixeira was more precise as Anaxarchos points out:

Anaxarchos: “Unfortunately, so committed was Teixeira to the impossibility of widespread election fraud, that he assumed that there was disconnect between urban data as the NEP defined “urban” and county data, with the observation that, “urban doesn’t mean urban and rural doesn’t mean rural”. Teixeira promised a detailed county analysis to reconcile the differences. Of course, no such “reconciliation” was forthcoming. My guess is that Teixeira, like Cook, underestimated the magnitude of the “reconciliation” that would be required and also underestimated the final turnout of the 2004 election which only further widened that gap.”

One of the most astute analysts, Cook, jumped to the self-informed conclusion that the Bush urban victory had to be due to a shift in ethnic voting. It’s easy to see why. He was unaware that the white big city vote increased from five million in 2000 to nine million in 2004. We can suppose that it never occurred to him that such a thing could or would happen. Why would we expect him to check the exit turnout rate against actual city voting totals?

Teixeira’s response and follow up are even more perplexing. He’s the author of The Emerging Democratic Majority and a recognized polling expert. After dropping his confusion of terms argument, he promised a county analysis to show how Bush won, a common response of establishment Democrats. But he never produced the study? Why? Maybe he stared into the abyss and the abyss stared right back.

He dismissed claims of fraud based on exit poll analysis by writing “… it is possible that the magnitude of these corrections has been greater than normal.” That depends on what your definition of normal is. What’s normal about increasing turnout by a factor of four (16% actual to 66% claimed) to achieve an absurd result? The basis for the urban data correction (actual city results) was available when he made this statement. Had he bothered to look? We’d like to hear from him on this and the questions we outlined clearly in the original article (presuming he’s given up his role as a Democratic apologist for questions about Bush election integrity).

So what does this mean?

Anaxarchos: “ It means at a minimum that either one must try to support the indications of the Exit Polls that the Bush winning margin in 2004 came in the Urban centers, implausible as that seems, or one must craft a new narrative of the 2004 presidential election. Believe it or not, the former option is not nearly as difficult as the latter. Your critics have missed what it means to simply declare that “the Exit Polls must have been wrong”. With that dismissal, much of the supporting evidence for how Bush “won” in 2004 disappears as well.”

For over 30 years, the way we’ve made sense out of “who voted where and why” is through exit polls which are designed to and accepted as answering those very questions. There have been few complaints, other than Florida 2000 when the exit poll showed a narrow Gore victory. Given the trashing of 100,000 mostly minority spoiled ballots, who could criticize the pollsters if they initially showed a Gore victory as a result of interviewing voters in minority precincts whose ballots had been “spoiled.”.

If we don’t know how Bush won, ratifying the election results is mindless magic. If we don’t demand an understanding of how he won, then can we dismiss the notion of election fraud made over and over with to an ever widening and receptive audience? Are elections the one area of administration activity that escapes critical analysis? Perhaps the election fraud doubters have been listening to Alberto Gonzales and his crew on these questions.

Anaxarchos offers a compelling case for the election polls failure across the board, not just in the big cities.

Anaxarchos: “Consider the following:

If the Bush winning margin did not come in the cities, where did it come from? If the urban vote as reported by the Exits is incorrect, then the remainder of the Exit Poll narrative must also be incorrect. It is true that the big city vote underlines the anomaly but take a look at the three-category demographic (Urban, Suburban, and Rural) and you get a slightly more muted version of the same story. If the cities don’t hold Bush’s winning margin, then that clearly means that it must have come from somewhere else. While the erosion of the Bush rural margin is significant, reversing it is not enough. We must also “offset” the loss of Bush’s urban margin in the suburbs and we must do this while constantly living under the overhang of an 18% increase in turnout (which clearly favored Kerry). The result is that the Exit Polls must not only be “wrong” in the cities, they must also be “wrong” across the board and this to a significant degree. In truth, the degree of this “wrongness” must increase as we go from city to countryside because, as we have seen, the Exit Polls weight the Bush urban margin into existence.”

Painful choices regarding the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.

We can accept the official election results simply as reported by discarding or denying any and all questions and anomalies. Doing so makes us no better than the uncritical magician in the opening passage. It just happened. We don’t know why. We agree that it doesn’t make much sense but that’s just the way it is (in this best of all possible worlds). Move along.

We can accept the election results and totally dismiss the exit poll adjustments as indicative of a flawed poll that should be dismissed. Our argument here is no better than in the first option. Its faith based. That’s just the way it is but we’ll discuss it a bit, feign erudition, and impress you with our obscure knowledge of polling methods and math.

Or we can face the reality and the dreadful conclusion. There’s no way to tell if Bush truly won the vote total in 2004 while there are many reasons to doubt that he did. The parallel measurement of the actual vote, the exit poll, can only concoct a Bush victory through egregious adjustments to its own raw data for the big cities. Why would such adjustments be required? Was the measurement off for the smaller cities where Bush gained 17 points over 2000? Was it off for the suburbs and rural segment? What about the voluminous reports of voter suppression and voting irregularities across the nation; reports including consistent vote flipping from Kerry to Bush?

If there were no problems with the actual vote count, problems that the exit poll analysis clearly indicates, why on earth would two thirds of Ohio counties destroy the ballots and election records from 2004 well before the required retention period?

And what about this question, perhaps the simplest of all with the greatest potential for understanding just what happened in 2004? Why does the network consortium refuse to release the raw data for 2004? The raw data has been closely guarded by the pollsters and the networks despite at least two requests for examination of this data by now Committee on the Judiciary Chairman, John Conyers, Democrat, Michigan.

Has that data suffered the same fate as the destroyed Ohio ballots?

Would the handling of the raw data that produced this unbelievable narrative embarrass the networks and indicate that they should have known shortly after the election; that they certainly know by now, without any doubt, that there are huge problems with the final exit poll, the poll the national election pool and its polling company have defended to consistently and vigorously?

Or would the freeing of this privately held data concerning our public election show what many suspect: the real winner of the 2004 election is not sitting in the White House.

You can be sure that the four major networks, CNN, and the Associated Press would be in court right now demanding the release of the exit poll data were it any concern other than them holding back the data from the rightful public review demanded.


*Metaphor based on a story from S. John Macksoud, Other Illusions, 1977. Published by the author.

Permission to reprint in part or whole with a link to this article in “Scoop” and attribution of authorship.


Link: "Scoop" Independent News

Appendix: Full Letter from Anaxarchos to Michael Collins

Dear Mike,

Thank you for sending me the reviews for your article, “Urban Legend”, and congratulations on the overwhelmingly positive response you have received. I was a little disturbed at the few negative criticisms that you sent along. Having looked carefully at the critical reviews, it appears to me that your critics have entirely missed the import of your piece and its underlying analysis. I could review many of the subsidiary points they raise, but that seems unimportant compared to the two larger points that they don’t mention. It seems to me that the most important implications of “Urban Legend” are these:

1) The entire narrative of the 2004 election is built on the foundation of the exit polls. There is virtually no other real-time source of data on who voted how, why, and where. Indeed, as the critics of the use of exit polls for fraud detection have pointed out on many occasions, this voter survey is precisely what the exit polls are “intended” to provide, and why they are funded by the consortium of media outlets, the NEP. The Charlie Cook reference in your piece was typical. The Exits provided the sum total of the data behind his analysis of the election. Unfortunately, the data he relied on was “implausible” and thus his “analysis” was equally so. Neither was Cook the only one to trip over that anomaly. Ruy Teixeira also noticed the same “implausibility” within days of the election. Unfortunately, so committed was Teixeira to the impossibility of widespread election fraud, that he assumed that there was disconnect between urban data as the NEP defined “urban” and county data, with the observation that, “urban doesn’t mean urban and rural doesn’t mean rural”. Teixeira promised a detailed county analysis to reconcile the differences. Of course, no such “reconciliation” was forthcoming. My guess is that Teixeira, like Cook, underestimated the magnitude of the “reconciliation” which would be required and also underestimated the final turnout of the 2004 election which only further widened that gap. AlterNet.Com

So what does this mean? It means at a minimum that either one must try to support the indications of the Exit Polls that the Bush winning margin in 2004 came in the Urban centers, implausible as that seems, or one must craft a new narrative of the 2004 presidential election. Believe it or not, the former option is not nearly as difficult as the latter. Your critics have missed what it means to simply declare that “the Exit Polls must have been wrong”. With that dismissal, much of the supporting evidence for how Bush “won” in 2004 disappears as well. Consider the following:

If the Bush winning margin did not come in the cities, where did it come from? If the urban vote as reported by the Exits is incorrect, then the remainder of the Exit Poll narrative must also be incorrect. It is true that the big city vote underlines the anomaly but take a look at the three-category demographic (Urban, Suburban, and Rural) and you get a slightly more muted version of the same story. If the cities don’t hold Bush’s winning margin, then that clearly means that it must have come from somewhere else. While the erosion of the Bush rural margin is significant, reversing it is not enough. We must also “offset” the loss of Bush’s urban margin in the suburbs and we must do this while constantly living under the overhang of an 18% increase in turnout (which clearly favored Kerry). The result is that the Exit Polls must not only be “wrong” in the cities, they must also be “wrong” across the board and this to a significant degree. In truth, the degree of this “wrongness” must increase as we go from city to countryside because, as we have seen, the Exit Polls weight the Bush urban margin into existence. In fact, the weightings decrease significantly as we move from more to less urban territory, and this has been previously presented as an indication of the rural accuracy of the Exit Polls in comparison to the tallied vote count. How do we now reverse that? At the very least, this begs for a serious investigation as you called for.

Yet, the story gets worse. The election narrative starts with the vote count but it doesn’t end there. Certainly the accepted narrative of the election, universally reported by the major news outlets, of “values voters”, “security moms”, and the like, all derived from the Exit Polls and all the products of “weighting”, become much less compelling if the overall narrative is undermined. But, this part of the accepted narrative is also the more trivial. There are some much more important implications here. It is not simply that the election narrative based on your unlikely “Urban Legend” is wrong by itself. It also undermines the use of that story to refute competing narratives which were unceremoniously rejected at the time of the election itself. Consider this:

”In a stunning admission, an elections manager for NBC News said national news organizations overestimated President George W. Bush's support among Latino voters, downwardly revising its estimated support for President Bush to 40 percent from 44 percent among Hispanics, and increasing challenger John Kerry's support among Hispanics to 58 percent from 53 percent. The revision doubles Kerry's margin of victory among Hispanic voters from 9 to 18 percent. Ana Maria Arumi, the NBC elections manager also revised NBC's estimate for Hispanic support for Bush in Texas, revising a reported 18-point lead for Bush to a 2-point win for Kerry among Hispanics, a remarkable 20-point turnaround from figures reported on election night.

"Latino presidential partisan preferences did not change significantly from four years ago," said WCVI's president, Antonio Gonzalez, in his presentation before the National Association of Hispanic Journalists…

"”But I repeat, NBC has set an example for network poll integrity by taking a giant step away from the Edison International/Mitofsky election results, and toward WCVI's findings. For example, today NBC stated that 70% of its respondents came from non-urban areas and 30% from urban areas, while acknowledging that 50% of Latino voters come from urban areas. This admission could explain the difference in their results and WCVI's. They under-represented Latino urban voters (who are more likely to vote democratic) and over-represented Latino non-urban votes (who are more likely to vote republican). We hope the other networks follow suit with more adjustments in their findings," Gonzalez concluded. HispanicBusiness.Com

According to its exit poll survey, the Institute found that Latino voters supported democratic presidential candidate John Kerry over President George W. Bush by a margin of 65.4% to 33%.”

The problem with the story above is that the real implication of such a sampling error among Hispanics was not considered. According to the “official” narrative, the shift of Hispanic voters toward parity was one of the most important pillars of the Bush “victory” in 2004. From “Urban Legend”, we know that this problem was most likely a weighting problem and not a sampling problem per se. But, the issue is not confined simply to Hispanic voters. Another pillar of the victory was a small but significant shift among black voters away from Kerry, universally reported as an artifact of the Republican use of political or religious “wedge issues” in the election. Perhaps one of the most important facts revealed in the “Urban Legend”, however, was that the Exit Polls reported a 40% increase in the black vote overall in comparison to 2000, but, simultaneously, virtually no increase in the black big city vote. We thus have widespread examples of exit poll responders appearing where they are not: black and Hispanic voters, with more conservative and Republican tendencies popping up in the suburbs, and a mass of urban GOP whites materializing in the cities. But… if these things didn’t happen, how could Bush possibly “win”?

The inverse of this is equally striking. The suggestion from the Exit Poll anomalies, above, is that 2004 was actually a rerun of the 2000 election with 16 to 18% greater turnout. In fact, you also saw that the pattern of both the weighted and unweighted Exit Polls for 2000 and the unweighted Polls for 2004 are remarkably similar. But if this was true, how is it possible for Bush not to lose?

Did the Exit Polls really pick up “ghost voters” in the cities and thus expose widespread election fraud? Who knows? There are actually some states in which the Bush urban margin improves through a process similar to the one implied, by “Urban Legend”. Yet, it is more likely that the Exit Polls picked up an anomaly in the larger election and the attempt to reconcile this anomaly creates the “ghosts”. It is also possible that something completely different occurred which actually gave the election to Bush, but nothing in such an outcome is possible without overturning the Exit Polls in their entirety and creating not just a new narrative for the election itself but also explaining the massive variation of the Polls themselves. To attempt to take any other position is fundamentally dishonest and genuinely “faith-based”.

2) I have already run on too long but, while point #1 above explains the extrinsic implications of “Urban Legend”, there are some intrinsic implications as well. In the spring of 2005, Edison/Mitofsky, the polling organization responsible for the 2004 exit polls, released their analysis of the exit poll discrepancy. Instead of blaming precinct selection or methodology, the polling organization made a spirited defense of both. The alternative explanation was that a breakdown had occurred in the sampling of voters in what Mitofsky claimed were accurately chosen precincts. Since that time, numerous panels representing the statistical establishment have convened and, each time, have supported Mitofsky’s original conclusions. Explanations of various presumed sampling problems, “within precinct errors”, “shy voters” and the like, have been numerous and tiresome. Because of “Urban Legend”, it also seems that these were entirely irrelevant. How is it that the august scholars and expert panels missed the most fundamental anomaly of the urban vote? This isn’t just missing the forest for the trees. This is more like missing the forest fire for the toadstools. I will go into this in some depth in the future if you have an interest.

Stay safe…



Note to Anaxarchos: I have an interest. Mike



Link: "Scoop" Independent News

The 'Urban Legend' of the 2004 Election: Summary

Scoop News

Executive Summary of The Urban Legend of 2004

Executive Summary of The Urban Legend of 2004

The following is an executive summary of:
Election 2004: The Urban Legend
Sludge Report #177 – Bigger Than Watergate II


Over the past few months America has been exposed to a seemingly never-ending cascade of evidence concerning Karl Rove's efforts to suppress minority and working class vote.

On election night 2004 TV screens across the world bore testimony to the results of his meddling.

The huge queues to vote in some minority and inner city precincts saw people waiting 10 hours or more to vote—Ohio was particularly bad—but it happened in many key urban areas. It was accompanied throughout the country by race-based voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement. In Florida nearly 700,000 ex-felons are barred from voting, in Virginia 200,000; simply for having a felony on their record.

The “Urban Legend” uncovered by Michael Collins and detailed in his report is simply this.

According to the official election night results and the official exit polls (the most extensive ever conducted in the history of elections) it was these queuing voters from the core of America's largest cities who elected George W. Bush.

The full article is at

Excerpts from the Collins report—

The Bush campaign focused its efforts heavily, almost exclusively, on the rural areas and suburbs in order to counter the anticipated big city Democratic margins. But then the miracle occurred just when it was needed. White ghosts never seen before emerged from parking lots, alleys and perhaps even graveyards in big cities across the country to give George W. Bush a stunning victory in the presidential election of 2004. It had to be this way, otherwise the vote count was wrong and who would tolerate such a notion, despite the clear signs on the ground and in the National Exit Poll? But the convenient and wide spread Red versus Blue story of election eve was maintained through inertia. For those with nagging questions, that story was replaced by the Urban Legend of 2004: Bush won the 2004 Presidential election in big cities.

So please ask yourself—if Karl Rove, Bush and the US Attorney Generals were so busy disenfranchising urban minorities as fast as they could, how can the above "official story of Election 2004" be remotely possible?

Where then did the Bush swing in the urban wave come from? The simple answer is that it was weighted into existence. The act of reconciling the exit polls to the official vote count created it. The Bush urban voters came into existence because they had to—otherwise the official vote count would be wrong.

Weighting is a practice used by the US Census, political consultants, public health officials and others who conduct large scale survey research. If you collect data on a population, Latino voting patterns in the 2004 election for example, and your data is unrepresentative of a subset of that population, you can weight certain responses by a multiplier greater or less than one to make your poll consistent with the population measured. The problem though is when weighting is used to reconcile polling data with a “known fact” that may not be known at all. The NEP assumes that the official vote total must be accurate and weights accordingly.

Curiouser and curiouser—

Generating the Bush urban wave was effortless. Only 10% of urban voters required a call. They were not required to attend rallies or watch television ads. In fact, many of them didn’t even need to vote. That was taken care of by the weighting process conducted when the national exit poll was found to be inconsistent with the announced vote tallies. After all, how could the unintentionally released Election Day NEP be right in showing a 3% Kerry overall victory margin when the vote tabulators showed a 3% Bush win? Rural Americans didn’t produce that margin. Neither did the small towns or the suburbs. Even the improvement in the smaller cities wasn’t enough. The big cities, according to announced totals, delivered the vote for Bush.

For this study, we chose the less controversial approach of using the final, revised exit poll with a focus on the stated purposes of the exit poll, who were the voters and where did they cast their ballots. Why not take the numbers the pollsters finalized the day after the election? Yet after careful scrutiny, we’ve shown that the NEP’s urban demographic data just don’t add up to even a remotely convincing explanation for a Bush victory. The data is clearly inconsistent, incompatible, and results in a conundrum rather than clarity about what happened on Nov. 2 2004. Doubt leads to disbelief.

And then there’s one more problem that casts doubt on the entire process. The NEP reports a 66% increase in voter turnout in the big cities, from 9 million votes in 2000 to 15 million in 2006. This provides foundation for the increases in Bush urban votes and percentages, even though there is no common sense or historical reason to believe such an increase in Bush votes ever took place, as we’ve demonstrated.

Now here’s the shocker. In addition to the analysis above, the 66% vote increase in the urban areas simply can’t be true on the basis of actual reports of big city vote totals. Why hasn’t this been widely discussed?

Well now, many Democrats might say—why go on about 2004 when we retook the House and the Senate in 2006? If the election system is crooked, how could we have done that? An obvious answer was that the Republicans failed to suppress and/or steal enough votes to stop that outcome. If that is the case, the Democratic victory ought to have been even larger than it was, and there is some evidence that it may well have been.

There is an unfortunate tendency of Democratic officeholders, particularly those in comfortably majority Democratic districts, to think that if they got elected what could possibly be wrong with the process? Leave well enough alone. However, Republicans have absolutely no inhibitions about being “sore losers,” or even sore winners. The US Attorney General scandal now unfolding will absolutely not stop them from their efforts to suppress the votes of Democrats.

It is more than past time for grassroots Democrats to insist that Democratic officeholders stop being WEAK ON DEFENSE—defense of their own voters and of the integrity of the election process. There must be an end to secret, unauditable software and the very notion that any private company has the right to own any data about election process whatsoever, now!


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.

Download Word Doc. Version – Bigger Than Watergate II
Download Word Doc Version – The Urban Legend



Bigger than Watergate II

Scoop News

Sludge Report #177 – Bigger Than Watergate II

Scoop American Coup II presents...

Sludge Report #177 – Bigger Than Watergate II

a.k.a. Election 2004 vs George On The Block & The White Ghosts Of NYC

Click for big version

See also companion article… " Election 2004: The Urban Legend"

In this edition: Quotes about Michael Collin's "The Urban Legend" Watergates, Watersheds & Manchurian Candidates – The Urban Legend In A Nutshell - So How Is It That This News Was Not On CNN? - The Urban Legend In Context: Inside The Mind Of An Election Thief – How Was Election 2004 Stolen? – The Next Manchurian Candidate?

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.
Download Word Doc. Version – Bigger Than Watergate II
Download Word Doc. Version – The Urban Legend
Download Word Doc. – Executive Summary 2 Pages For Printing


Quotes about Michael Collin's "The Urban Legend"

"By now, it should be clear to everyone that Bush & Co. stole their "re-election" in 2004-not only in Ohio but from coast to coast. That massive and unprecedented civic crime should now be clear to all Americans, because the evidence has been presented in a dazzling range of books and articles and documentaries, all of which have proven that the Bush regime has never been elected.

And yet the facts are still unknown to most of us, because they've mostly been denied, those crucial books and articles and films suppressed, both by the Democratic Party and the media, whose managers can't bring themselves to face the awful truth (or, in some cases, have colluded with the Bush Republicans). And so we've had to fight to let the people know what has been happening, and is now happening, to their democracy. That we will win this fight there is no doubt; and when we do, the people will, as usual, eventually decide to do what's right--but all of it depends on our continued efforts to disseminate the truth despite the silence of the whole Establishment.

In this necessary struggle Scoop, and Michael Collins in particular, have played a major role; and here again they have produced an indispensable report, which all who still believe in our democracy must read at once, then send out far and wide. "Urban Legend" offers still more solid evidence of a deliberate effort to distort the actual outcome of the presidential contest in 2004--a race that Kerry/Edwards won, and that Bush lost, because the red majority that putatively "re-elected" him did not exist."

- Mark Crispin Miller (Author "Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)")

"Michael Collins has added substantially to what we know about the chilling reality of E2004, numbers that don't add up to a legitimate election no matter how they are sliced. His "Election 2004: The Urban Legend" is a blockbuster, an analytical romp through the oddest numbers that were never brought to light, never questioned. And boy is there ever something wrong with this picture.

Many will demur that when it comes to election theft, looking backward is a waste of time. The results aren't going to change. Get over it. But those of us who hope to live to see electoral democracy restored to the United States know that looking back is as important as it is unpleasant. Indeed it is terrifying--and it is critical.

If we were to ask a person to give up their 10 favorite foods because one day they might have a heart attack, we could count on low compliance. But let them have a heart attack and it's suddenly a very different story. So it is with election theft: American democracy has had a heart attack, a silent heart attack, and it needs to make substantial changes in its way of conducting elections and counting votes if it is to survive. Half-baked, easy changes have of course been proposed. But the changes that are really necessary are more demanding: they demand, among other things, more public participation in our democracy, and vigilance over this critical aspect of it, than we are accustomed to.

It is clear to us as advocates that the necessary changes just won't happen if the heart attack remains silent and the public remains unaware. "Election 2004: The Urban Legend" is an EKG that tells us just how dreadfully serious the illness is and just how precarious our situation. I suspect that anyone who takes the time to read it (and goes on to further explore the stunning and ugly forensics of recent computerized American elections) will change their diet from that day forward and put themselves enthusiastically at their democracy's service.

--Jonathan Simon (Co-founder Election Defense Alliance; author "Landslide Denied")"

"Of all the UnAnswered Questions of this decade, the one that will not go away is 'Has George W. Bush ever won a Presidential election?' After many years of fearless reporting on U.S. voter fraud, Scoop has scooped again. Based on Michael Collins' in depth analysis of voting results and exit pools, Scoop has made a compelling case in 'Election 2004: The Urban Legend' that the legitimacy of the current Administration is in question."

-- Catherine Austin Fitts (

Michael Collins: The Urban Legend"


Watergates, Watersheds & Manchurian Candidates

Nearly four long years ago this column "Sludge Report #154 - Bigger Than Watergate" (archive version in original July, 2003 livery) heralded a watershed in the history of US Democracy in the form of a remarkable piece of online citizen research published on – Bev Harris's seminal article " Inside A U.S. Election Vote Counting Program".

Today Scoop publishes a paper on the same subject of possibly equal consequence – "Michael Collins: The Urban Legend".

Accompanying the 2003 article Scoop announced the public distribution of the source code to the Diebold voting systems – source code to both the county central tabulator program and the touch-screen DRE machines which record the votes onto memory cards and which cannot be recounted.

In doing so we helped start an avalanche of research into the innards of the United States election machinery. And what was found was devastating.

Inquiry into U.S. Voting machines reached its nadir in the demonstration by Finnish "Hacker" Hari Hursti that it is possible to rig an election (in an undetectable fashion) on an optical scan voting machine by doing nothing more than compromising the plug in memory card. (See… " Scoop Links: Hacking Democracy Doco On HBO Tonight " to view video.)

The claim here back in July 2003 that the news of the gaping hole in US democractic integrity is "Bigger than Watergate" was justified then on the same ground that it is justified today.

If the parlous state of US Democracy is allowed to stand then American democracy - and the freedom and bravery that accompany it - is all over bar the counting.

There is considerable irony in the fact that it appears Karl Rove's enthusiasm to use the U.S. Department of Justice in general – and the appointment process of United States Attorneys in particular - to pervert democracy through vote suppression, identity cards, caging lists, malicious push phone campaigns, disenfranchisement and scam voter-fraud prosecutions (code for minority and poor vote suppression). This is why election fraud is day by day rising up the "most-likely-reason-Karl-Rove-will-leave-the-White-House- in-handcuffs" leaderboard.

But the corruption of US Democracy as a whole is a bigger news story even than news of the imminent demise of Karl Rove.

From afar – is published in New Zealand – it is sometimes possible to believe that America has already come to accept that they are no longer a democratic nation.

Isn't it a matter of curiosity as to why Manchurian Candidate & shadow Government plots and sub-plots (e.g., 24, Prison Break, CSI (crime scene investigator), Heroes, Standoff ) have become quite so popular forUS television drama series?

Perhaps the answer is altogether too simple. They are credible.

So why not just say it - George W. Bush 43 is already a "Manchurian Candidate". He does not represent the people – he represents oil companies and the American Taliban. And I suspect most of America already knows this, if not rationally then definitely subliminally.

What we decided to publish today is arguably proof that this is so.

The election results of 2004 lack all credibility, and as a result George Bush's presidency lacks all legitimacy.

A year ago Robert F. Kennedy Junior had a compelling shot at claiming election 2004 was illegitimate on the basis that the election was stolen in Ohio (See… Rolling Stone: "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?").

His critics responded well Bush won the popular vote soundly you "sore loserman!"

Today we show you that in all probability Bush did not win the popular vote either.

However you dear reader are entitled to come to this conclusion yourself - after duly considering the facts as we know them to be - and so I urge you now to read in detail Michael Collins' watershed scoop report published today.

Michael Collins: The Urban Legend"


The Urban Legend In A Nutshell

Over the past few months America has been exposed to a seemingly never-ending cascade of evidence concerning Bush's Brain Karl Rove's efforts to suppress minority and working class vote.

On election night 2004 TV screens across the world bore testimony to the results of his meddling.

The huge queues to vote in some minority and inner city precincts saw people waiting 10 hours or more to vote – Ohio was particularly bad - but it happened in many key urban areas. It was accompanied throughout the country by race based voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement. In Florida nearly 700,000 ex felons are barred from voting, in Virginia 200,000; simply for having a felony on their record.

The Urban Legend uncovered by Michael Collins and detailed in his report is simply this.

According to the official election night results and the official exit polls (the most extensive ever conducted in the history of elections) it was these queuing voters from the core of America's largest cities who elected George W. Bush.

An extract from Michael Collins report:

" The Bush campaign focused its efforts heavily, almost exclusively, on the rural areas and suburbs in order to counter the anticipated big city Democratic margins. But then the miracle occurred just when it was needed. White ghosts never seen before emerged from parking lots, alleys and perhaps even graveyards in big cities across the country to give George W. Bush a stunning victory in the presidential election of 2004. It had to be this way, otherwise the vote count was wrong and who would tolerate such a notion, despite the clear signs on the ground and in the National Exit Poll? But the convenient and wide spread Red versus Blue story of election eve was maintained through inertia. For those with nagging questions, that story was replaced by the Urban Legend of 2004: Bush won the 2004 Presidential election in big cities."

So please ask yourself:

If Karl Rove Bush and the USAs were so busy disenfranchising urban minorities as fast as they could, how can the above "official story of Election 2004" be remotely possible?

Michael Collins: The Urban Legend"


So How Is It That This News Was Not On CNN

A dumb question? Probably.

On the night of the election this column was one of many to call foul on the basis of the huge margin by which the National Election Poll (NEP) was wrong.

According to a November 2 early evening exit poll John Kerry was heading to win the popular vote by 1% and at least 1 million votes. But more importantly he was shown leading by a nose in Florida, and by a solid 4% in Ohio. (Because of the way the Electoral College system works this meant that Kerry had almost certainly won the election. If he won either state he would win.)

Yet by midnight he had soundly lost Florida. Ohio was lost by a narrower margin, but the popular vote showed a massive wave of new voters coming out to vote for Bush. His 3 million vote margin is convincing.

Also at around midnight on election night the exit polls disappeared and then a couple of hours later arrived back, fixed. (Note: As Michael Collins shows, even the official exit poll, the day after election final, contradicts itself and shows the massive election fraud.)

On Election night the Johns Kerry & Edwards pledged to wait till "all the votes were counted" before conceding, yet the following morning, largely motivated by the size of Bush's victory in the court-of-public-opinion important popular vote they conceded.

In the days following skeptics here in New Zealand and around the world wished we had taken a copy of the exit polls so we could point to what we had just witnessed with our lying eyes, those eyes which the news networks were now telling us had misled us somewhat grievously.

On November 11 we discovered Jonathan Simon had saved most of the data (See… "47 State Exit Poll Analysis Confirms Swing Anomaly") and a few days later November 17 we found the rest "Complete US Exit Poll Data Confirms Net Suspicions".

And then what happened?

Us election skeptics were ignored. Roundly. The story made the front page of the New York Times in terms of a disparaging reference to internet blogs. Many leading left leaning blogs boycotted the story.

Activists and researchers asked the NEP for the full data to do a proper study. They refused to provide any data at all till after George was inaugurated again on January 20th. Eventually some data was released and a phalanx of pointy heads were rolled out to accuse us of being foolish and mistaken.

Warren Mitofsky himself– NEP coordinator & inventor of the modern exit poll (now deceased) – delivered the coup de'grace to exit poll theorising announcing the answer to the mystery in the form of the same answer he gave to why the 2000 exit polls were wrong – and the same answer he gave in interviews the day after the election – the so called "reluctant bush responder" theory.

This theory states that Bush voters are statistically less likely than to be willing to own up to the fact that the voted for Bush. It is a fine theory which is unfortunately not supported by any of the evidence.

As of June 2007 the National Election Poll is still refusing to hand over its raw data for independent analysis falsely claiming that it contains private information.

It is the sincere hope of this columnist that the publication of "The Urban Legend" today will lead to a subpoena from congress to the NEP to provide their data in full for proper academic study.

And so why then is this news not on CNN?

One possible answer is that none are so blind as they who refuse to open their eyes.

As a media professional the only explanation I can seriously profer for the US mainstream media's collective see-no-evil approach to this subject is that they do not see what happened in 2004 because its implications are too huge.

If Bush is a fraudulently elected president – both in 2000 and 2004 – then everything that has happened since including the war, Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, the 911 cover-up everything is illegitimate too.

If Bush is a fraudulently elected president then the United States really is governed by a group of shadowy bankers and invisible power brokers.

For folk who believe in democracy this is not a comfortable place to be.


The Urban Legend In Context: Inside The Mind Of An Election Thief

Four years ago this column noted:

Imagine then if it were possible to somehow subvert the voting process itself in such a way that you could steal elections without anybody knowing.

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 micro-level;
  • - 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.

For the sake of argument most of the above can be taken as read - in fact each of these statements is demonstrably true in relation to the vast majority of the currently deployed vote counting machinery in the United States.

Back to "Sludge Report #154 - Bigger Than Watergate (July 2003)":

"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 your activities.

Such a system would enable you to target and remove individual political opponents who were too successful, too popular or too inquisitive.

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 governmental program they would be forced to concede that at least it is the result of a democratic process.

Now lets project the above theory onto what actually happened in 2004.

In practical terms votes in all elections are always counted in some kind of predictable order. There is a pattern to these things:

  • Small precincts report quickly.
  • East coast precincts report early. Pacific ones at least 2 hours later.
  • Precincts with some kinds of machinery (say touch-screens) may report slower than those with other kinds of machinery (say optical scans).
  • Statistically observed voting phenomena in turnout in areas counted on the east coast can give you a fairly clear idea of what overall turnout is likely to be.

And so everybody who watched the last election can know this information and can project the result on that basis - this is what all the boffins are doing in the background on election night playing with their computers. (Lets leave aside for a moment the fact that the base figures from last years election may already be corrupted.)

Then if you also have access to the exit polls, you have an extra layer of information arriving during the day on election day.

The exit polls tell you precinct by precinct how people have actually voted and why.

With exit poll data picking election results for big presidential style elections becomes child's play.

This is why in the recent French Presidential election the result was announced as soon as the polls closed. While this may seem somewhat disrespectful to the voters America is one of the few places where multimillion dollar scientific exit polls fail repeatedly and spectacularly to pick the result.


How Was Election 2004 Stolen?

Now imagine yourself as a would be election stealer on November 2nd 2004. You know by midday that turnout is up massively, and you have a fair idea from the answers to exit poll questions that this is bad for your candidate. Bush is getting hammered in the small towns and the rural base is not turning up to vote.

By 5pm EST (3pmPDT) you know that you are losing Florida and Ohio and that you are losing the popular vote by a small margin.

What do you do?

You expected this because this is precisely what your pre-election polling was telling you would happen. Your pre-election game plan is focused around winning the electoral college i.e. the swing states.

In each swing state there is a plan and a team in place to push the President's vote over the important margin required for victory. The Exit polls tells you how much vote needs to be stolen (discarded, shifted, padded) in each critical swing state to win narrowly - but convincingly enough to minimise the risk of an recount.

You remember what happened in 2000.

And your pre-election game plan also requires a victory in the popular vote.

In 2000 it was largely because he won the popular vote that Al Gore was able to hold out as long as he did over Florida. Therefore in 2004 Bush needed a significant majority in the popular vote as well to avoid a protracted inquiry in one of the swing states which could potentially go sour.

In order to do that Bush needed to pad the vote all over the country with millions of votes.

This is supported by more of the factual evidence found in the election outcomes. If you look to find the location of Bush's 11 million + new voters you find that they are predominantly on the East Coast and in the Mid-East.

In sheer numeric terms Bush gained far and away the most votes in Texas and Florida, 900k and 700k respectively. 60% of all Bushes new votes, 5.2 million votes, were gained in just 11 states…FL, TX. NY, OH, PA, GA, MI, NJ, TN, NC, IL. Add in another 8 states and you get to 82% of all bush's new votes or 7.1 million… the states are WI MN IND AL OK KY AZ LOU & MD. In percentage terms Florida and Georgia (both heavily Diebold equipment using states) were the standouts with 32% gains respectively.
- Dem Underground: "George Bush's 8 Million New Votes Found – STATISTICAL ANALYSIS

And so as the evening progressed on November 2 2004 it was possible to imagine that the vote stealers got to New Mexico and stopped having ensured that by then Bush comfortably had his margin.

However one can also imagine that winning the popular vote for Bush would not be an exact science.

Padding smaller precincts in Republican controlled areas is more likely to be noticed statistically. You cannot steal enough votes in Utah and Wyoming to even make a dent in the popular vote.

Also, importantly, smaller precincts in Republican controlled areas tend to report earlier and so are harder to steal from – to do so you need to steal in more places earlier.

And smaller precincts also show considerably less scope for padding. A 100 vote precinct may tolerate 10 padded votes. A 100,000 strong precinct might be able to see 10,000 votes added without setting off alarm bells.

In which case the thesis which emerges from Michael Collins' Urban Legend is simply this.

The 2004 election stealers stole the election in the cities because that was the only place they could steal it.


The Next Manchurian Candidate – The 2008 Primaries

Since 2003 and exposure of the flawed election machinery there have been two U.S. Federal elections, the presidential race in 2004, and the 2006 mid-term elections.

Concerns over the 2002 mid-term elections - particularly in Georgia - gave rise to the investigation that led to the 2003 discoveries.

We also know - thanks to Bev Harris and her team - "Diebold Memos Disclose Florida 2000 E-Voting Fraud" that there is prima facie evidence of tampering in the 2000 election.

This means the results in the last four U.S. Federal Elections are questionable. Consequently the composition of all branches of Government have to be in question.

Moreover election stealing need not necessarily be confined to Federal elections.

And following that vein of thought there is one other particularly valuable opportunity to intervene in the US election process and alter the course of history.

The Presidential primaries.

And there is one particular set of circumstances above all others which would make the primaries an even more important target for election fraudsters: namely, an election when one party has a virtual lock on victory.

And so as we approach the 2008 presidential election it is well worth looking at the primaries.

At first glance the Republicans are not even attempting to choose a credible challenger. Fred Thompson's believers hate Guiliani's mob with a truly impressive internal party ferocity. Meanwhile NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Chuck Hagel (interestingly a senator with close ties to one of the largest voting machine companies) are discussing running as independents.

If they do so they will split the GOP vote three ways and it is almost inconceivable that the Democratic Challenger could lose.

And so we have to assume the election stealers –will be making their plans on that basis.

Hillary Clinton vs John Edwards and Barack Obama. Whoever wins that race becomes President.

Now pretend you are an election stealer? Who do you want to win? Why?

You will want someone who does not shut down your nice little vote stealing and power peddling operation for a start.

And so in coming months we will see the beginnings of the message massaging that accomplish all real political clashes.

So listen to what the candidates say about election reform. It may speak volumes.

Anti©opyright Sludge 2007

IMPORTANT NOTE: Publication of this story marks another 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.

Coalescing Evidence of Massive Voter Registration Fraud in Ohio 2004

By Dale Tavris
EDA Co-Coordinator for Election Data Analysis

More and more evidence continues to accumulate that Voter registration fraud was responsible for a great deal if not the total Bush vote margin in the 2004 Presidential election. The latest evidence comes from Mark Crispin Miller, as documented in his recent book, “Fooled Again – How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)”. Added to previously existing evidence, the evidence presented by Miller makes it all but incontrovertible that massive voter registration fraud was a major factor in Kerry’s “loss” of Ohio:

Discrepancies between NY Times reports and official voter registration figures

I initially suspected that there was something very wrong with voter registration in Ohio, and especially in Cleveland, when I discovered a HUGE discrepancy between reports by the New York Times of massive new voter registration in Democratic areas of Ohio (ten times that of Republican areas) and official voter registration figures. I posted a DU article entitled “New York Times Reporters Probably Hold Key to Proving Kerry Victory in Ohio”, in which one of my main points was that the Times reporters identified 230,000 new voters registered in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County in 2004, compared to official Secretary of State figures indicating only 119,000 newly registered voters in Cuyahoga County. I suggested at the time that a major reason for the discrepancy of 111,000 voters was either illegal purging of voters or fraudulent manipulation of the official figures to hide the fact that votes in heavily Democratic areas were electronically deleted on Election Day, or a combination of those things. Along these lines, I later posted another DU article, entitled “What Happened in Cleveland – a Plausible Scenario for a Stolen Election”, where I estimated that if the discrepancy between the official figures and the newspaper reports was due to voter registration fraud, that could have cost Kerry about 46 thousand net votes in Cleveland.

Confirmation by Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition

Having failed to get the NY Times or its reporters to respond to my enquiries, I managed to get a large degree of confirmation from Norman Robbins, leader of the Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition. According to his figures, as communicated to me by e-mail, there were160,894 new voter registrations received by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in 2004 (compared to 31,903 new voter registrations in 2000). This was about 42,000 more registered voters than the 119 thousand increase in registered voters between March and November of 2004 indicated by the official figures (though Normans’ number of newly registered voters in Cuyahoga County is somewhat less than that identified by the New York Times.) The discrepancy between Robbins’ figures and the official figures could be due to purging of newly registered voters, or failure to process the new voter registrations, which Robbins describes in his report.

Illegal purging of registered voters

Confirmation of the probable reason for the above noted discrepancies came from research by Victoria Lovegren, who posted a report at Ohio Vigilance which indicates the purging, apparently illegal, of 165,224 voters from Cuyahoga County alone, for no other rationale than that they hadn't voted recently. Dr. Lovegren notes in her report that this practice violates the National Voting Rights Act. This matter is still being investigated. We don't know at this time precisely when these purges occurred, though it was some time between the 2002 and 2004 November elections. Perhaps the most troublesome aspect of these reports is that the purging appears to have been done discriminately, that is, with no specific criteria for who would be purged.

Dr. Lovegren's report also notes numerous other issues of serious concern, including the following:
Registration applications beingn rejected for trivial reasons.
Insufficient staff to deal with all then applications for voter registration.
Requests for absentee ballots notn responded to.
Hundreds of long time voters missing from the votern roles
Jammed phone lines on Election Day, so that voter inquiries couldn’tn be answered
The public was not allowed to watch the provisional ballotn verification process.
Numerous voters did not receive provisional ballotsn as required by law.
Numerous dirty tricks aimed at disenfranchisingn Democratic voters.

What effect did this have on the ground? – Evidence from Mark Crispin Miller’s Book

A question that is often asked of me when I talk about voter registration fraud in Ohio is what effect the purging of Democratic voters would be likely to have on the election results. There are two lines of doubt that have been expressed to me on this question. One is the question of whether newly registered voters would be as likely to vote as would long time voters. This question is answered in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) report on the 2004 Ohio election. According to Section VI, Figure 12 of that report, new voter registration was correlated with voter turnout, meaning that in general, newly registered voters were more likely to vote in the Ohio 2004 election than were previously registered voters.

The other line of doubt is the question of whether people who are purged actually are prevented from voting. I am asked, “Couldn’t these people re-register after they found out that they were purged? I would answer this question by saying that maybe they could re-register if they know they were purged – but an unknown number of these voters didn’t know until Election Day. But I didn’t have much of a sense of how frequently the purging would actually prevent voters from voting until I read Professor Miller’s book.

In that book, Miller recounts his conversations with Denise Shull, a poll checker in Summit County. During the course of her work on Election Day, Shull noted that approximately 10% to 20% of registered Democratic voters on her list were not on the official list of registered voters. Furthermore – and this is very important – these voters were described as ardent Democrats, as long time voters in the area, AND most of them were not voting. A possible reason for their not voting is suggested by an encounter that Shull had with one of these voters as the voter (or more precisely, non-voter) was leaving the polls. This voter was simply told that she couldn’t vote and was given a phone number to call. And even more disturbing, Shull noted three of her fellow Democratic volunteers who described to her very much the same phenomenon occurring at the polling places where they worked that day.

What Shull describes not only provides confirmation that legally registered voters were purged from the voter rolls prior to the 2004 election, but indicates that most of these voters ended up not voting. What effect would this have had on the net vote count?

As I noted above, I calculated that with some modest targeting of Democratic voters, the purging of voters in Cleveland alone would have resulted in a net loss to Kerry of about 46 thousand votes. Targeting of Democratic voters in Cleveland could have been done relatively easily, since Cleveland is heavily Democratic (voted 83% for Kerry, 16% for Bush in 2004), and many precincts in Cleveland voted more than 90% for Kerry. In order to target Democratic voters in Cleveland, one would merely have had to pick out those precincts with a history of voting 90% or more for Gore in the last election.

But what about Summit County, the county where Denise Shull and other Democratic volunteers described on-the-ground evidence of voter registration purging, and where only 57% of voters voted for Kerry. Voter purging in Summit County would have been much less efficient than voter purging in Cuyahoga County, because any voter purging that occurred would have included a large proportion of Republicans as well as Democrats. Unless ….

How could voter purging be made more efficient in counties with large percentages of Republican voters?

Miller’s book also describes a break-in at Democratic Party headquarters in Akron, Summit County, in the summer of 2004. The only thing stolen was two computers with Democratic campaign-related information on them. A similar break-in occurred three months later in Lucas County, and was described by the Toledo Blade. One can guess that with voter information obtained from these computers, the targeting of Democratic voters in these two counties could have been made a lot more efficient than it could have been without that information.


So, we now have:

1) A discrepancy of more than a hundred thousand between New York Times (and other newspapers) reports of a massive increase in new voter registration and official Secretary of State figures in Cuyahoga County alone.

2) Partial confirmation of the above from the Greater Cleveland Voter Registration Coalition, which shows a similar (though lesser) discrepancy

3) An explanation for the above discrepancies from the identification of the apparently illegal and targeted purging of 165,000 Cuyahoga County voters.

4) On the ground confirmation of voter purging of an unknown but probably huge number of voters, from Mark Crispin Miller’s new book.

5) Also from professor Miller’s new book, a probable explanation for how Democratic voters were targeted for the voter purging (via the theft of computers containing Democratic voter registration information).

6) From point number 1 above I calculated a net loss to Kerry of about 46,000 votes. But that calculation is based on the discrepancy between official figures and the newspaper reports of 111,000, not the 165,000 purged Cuyahoga County voters identified by Dr. Lovegren. AND, it doesn’t assume the ability to specifically target Democratic voters. With specific targeting of Democratic voters, that number could be much larger. AND, that’s just for Cuyahoga County.

7) The discrepancy between the official figures and the newspaper reports involves much more than Cuyahoga County. And the evidence in Professor Miller’s book also involves counties other than Cuyahoga. When other voter registration fraud from other counties (for which we don’t have specific numbers) is added to that from Cuyahoga County, who can tell how many votes John Kerry lost in Ohio?

8) Just about the only thing missing at this point is for someone from Diebold (who handled much of the voter registration in Ohio, including Cuyahoga Co.) to tell us how this was done. Isn’t anyone from the mainstream media interested in this?

Election 2004: The Urban Legend

NOT COPYRIGHT © NOTE: This story is copyright free in whole and in part. This Word document is the CURRENT OFFICIAL RELEASE OF THIS PAPER AS AT 13/6/7 (aka 6/13/7)  – CHECK THE ABOVE URL FOR LATEST OFFICIAL DOWNLOAD VERSION. Please distribute and discuss in any and all mediums (including print, wikipedia, slashdot, tv, youtube, flash creative etc.). If you wish to please forward notice to Above all else you are free to send them to and use their contents to argue with your elected representatives about the URGENT and VITAL need to reform the US Election infrastructure to restore confidence in U.S. Democracy.



Scoop American Coup II presents...

Election 2004: The Urban Legend

Michael Collins

This analysis is based on original, unpublished research by
web commentator, anaxarchos, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude

Click for big version

Download Word Doc. Version – The Urban Legend
Download Word Doc. – Executive Summary 2 Pages For Printing
Download Word Doc. Version – Bigger Than Watergate II

See also companion article… "Sludge Report #177 – Bigger Than Watergate II"

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.

The night of November 2, 2004, was exhilarating or devastating, depending on how you voted and where you were. If you were a rural conservative who voted based on your religious affinity to Bush, you were elated. You were also relieved, because your peers had not turned out with the same enthusiasm that they had shown in 2000. If you were in the suburbs and had campaigned hard for Kerry, you were probably devastated. After all that work in your first campaign ever, the big crowds and the optimistic polls, your man lost. But if you were white, living in a large city, and probably a returning voter after missing several elections, you were positively exuberant. You and your like-minded peers continued George W. Bush’s reign as the 43rd President of the United States. It was a miracle.

This election was a sight to see. Few in the country had the vantage point of network news commentators. Throughout the day these experts received a stream of information from the exit polls of the National Election Pool (NEP). Sponsored by a media consortium consisting of the four major television networks plus CNN and the Associated Press, the NEP provided the most sophisticated polling data ever.

The pundits had the national Exit Poll of 13,660 respondents [1] and parallel State Exit Polls of over 77,000 respondents. The NEP was the only source on “who voted for each candidate; why the voters in each area made critical choices; and where geographical differences on candidates and issues were a factor.”

If you paid attention and knew your craft, you were on fire. Election 2004 was the best thing to happen since Truman beat Dewey and you probably weren’t around for that. It was a unique moment. Just a day or two after the election, experienced analyst Charles Cook practically gushed after he studied the exit polls saying the Bush effort was “…unquestionably …the best planned, best executed presidential campaign ever.”[2]

Based on what he knew at the time, this made sense. Cook reflected that, “Perhaps the most interesting, and maybe puzzling, exit poll finding is that (compared to 2000) Kerry lost 11 points among the 13 percent of Americans who live in cities with populations over 500,000, while President Bush jumped up 13 points (since 2000).” He concluded that the surprising urban performance, required for a Bush win, was a result of defections from the Kerry camp by black, Latinos, and Jewish voters. This is the stuff of legends.

Cook’s analysis pinpointed the actual location the Bush victory: urban voters. His mistake was to think that the normal Democratic constituencies in the cities did anything different from what they had always done. Cook himself was one of a few who actually saw and understood the critical role large cities played in providing the Bush victory margin.

The Conventional Wisdom

On election eve, a different story prevailed. While they had access to the same exit polls that Cook had, the news people did not notice the same trends and numbers that Cook noticed. Network anchors and others talked about the red-versus-blue battle. There were the very red rural evangelicals, almost all white. The media rolled out the newly minted “security moms” in the purple suburbs plus the true blue Democrats in our largest cities, a predictable group if there ever was one. Unlike Cook, who studied the exit polls, the popular news casters assumed that the Rove strategy had materialized.

It was all about country versus city, red versus blue and sotto voce white versus non white. They were right about an election; but that election had taken place four years earlier. The public received a regurgitation of election 2000 analysis for 2004. The follow up consensus was formed from this inaccurate analysis. The remarkable Rove had done it again with those energized evangelicals. And, he’d grabbed enough van driving suburban moms to make the difference.

USA Today [3] echoed much of the analysis when they concluded their election wrap up with this insight:

In the end, the states broke for Bush much as they did in 2000. Bush lost one state that he won in 2000: New Hampshire. Late Wednesday, the Associated Press reported New Mexico went to Bush. Iowa was still undecided. Both states backed Gore in 2000. [4]

During the week or so after Election Day, there were additional flourishes added to the portrait of Bush’s remarkable victory. He had captured the values voters, a new demographic. These voters cast aside their normal allegiances and turned red in a full embrace of the values of the administration. According to the National Exit Poll, Bush supposedly achieved another remarkable feat. He moved the Latino vote from a Democratic mainstay to a competitive playing field. Unlike the typical 60-40% margins Democrats counted on, in 2004 Latino votes were divided 54% - 46%, a 12 point swing. These two additional “findings” hinted at but did not address directly the Bush urban wave.

There was no broad public debate on the legitimacy of the outcome. Intensive debate on the Internet was stimulated by accidental release of preliminary exit poll data throughout Election Day which showed Kerry winning 51% to 48%. Totaling over 11,000 respondents, these polls were marked “Not for on air use.” This fueled charges of election fraud due to the winning margin for Kerry in all exit polls but the final released on the day after the election. In addition, the debate focused on what was called the red shift, Bush victory in a number of key states, all of which were said to be outside the margin of error for the poll. Aside from these interesting but largely ignored exchanges, Americans settled in for four more years of George Bush.


The National Election Pool (NEP) and has been a feature of recent American political life. The polling company which conducts these surveys describes their purpose as follows:

Exit polls / voter surveys are taken only minutes after citizens’ vote. The results are primary sources from which we can understand the motivations and patterns behind the actual vote. Exit Polls Tell Us: WHO voted for each candidate; WHY voters in your area made critical choices; WHERE geographical differences on candidates and issues were a factor. Edison-Mitofsky Web site 03 May 2007

We use the final revised national exit poll issued the afternoon of Nov. 3, 2004 for this analysis. All of the charts and figures presented come from the 2000 and 2004 National Exit Polls except those at the very end of the essay, where the alternate source is clearly marked.

See also Appendix 2


Is this what actually happened?

According to the final National Exit Poll, there was a lot more to the 2004 election than Red versus Blue.

FIGURE 1. The 2004 rural vote must have alarmed the Bush camp. It was less as a percentage of the overall vote, dropping from 23% to 16%. Bush’s total rural vote went from 14 million in 2000 to just short of 12 million in 2004. These totals added up to a devastating loss of 2 plus million votes from his base instead of an increase by the 3 to 4 million the campaign needed. This was very bad news for the White House. Their core rural base was absent without leave.

Bush scored a huge victory margin in 2000 in rural America. The 2004 narrative was that the Red versus Blue contest was also the basis for the 2004 victory. But in 2004, rural America provided fewer voters and fewer votes for Bush. Sure, he won the rural segment of the population but this was hardly a victory in comparison to 2000. What happened to the wave of born again Christians supposedly so loyal to Bush? Did they stay home? Did they vote by not voting, a time honored American practice? Did they sit out this most critical of elections despite their spirited performance in 2000 and the exhortations from pulpits, televisions, and over the phone?

We need to put our narrative on pause for a moment and interject a note of ugly reality. In a high turnout election, a presidential candidate who loses a big chunk in his base constituency loses the election. This is axiomatic. There are no exceptions in modern election history. The loss of his core constituency through a drop from 23% to 16% of total vote share was bad enough. In addition, according to the NEP, Bush lost expected votes. At 23% of the vote in 2000, Bush had 14.1 million rural votes. At 16% of the vote in 2004, the rural segment provided only 11.6 million votes. This is an absolute loss of 2.5 million votes in an election that had a 16% increase in turnout compared to 2000.

We are now faced with an incredible situation. Bush won the election according to the declared vote count. Yet he did so with his core constituency on strike: fewer votes from his core constituency in actual terms and fewer votes as a percentage of total votes. It is important to keep this in mind as we move forward because the novelties compound one upon another to present an outcome that is simply not believable.

Bush also lost significant ground in the “small towns,” the other element of his values coalition. Small towns are defined as towns of 10 to 50 thousand residents.

FIGURE 2. In 2000 Bush owned small town America. In small towns, he beat Gore 60% to 40% and walked off with a 1.0 million vote margin. In 2004, turnout increased dramatically, but the race evened with the Bush margin at just below 0.2 million votes. Were these the real values voters? This shows even further erosion of the Bush 2000 base.

The small towns were the other significant part of the Bush “base”. While many rural voters expressed their disenchantment, according to the Exit polls, by staying home, the citizens of small towns increased their turnout by 88% in 2004 and evened the playing field by voting in near equal numbers for John Kerry. Bush had 4.9 million small town votes to Kerry’s 4.7 million for a total of 9.5 million. Small towns had given 2000 to Bush over Gore by 3.1 to 2.0 million votes.

The suburbs were only somewhat better for Bush in 2004 than in 2000. His victory margin there was 5% over Kerry, where it had been just 2% above Gore’s 2000 effort. The suburbs comprise nearly half of the total votes.

Bush took 28.3 million to Kerry’s 25.6 million votes. But, it was not nearly enough. Given the decay in the rural and small town margins and the historical Democratic margin in the cities (the “blue” on the election maps), the 2004 Presidential contest was as good as lost for Bush.

Now, however, the exit poll narrative changes. According to the polls, Bush made very surprising gains in the smaller cities, those with populations between 50 and 500 thousand. There Bush trailed Gore by 17 points in 2000, 8.4 million to 12.0 million respectively. In 2004, the smaller cities were almost even with Kerry at 11.36 million and Bush at 11.39 million. Turnout was up just 9%. It is very difficult to explain such a “trend”. Nevertheless, taking the rural voters, the suburbs, and the break even smaller cities as a group, we see that Bush was still in real trouble heading into the larger cities. Had Kerry just held Bush close to the Gore big city margins for 2000 in these Democratic friendly venues, he would have won the election.

Why not expect a strong Kerry showing? Bush had not been a city-friendly President and he had not gone out of his way to help large cities with any initiatives of note. In our largest city, New York, things looked particularly bad. A 2003 poll showed that over 50% of the residents thought that the administration had foreknowledge of the 911 attacks and did nothing, hardly a predictor of great success in that largest of large cities.

But something very unusual happened, as Charles Cook pointed out. According to the NEP, Bush made incredible gains in the cities over his 2000 vote share. These gains were large enough to offset his drop in core support in rural areas and give him a 3% victory.

In addition, big city voters must have been “motivated” by something. Compared to 2000, rural turnout was down 2.0 million, small towns up sharply at 88% (yet still a small segment), and suburban turnout up slightly, with the smaller cities showing a modest increase which was still less than the reported national average. Turnout in cities over 500 thousand in population increased by 66%. What was this all about? The answer to that question and the plausibility of the answer to that question is vital in understanding the story we were told of the 2004 election results.

FIGURE 3. We are expected to believe that after doing poorly in the rural area and small towns, Bush attracted several million new big city voters and pulled off a last minute victory. In the small towns he was well below his 2000 performance for total votes. In the “red” zone, rural America, he got fewer votes in 2004 than he did in 2000 while turnout was up across the nation.

Bush didn’t win the cities. He didn’t have to, he was already winning. Ultimately he had to achieve a better split in the big cities than he had in 2000. Looking at the chart above, you see the increase in Bush votes in the five location categories.

According to the vote totals, the real kill shot for the Bush victory came from large urban areas, “big cities”, defined as those with a population of half a million or more, e.g., New York, Chicago, Detroit, etc. These cities had been the strongest base for Democrats since the Great Depression. There had been variations in turnout from presidential election to election, but the margins had always remained strong.

The Bush Urban Wave of 2004 by the Numbers

The most instructive way to look at the remarkable and certainly unpredictable Bush urban wave is to take his cumulative margin starting with the rural areas and moving to progressively more dense population areas ending up with the big cities.

Bush started out with a 5.0 million vote margin in rural America in 2000 when 105 million votes were cast. With 122 million cast in 2004, his core constituency gave him only a 3.9 million margin by comparison. There were 23.8 million votes cast in the rural segment in 2000 and just under 20 million in 2004. In fact, given the very high rural turnout rates from 2000, it would have been unlikely that the total margin could increase in 2004.

Towns with a population or 10 to 50 thousand accounted for 5.0 million votes in 2000 with Bush taking this group 60 - 40% over Gore. Votes totals reached nearly 10 million and there was a 48% Kerry - 50% Bush split. These added just 175 thousand votes to the accumulated margin for Bush. In 2000, Bush added 1.1 million votes to his margin for this segment.

At this point things were looking grim for George W. Bush. His rural base stayed home and small town voters nearly doubled their 2000 vote totals and split even. After these Republican core area totals, he was up by 4 million votes. In 2000, at this juncture, he had been up 6.3 million votes with a smaller electorate.

The suburbs, the largest voting block, showed slight improvement for Bush. He increased his 2000 victory margin there from two to five percent and the suburban share went from 43% to 45%. Yet his cumulative margin at this juncture was 6.8 million compared to 7.3 million in 2000 and there were many more Americans yet to vote.

Figure 4. Graph reads from left to right, e.g., 2004 3.8 million rural lead in rural areas; adding the small town margin, Bush has only 4.0 million cumulative - net lead when 2004 small town votes are factored in. This shows that Bush “won”, not by building up a huge lead that was eroded in urban areas, but by building up a much smaller lead that was not nearly as dramatically “eroded” in the cities (see line graph of same data at end of  article).

Gore had fared worse than Kerry by a long shot in Rural and Small Town America but then broke even in the suburbs. Once he hit the smaller and big cities, Gore was on a roll and pulled out the forgotten half million popular vote victory.

In 2004, Bush struggled in the rural and small town segments. He gained a modest advantage in the suburbs. Things weren’t looking good compared to his 2000 performance.

Then the urban wave began to form. According to the final exit poll, despite being abandoned by his 2000 base, which was specifically targeted for even more votes in 2004, Bush rallied in the smaller cities. He went from a loss of 60%-40% in 2000 to a dubious break even in 2004. Instead of an inadequate 3.8 million advantage in 2000, Bush went downtown, so to speak, with a seemingly staggering 6.8 million vote advantage over Kerry.

Remarkably, that was not going to be enough for a Bush win. Had Kerry maintained the Gore big city margin of 2000 with the 60% increase in turnout, he would have won the election easily, both numerically and in terms of electoral votes. And why wouldn’t he maintain that margin? Bush was indifferent to the big cities and there was little campaign activity there; the turnout increase in the NEP was huge, from 9.2 million to 15.2 million. These people must have been motivated. Kerry was on deck with a big bat against a weak opposing team.

Figure 5. Unprecedented! That’s the only word necessary to show the dichotomy of 2004 – Bush losing actual votes in his base, rural America, while gaining an exponential increase in big cities.

But something happened. The Urban Legend appeared in the form of a tidal wave of increased Bush support. While his rural, conservative, white, Christian voters were staying home or changing candidates, it seemed that his appeal to urban voters went off the charts. He increased from 26% to 39% of the big city vote total, from a 2.7 million total in 2000 to 5.9 million total votes in 2004. What was happening? The urban legend was born.

Who would have thought?

Who would have thought that the margin for the Bush victory would come from cities, particularly America’s largest cities, those with over 500 thousand people? In truth, it did because “it had to”. The red base, rural America, could not match its relative performance in 2000 relative to a 19% increase in the total vote. In fact, the base receded. Small towns showed major increases in turnout but that benefited Kerry; surprisingly, he broke even there. The suburbs were slightly improved but Bush turnout was not spectacular. The smaller cities, population 50 to 500 thousand, had only a 9% increase in turnout over 2000.

But voters were hitting the streets of the big cities, with a 66% increase in turnout. That meant only one thing as preliminary exit poll data was reviewed throughout Election Day: the end of the road for G.W. Bush.

According to the Exits Polls, something was happening in the big cities and it was happening in a big city way. For every 100 voters returning from 2000 there were 66 new voters showing up at polls to vote. Without any doubt, these voters were the most motivated block segment compared to a 9% increase in the smaller cities, a 19% in the suburbs and a decrease in rural turnout of 17%. Only the small towns, a much smaller segment, had close to this level of turnout.

Running behind his 2000 totals in his base area, Bush had little hope until the returns from the cities came in. The smaller cities had moved from a 57% to 40% split for Democrats in 2000 to break even in 2004. This was no slight accomplishment. Bush picked up 3.0 million votes over his 2000 total. Turnout for this segment was up only 1.8 million votes.

But that was nothing compared to the big cities. Here we have voters who are typically referred to as the core Democratic constituency. These were the people that the Democrats would always count on and who the Republicans used as surrogates to rally their mostly white suburban and rural base. Turnout was up 60%, the big city share of the national vote total was up 25%, but there was an entirely new voting pattern.

After four years of national struggle and focus overseas, inner city Americans came to the polls in record numbers, voted more Republican than before or since, and gave George Bush the necessary votes for his victory in 2004!

Is this Pattern Plausible or even Possible?

Accepting this strange event requires accepting that an election without any precedent occurred. The Democrats have seen retreats in urban turnout and vote share but these have never been accompanied by retreats in the Republican base area. The two phenomena just don’t happen in the same election. Democrats increased their votes in a diminished rural voting block, significantly improved performance in the small towns, and held close in the suburbs. They were taking three out of every five new voters around the country - but then we are expected to believe that they lost the election in the big cities after taking a similar beating in the smaller cities. This combination of events has never happened before in American history. It is unprecedented… and unbelievable.

An Urban Legend or a Potemkin Village

To understand the real explanation of the urban legend of 2004, we need to look for any election efforts aimed at big city voters. What stimulated the big turnout increase and what pushed returning or new voters into the Republican camp?

If this Bush urban wave actually materialized, you would expect a general and a proximate cause. The general cause would have come in the form of an issue(s) that moved voters to such a degree that they either they switched decades old party loyalty or candidate preference held sway over party loyalty.

The proximate cause would show up as big city activity focused on get out the vote (GOTV) efforts combined with advertising and major campaign events. Noticeable campaign efforts would have been essential. How could Bush make huge gains in admittedly hostile territory with out these efforts?

The general cause would have come in the form of a city-friendly charismatic Republican incumbent. We’d expect to see Bush in the cities laying on the charm, so to speak, and announcing a few high profile federal projects.

There is no apparent general cause for a shift in loyalties and voting in big cities. Unlike Ronald Reagan, who emphasized big city enterprise zones, Bush seemed indifferent to the needs of urban dwellers. Bush was not a city type of guy and rarely went to New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles for anything other than high level events. Not big on mixing with the masses, he demonstrated a clear preference for the solitary activity of clearing trees and brush from the Texas ranch he acquired just before the 2000 primaries. To the extent that 911 sensibilities may be considered, they seem to have been a far larger factor in the suburban than in the urban vote, at least as far as the exit polls indicate.

As for the proximate causes needed to turn opinion and attitude into an actual voting experience for the converted, they were certainly not evident. The Republican focus was always on ramping up the rural base and increasing the suburban vote. We found little if any comment in the Republican media machine about push polls, new programs for or special events in big cities to drive the vote. Bush gave speeches around the country, but you often needed a ticket to attend. Think back to any Bush big city rallies or events; rare and not a priority. Big city strategy was not a featured item in the 2004 Republican playbook.

How do we know this? To begin with, the core Democratic blocks in big cities didn’t change their votes according to the National Exit Polls. The NEP showed that black, Latino, and Jewish city voters went for Kerry at rates of 95%, 66%, and 80%.

The National Exit Poll gathers data each year on various campaign activities. The vital activity accompanying any significant vote increase is called GOTV - get out the vote. According to the NEP, only 1 in 10 urban residents contacted received Republican GOTV calls. Media buys in big cities were not even close to those in the suburbs where Bush only netted an extra 3% vote share over 2000, and campaign events for these urban groups were virtually non existent.

Scrutiny of the National Exit Poll was not the focus on election night. Hurried analysts looked at the vote totals coming in and offered explanations that we now know were not even remotely accurate. While we were told that this was a red-versus-blue election on November 7, it was also noted that Kerry’s GOTV strategy was working, based on increased votes/turnout. Senior analyst Charles Cook assumed that Bush made major inroads in black and Latino city voters but that assumption was not supported by the splits.

Then where did that Bush Urban Wave Originate?

There was a minimal Republican GOTV campaign in big cities and, in general, a minimal presence in the form of advertising and special events. Thus the basis for converting any shift in sympathy to Bush was lacking. Only the National Exit Poll, the revised edition the day after the election, had the special lens necessary to note surges of white big city voters who comprised the Bush victory margin. White voters had to account for the margin and the NEP analysts already knew that. There was no apparent general cause for a shift in loyalties and voting in big cities. The black, Latino, and Jewish voting blocks there had remained essentially unchanged since 2000.

For large urban areas, Latino votes doubled and went from 14% to 16% of the total vote compared to 2000. A small decline in absolute numbers, plus the increased Latino vote pushed the black urban share from 29% to 19% yet the national exit poll showed overall black turnout up 40%.

So the question remains: how do we account for the election winning Bush increases in big city vote share? We know that black, Latino, and Jewish voters in the big cities were strongly in favor of Kerry. The votes came from the only remaining big city voting block. There had to have been an unprecedented out pouring of white voters in large urban areas.

FIGURES 6 & 7. According to the NEP, white voters contributed less than 5 million votes to the big city segment in 2000 but almost 9 million in 2004. This is worthy of the term “surge.” They accounted almost exclusively for the increase from 2.3 million to 5.9 million big city votes for Bush from 2000 to 2004. Where did they come from? We may never know but they “won” the election.

The Nature of the Bush White Urban Wave

The white urban wave was shy, reluctant to show its true form and was perhaps a ghost in the machine. White turnout was supposed to go up as part of an overall increase. No one anticipated that it would materialize for Bush in the big cities in the way that it did. Nor does it help that these white voters were apparently “shy” about talking to pollsters.

Figure 8. The Black and Latino vote in big cities didn’t shift much from 2004. Bush lost big again. But he did much better among big city whites than his 2000 performance.

Where then did the Bush swing in the urban wave come from? The simple answer is that it was weighted into existence. The act of reconciling the exit polls to the official vote count created it. The Bush urban voters came into existence because they had to… otherwise the official vote count would be wrong.

Weighting is a practice used by the US Census, political consultants, public health officials and others who conduct large scale survey research. If you collect data on a population, Latino voting patterns in the 2004 election for example, and your data is unrepresentative of a subset of that population, you can weight certain responses by a multiplier greater or less than one to make your poll consistent with the population measured. The problem though is when weighting is used to reconcile polling data with a “known fact” that may not be known at all. The NEP assumes that the official vote total must be accurate and weights accordingly.
The impossible election of 2004

Generating the Bush urban wave was effortless. Only 10% of urban voters required a call. They were not required to attend rallies or watch television ads. In fact, many of them didn’t even need to vote. That was taken care of by the weighting process conducted when the national exit poll was found to be inconsistent with the announced vote tallies. After all, how could the unintentionally released Election Day NEP be right in showing a 3% Kerry overall victory margin when the vote tabulators showed a 3% Bush win? Rural Americans didn’t produce that margin. Neither did the small towns or the suburbs. Even the improvement in the smaller cities wasn’t enough. The big cities, according to announced totals, delivered the vote for Bush.

Never mind the fact that exit polling reported that 95%, 66%, and 80% of black, Latino and Jewish voters supported Kerry. Never mind the fact that these voters represent over 50% of the United States urban population. Never mind the fact that whites in big cities are the most liberal group of whites in the nation. Finally, never mind that the new voter findings nationwide showed a 3 to 2 advantage for Kerry and that 40% of the voters in the big cities were new voters.

If there were ever a campaign that ignored on-the-ground efforts in big cities while espousing positions opposed by many in those cities, it was the 2004 Republican presidential campaign Bush was a divider not a uniter who pitted rural and suburban citizens against urban dwellers using wedge issues: the Iraq war; anti gay marriage amendments; religion forced into competition with science; the refusal to conduct stem cell research based on religious views; and opposition to a living wage for the poor. Then there was the Bush signal of solidarity to white conservatives by refusing to attend even one NAACP annual convention or Martin Luther King Day celebration. Bush was AWOL for the black voters other than the sanitized White House events.

The Bush campaign focused its efforts heavily, almost exclusively, on the rural areas and suburbs in order to counter the anticipated big city Democratic margins. But then the miracle occurred just when it was needed. White ghosts never seen before emerged from parking lots, alleys and perhaps even graveyards in big cities across the country to give George W. Bush a stunning victory in the presidential election of 2004. It had to be this way, otherwise the vote count was wrong and who would tolerate such a notion, despite the clear signs on the ground and in the National Exit Poll? But the convenient and wide spread Red versus Blue story of election eve was maintained through inertia. For those with nagging questions, that story was replaced by the Urban Legend of 2004: Bush won the 2004 Presidential election in big cities.

The exit polls weighted a voting block into existence but the pollsters will have to work much harder to get anyone serious about the election to believe that those voters were found anywhere other than in weighting formulas generated to ratify the vote totals
At this point we have to believe two absurdities:

Bush lost a huge portion of his core constituency, rural America, which dropped from 23% to 16% of the overall vote total; yet he won the election. Rural citizens gave Bush 2.5 million fewer votes in 2004 than they contributed in 2000. In the small town segment, voting increased substantially and helped Kerry get to a break even point Yet Bush managed to be the only presidential candidate to win a high turnout election after losing his base; an election where overall turnout was up 16% overall but total presidential votes were down 17% in the rural base areas.

Bush won a huge increase in urban America, a place where Bush didn’t advertise significantly, where the GOTV effort was unnoticeable compared to Kerry’s, and where he was clearly an unpopular president; yet he won the election. For example, by 2005 50% of New Yorkers said that the federal government had “foreknowledge of 911” yet let it happen, he improved his vote count by over 20%. In the 32 big cities across America, he was able to piece together a remarkable increase in his vote from 2000 to carry him over the top and elect him President. We must believe this if we accept the final vote count as accurate. These cauldrons of hostility and suspicion about Bush paused on Election Day 2004, reflected, and suspended their animus at least when they voted.

It borders on the absurd to believe that Bush won reelection on the basis of this huge increase in big city votes and vote share from 2000 to 2004. We’re supposed to believe that he went from 2.3 million big city votes in 2000 to 5.4 million in 2004, a 153% increase. This artifact of the NEP’s weighting process is a dead letter that simply can’t be delivered. It strains the limits of credulity, although no one noticed or those who did weren’t talking. There was something very wrong with the NEP weighting process, specifically big city results. This is apparent from the analysis just completed. But there’s something much more troubling about the vote total.

And this is the problem

There have been heated debates on the internet regarding the outcome of the 2004 election. Much of the analysis focuses on the disparity between released and unreleased national exit polls. The mainstream media has not covered this controversy. Yet by August, 2006 more than half of Americans had expressed doubts that the 2004 results were fair and square according to a Zogby Poll of 1018 registered voters nationwide. [5] `

For this study, we chose the less controversial approach of using the final, revised exit poll with a focus on the stated purposes of the exit poll, who were the voters and where did they cast their ballots. Why not take the numbers the pollsters finalized the day after the election. Yet after careful scrutiny, we’ve shown that the NEP’s urban demographic data just don’t add up to even a remotely convincing explanation for a Bush victory. The data is clearly inconsistent, incompatible, and results in a conundrum rather than clarity about what happened on Nov. 2 2004. Doubt leads to disbelief.

And then there’s one more problem that casts doubt on the entire process. The NEP reports a 66% increase in voter turnout in the big cities, from 9 million votes in 2000 to 15 million in 2006. This provides foundation for the increases in Bush urban votes and percentages, even though there is no common sense or historical reason to believe such an increase in Bush votes ever took place, as we’ve demonstrated.

Now here’s the shocker. In addition to the analysis above, the 66% vote increase in the urban areas simply can’t be true on the basis of actual reports of big city vote totals. Why hasn’t this been widely discussed?

We have no idea but contradictory data exists which represents a huge problem.

While investigating the results of 2004, this inquiry asked about city specific results.

The response from a number of authorities was that these figures were difficult to find. Since counties reported totals; there was no one place that where a complete report of actual voting results for big city voting would show up. That’s true but data is available for 12 of the 24 big cities for 2000 and 2004 and it shows nothing close to a 66% increase in turnout. These cities represent 61% of the total big city population as defined by the NEP; 23 million of the 38 million total inhabitants of big cities in 2004.

Actual Big City Votes – 2000 and 2004
Official results reported by state and local boards of elections
These 12 cities represent 61% of the 2004 Big


Chart 1. The cities listed are all “big cities” as defined by the NEP, major urban areas with populations over 500,000. “Turnout” percentages represent the increase in votes for president from 2000 to 2004. They are the actual vote totals from the cities listed. They were obtained from either the city board of elections or the state board of elections.

The total vote for these 12 big cities in 2000 was 6.57 million and 2004 7.61 million. That represents a 16% increase in turnout. [6] This accounts for 61% of the big city population. The remaining 39% of the big city group would have required over a 100% increase in turnout to have a big city average of 66% the NEP claims.

We now have a double indictment of the 2004 NEP and a much larger question about the results of the election altogether. For over two years, the facts of the Bush victory have been on the table. On election night what was seemingly the best information on the election was ignored when the broadcasters announced a replay of election 2000, Red versus Blue, fundamentalists versus city voters. The story of the NEPs, the Bush Urban Legend, was there to see but only Charles Cook and a few others pointed the stunning events purported by the exit polls and they failed to take an in depth look to discover the shocking appearance of all those white ghosts.

We are unaware of any major controversy regarding the who voted where totals.

But now this. The explanation of the Bush victory margin through the 66% big city increase evaporates in view of this data. 16% is not even close to 66%. The 66% did not happen. All those white voters are phantoms, ghosts, artifacts born of necessity. There was no 66% increase in urban voting; but there was an increase consistent with the national average, about 16% based on actual voting data from the over 50% sample of big cities presented above.

Now, we’re left with the following mysteries.

How did the NEP get it so wrong on the urban vote? Was it simple expediency? They had an election to report. They had that 3% problem to handle, you know, the Kerry 51%-48% victory at the end of the day’s polling. There was very little time to handle it. The urban magic that Charles Cook extolled as a sign of Bush campaign genius was invented. It came to be because it was the only way the poll could match the reported results.

Why was there no analysis of the urban vote based on actual reporting? First, you’d have to really want to understand it. There is no neat package and people with expertise tell you it’s pretty much a lost cause. Yes it is if you’re doing derivative research. If you look around in the nooks and crannies, it’s there, at least enough of it to make an obvious inference, in this case that the urban vote was no different than the rest of the nation in terms of turn out. A 66% increase is utter nonsense.

The net result is this. Take the 9.2 million NEP estimated big city votes in 2000 and apply a 17% increase in turnout for 2004 and you get 10.8 million votes. Subtracting the 10.7 million actual votes and from the NEP claimed 15.2 million for the same segment leaves a 4.5 million vote gap.

Or take a different approach. Use the 12 cities above, 60% of the big city population, and generate estimates for big city totals in 2000 and 2004. You get a total of 12.93 million in 2004. The 12.93 million actual votes in 2004 are 2.35 million short of the NEP’s estimated 15.2 million big city votes.

Given either scenario, there are millions of unaccounted for votes. We haven’t even looked at those counter intuitive results for cities 50 to 500 thousand. What could this mean? How can we be so sloppy with our vote totals and the election results for our big cities? Why are big city data and results apparently not worthy of investigation and comment? Don’t look and you won’t have to tell. The only way a Bush victory makes sense, given his failure in rural America, is the addition of millions of votes to the urban centers, the impossible phenomenon.

Trying to find a Bush victory in 2004 leads you down a number of dead end streets. What happened to the rural vote? It was less as an over all percent of the national total and this segment provided less actual votes for Bush. What happened in the big cities? White votes were up from 5.0 to 9.0 million in one election; an 80% increase in white big city turnout.

One thing that we can no longer assume is that the election of 2004 produced the current occupant of the White House. In fact, the inability to show a logical path to the popular victory argues for a stance of informed scrutiny and intense skepticism.

If you believe 4.0 million new white big city voters showed up in 2004, you can believe the 2004 election results.

If you believe that Bush could conjure those new voters representing an 80% increase in white turnout over 2000 with just the slightest Get Out the Vote (GOTV) activity in big cities, you can believe the 2004 election results.

If you acknowledge that Bush lost votes in his political base compared to 2004, the rural segment, yet soared to victory on the basis of substantial gains in the urban areas, then you can believe that he was the truly elected president in November 2004.

Those elected must be able demonstrate that they won a majority or plurality of the votes cast. There is no room left for that scenario in 2004. In the end, we are left with only the Bush Urban Legend.



Please feel free to reprint this and distribute it with attribution of authorship and a link to this article in “Scoop” Independent News. We encourage a wide distribution of this material in all media.

Acknowledgments: Special thanks and appreciation are offered to Jonathan Simon, Jill Hayroot and others who reviewed this material and provided valuable comments. Also very special thanks to “Scoop” Independent News and Alastair Thompson for the ongoing leadership in their coverage of election and voting rights issues. A special debt is owed to the voting rights activists of the United States throughout its history. They give their time freely and risk hardship, injury, and sometimes death for our right to vote.


1. The 2004 National Exit Poll, Edison-Mitofsky, 2004. 2000 National Exit Day Polls, VNS, 2000.

2. GOP Turns Out A Win By Charlie Cook © November 9, 2004

3. Latest vote, county by county 2004 2000 USAToday. 11/16/2004 -Updated 01:14 AM ET

4. President makes peace offer to political rivals, Bill Nichols and Peter Eisler, USA TODAY Posted 11/2/2004 9:24 PM Updated 11/5/2004 7:10 AM

5. Zogby - Voters Question Outcome of ‘04 Election. Michael Collins. “Scoop” Independent News. Sept. 25, 2006

6. Elections for the following city/state election information resource.

California: Los Ángeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose
Statement of Vote by Political Division in Counties, California 2000
Statement of Vote by Political Division in Counties, California 2004
Department of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, County of Los Angeles, 2000.

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Board of Elections, Chicago Presidential Results 2000
Chicago Board of Elections, Chicago Presidential Results 2004

Davidson-Nashville, Tennessee
Tennessee Secretary of State 2004 Presidential Results
Tennessee Secretary of State 2004 Presidential Results

Denver, Colorado
David Leip’s Presidential Atlas. Presidential Election Returns 2000 and 2004

Detroit, Michigan
Department of State, Wayne County Presidential Results 2000
Department of State, Wayne County Presidential Results 2004

Election Precinct Result Search (Wayne County, Detroit City). Michigan Department of State.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
City of
Milwaukee Elections Commission Presidential Results 2000 - 2004

New York, New York
David Liep, Presidential Data,
New York City

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Department of State, Elections Information 2000 - 2004

Washington, DC Presidential Election Returns 2000-2004
Washington, DC Board of Election s 2000 & 2004 General Election Results



2004 Big Cities Smaller Cities Suburbs Small Towns Rural
Percent 13% 19% 45% 8% 16%
“NEP” Spread Sheet – our #’s

Kerry 60% 49% 47% 48% 39%
Bush 39% 49% 52% 50% 59%
39% Rural is actually 39.4653% rounded = 40%

2000 Big Cities Smaller Cities Suburbs Small Towns Rural
Percent 9% 20% 43% 5% 23
NEP Spreadsheet – our #’s

Gore 71% 57% 47% 38% 37%
Bush 26% 40% 49% 59% 59%


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.

Note.  Line Graph version of figure 4.


Psychological Resistance to Facing Election Fraud

The Silence of the Scams:
Psychological Resistance to Facing Election Fraud

Diane Perlman, Ph.D.,
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
April 20, 2005

Few Americans know about the historic event that happened on January 6, 2005, the official date for counting electoral votes. For the first time since 1877, congressmembers challenged the electoral count. Representative Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio, accompanied by the lone senator, Barbara Boxer of California, led the challenge to the Ohio vote count. Although massive fraud was reported around the country, only Ohio was officially cited.

It is curious that an issue so profound and consequential is barely on the radar screens of most Americans, especially those who supported Kerry.

Though we are not certain of the actual outcome, statistically impossible discrepancies exist between results of exit polls and official counts in counties without paper trails. Also documented are patterns of anecdotes about corrupted procedures and accounts of strange behaviors, phenomena and illegal interventions in Ohio, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania and other places. Many say there is fraud in every election, but there was far more in 2004 than in any previous year, and if the errors were random, about half would go in Kerry's favor. Virtually all went in Bush's favor.

But rather than demanding a thorough investigation, the many Americans seem eager to forget the incidents and put the election behind them, thus implicitly supporting such corruption. In my conversations, I observed that white, US born males were more emphatic about accepting the outcome and the futility of challenging it, while others were more willing to recognize being dominated and open to questioning what happened. White males may be more susceptible to obeying patriarchal authority, and the fish does not know it is swimming in the water. This difference was reflected in Congress. Women and members of the Congressional Black Caucus were most active. Representative John Conyers lead the investigation and press conferences, and women, Stephanie Tubbs Jones in the House and Barbara Boxer in the Senate led the historical challenge.

A Political Psychological Puzzlement

Under what conditions do millions of allegedly "free" people knowingly acquiesce to being deceived, dominated and deprived of their own political will? How is it that even those who were politically engaged for the first time resign themselves to an unjust fate, refusing even to consider what happened to our country? Why do progressive citizens actively dismiss and even malign a small group of courageous, devoted people working day and night on their behalf to uncover, calculate, analyze, and evaluate the extensive, varied forms of criminal sabotage that undermined their democracy? How are Americans becoming complacent with escalating fraudulent activity? In other words, how do so many people live with the knowledge that they have been tricked before, were just tricked again--and then submit to life under the power of those who tricked them?

Why were hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians out for days in the freezing cold, refusing to accept fraud, while Americans helplessly colluded with forces of domination? Granted, we face a conspiracy of silence in the media, a propaganda campaign discrediting exit polls (which are accurate in counties with paper trails and other countries), and a dismissal of those who challenge the vote as nuts, sore losers and "conspiracy theorists." Censorship, brainwashing and intimidation create an environment of passivity and fear in subtle yet powerful ways that keep the system going with the complicity of those who have been robbed.

Another significant reason, pointed out by readers commenting on an earlier version of this article, was that Yushchenko himself was bold and courageous about challenging the vote. Unlike Gore, who discouraged a challenge, and Kerry who backed down easily after Edwards promised to count every vote, Yushchenko, who was poisoned and scarred, provided a powerful model of leadership, inspiring his supporters to be brave as well. The Democratic Party itself, except for the few who lead the challenge, acted cowardly, hardly inspiring the public. Why should they rise to the challenge if their maligned leaders wimped out?

Another reason is that citizens of the Ukraine know their history of oppressive, deceptive government. Unlike Americans, they are not inclined to trust the integrity of their leaders and system, and hunger intensely for justice and the freedoms that we have enjoyed.

Even with these explanations, we must still wonder what is going on in the collective psyche that allows mass submission to the systematic and progressive usurpation of power.

The Dance of Domination

The psychology of electoral domination has two parts--what is being done to people and how they allow it.

Psychological techniques, used deliberately, allow many tricks to go unnoticed and unchallenged. For example, "mystification" is a plausible misrepresentation of reality in which forms of exploitation are presented as forms of benevolence. Like magic and the use of distraction, the issue of voting reform was manipulated and misrepresented, so people felt calmed by the illusion that the problems from the 2000 election were being corrected. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Elements of the Help America Vote Act, HAVA (a name as Orwellian as the Clear Skies Initiative, should be more accurately called "Hide America's Voting Anomalies"), includes intrusive identity checks, the introduction of the "provisional ballot" most of which were not counted, and the use of electronic voting machines. Each of these was brilliantly misused for the opposite intention--to corrupt and deny votes to Kerry in ways people wouldn't notice.

The subterfuge was successfully accomplished with use of censorship, illusion, distortion, brainwashing, propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, mystification, intimidation, shaming, and domination. As Bush might say, it was a "catastrophic success."

These techniques combine to form something like a collective hypnotic induction, which creates an illusion of a consensus that cannot be challenged. Few have the insight, training, or tools, to see through the manipulation. Even fewer have the courage to take on the challenge. For many, responses to domination may include disbelief, learned helplessness, psychic numbing, fear, cowardice, conformity, denial, cognitive laziness, avoidance, and submission to authority. These items are inter-related and the list is not exhaustive.

Before the psychological explanations, it is necessary to acknowledge a basic factor: the overwhelming ignorance of the facts. This can be exacerbated by a lack of desire to know the facts, and an avoidance of the awesome responsibility that comes with this knowledge. Of course if the facts were accurately reported in the mainstream media, the collective psychological climate would be conducive to a healthier public response. People accept fraud for reasons which may be conscious or unconscious. Some of the ways that they do this are described below.

Confusing Outcome with Process

Many don't want to deal with the corruption because they believe that challenging fraud won't change the outcome, so there's no point. This might be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It represents a kind of immature, black-and-white thinking, as the outcome is a separate issue from the process. Even if it doesn't affect the outcome, voter suppression is criminal.

Paradoxically, refusal to examine the process prevents discovery, which might change the outcome. The Ohio vote challenge required two-hour debates in the House and Senate. Most Democrats who supported the challenge, emphatically stated that they didn't expect it to change the outcome, as if they were intimidated into making that point first or they would be ridiculed and dismissed. Most Republicans ignored their actual words and made emotional, even hysterical accusations of them not accepting the outcome, being sore losers, and worse. Republicans ignored the issue of voter suppression and praised Kerry highly for not making a big deal out of this.

Numbers, Imagery and Perceptions

People believe that Bush won by 3,500,000 votes--a margin too large to challenge, compared to Gore's 500,000. They are not aware of the long list of dirty tricks, and knowing of one or two, don't believe they can add up to 3,500,000. To bring the popular vote to a tie, it only has to add up to half that, 1,750,000, or an average of 35,000 votes per state, Correcting for Ohio's fraud could change the electoral vote. People may believe subliminally that even if Ohio went to Kerry, the difference in the popular vote is too great. The report of the Conyers Committee may be the best single summary that we have at this time to suggest estimates of the numbers affected.

Ignorance of Extent of Dirty Tricks

If people knew about the amount and extent of dirty tricks, 3,500,000, or 1,750,000 may not seem so insurmountable. Some of the tricks documented include throwing out of Democrat voter registration forms, broken machines, misplaced machines, machine errors, reduced numbers of machines in Black and predominantly Democratic areas, less than in 2002, causing long lines, unmailed absentee ballots, absentee ballots requesting 86 cents, insufficient postage, which were returned, certification of more votes than registered voters in some areas, reversal of percentages of registered Democrats and votes for Bush in many counties, modem connected voting machines and tabulators, different standards for provisional ballot recounts in different areas, many provisional ballots, also called “placebo ballots”, not counted at all, voting machines defaulting to a Bush or 'jumping' by recording a vote for Bush when Kerry's button was pushed, phony companies registering voters and then tearing up the registrations of Democrats but not Republicans, exit polls not corresponding with reported votes in counties with no paper trail, while exit polls matched reported votes in counties with paper trails, voting elections officials creating what look like phony election machine poll tapes and tossing original, signed tabulations in the garbage, people posing as technicians coming in and tampering with machines, Republicans posing as Democrats, a lock down, refusing to let observers in, with the excuse of terrorist alert to observe the counting of votes in a country in Ohio, misinformation about the date and location of voting in Black neighborhoods, threats of arrest for voters with traffic tickets or any record, unusual discrepancies between numbers of votes for Kerry and Democratic candidates on same ticket, and widespread refusal of media to report on any of these, and a media campaign trashing exit poll data with made up reasons. And these are just the ones we know about.

Discomfort with Numbers

The best evidence for fraud in the 2004 election is statistical, according to Josh Mitteldorf of Temple University's Statistics Department. Many are uncomfortable with numerical and statistical science that quantifies judgments about likelihood. For example, statistician Dr. Steve Friedman of University of Pennsylvania, and graduate of MIT found that the discrepancy between exit polls and the actual vote count in each of three states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, is 1 in 1,000,000, but the likelihood of all three states being discrepant in the same direction is 1 in 250,000,000. What people heard in the news was a smear campaign invalidating the credibility of exit polls, even though they are considered highly accurate, are used in many countries as indicators of fraud, and that exit polls in counties with a paper trail matched the official vote count, and in counties where there was no paper trail and evidence of computer irregularities, the official count was different than the exit polls and always favored Bush. They even made up fake reasons for this discrepancy regarding response bias--which did not exist where there were paper trails.


Many people don't believe the allegations of fraud because they didn't read about it in the New York Times or hear it on CNN. (The only mainstream media to report it was Keith Olberman on Countdown, MSNBC.) We might wonder about the media censorship on this story and intentions to promote disbelief in the populous, in addition to ignorance.

Conformity and Herd Mentality

Because of the media blackout, ignorance, and emotional tone of reporting, Americans have a false perception of consensus about objective reality. The majority conforms to this misperception and most do not have the psychological make-up to challenge the status quo. The few that are courageously addressing this are not heard, or else they are severely shamed, ridiculed and viciously accused of causing problems. Thus, even the thought of questioning is suppressed.

Learned Helplessness

Psychologist Martin Seligman's theory of learned helplessness explains how when one's repeated actions have no effect, people learn that what they do doesn't make a difference and give up, even in situations where they can potentially make a difference. People worked hard on this election and believe that they lost. They are burned out. They feel all their hard work, time, energy and money didn't help so they don't want to deal with it. Learned helplessness is also associated with elevation of levels of cortisol and immune suppression--suggesting it is ultimately not adaptive or healthy to give up. Conversely, taking action in the face of injustice is a sign of health, enhanced immune response and can be an antidote to depression.


It is reasonable to fear sticking one's neck out and challenging the powers that be. There may be legitimate reasons to be afraid of individual action, but this becomes part of the problem and rewards domination. As long as people remain silent and isolated from one another, we don't realize the safety implicit in concerted collective action. The safety in numbers can reduce fear.

Denial and Psychic Numbing

We are comforted with the belief that our leaders are good people who are protecting us. Many decent, well-meaning people believe the best about our system of government and democracy and can't believe that corruption is going on. It is frightening, unsettling, and intolerable for many Americans to question these core beliefs about our leaders and to accept the reality of extensive fraud. Also, ignorance is bliss, but for the moment, and knowledge implies responsibility, which may be feared and avoided.

Denial and numbing--not knowing and not feeling--protect us from this painful awareness in the present, but they cannot protect us from the real effects of these hidden realities which render us vulnerable to increasing domination and danger in the long term.

If one is in an impossible situation, these habits serve as survival mechanisms to avoid the pain of awareness. However, if one can do something to make a difference, then psychic numbing and denial are maladaptive.

Submission to Authority

The thought of challenging powerful, dominating authority with the prospect of losing is overwhelming. Increasing authoritarianism reinforces this dynamic in gradual, subtle ways. Some may also be afraid of challenging a president during a war and falsely believe it will harm national security.

Political Egocentrism

Many feel that there is no action that they can personally take on this level. It is too big for them, so they don't even seek out information or support or value the work that others are doing on their behalf.

Avoidance and Compartmentalization

People want to retreat, to focus on their own survival, family, daily life and pleasure, which are manageable. They are less focused on the scary bigger picture. This is completely understandable and even enviable. Furthermore, those struggling with high unemployment, lower wages, and other hardships created by the Bush administration are too preoccupied with their survival issues to pay attention to politics. In this way, disempowerment of certain segments of the population works to the administration's advantage.

The Spiral of Silence

I am grateful to readers of an earlier version for informing me about Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann's theory, The Spiral of Silence, which describes the spread of public opinion. All of the elements described above can be understood as interacting and potentiating this spiral. It refers to perceptions of public opinion, and when people perceive themselves to be in the minority, their sense of pressure to conformity, fear of isolation and the tendency to conceal one's views, and the role of the mass media in fueling this spiral.

Evolution, Adaptation and Survival

All of these reactions are understandable, but all become part of the problem. In the short run, they may minimize pain, but in the long run they are counterproductive and serve to magnify and multiply problems that are not being faced. Such avoidance mechanisms are not adaptive, as they play into the game of the destructive forces, allowing them to dominate. The continuation of the processes of systematic domination requires the ignorance, passivity and complicity of the majority of decent people, including the millions who supported Kerry. These people are colluding with their own domination.

The Courageous Minority

The reactions listed above are completely natural. Carl Jung said that consciousness is a work against nature. To go against the collective tide of ignorance, conformity and cowardice is a work against nature taken on by the courageous few. This collective, archetypal drama described by Jung was popularized by Joseph Campbell in The Hero's Journey. The Hero is the one who is willing to take on challenges that most people fear. According to Jung, the hero archetype represents the progressive force in society.

The people I have witnessed working intensely to investigate and challenge voter fraud have a particular psychological profile. They are courageous and willing to face pain and fear. They call up their strength to challenge authority, as our lives, our freedom and democracy depend on it. They are unable to deny what is going on or remain silent. They are heroes in our mythical, archetypal Hero's journey, willing to face the dragons that are guarding our "National Treasure."

They are acknowledged in a piece by William Rivers Pitt called "Heroes" on Pitt quotes Bob Dylan: "I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom."

Only by facing the pain can we transcend it. Consciousness is the first step. Action is an antidote to depression. It would be a sign of health, freedom, and conscious evolution if more people could muster up the courage to face the painful truth of what is happening in our country and support the great work of those courageous souls--who are not nuts or conspiracy theorists, but evolved, conscious, healthy leaders taking personal risks and sacrifices to elevate our democracy, restore our integrity and ultimately to increase our security on the world stage ... if we let them.


Some Links for Detailed Accounts of Voter Fraud

For a proper psychological understanding of suppression, it is necessary to recognize the quantity and quality of information being suppressed. The extent of fraud and ignorance of it are mind-boggling. Below are some links with detailed information.

Links for detailed information about voter fraud

A Guide to Ohio and New Mexico Recounts: Statistical Anomalies and Evidence of Voting Machine Malfunction and Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election January 5, 2005

By: Audit the Vote and Help America Recount

Analysis of 2004 Election Irregularities

TV Networks Officially Refuse to Release Exit Poll Raw Data

By Gary Beckwith, The Columbus Free Press, 22 December 2004

Thom Hartmann in "Dialing for Democracy--Now Is Critical, January 3, 2005,

20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA

Partial list of incidents reported in the news

by Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman

Spiral of Silence Chapter


An earlier version of this article appeared in Newtopia Magazine, April 16, 2005, with © Newtopia Magazine.

Modifications were subsequently made by the author.

Reading List: 2004 American Coup II

American Coup II, Reading list

Reading List: Evidence of Fraud in the 2004 Election

Evidence of Electoral Fraud in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election: A Reading List
by Michael Keefer

2006 Election Investigations

If you know of additional case studies from the 2006 election please send them to our attention at: EDA Investigations

Fired Federal Prosecutors and Election Fraud

Scoop News

Fired Federal Prosecutors And Election Fraud

Sacked for Indicting Republicans
and Not Indicting Democrats?

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

Top U.S. law enforcement official Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez engineered a Pearl Harbor Day for eight Republican appointed federal prosecutors. From one end of the country to the other, previously well regarded prosecutors were summarily fired (allowed to resign) on December 7, 2006. Chief of the Office of U.S. Attorneys, Michael Battle spread the news. In a rare case of the messenger shooting himself, Battle abruptly decided that he too would resign after the firings turned into a major scandal this month.

Even hard core Bush supporters were appalled. High profile Republican partisan and former federal prosecutor Joseph diGenova made his opinion clear: “This is really a pathetic way of running government." Mark Corallo, a former close aid to Attorney General Ashcroft said: "These are people who worked hard in the pursuit of justice. To go out and trash their reputations -- it's galling." John Smietanka, deputy to George H. W. Bush’s Attorney General William Barr, offered this: “If they were going to ask for the resignations of people, they should have given reasons, just for pure tact and humanity." (Source of quotations: Law.Com, 12 Mar 2007)

Working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue seems to be the essential requirement to stick one’s head in the sand and support this process.

Why were these eight selected? The notion that they were somehow ineffective is a non starter. All eight prosecutors had positive personnel reviews by the Department of Justice (DOJ) according to the Wall Street Journal whose reporters had access to the files. The conventional wisdom is that they were somehow disloyal to the Bush White House, either through acts of omission or commission. That’s obvious. But what were those acts?

Is there a common element to the firings? In the case of four of the eight, there might be.

David Iglesias, New Mexico. “Leaned on” by a Senator and his heir for failing to indict Democrats before 2006 elections.

Senator Pete Domenici, (R-NM), recommended David Iglesias as New Mexico’s federal prosecutor. Imagine the volatile senator’s outrage when he reportedly called and asked Iglesias for a favor. Domenici was concerned about the slow pace of expected indictments of Democrats in election related cases according to Iglesias. Should the indictments come just before the 2006 election, they would help Republicans in tight races. The alleged interference took its toll. Iglesias said “I felt sick afterward. I felt leaned on. I felt pressured to get these cases moving.”

A big part of the pressure was from Congresswoman Heather Wilson, (R-NM). She called Iglesias and reportedly pressured him to indict the same Democrats requested by Domenici. Iglesias would have none of it. Wilson later said that she’d called to help Iglesias with his investigation, an assertion that became the object of mockery among commentators. Regarded as Domenici’s political heir for the New Mexico Senate seat, she was one of those Republicans who would benefit form early indictments of high profile Democrats. Wilson needed every bit of leverage available to win re-election. She won by less than 1,000 votes in one of those controversial elections.

There were no pre-election indictments by prosecutor Iglesias.

The likely motivation for the firing was clarified by New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Allen Weh. In a just published account by McClatchy Newspapers, he described a 2005 phone call with Karl Rove, Weh asked, “Is anything ever going to happen to that guy?” referring to Iglesias’ failure to bring the requested pre election charges against Democrats. Rove’s response was direct, “He’s gone.” And he was, just a few months after the phone call.

John McKay, Washington State. Investigate “voter” fraud in 2004 Governor’s race or tell me why you didn’t!

John McKay of Washington State was apparently the object of a longer held grudge by the White House. He refused to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 election for Governor of Washington State. McKay told Senate investigators of receiving a call from the chief of staff for Republican Congressman “Doc” Hastings. The call concerned a prosecution to challenge the Democrats in their 200 vote victory in the 2004 race for governor.

The Seattle Times published a letter from trade association executive Tom McCabe to Rep “Doc” Hastings from July 2005. Talk about a demand letter. Hastings, a former chair of the House Ethics Committee, surely knew what this meant.

I urge you to call on President Bush to fire John McKay, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington.

…. If you decide not to do this, let me know.

Tom McCabe
Executive Vice President

(N.B. The cc. list on this letter includes one “John Fund.”)

After receiving the letter, Hastings staffer Ed Cassidy called prosecutor McKay making inquiries about the status of the 2004 allegations. McKay quickly cut him off expressing concerns about illegal influence (it’s a crime to try and influence a federal prosecutor's decisions in this way).

The call ended and a few months later so did McKay’s federal service. His reward for service to his country was a threat that DOJ would release information damaging to his reputation. They did. It was widely dismissed.

Daniel Bogden, Nevada. Getting too close to corporate gifts for a Republican Governor

Nevada federal prosecutor Daniel Bogden may have been undone by an explosive FBI probe of just re-elected Governor Jim Gibbons. Gibbons’ dealings with friend and defense contractor Warren Trepp are a part of the investigation. It isn’t hard to figure out why.

Among the dozens of e-mails is one allegedly sent days before Trepp and his wife prepared to set sail on a Caribbean cruise with (Governor) Gibbons and his wife. In it, Trepp's wife allegedly wrote to her husband: "Please don't forget to bring the money you promised Jim and Dawn." Trepp's reply, according to the Journal report, was: "Don't you ever send this kind of message to me! Erase this message from your computer right now!” Washington Post

There are other examples of Trepp’s cash and carry relationship with his friend and traveling companion, the governor. The possible resignation of Gov. Gibbons due to a scandal was apparently too much for the White House to bear. Senate testimony indicated that there was really no reason to remove Gibbons other than to make room for a political appointee. Long service and an excellent record offered no protection for this loyal civil servant.

Another layer of protection for the governor was provided when intelligence czar, John D. Negrponte filed a statement saying any investigation of the Gov. Gibbons – Trepp connection would compromise vital national security interests.

Is this the security of knowing that you’ll be able to actually spend the walking around money your patron gave you during your Caribbean vacation together? Time will tell.

Carol Lam, California. Poking around the mother of all political scandals, Hookergate.

Carol Lam’s courteous demeanor masks a prosecutor tough as nails. It was Lam who brought charges against Republican Congressman Randall H. “Duke” Cunningham. Lam indicted and convicted the former Naval flying ace and Republican icon for bribe taking in 2005. She wasn’t done yet.

Exposed and disgraced, Cunningham resigned after the indictment and apparently began singing the right tunes for the prosecutor. Lam widened her investigation and connected Cunningham’s cash cow, defense contractor Brent Wilkes, with a broader potential scandal involving Wilkes and former CIA executive Dusty Foggo.

Hookergate has it all – politicians participating in prostitution, gambling, and influence peddling. It’s alleged that federal money was provided to a Virginia based limousine company to carry Congressmen between Capitol Hill and the Watergate complex for recreational sex with prostitutes and gambling with each other. It appears that both Foggo and Wilkes are closely connected to the merry making.

The implications of this scandal are staggering. Any member of Congress caught up in this scheme, particularly if photographed, will be forced from office immediately. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out which political party will be totally decimated if this scandal explodes.

After Lam’s previously announced resignation was moved up, she remained undeterred. Just before leaving office, she filed an incredibly detailed indictment of Wilkes and Foggo that will be at the top of her replacement’s to do list. This more than justifies a Congressional investigation into the more explosive Hookergate affair.

Emerging Pattern?

It is apparent that the four dismissals are related to politics and not performance. A pattern begins to emerge. Political leverage is brought to bear on past, current or future elections through the use of federal prosecutors, clearly not a part of the job description. Two prosecutors were dismissed after failing to indict citizens in order to influence an election. The Nevada prosecutor was sacked in the midst of an investigation that had the potential to remove a sitting Republican governor. But Lam takes the cake.

It appears that she was dismissed early to discourage the very indictment she brought just before leaving, an indictment that has the potential to literally wipe the Republican Party off of the political map. If it ever breaks, Hookergate will be the mother of all political scandals with corruption, influence peddling, and prostitutes paid for with government funds.

It’s no coincidence that the eight were removed when they were. This process was a gift to the President by Republican Senator Arlen Specter. In a clever move before the bill was finalized, Specter included a few sentences in the Patriot Act broadening the options for the midterm dismissal of federal prosecutors. The White House noticed this loophole and used it when needed, without restraint.

Hovering at a paltry 30% approval rating with no hope in sight, the White House operation needs every bit of help it can get. Given the reaction of even their staunchest supporters, the troubles are just beginning.

Special thanks to Mario for his ongoing insights.

Permission to reprint with an attribution to the author and a link to this article at “Scoop” Independent News.

Undervotes in 2006 Senate Contests in Ohio Diebold Counties

Excessive Undervotes in Ohio Diebold Counties, 2006 Senate Race

by Dale Tavris

Since the 2004 Presidential election, when Ohio’s electoral votes made the difference in handing George Bush a second term in the White House, subsequent investigations found numerous irregularities” in Ohio’s election, and Ohio’s Presidential electoral votes were subsequently challenged in Congress, Ohio’s election system has been the focus of much national concern and attention.

On December 7th of this year, Richard Hayes Phillips posted an analysis of the undervote for the Ohio Senate race entitled “Unofficial Results in Seventeen Ohio Counties Cannot Be Right”, using unofficial figures from Kenneth Blackwell’s website. An undervote for the purpose of that analysis was defined as a ballot that was cast, but for which there was no vote registered for Senator (or else more than one vote for Senator, which would have disqualified the ballot).

Since that time, Kenneth Blackwell has posted
the official election results on his website. In connection with my role as a volunteer for the data analysis group of Election Defense Alliance, I recently used those results to conduct an analysis of the Ohio Senate undervote, using methods similar to Richard Hayes Phillips, in which I assessed the undervote by machine type.

Findings – excessive undervote rates in six Diebold counties

The state-wide undervote rate for Ohio Senator was 3.94%. But there was a great difference in undervote rate by county by machine type, with the Diebold counties averaging a significantly higher undervote rate (p=0.015) than counties using the other machines, as follows:

Diebold DREs (47 counties) – 4.79%

Votronic DREs (10 counties) – 3.22%

Op-scan (31 counties) – 3.29%

Furthermore, there were six counties that were definite and extreme outliers (all Diebold) compared to the other counties. Those six counties (Mercer, Darke, Highland, Montgomery, Adams, Perry) had undervote rates ranging from 11.2% to 16.3%, with an average of 13.8%, while the other 82 Ohio counties had undervote rates ranging from 0.62% to 6.76%, with an average of 3.37%. The undervotes in the six outlier counties amounted to almost a quarter (24.9%) of
the undervotes in the whole state, whereas the total votes in those six counties amounted to only 7.1% of the total votes in the state. Without those six counties, the average undervote rate for the other 41 Diebold counties was quite similar (3.47%) to the average undervote rate for the other types of machines.

The vote distribution in the six high outlier counties leaned slightly towards the Democratic candidate, Sherrod Brown (50.7%), which was less than Brown’s share of the vote state-wide (56.2%).

Discussion of the meaning of this analysis
What this analysis shows is that for the 2006 Ohio Senate race, the undervote rate for counties that used Diebold machines was substantially greater than the undervote rate for counties that used other voting machines, and that almost all of the excess undervote rate in the Diebold counties was accounted for by six counties, which were characterized by an undervote rate of about four times that of the remainder of Ohio.

Why did this occur? It seems highly likely that there was something wrong with the Diebold machines, at least a good portion of them in six Ohio counties, which caused the relatively high undervote rates. That could have been due to difficulties voters had in finding the Senate candidates on those Diebold machines, or it could have been due to failure of the machines to record the votes that the voters intended. Alternatively, it could have been due to the fact that 11 to 16% of voters in six Ohio counties decided not to vote for Senator – but that seems quite unlikely.

Whether or not the problem with the Diebold machines was purposeful, whether or not the undercount rates applied to some Ohio House or other races as well, and whether or not high undercount rates may have affected some close House or other races, is not known at this time. Nor do we know whether or not individual precincts or machines in counties other than the six outlier counties may have had similar problems. I have not had access to precinct level data which could possibly provide answers to some of these questions.

Another finding of note is that Richard Hayes Phillips’ analysis of the unofficial Ohio data resulted in findings that were substantially different than my analysis of the official Ohio Senate data, which can be seen by following the link that I supplied above (though our general conclusion of high undervote rates in several Diebold counties was similar).

This means that in some respects there were major changes in the data from the time of the first unofficial postings to the time that the official results were posted. Identification of the reasons for those changes could provide clues to some of the problems.

Comparison with the 2006 House Race in Florida Congressional District 13

The findings here have many similarities to the House race in Florida Congressional District 13, the only remaining 2006 House race that is currently still being contested. In that race it was found that there was one county, Sarasota, that exhibited a very high undervote rate for the House race, 15%, compared to neighboring counties, which exhibited undervote rates of only 2.2% to 5.3%. Almost 18,000 ballots did not register a vote for Congressperson in Sarasota County, which was tentatively won by the Republican candidate by only 369 votes.

Unlike the situation in Ohio, a good deal of illuminating additional information is available for the Florida CD 13 race. First, as explained by Paul
, an analysis of individual ballots found that voters who failed to cast a vote
in the House race strongly favored the Democratic candidate in other races.
And secondly, an
interview of
in Sarasota County by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune identified a likely reason
for the high undervote rate: One third of voters couldn’t find the House race on their ballot, and 60% said that they did vote for a House candidate, but that their vote didn’t show up on their summary page.

As with the above noted findings in Ohio, Sarasota County used DRE machines for voting in 2006. But unlike the Ohio findings, the DRE machines used in Sarasota County were manufactured by ES & S rather than by Diebold.

Some final thoughts
The use of voting machines that produce electronic results that cannot be verified have no place in a democracy. Currently,
23 states have no requirement for a voter verified paper trail that could potentially verify the results produced by electronic voting machines. Ohio does have paper trails potentially available for that purpose. But even when paper trails are available to do that, they cannot ensure accurate election results if those in charge of elections refuse to perform a recount or if a recount is performed in a sloppy and illegal manner.

Election protection organizations such as Election Defense Alliance continue to analyze election results in order to shed as much light as possible on the myriad of problems with electronic voting. The fact that this issue has broken through into the national news media is one measure of their success. Another measure of their success is the 27 states that now require the use of voter verified paper trails to be used in conjunction with electronic voting machines (though how successful these paper trails will prove to be in actual practice has yet to be answered). With their continued work and a Democratic Congress ready to be sworn in next month I am cautiously hopeful that some real substantial progress will be made in the next couple of years towards redeeming our country’s election system.

2006 Senate Results in 17 Ohio Counties Cannot Be Right


Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D. December 7, 2006

R. H. Phillips grants permission to copy and distribute ONLY if reproduced exactly as printed here, in its entirety.


[To download the complete report with data tables, click here for PDF file ]

In the 2006 general election, according to the official website of Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, there were 4,177,498 ballots cast in the State of Ohio. Of these, only 3,831,716, or 91.72%, contained votes for Governor, and only 3,826,829, or 91.61%, contained votes for United States Senate.

These numbers create the appearance of undervote (or overvote) rates of 8.28% and 8.39%, respectively, in the two most hotly contested statewide races on the ballot.
When the unofficial election results are examined county by county, there is a strikingly abnormal distribution of undervotes and overvotes.
I have chosen the United States Senate race to examine in detail because there were only two candidates on the ballot (and one write-in candidate), which makes the mathematical analysis simpler than for the Governor's race, in which there were four candidates on the ballot (and two write-in candidates).

A similar analysis could be done, and should be done, for the Governor's race, and for all races in which the unofficial results were very close. The methodology was simple. The percentage of undervotes and overvotes for each county was derived by fifth-grade mathematics. The total number of votes counted for the candidates combined was subtracted from the number of ballots cast. The remainder is the number of uncounted ballots, or undervotes plus overvotes. This number was divided by the number of ballots cast to determine the percentage of ballots left uncounted in each county. The complete data set for all 88 counties is appended to this paper.

There are 88 counties in Ohio. Of these 88 counties, according to unofficial results posted by J. Kenneth Blackwell, 71 counties had rates of undervotes and overvotes ranging from 0.88% (in Greene County) to 6.90% (in Holmes County). In 62 of these 71 counties, the percentages were tightly clustered between 2.00% and 4.50%. The rate in these 71 counties combined was 2.99%.

In 16 of the other 17 counties, including 4 of the 10 most populous counties in the State of Ohio, the percentages of undervotes and overvotes were clearly anomalous, ranging from 11.91% (in Montgomery County) to 26.48% (in Cuyahoga County), with a combined rate of 19.46%, or six and one-half times the rate in the rest of the state.

Just four counties -- Cuyahoga, Lucas, Montgomery and Stark -- accounted for 219,332 undervotes and overvotes, or 62.55% of the statewide total of 350,669. Cuyahoga County alone accounted for 148,928 undervotes and overvotes, or 42.47% of the statewide total. It is difficult to believe that more than one in four voters in Cuyahoga County could not decide between Sherrod Brown and Mike DeWine.

Click here to download a map showing type of voting machine used in each Ohio county for the 2006 midterm elections.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

R. H. Phillips' report was based on the unofficial election results available at the time the report was written.

Since then, Ohio has released the final, official returns for U.S. Senate in Ohio, 2006.
The official returns are posted online at [].

A PDF file of the official 2006 Ohio returns for U.S. Senate can be downloaded here.


U.S. Senate

Official Results: November 7, 2006

U.S. Senate
General Election - 11/07/2006

COUNTY *Sherrod Brown Mike DeWine Richard Duncan (WI)

Democratic Republican Non-Partisan
Adams 3,903 4,667 0
Allen 16,597 19,521 5
Ashland 8,890 10,299 9
Ashtabula 21,151 13,078 1
Athens 13,988 5,839 0
Auglaize 6,845 10,142 8
Belmont 15,490 8,056 10
Brown 6,850 7,247 7
Butler 49,443 65,854 5
Carroll 6,143 4,908 2
Champaign 6,809 7,598 2
Clark 26,400 23,656 6
Clermont 25,333 39,588 34
Clinton 5,005 7,687 1
Columbiana 21,802 15,025 2
Coshocton 7,024 6,340 2
Crawford 8,227 8,455 1
Cuyahoga 319,568 133,235 29
Darke 8,267 11,911 9
Defiance 6,624 6,977 6
Delaware 27,109 37,624 17
Erie 19,372 11,018 1
Fairfield 25,283 28,506 12
Fayette 3,793 4,651 2
Franklin 217,961 154,098 51
Fulton 7,936 8,079 6
Gallia 4,803 5,255 0
Geauga 19,903 19,653 17
Greene 24,415 34,797 76
Guernsey 7,334 5,905 0
Hamilton 142,134 144,167 96
Hancock 10,498 15,121 3
Hardin 4,779 4,803 2
Harrison 3,530 2,450 1
Henry 5,354 6,007 2
Highland 5,674 7,297 10
Hocking 5,664 4,062 3
Holmes 2,810 5,241 4
Huron 10,234 8,694 2
Jackson 5,453 4,833 2
Jefferson 15,673 9,988 0
Knox 9,641 11,036 1
Lake 50,649 37,988 15
Lawrence 10,561 8,916 0
Licking 28,599 30,312 12
Logan 6,909 9,297 4
Lorain 67,429 34,129 5
Lucas 94,630 47,659 15
Madison 6,414 7,110 5
Mahoning 69,664 25,151 0
Marion 11,078 10,526 0
Medina 36,386 29,186 11
Meigs 3,990 3,769 0
Mercer 5,413 10,118 1
Miami 15,734 21,299 6
Monroe 4,131 1,935 1
Montgomery 100,491 88,322 23
Morgan 2,955 2,523 6
Morrow 5,976 6,499 6
Muskingum 15,664 12,534 2
Noble 2,611 2,559 0
Ottawa 10,548 6,972 1
Paulding 3,556 3,976 1
Perry 6,627 4,555 7
Pickaway 8,858 9,059 0
Pike 5,845 3,798 2
Portage 34,576 20,075 34
Preble 7,221 8,436 46
Putnam 5,600 8,539 2
Richland 24,431 21,451 7
Ross 13,061 10,501 4
Sandusky 12,899 9,983 0
Scioto 15,866 10,308 0
Seneca 10,742 9,343 1
Shelby 7,122 10,101 3
Stark 79,900 59,353 11
Summit 126,776 72,559 81
Trumbull 58,586 21,520 18
Tuscarawas 17,360 14,024 1
Union 6,881 9,950 12
Van Wert 4,177 6,239 4
Vinton 2,484 2,001 0
Warren 25,102 43,588 8
Washington 11,631 11,140 0
Wayne 18,299 19,985 9
Williams 6,438 6,543 7
Wood 25,875 19,637 3
Wyandot 3,912 4,201 9
Total 2,257,369 1,761,037 830
Percentage of Votes 56.16% 43.82% 0.02%

Ohio_Undervotes_17Counties_RHPhillips.pdf74.46 KB
OH_2006_US_Senate_votes_final.pdf66.83 KB
OH_Machines_2006.JPG938.85 KB

Analysis: "Ballot Design" Explanation for FL 13 Doesn't Hold Up

William Steve Lang's "Notes Regarding "Ballot Formats, Touchscreens, and Undervotes"

Notes regarding "Ballot Formats, Touchscreens, and Undervotes:
A Study of the 2006 Midterm Elections in Florida"

by Frisina, Herron, Honaker, and Lewis.

[ To download the study critiqued here, click here ]

Steve Lang writes:

I put my margin notes from reading this into an email. If you're
interested in the Florida Ballot article, here's my critical review
as I read it....
Taken from my margin scribbles with quotes from the article. You
might want to get a copy of the article in front you to follow the
Page 1: "reports of election-alterning ballot machine failures have
thus far been relatively few." What? In the first paragraph, the
authors make a claim too early in the process to know and
inconsistent with popular information, so there is a political agenda
to this article.....hmmm....what is it?

Page 3: "the legal definition of malfunction" does not discuss a
fraud or hack to flip or discard votes. Is a machine that is
hackable (not secure) in a reasonable way designed poorly or
malfunctioning? This seems to avoid a reasonable review of an
important issue.

Page 4: "our conclusion that the CD13 undervote problem resulted
from the ballot layout used in Sarasota County" is premature. There
are some logic and grammar problems in the article, but I'm not going
to note them all here. This one is a big leap where evidence might
indicate a ballot issue, but that is not the only possible
conclusion. The authors backtrack a little, "it remains possible
that a programming or design flaw in...touchscreen machines caused
low vote counts"...but "it is our belief that..." indicates a priori
belief that taints the conclusion. I believe in Santa Claus...

Page 5: Consistent with most correlation/regression analyses,
there's no way to avoid that projections based on existing data give
a linear trend for missing votes that would elect Jennings and
reverse the election. I don't like the use of "disparate impact"
here as it confuses the term with discrimination (EEOC) studies that
have a legal basis and definition. I think they misuse the term to
extend to voting machinery. A minor issue.

Page 6: BIG PROBLEM, "The fact that some CD 13 ballots do not
contain a vote for a given office does not imply a failure of the
machinery..." In fact, as many as 9 types of ballots were used in
Sarasota alone. Adding or subtracting a "roll-off" is EXACTLY what
might have cause a misalignment of the touch point or page error in
the ballot or allow a hacker an entry point or cause the published
practice ballot to differ from the actual screen...etc., etc. This
is a very poor assertion to me and seems to protect the machines at
all cost. I'm getting the idea that the authors represent DRE

Page 7: The authors avoid citing that election machinery affects
valid vote rates and undervotes? Why? There are more than three
explanations for the undervote. The exclusion of programming issues
and/or fraud makes no sense and to say they are not common
conjectures is simply WRONG! They protest too much, so they may have
a conclusion that they are unwilling to produce, so the ones they
exclude are likely the ones to investigate!

Page 8: There is little or no support for a protest vote to apply
here, the citation is old and weak. Should not be the first
suggestion! Why propose this? Dumb idea to start with...Ballot
formating has ONE famous incident, the butterfly, but it's not
typical and everyone knows about it now. There are sample ballots,
voter training, etc. Also, poll workers look for this problem now,
and there is not evidence this is a problem on touchscreen machines?
What a leap of logic?!?!

Page 9: Ah, ha! The plot thickens: "It has been conjectured...:"
Politely, that's bull****! Little or no one has worried about this
and it is not part of any certification process. Most statute, if
any applies, would only require that some races or names come in a
certain order: by party or alphabetical. In California, there are
cases of several pages of candidates for a single race that didn't
"confuse" anyone. IF you can read and have ANY experience with ATM's
etc., paging and scrolling is so common that it annoys, but doesn't
confuse most people! Would a voter NOT expect to look for a name on
a list that might not be first? Dumb, dumb, dumb...."beyond the
scope of the paper", that was your opening premise! Very bad logic.
Why show placement of a ballot that is NOT the ballot that is your
issue? In figure 1 (page 10), how would two races on a page as
shown confuse someone? Machine or engineering failure is a possible,
if not likely reason for undervotes. Needs anecdotal evidence?

Page 10 / 11 (figure 2 - optical scan). This example did NOT have a
large undervote. It seems much more confusing than the screen shot
of the touchscreen. How is that consistent with your "candidate
placement" hypothesis?

Page 11: "This paper is purely a statistical exercise..."
Unnecessary and very bad statement after 10 pages of introduction
that don't even mention statistics or statistical logic or methods.
IF you can cite and discuss "ballots", then why not cite and discuss
"engineering"? Weird!

Page 12: "Thus, if there were a generic iVotronic effect in the CD
13 race, it would have affected both Charlotte and Sarasota undervote
rates." Why would it? Different programmers, roll-offs, and
election supervisors? Different ballot designers? There is NO
support for this is arbitrary! These authors must be
working for iVotronics!

Page 13, 14 and Figure 3, 4: Figure 3 is accurate, but poorly
labeled (y axis). Doesn't mention that the Absentee Voters are
sometimes on a different machine (optical), so why is that ballot
design and not machine error? Authors are shooting themselves in the
foot! "...and perhaps Sarasota absentee voters are simply more
attentive than Sarasota election day voters to undervotes..." DO
ABSENTEES USE DIFFERENT BALLOTS? Yes, they are sending in bubble
sheets and not using touchscreens. How does that preclude a
touchscreen error - seems to refute your hypothesis! Figure 4 is
unnessary, and badly designed. Bars are too small for the window
graph to show effects.

Page 15: Again, the authors suspect a possible issue and avoid it!
Fraud. IF there were fraud (hacking), it might show up as
differential undervote in precincts that had different proportions of
Demo/Ind/Rep voters! They know that...and blow it off as error
variance up front! What do they know? hmmm...."tend to contain
undervotes" Bull****

Page 16 and Figure 5: OK, a poorly formated graph, but the idea is
that Sarasota is different in undervotes for Election Day vs.
Absentee. Why not a SPLOM plot? Do authors have experience with
these graphics? Again, ballot design or counting process or what?

Page 17-19, Table 1-2: May not be the best model, but besides the
overkill analysis...If the conclusion is that "precincts with high
Senate undervote rates tend to have high Congressional undervote
rates" and .."we also see from this table that Democratically-leaning
precinct tend to produce disproportionately many undervotes..."
WELL, why is that consistent with BALLOT design and NOT FRAUD? If
it's not machine "failure" (presumably similar regardless of party
affiliation), and democrats are more harmed, then organized flips or
drops to throw the election might look like this regression wouldn't
it?!?! Citing yourself that democrats are dumb and can't understand
the ballot is the reference? There are too many covariates and model
choices here, and the authors don't do a good job of explaining all
the rationales for the choices. One footnote about nesting is typical.

In short, there needs to be more descriptives and simple correlations
before launching into this, so that the picture across counties,
brands of machines, and ballot types is explained. Assuming the
conclusion as given doesn't point to ballot design alone as of yet.

Page 20, Figure 6: Pretty clear that Sarasota is out of wack, but we
knew that...where are the Early Votes? The authors are doing a
little more exploration than planning here, but time is short
so...significance for Hillsboro, etc. is sample size more than
anything else. More interesting to me...why is Lee so low?
hmmm....they said earlier that they had more to say about that....not
outlined well...

Page 21-22: "If strong Democratic partisans simply dropped out of
the CD 14 race on account of its being a certain Republican victory,
then one might expect to see a negative lee County election data
effect as in Figure 6......" Pure speculation with no rational
evidence for this conclusion! Bull****.

They are correct, deliberate voters undervotes has no support...
[except from the election supervisor in the newspaper down here!].

"for reasons that transend this paper, voters are more likely to
undervote in a two-candidate race that appears immediately above or
conceivable immediately below a six-candidate race that includes a
write-in option, then we would expect to see a large Sarasota CD13
effect, precisely what we observe in Figure 6. We might also expect
to see a large Lee County CD 14 effect, which we do not see.
However, the CD 14 effect, we suspect, reflects partisanship
undervoting in a rather lopsided race." WHAT A CONVOLUTED BUNCH OF
JUNK! This is reaching a speculative (at best) prior conclusion and
rationalizing the argument to fit the predetermined conclusion in the
face of contrary evidence!

"Whether iVotroinc software is tailored for individual counties is
not something we know" YES YOU DO!! We know the ballots (roll-ons)
and local elections preclude programming for each county with
different election supervisors! How can the authors say this!!!
Bad, bad, bad. They KNOW this is a problem that is a window for
machine malfunction OR fraud and argue against it with "we don't
know" after speculating all over the place about everything else
under the sun....these authors have an agenda and it shows!
Kickbacks from iVotronics?

"or even voting machines within precincts." The authors cannot know
this because the precinct data is aggregated and not given by machine.

Page 23, Figure 7: Seems OK, but leaves out early voting (again).

Page 24-26, Table 3, Figure 8: They don't provide the analysis?!?!
Over 50 regression lines? Why not SPLOM? For that matter, this is a
mess. There may be a multivariate solution (discriminate), but his
whole thing falls into the weird category. There's NO REASON, even
if you assume that Charlotte and Lee have issues with undervote on
the Attorney General race that is not present in the other counties
that the CAUSE is Ballot Design. There is simply no reported
evidence in this paper (or anywhere that I know of) that voters
reported that they didn't see the AG race!?! Also, all these
counties had multiple variations of ballot pages with local races and
roll-ons. Most had a review screen. How do we know the review
screen in the AG race in Charlotte and Lee were not flawed resulting
in error. There are a thousand possibilities here, including fraud,
and it's a stretch to suggest ballot design and confusion -
especially with the poll workers watching for a "new machine"
confusion. The EARLY VOTING was on touchscreen. The authors leave
the touchscreen data out of this analysis all of a sudden! Is this a
manipulation? Did the touchscreen data from early voting confirm the
author's analysis, or was it left out on purpose! hmmmm.....I'd
check that!

The authors admit, "If Sarasota experienced a generic machine
malfunction of some type, then this same malfunction affected two
other neighboring counties but only in one particular race (and not
in the same race that the malfunction appeared in Sarasota). Of
course this could have happened: flaws in software code can interact
in ways that are hard to predict, and we can never rule out the
culprit here is i Votronic sofware or hardware that malfunctions when
races are grouped." DAMN, they said it themselves! Why argue
something when something else is easily possible. Also, why not a
hacker? It's not the data pattern that's a problem here, but the
conclusions stink to high heaven!

Page 28-29, Figure 9: The idea of a Democratic Voteshare is
OK....I'm not sure about the formula. With all the regressions in
the previous section, why not use the democratic, republican,
independent rations? Why not include a number of convariates?
Here's the early votes missing from the previous section...makes the
previous section see like a manipulation. Regardless, the point is
"Is this accident theory plausible?" I agree, assuming a linear
relationship, etc...the case that Jennings was harmed by what
happened in comparison with predictions from other precinct data is
compelling, and everyone who looks at the data would reach the same
conclusion - though maybe different predictions as to HOW much harm
or why it happened. With the election so close, you'd have to
overturn the results or revote.

"This effect seems to be more pronounced in the early voting than in
the election day voting, which is consistent with the story that some
poll workers were warned of the problematic Sarasota ballot format
problem and tried to pass on this warning to voters who voted on the
day of elections." OK, then why was there any ballot problem? [all
poll workers got the memo as reported in the paper]. This argues
AGAINST a ballot design issue. How were Lee and Charlotte poll
workers different than Sarasota? etc. etc. Why was the early data
(that followed the same pattern on the same machines) NOT included in
the above analysis on page 23-26?

Page 30-31, Figure 10: If a "constant fraction of all votes were
being randomely suppressed and converted to undervotes" and that
occurred to defeat the democratic candidate, why could that NOT have
fraud as a possibility instead of ballot design?

This indifference theory of "engaged voters" is more bull**** without
evidence or reason to think it is more plausible than anything else.
Pure speculation and not consistent with voter reports of problems of
review pages changing votes or the race not appearing even when the
voter looked for it...why would a hacker not simply drop a random
percent of independent and democratic voters? A sophisticated hack
would drop a percent of all voters, but a smaller percent of can imagine all kinds of possibilities. This still
is a stretch and the comparisons of regressions lines doesn't
indicate that someone who is informed they missed a vote would be
more inclined to fix the problem because they were "engaged" than
because of an accident. If you are enough motivated to vote, would
you then not care about the Senate race? We are in "la-la land"
with this theory...reminds me of stories of "reluctant responders" to
polls and other fictional characters! Can you imagine the authors
of this paper explaining the interaction effect of indifferent vs.
engaged voters and reluctant vs. non-reluctant poll responders! Wow.

Page 33: I don't believe it! I feel like Cassandra who can predict
the future! They are now speculating on interactions. "The true
process that occurred in Sarasota is undoubtedly of our accident and
indifference stories." The only thing to agree with here is that
they made up a story!

Page 34-36, Table 4: There are assumptions: "The relationship
between electoral races are the same across all precincts in CD 13."
that may not be true if a hack formula was based on registrations
within the precinct or other predictions. Regardless, the
prediction of the actual magnitude of votes to Jennings may be off,
but with this resampling model based on an "accidental" ballot design
theory is conservative and ok if WHATEVER HAPPENED is due to some
kind of random undervote issue. If the problem was not random,
Jennings may have won by more! It doesn't matter, since the election
could be fouled up and easily called for the wrong candidate, the
only solution is a revote.

I don't think the assertion of 90% that Jennings would gain > 369
votes without ballot issues is stated correctly. This result is
predicted IF ANY random error in those precincts affected were
similar to the non-affected similar precincts, then repeated revotes
from the same population would add this number of votes about 90% of
the time....if there even wasn't a random error, and if the other
local unaffected precincts were not similar, then the numbers are
off. Regardless, it makes you think that there's certainly a reason
for Jennings to be pissed off.

Page 37-40: The authors repeat my limitations above..."we assume
that, if elections were commonly administered across counties...."
and "There are no further substantial and systematic voting machine
or ballot format effects...." The authors are not idiots, but they
were on a mission to conclude something that excluded the machines
from the start so the conclusion would fit the data. We might call
this the butterfly ballot effect: if it happened in Florida, it must
be the ballot! Maybe they work for iVotronics...who knows? IF
there was a ballot design problem, it is not clear from this why
other problems were not possible.

"individual-level ballot data"? How can they get that?

Putting every race on a single page would take a LOT of pages! I
can't imagine that making it less confusing to vote! Oh, well the
authors would only put IMPORTANT races on separate pages? Maybe the
authors would give a personality test to voters to see if they were
"engaged" before voting...etc., etc...not good suggestions either.

Not really a good set of conclusion for political scientists: How
about a suggestion that the election be revoted? How about
comparison with similar undervote issues in other parts of the
country? etc., etc...


BallotDesign_FL13.pdf660.75 KB

Arguments to Void Florida-13 Congress Election

Scoop News

Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 2:38 pm
Article: Michael Collins

Christine Jennings Files Contest in House of Representatives

Michael Collins
“Scoop” Independent News * Washington, DC * Part 1 of 2 * (See Part 2 here)

On December 20, 2006, Democratic candidate for Congress Christine Jennings filed a
Notice of Contest Regarding the Election in Florida’s 13th Congressional district. Jennings trailed Republican Vern Buchanan by 369 votes at the close of voting. There was one glaring problem. The announced results showed that there
were 18,412 undervotes in Sarasota County, the heart of the district and also Jennings stronghold of support. Attorney Coffey defines an undervote as ballot lack lacks a mark for one race while others are marked.

The 18 thousand voters who showed no selection for the congressional race represent 14.9% of voters of Sarasota County voters for this election election. Florida undervoting is typically at or below
2.5%, a marked difference from election day 2006 results in Sarasota.

Even by the standards of Florida elections,this result was strange and disturbing. There were protests and excuses explanations almost immediately. Then Jennings Campaign cried foul:

“There is a real crisis in confidence among voters, not just in
Florida but throughout the country. The voters of District 13 deserve answers, but this case has much wider implications beyond Florida. This is a test case for the entire nation,” says Christine Jennings

The Buchanan campaign immediately dismissed Jennings complaints. They continue to do so in vigorous terms. “Undeterred by the facts and despite some good advice from even the most strident Democrats who cautioned against challenging the election in the U.S. House, Christine Jennings has now filed a baseless notice of contest that will potentially cost taxpayers millions of dollars on top of what is already being spent on litigation.
The Buchanan Campaign, 20 Dec. 2006


The Election Contest

Federal election law provides for challenges to elections when serious questions arise concerning elections - Federal Contested Election Act (P.L.91-138, 83 Stat. 284). Election contests have declined considerably since the 1930’s but they remain part of the rules and procedures of the U. S. House of Representatives. Just two months before this election, then House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland urged the House Committee on Administration to clarify and clean up election contest. Hoyer anticipated a number of very tight races and noted problems with the law and procedures. His suggestions were dismissed by the Republican controlled committee. House procedures and precedents will be considered in Part 2 of this series.


Core Arguments Presented in the Jennings Challenge

The election contest was filed with noted Miami attorney Kendall Coffey as lead counsel. His web site notes that he specializes in high stakes and high profile cases. He represented Al Gore in the 2000 Florida recount and before that, Cuban child refugee Elian Gonzalez.

The Jennings case as presented relies on four key arguments.

(1) The evidence available from voting in the 13th district and other parts
of the state plus the known security vulnerabilities of the ES&S iVotronic touch screen voting machine show that there is “no possibility” that 14.9% of the voters in Sarasota
County intentionally withheld votes.
(2) The evidence
gathered by extensive voter testimonials demonstrates that
there were significant numbers of voters who wished to vote
for candidate Jennings but encountered problems with the
iVotronic touch screen voting machine.
(3) There is a
strong correlation between the date iVotronic touch screens
were prepared for voting and incidents of
(4) Statistical analysis shows that
incremental reductions of in undervotes would result in a
Jennings victory beginning with just 2000 fewer

There are supporting points as well, including a discussion of the Jennings case in
Florida Court to open up ES&S computer source code for examination

The conclusion drawn from the evidence is simple: the election should be held null and void, there should be a new election, and no one should be sworn in or seated in Congress until after the new

Sarasota County
undervotes were six times higher than those in other
counties in the 13th Congressional district. Sarasota
County was Democrat Jennings’ strongest base of

Argument 1:
Evidence from Sarasota and other counties shows that the
undervotes in that county were from machine

Coffey presents his most persuasive
evidence immediately. He notes undervoting in Saratoga
County is six times higher than surrounding counties. The
surrounding counties have rates within expected ranges,
while Saratoga is well above the expected rate of around
2.5%. In a remarkable move, Coffey then shows that within
Saratoga County, there is a major difference in undervotes
based on the type of voting machine used. iVotronic touch
screen voting machines were used for early in person voting.
The rate of undervoting was 17.6%. Optical scan readers and
special paper ballots were used for early voting by mail.
The undervote rate for these 22 thousand votes was “only
2.5%, which is consistent with historical norms and
expectations.” (p. 8)

Thus, in the opening argument of
the contest, Coffey compares Sarasota undervotes with
surrounding counties and then within Sarasota County based
on voting machine type. In both cases, the Sarasota
iVotronic voting machines produce undervote totals six to
seven times those normally expected. In research terms,
both between group and within group
comparisons support the Jennings arguments. This is quite
an accomplishment given that Coffey is dealing with
after-the-fact evidence.

Within Sarasota
county, early voting results show iVotronic touch screen
machines produced far more undervotes than optical scan
ballot readers.

Anticipating a
challenge to his position, Coffee points out that
disaffection or disgust with negative campaigning, a
purported cause for undervoting, could not be the cause
since this was not reflected in other counties in the
congressional district. He also argues that the poor
ballot design
argument advanced by some is not viable
either. In the famous 2000 butterfly ballot fiasco in Palm
Beach, a poorly designed ballot by popular agreement,
undervotes only totaled 1%. There is no precedent for this
level of undervoting as an election day phenomena.

poor ballot design argument relies on what election
defenders term as the confused voter argument. Were the 15%
of the voters confused on election day by a ballot that had
one of the hottest races in the state? Not so argues
Coffey: voters were motivated to vote, the race was an
obvious focus as they entered the polling booth, and while
not perfect, the ballot clearly showed the contestants in
the congressional race.

Of real interest, Coffey offers an
explanation for the phenomenon. He claims that poor ballot
design interacting with ES&S source code was the culprit
that caused voting machines to malfunction. The
configuration of the ballot, he asserts, probably triggered
problems with the ESS computer source code that denied the
voting rights of thousands for whom no vote was recorded.
This is consistent with an analysis from Professor Dan
Wallach of Rice University who suggests that ES&S voting
machine source code problems prevent actual votes from
registering, thus producing undervotes.

2: The evidence gathered by extensive voter testimonials
demonstrates that there were significant numbers of voters
who wished to vote for candidate Jennings but encountered
problems with the iVotronic touch screen voting

The totally unexpected and unprecedented undervoting found only in Sarasota County is
further explained as a machine problem by voter testimonials presented in the election contest brief.

There was no warning or mention of any problems however, I was aware there may be a problem with the Congressional vote based on various media reports. I went through the ballot and specifically remember voting for Christine Jennings. When I arrived at the review screen,
there was no candidate selected for the Congressional vote. I called a poll worker over and explained the situation and she told me that I did not “press hard enough” when selecting the vote (p. 14)

This voter report covers a number of points that appear through out the citizen testimonials. The voter heard about voting problems with the touch screens in Sarasota County and took care to cast a ballot for Jennings. When receiving assistance, the voter was then informed about the need to press hard in order for the vote to count.

When I got to the review page, my vote for Christine Jennings was not reflected. I called out to a poll worker to alert them that my vote…had not been recorded. The poll worker who came to assist me informed me that the same thing had happened to her when she voted earlier. (p. 15)

In these and other voter reports included in the brief, the same pattern occurs again and again. Voters intended to and did vote for Jennings only to find out at the review screen
that no vote was marked.

After describing the same type of problems and the difficulties voting for Jennings, one
voter said “I am registered Republican and I believe these machines failed democracy.”

Kendall Coffey

Evidence was gathered from the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office in the form
of incident reports and other documentation. Coffey found that county officials were aware of clear problems with the iVotronic machines well in advance of the election. Despite
the foreknowledge of problems; the county did nothing to correct the problems.

Argument 3: There is a strong correlation between the date iVotronic touch screens
were prepared for voting and incidents of undervoting.

Professor Stewart of MIT provides analysis found a possible explanation for the machine

The machines prepared in the final days before the deadline for completing all such preparations exhibited the highest congressional undervote rates.
Another strong correlation exists between the number of machines “cleared and tested on a given date and the undervote rate: “As the county’s staff or consultants got busier clearing and testing more machines on a singled day, the Congressional undervoting rate climbed.” The
graph (p. 23) shows that on September 19, October 2, and October 5, 2006 only one machine was cleared and tested a day. Those machines had a 7% undervote rate. On October 17, 2006, 158 machines were cleared and tested. That group produced election day undervote
rates of 21%.

Argument 4: Statistical analysis shows that incremental reductions of undervoting
would result in a Jennings victory beginning with just 2000 less undervotes

The contest brief then goes on to present remarkable evidence supporting the claim that had
the touch screen machines worked, Jennings would have been the clear winner

To support the Jennings victory hypothesis, he uses additional analysis by Professor
Stewart, a proponent of electronic voting. The MIT political scientist analyzed the race and developed a formula that demonstrates a relationship between excess undervotes (any number above 3%) and their impact on the election.

This chart developed by Charles Steward, PhD, MIT shows the relationship between
reduced undervotes due to machine error and a Jennings victory margin. With just 2000 fewer undervotes, Jennings would have won by 100 or so votes. As excess undervotes are eliminated, the Jennings victory margin increases. The final bar at the right represents the actual number of excess undervotes. Jennings would have won by 3000 votes in this scenario. Stewart’s calculations evaluated ballots based on the pattern of voter selections to determine the
likely vote – Democrat or Republican (p. 25).


The Case So Far

At this point, Jennings has two cases critical to her success. She is suing ES&S in Florida Court to force production of the computer source code for the iVotronic voting machines in Sarasota County. The court has heard but not yet ruled on her request. Success there will
bolster her case before the U.S. House of Representatives. Failure will no stop her case however. Even without a smoking gun in the form of inadequate source code, there is
more than enough evidence that the majority of undervotes were due to machine malfunction. Even the most adamant coincidence theorist would have to admit that. Since the voters intended to vote but were denied that right, it is argued, the election should be declared void and a new one held.

This case presents an interesting political question. Who will be seated for this race? Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that she has not decided yet, which is very bad news for Buchanan who is already inviting people to his induction ceremony. A recent California ruling asserted the Speaker’s nearly an absolute right to swear in whomever he or she thinks is the winner of a race.

Danaher Shouptronic and Advantage Machines to Be Put to Test

March 4, 2007

Mercuri, Lopresti, and Princeton to Conduct Examination

Press Conference Monday 3/5/07, 1:30 p.m.

Coalition for Voting Integrity to Announce Purchase/Investigation of Danaher (Shouptronic) and Sequoia Advantage Full-Face Touchscreen Machines Discarded by Counties in Tennessee and North Carolina, brought to Pennsylvania and New Jersey for research purposes. Leading voting security experts Dr. Rebecca Mercuri and Dr. Dan Lopresti to be present to take questions. (Princeton University also to take part in study).
"Extraordinary opportunity" says Dr. Dan Lopresti of Lehigh University.

March 2, 2007

Doylestown, PA -
On Monday, March 5 in the Pearl S. Buck room of the Doylestown Free Library at 1:30PM, the Coalition of Voting Integrity, along with Dr. Rebecca Mercuri and Dr. Dan Lopresti, will announce the recent purchase and study plans for discarded Danaher/Shouptronic and Sequoia Advance full-face electronic voting machines from counties in Tennessee and North Carolina.

The Danaher/Shouptronic and Sequoia full-face voting machines were purchased for $25 each from counties in Tennessee and North Carolina, which had discarded the machines. The machines were picked up by members of CVI and delivered to leading electronic voting security expert, Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, Dr. Dan Lopresti of LehighUniversity and the Princeton research laboratory, which recently garnered national attention when it repeatedly demonstrated the vulnerability and hackability of electronic voting machines including the Diebold AccuVote-TS machine and Sequoia'sAVC. The Danaher/Shouptonic and Sequoia machines will be examined by all three researchers for various operational issues including why full-face voting machines have consistently demonstrated the highest amount of lost votes (undervotes) in the nation.

"Electronic voting is still a controversial issue," said Dr. Dan Lopresti. "Given its fundamental importance to our democracy, there are far too many unanswered questions. That's why we're so excited at Lehigh to now have examples of three such machines used in real elections around the country, including a Danaher / Shouptronic Model 1242 like the kind used in BucksCounty. We plan to take a close look at these machines to try to figure out why certain problems, including reports of chronic undervoting in the Danaher system, continue to persist." He continued, "This opportunity to study e-voting hardware and software is extraordinary since local elections officials have generally forbidden independent evaluations of their equipment."

Legal counsel will also be present to address questions concerning pending legal actions and the significance of the planned research into full-face voting machines.

Excellent photo opportunity: At the press conference, CVI will introduce its own Danaher/Shouptronic machine, "Shoupy," which will be covered in band-aids to send the message that all touchscreen machines are flawed stopgap devices that do nothing to address the country's voting crisis and indeed make it worse. Shoupy will also sport a sign reading "So Easy and So Wrong."

The Danaher/Shouptronic machines are used in six counties inPennsylvania, including Bucks, Philadelphia, Delaware and Berks. The Sequoia Advantage electronic machine is used in Montgomery County among others. The Danaher/Shouptronic machine alone represents the second largest block ofPennsylvania voters. Together, the Danaher/Shouptronic and Sequoia systems control enough Pennsylvania votes to have a significant impact on the outcome of any state and national election.

The press conference will also feature a live debut of her great new song, "If You Want To Be A Voter (The Ballad of Sarasota)" by Buckingham musician Lori Rosolowsky. The song incorporates historic American battleground references as it chronicles the Sarasota County 13th Congressional District election in November 2006, in which 18,000 (15%) of votes casts were not counted. The election was decided by 369 votes. The legal and social implications for that election in BucksCounty and nationally will also be discussed. Free downloads of the song and lyrics are available at

CVI co-founders Mary Ann Gould and Ruth Matheny will:
· Announce a major new policy position regarding electronic voting machines and pending legislation.
· Call for a county, state and nationwide ban of touchscreen voting machines.
· Call on the Commissioners of Bucks and other counties to move away from a defense of the purchase ofDRE's, since data is available every week to prove that they do not work, and to instead work together to replace the DREs for both financial and security reasons.
WHAT: Press conference to announce CVI's purchase of Danaher/Shouptronic and Sequoia Advantage full-face voting machines.

WHEN: Monday, March 5, 1:30PM

WHERE: Pearl S. Buck Room, Doylestown Free Library 150 S. Pine Street Doylestown, PA 18901-4932
Read about the Coalition for Voting Integrity at
Listen to CVI's nationally known radio show, Voice of the Voters: the Power and Responsibility of Democracy via our archives at:

Listen to leaders from the voting issues community to the halls of Congress, who have been interviewed on Voice of the Voters, the Power and Responsibility of Democracy, including Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12), Rep. Ron Paul (TX-14), voting rights activist and academic, Dr. Avi Rubin, civil rights attorney Joann Bonifaz, Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Dr. Gordon Wood and University of Pennsylvania's Dr. Steve Freeman.

Three relevant reports from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU:

The Machinery of Democracy: Protecting Elections in an Electronic World at
Most broadly, the report found:
· All three voting systems have significant security and reliability vulnerabilities, which pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state, and local elections.
· The most troubling vulnerabilities of each system can be substantially remedied if proper countermeasures are implemented at the state and local level.
· Few jurisdictions have implemented any of the key countermeasures that could make the least difficult attacks against voting systems much more difficult to execute successfully.

The Machinery of Democracy: Voting System Usability at
The Brennan Center report concluded that two of the most commonly purchased electronic voting systems today are better at recording voter intentions than older systems like the punchcard system used in Florida in 2000. At the same time, the report faulted one electronic voting system under consideration in New Yorkand in use in parts of New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Arkansas,Indiana,Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. This system, the "full faceDRE," continues to unduly hamper voters' ability to easily and accurately cast a ballot for their preferred candidate without undue burden, confusion and delay.

Among the report's key findings:
Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) and Scrolling Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems are more accurate at recording voter intention than older voting systems. In 2004, residual vote rates were less than 1% for both technologies.

Full-face DRE systems continue to be plagued with an unacceptably high residual vote rate. In 2000, 2002 and 2004, it exceeded that of either PCOS or scrolling DRE systems.

Residual vote rates among voters earning less then $25,000 are higher on full-face DREs (2.8%), than on either PCOS (1.4%) or Scrolling DREs (1.3%).

The Machinery of Democracy: Voting System Security, Accessibility, Usability, and Cost at
The report is the final product of the first comprehensive, empirical analysis of electronic voting systems in the United States. It comes after nearly two years of study with many of the nation's leading academics, election officials, economists, and security, usability and accessibility experts.

Up until this point, there has been surprisingly little empirical study of voting systems in the areas of security, accessibility, usability, and cost. The result is that jurisdictions make purchasing decisions and adopt laws and procedures that have little to do with their overall goals.

New Mexico also chose to discard their Danaher/Shouptronic machines due to undervotes ranging from 6 to 16 times the national average and in comparison to optical scan machines during the 2004 election.

Dr. Rebecca Mercuri's bio:
Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, globally recognized as a leading authority on computer security and electronic vote tabulation and a member of the committee that advises the government on standards for electronic voting machines. She is president/CTO of Notable Software, Inc.,

A technology specialist, with degrees in computer science and engineering, Rebecca Mercuri happened to defend her doctoral dissertation "Electronic Vote Tabulation: Checks & Balances" at the University of Pennsylvania, just eleven days before the 2000 U.S.Presidential election.

Subsequently, her testimony and opinions were sought in Bush v. Gore, and by the House Science Committee, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the Federal Election Commission, the National Institute of Standards and Technologies, the U.K. Cabinet, and numerous U.S.state legislatures. Many of Rebecca's views on electronic voting appear on her website, and she also authors the "Security Watch" column for the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery.

She has been frequently quoted in the New York Times, on National Public Radio, by the Associated Press, in the Congressional Record, and various other venues, including TV appearances on Fox News, NBC Nightline, and a debate on Lou Dobbs.

Having spent the last two years as a fellow at Harvard University, Dr. Mercuri returned this fall to New Jersey's Notable Software, Inc., the consulting company she founded, to continue her work as a forensic computing expert on a wide range of civil, municipal, and criminal cases.

Dr. Dan Lopresti's bio:
After completing his doctorate, Dr. Lopresti joined the Computer Science Department at BrownUniversity. He went on to help found the Matsushita Information Technology Laboratory in Princeton, and later also served on the research staff at Bell Labs in Murray Hill. In 2003, he joined the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Lehigh University where he conducts research examining basic algorithmic and systems-related questions in pattern recognition, bioinformatics, and computer security.

At Lehigh, Dr. Lopresti holds the Class of 1961 Chair and is co-director of the Pattern Recognition Research Lab. He has authored over 80 publications in journals and refereed conference proceedings on a wide range of topics and holds 21 U.S. Patents. He has served on dozens of conference program committees and as editor for six international conference proceedings, and is currently an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence and the International Journal of Document Analysis and Recognition.

Coalition for Voting Integrity
Contact information:
Mary Ann Gould
(c) 215.588.8518
(h) 215.357.5206

Coalition for Voting Integrity

email: bucks.voter.verified.paper.ballots[at]

ES&S i-Votronic Promotes Wrong Candidates to Congress

Wrong Winner Chosen Twice by Same Voting Machine
Examining Florida 13th and North Carolina 8th Congressional Districts Leaves Little Doubt

By Michael Collins
Part 2 of a Series -- (See Part 1 here)

The Election Contest filed by Democrat Christine Jennings and her attorney Kendall Coffey creates complications that could blow the electronic voting world to pieces. In the simplest terms, the Jennings Florida 13th Congressional district case requires a review of the Kissell loss in North Carolina's 8th Congressional district. And that spells disaster for e-voting.

Why? Because both the Florida and North Carolina districts used ES&S iVotronic touchscreen voting machines. These voting machines produced very similar levels of counting errors. The errors cost both Democrats thousands of votes. Ultimately, both Democratic candidates were denied a victory by less than 400 votes.

While Jennings makes a very strong case for a voided election and new vote in Florida, the case becomes virtually unassailable when reviewing results from North Carolina. At the same time, the North Carolina 8th results, reviewed in the context of the election contest analysis of Florida's 13th, makes it abundantly clear that the loser, Kissell, should have won in almost any scenario other than voting machine malfunction.

In both districts, the iVotronic touchscreen voting machines produced undervote rates at or above 15%. What this means is that supposedly one in seven voters cast ballots but left out a choice for the most important election (an unmarked race on an otherwise marked ballot is called an undervote). The only culprit in both the Florida 13th and North Carolina 8th elections is voting machine malfunction. The facts supporting the case for losers winning don't allow for much debate in these Florida and North Carolina races. They're simple and a review leads to conclusions that devastate any trust in electronic voting.

The Florida election contest brief filed in Congress looks at data within the 13th Congressional district and data from other Florida districts. Coffey notes that the undervote rate in Sarasota County is six times the undervote rate in surrounding counties in the same district. How did that happen? These are contiguous counties and part of the same congressional district.

Coffey performs a rhetorical slam dunk by looking at undervotes for the two types of early voting in Sarasota County. Early voting by mail required voters to mark their choices on optical scan paper ballots then mail the ballots to the elections board where they were totaled using optical scan readers. Mail-in early voting undervotes were at 2.6%. In- person early voters came to central locations and voted on iVotronic touchscreens like those used in the general election. Undervotes by that method ran 17.6%. There is no reason for a difference of 15 points other than the one provided by Coffey in the Jennings case: voting machine malfunction by the iVotronics. As a result, 14,000 Sarasota County voters lost their constitutional rights. The election should be voided and a new one held.

Mecklenburg County, NC and the End of Electronic Voting
One might argue that this is an exaggerated claim but review the facts and decide yourself.

Any serious evaluation of the Jennings election contest by Congress leads right to North Carolina's Mecklenburg County, where iVotronic touch screens were used in the Jennings race and three Congressional races in Mecklenburg. That county holds the answers to both the Jennings contest and a resolution of another 2006 travesty, the loss of Democrat Larry Kissell in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District.

As a result of voting problems in 2004, North Carolina requires a paper trail for touchscreen voting machines. Right now there are paper receipts for each vote cast in these three districts. The test is simple. Total the votes for Congress on paper trail receipts in each Congressional district and compare those totals to the vote totals from the iVotronic touchscreens. If paper receipts show more votes for Congress than reported by the touch screens, the variance points clearly to an iVotronic machine error. If Jennings could provide such data, this would add a compelling new level of
evidence added to her case.

If the paper trail receipts are available and examined, they represent a smoking gun that validates the Florida case. Even without the paper receipts, there is strong support to argue that the same class of touch screens used in Florida, iVotronics, produced exceptional--no, unbelievable--rates of undervotes in North Carolina, not evident in high-visibility races.

iVotronic voting machines were used in Mecklenburg County in 2006. The county contains part of three Congressional Districts. The graph on the left shows very high undervotes in the 8th and 12th. In the 8th, Democrat Kissell lost by 329 votes with an undervote rate close to that in the Jennings race.

A preliminary look at 2006 and 2004 undervote rates shows that the 2006 undervote rate in Mecklenburg County, NC indicates that the iVotronic machines throw away votes. Using the county as a whole, in 2006 the average Congressional undervote rate (for all three races) was 11%. In 2006, the Congressional race was the lead or one of the lead races. In 2004, with vote totals for President as the baseline, the undervote rate in Mecklenburg was 2.6%. Thus, undervotes increased by a factor of four from 2004 to 2006.

By investigating Jennings' claims through the use of the highly pertinent and available data from North Carolina, it becomes abundantly clear that Democrat Kissell lost that contest due to machine malfunction – by the very same type of machines used in the Jennings race. Since the undervote rates in these distant and disparate counties were almost the same, the data on Kissell supports Jennings claims.

Below you see the electronic nightmare created by analysis of the North Carolina race. The graph on the left shows 3,199 undervotes (16.6%) in Democrat Kissell's stronghold in Mecklenburg. On the right, the victory margin district-wide for Republican Hayes is shown next to the undervotes for just Mecklenburg where Democrat Kissell won by a two to one margin. The North Carolina 9th and 12th races were blowouts. The 8th was not. In the very area where Kissell was strongest, he lost 3,199 voters, many of whom would have voted for him.


The undervotes in the Mecklenburg portion of the 8th were more than nine times the victory margin for the entire district and they occurred in a voting area that went 68% to 32% for the Democratic Party candidate, Larry Kissell.

Let's assume a typical rate of undervotes at a generous 3%, or 579 votes, and Kissell's Mecklenburg share of 68% of the votes couted. The math is easy. Kissell wins. Presume that Kissell's undervote rate of 16.6% is the final proof (with or without recounting the paper trail voting receipts) of voting machine malfunction in Jennings' Florida district. It's easy, Jennings wins. These numbers won't go away.

We now have two members of Congress seated as a result of elections decided by less than 400 votes. A simple analysis of current and historical data for expected undervotes shows that the double digit undervote rates in each candidate's stronghold resulted in lost votes; votes that would have lead to a victory by either of the now designated losing candidates. The first shall be last, once again.

Stay tuned.

Data Sources:

Mecklenburg County Board of Elections 8th District 11/30/06
Mecklenburg County Board of Elections 9th District 11/30/06
Mecklenburg County Board of Elections 12th District 11/30/06

Screen Shots of Districts 8, 9, 12

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House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: Election Investigations


Elections and Voting


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ensuring Fairness and Accuracy in Elections Involving Electronic Voting Systems

Wednesday, April 18, the Information Policy, Census, and National
Archives Subcommittee held a hearing on ensuring fairness in elections
involving electronic voting machines.

Friday, October 21, 2005

GAO: Continued Federal Efforts Needed to Improve Electronic Voting

new GAO report released by Rep. Waxman, Chairman Davis, and eleven
other members of Congress finds security and reliability flaws in the
electronic voting process.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

GAO Asked to Investigate Election Day Lines

Waxman and Rep. Conyers ask GAO to investigate the long lines and
excessive waiting times experienced by voters in the 2004 election.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Call for GAO Investigation into Overseas Voting Problems

Waxman and Maloney ask GAO to investigate whether the Defense
Department is fulfilling its obligation to ensure that Americans living
abroad, both military and civilian, can vote.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

DOJ Unprepared to Handle Allegations of Voting Irregularities

new GAO report released by Reps. Waxman and Conyers finds that the
Justice Department is not prepared to respond to reports of voter
intimidation and disenfranchisement in next month’s elections.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

DOD Blocking Access to Overseas Voting Assistance Website

Waxman, Maloney, and Clay write DOD regarding recent reports that the
Department is blocking access to the Federal Voting Assistance Program
website for many Americans overseas.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Members Submit Bipartisan Request for GAO Investigation of Electronic Voting

Davis, Rep. Waxman, and eleven other Members of Congress ask GAO to
study of the security and reliability of electronic voting systems.

Monday, October 01, 2001

GAO Report: 2000 Presidential Election Undercount

the request of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, the General Accounting Office
investigated the impact of voting equipment and the demographic
characteristics of voters on the undercount in the 2000 presidential
election. The report found that voters using punch-card machines had
the highest percentage of uncounted ballots and that switching from
punch-card machines to optical scan machines that allow voters to
correct errors could prevent hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots.

Monday, July 09, 2001

National Voting Study: Poor and Minority Voters Are More Likely to Have Their Votes Discarded

of ballots were not counted during the 2000 presidential election.
While some voters choose not to vote for any candidate or intentionally
voted for two candidates, the more common reason for votes not being
counted was faulty voting machines. Rep. Waxman was concerned that
votes of poor and minority voters might be disproportionately
discarded. Along with 20 other members of Congress, he asked the
Special Investigations Division to investigate whether voters in
low-income, high-minority districts were more likely to have their
votes discarded than voters in affluent, low-minority districts. He
also asked the Special Investigations Division to investigate the
impact of technology on the undercount. The report examined 40
congressional districts in 20 states. Twenty of these districts had
high poverty rates and a high minority population. Twenty of the
districts were relatively affluent and had a low minority population.
The report found that voters in low-income, high-minority districts
were over three times more likely to have their votes discarded as
voters in affluent, low-minority districts. But the report also found
that improved voting technology can reduce the number of uncounted
ballots cast by voters in districts with high poverty rates and high
minority population by up to 85%, significantly reducing the disparity
between the two groups.

Thursday, April 05, 2001

Investigation Finds Detroit Election Reforms Worked

the request of Rep. Waxman, the Special Investigations Division
conducted a case study of efforts to reduce uncounted ballots in
Detroit, the nation's poorest city. The investigation found that
Detroit's reforms worked. By replacing punch-card machines and
conducting voter education, Detroit reduced the percent of uncounted
votes for president by two-thirds between 1996 and 2000. The report was
released during a “Special Investigations Briefing” on April 5, 2001.

Displaying Items 1 to 10 of 10:

To see earlier reports, go to the original source at :


Summaries of State Election Procedures

2002 report details election procedures in the 50 states and the
District of Columbia and includes information on voting technologies
and recount procedures.

Missing Votes in Ohio 2006 Call Races into Question

Original article published at
(Also see related article by Richard Hayes Phillips)

"An analysis by the Free Press documents massive discrepancies between the unofficial turnout reported by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell immediately following the election and the official general election turnout numbers reported in December 2006."

by Bob Fitrakis

January 2, 2007

While Democratic Party supporters celebrate their success in Ohio, where their statewide candidates won four out of five executive offices and they now control both the U.S. House and Senate, they are ignoring massive and verifiable irregularities in the 2006 election. Similar irregularities – including missing votes, undervotes and overvotes – may come back to haunt the Democrats in the 2008 general election.

The only statewide partisan loss for the Democrats was also the closest contest. Republican Mary Taylor defeated Democrat Barbara Sykes for State Auditor by an official vote of 50.64% to 49.36%. Taylor prevailed by 48,826 votes. The Columbus Dispatch’s final poll, usually the most accurate in the state for candidate races, predicted Sykes would win by 10%.

An analysis by the Free Press documents massive discrepancies between the unofficial turnout reported by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell immediately following the election and the official general election turnout numbers reported in December 2006. These discrepancies may help explain Sykes’ unexpected loss.

In Cuyahoga County which contains the Democratic stronghold of Cleveland, immediately following the election 562,498 votes were reported cast with 30,791 listed as absentee or provisional ballots. The official results show 468,056 counted in Cuyahoga. This means that 94,442 ballots cast in the unofficial total disappeared in the official tallies. This represents a shocking 16.8% of all the votes cast in Cuyahoga.

Sykes won 62% of the vote in Cuyahoga County.

Cuyahoga County uses the controversial Diebold touchscreen voting machines. These machines suffered a notorious meltdown in the 2006 primary where many machines malfunctioned and an Election Science Institute (ESI) report documented significant differences between votes
actually cast on the machines as opposed to counted.

Similarly in Lucas County, another Democratic stronghold, 17,351 votes disappeared (10.6% of the total vote) between the unofficial and official turnout numbers. An analysis by Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips indicates that Taylor, a first-time statewide office seeker, ran significantly ahead of Republican incumbent candidates Mike Dewine and Betty Montgomery, in the Senate and Attorney General races respectively.

Other counties with significant and unexplained loss of votes include: Auglaize (15.7%), Coshocton (14.1%), Jackson (11.3%), Licking (14.1%), Morrow (17.4%), and Tuscarawas (11.7%). In these less populated counties, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland won in five out of six and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sherrod won in four out of the six.

Normally, the official total vote tally increases as provisional ballots are added to the unfficial total. For example, Franklin County had 342,958 votes unofficially with 46,458 provisionals and a few late overseas absentee ballots. The official Franklin County result was
385,863 votes cast, a pickup of 42,905 ballots once the provisionals were counted. Eleven of Ohio’s 88 counties reported this anomaly of fewer votes in the official total than the unofficial total.

Other election anomalies that bear further investigation are six counties with improbable undervote percentages in the U.S. Senate race. On average in Ohio, 3.9% of the ballots contained an “undervote,” meaning no vote was cast in the Senate race. But, in the Senate race
there were significant undervote totals: Adams County had 14.1%; Darke County had 13.5%; Highland had 13.8%; Mercer had 11.2%; Montgomery had 13.8%; and Perry had 16.3%. The city of Dayton is in Montgomery County where more than 30,000 ballots recorded no vote for Senate. Brown won 53% of the vote in Montgomery County.

In comparison with the undervote in the well-known District 13 race in Sarasota, Florida, the undervote was 18,382.

In the Sykes race, the undervote for Auditor in Cuyahoga County was 10.7%. Undervotes were 8.3% of the total vote in Lucas County. Skyes’ undervote total in these Democratic havens should have been examined along with the bizarre unofficial vs. official vote totals in these counties.

The state auditor’s office in Ohio has enormous power to investigate and root out official corruption involving public funds. Many critics of Republican Party scandals in Ohio have pointed to the GOP’s control of the state auditor’s office as the key to delaying and minimizing public scrutiny.

Franklin County and the Squire Challenge

Although the election numbers are stranger in Cuyahoga and Lucas counties for the Democrats, an election contest complaint filed in the Franklin County Court of Appeals by Judge Carol Squire documents in great detail the problem with electronic voting machines based on the
results of her 2006 race. Incumbent Squire filed the action on December 22 after losing by 13,064 votes to Chris Geer for a seat on the County Court of Common Pleas.

The action seeks to “declare invalid and set aside” Squire’s loss. The complaint requests a full evidentiary hearing.

Squire hired Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, President and Chief Technical Officer of Notable Software, Inc. as an expert witness and investigator. The former Bryn Mawr computer science professor holds a Ph.D. in computer and informational science from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Mercuri’s sworn affidavit contains detailed criticisms of the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE) and its conduct of the 2006 election. Her sworn statements include the following:

  • 35 precincts were unable to close “due to problems with printers, machine malfunctions, infrared readers, PEBs [personal electronic ballots] . . . .” Squire paid for a recount of these 35 precincts but the BOE used the real time audit log (RTAL) paper tapes to recount only
    2 of the 35 precincts. The RTALs are the only way to accurately assess how people really voted on the Election Day.
  • In the BOE warehouse “hundreds of RTAL paper rolls were sitting out on various tables . . . It had been my understanding that sealed containers holding the rolls would be open only in the presence of observers, but this apparently had already been done, and the rolls extracted, prior to the observers’ arrival.”
  • “Many of the rolls” lacked “tamper-proof” tape, which seals the RTALs at the end of Election Day in case of a recount. Instead, they had stickers which could be easily tampered with.
  • “Some of the [RTAL] rolls did not have a sticker” leaving them open for tampering or accidental destruction.
  • “. . . Others [RTALs] had a sticker with handwritten initials on
    it” indicating that the roll “was replaced by a service person during the Election Day.” This raises questions concerning chain of custody of the rolls, the functionality of the machines, and identity and background of the technicians who initialed the stickers.
  • “. . . A considerable number of the rolls were incomplete, possibly because the paper roll had run out or been changed, although for some, it was evident that the end of the paper roll had been damaged or ripped.”
  • “. . . between five and ten percent of the machines had either not printed an end tally,” or “it was missing.”
  • In one case, when Mercuri requested the information at the beginning of the RTAL roll be read aloud during the recount, the phrases “password override” and “PEB failure” were read from the audit log. Mercuri concludes that “. . . this might have indicated a pre-election breach of security or protocol for that equipment.”
  • “It was observed that some of the equipment problem report pages had been previously removed from the pollbooks.”
  • “The warehouse facility appeared to be shared by other agencies, as there was a large SWAT team truck behind some of the rows of voting
    machines . . . .”

Mercuri’s 16-page affidavit concludes that Squire was denied “an appropriate recount” from a voter-verified paper trail using the RTAL rolls and also points out that the “voting system was inappropriately configured and improperly used during the election.” The Franklin County BOE used different versions of hardware that were not certified prior to the election.

“The use of mismatched components violates certification requirements and also runs the risk of exposure to programming errors (bugs) or security vulnerabilities that could compromise the integrity of the election and result in the loss or mistabulation of votes,” Mercuri states.

In late November the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), one of the federal government’s premier research centers, condemned electronic voting machines noting that as presently configured, they “cannot be made secure.”

In an audit of 25% of Franklin County’s precinct pollbooks and signature books, Squire’s elections investigator Rady Ananda found massive problems with over reporting of votes. Only 29 out of 216 precincts matched the number of signatures to the number of votes cast. Eight precincts reported more than 100 more votes cast than signatures in the pollbooks.

A similar problem of fewer votes being recorded than voter signatures also occurred with one precinct having 100 fewer votes on the machine than signatures. In all, 136 precincts fell into this category. Columbus Ward 66 Precinct G was missing 123 votes. An audit of Miami County by a Free Press investigation team following the 2004 presidential election found a similar problem of optiscan precinct totals not matching signature books. In the spring 2006 primary election, the ESI audit of Cuyahoga County found similar problems.

Cuyahoga’s problems reappeared in the 2006 general election. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that, “Nearly 12,000 people in Cuyahoga County cast votes illegally on Election Day without signing the election books, or likely, showing identification as required by a new
state law.”

“An analysis showed that 533 of the 570 Cuyhoga County voting precincts reported more votes than voters signed in.” The Plain Dealer found that: “With some polling places, the numbers were off by more than 100.”

Beverly Campbell, a 2006 Democratic candidate for the Ohio Statehouse, lost by 368 votes in Franklin County. She told the Columbus Dispatch that “her campaign has questions similar to Squire’s about vote and signature totals.” In a meeting with the Free Press, she supplied a worksheet from her own investigation of 98 precincts where there were problems in 88 of them either with more votes cast than signatures or more signatures than votes cast. In all, she found 483 more votes than signatures and 300 missing votes.

Squire’s complaint also asserts that “over 2500 provisional ballots were discarded with no opportunity for observers to obtain the basis or justification for rejection.”

The voting irregularities in the 2006 election appear to be greater than in 2004, but many Ohio Democrats have chosen to ignore that reality. But one who hasn’t taken that position is newly-elected Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, who has pledged a complete review
of the electronic voting machines. The facts remain that not every vote is counted or accounted for in the Buckeye State and this could be the key factor in deciding the next president of the United States.

Bob Fitrakis is the co-author of What Happened in Ohio: A documentary record of theft and fraud in the 2004 election published by the New Press.
Find the Original Article at

Recount Prosecutions Unraveling Ohio 2004 Theft and Coverup

Original article published January 19, 2007 at Free

by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

Three criminal prosecutions in Ohio's biggest county have opened with strong indications that the cover-up of the theft of the 2004 presidential election is starting to unravel. Prosecutors say these cases involve "rigging" the recount in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), where tens of thousands of votes were shifted from John Kerry to George W. Bush, or else never counted. Meanwhile, corroborating evidence continues to surface throughout Ohio illuminating the GOP's theft of the presidency. According to the AP, County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter opened the Cuyahoga trial by charging that "the evidence will show that this recount was rigged, maybe not for political reasons, but rigged nonetheless." Baxter said the three election workers "did this so they could spend a day rather than weeks or months" on the recount.

Jacqueline Maiden, the county election board's third-ranking employee, faces six counts of misconduct involving ballot review. Rosie Grier, the board's ballot department manager, and Kathleen Dreamer, an assistant manager, are also charged. All three are on paid administrative leave, and are being supported by the county board of elections.

The county prosecutors do not allege vote fraud. No do they say mishandling the recount affected the election's outcome.

But Cleveland, which usually gives Democrats an extremely heavy margin, was crucial to Bush's alleged victory of roughly 118,000 votes out of 5.5 million counted. Some 600,000 votes were cast or counted in Cuyahoga County. But official turnout and vote counts varied wildly and improbably from precinct to precinct. Overall the county reported about a 60% turnout. But several predominantly black precincts, where voters went more than 80% for Kerry, reported turnouts of 30% or less. In one ward, only a 7% turnout was reported, while surrounding precincts were nearly ten times as high. Independent studies indicate Kerry lost thousands of votes in Cuyahoga County that rightfully should have been counted in his column.

In the Cuyahoga case, the poll workers are charged with circumventing state recount laws that require a random sampling of at least three percent of the votes cast in a given precinct, to be recounted by hand and by machine. The prosecution charges that the workers instead hand picked sample precincts to recount that they knew did not have questionable results. Once they were able to match those recounts with official results, they could then do the rest of the recount by machine, in effect rendering the entire process meaningless. "This was a very hush operation," said prosecutor Baxter.

Similar allegations have been made in other counties. Indeed, such illegal non-random recounting procedures appear to have been common throughout the state, carried out by board of election employees with the tacit consent of Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. Blackwell was officially charged with administering the election that gave Bush a second term while simultaneously serving as the Ohio co-chair of his Bush's re-election campaign. Blackwell has just been overwhelmingly defeated in his own attempt to become governor of Ohio.

Defense attorney Roger Synenberg, who represents Dreamer, told the jury that the recount was an open process, and that his client and the others "were just doing it the way they were always doing it."

The Ohio recount was forced by the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, which raised over $100,000 to cover costs. They charge the recount was fraudulent due largely to the kinds of irregularities with which the Cuyahoga poll workers are now charged. Those charges carry sentences of up to 18 months in prison each, and include failure to perform duties imposed by law; misconduct; knowingly disobeying elections law; unlawfully obtaining possession of ballots/ballot boxes or pollbooks; and unlawfully opening or permitting the opening of a sealed package containing ballots.

But the trial in Cleveland represents just a small sampling of what happened during the Ohio recount. At a public hearing sponsored by the Free Press in Toledo in December, 2004, sworn testimony claimed that Diebold technicians were party to picking the "random" precincts to be recounted. At least one of the precincts lacked a memory card for the recount using the optiscan machine.

In Miami County, election officials admit that they did not recount to the official vote total, but merely ran the optiscan ballots through the ES 550 counter, and then counted them to see if they matched the machine count. In essence, what they did was a test of the counting machine, not a recount to the actual reported votes. Miami's procedures were thus as illegal as those in Cuyahoga.

Indeed, when the Free Press audited all the recount ballots from Miami County, we found the so-called recount results differed noticeably from the official results. If these differences in results were discovered at the recount in 2004, Ohio law should have triggered a hand recount of all ballots in the county. That was never done.

In Fairfield County, when the recount totals wouldn't match, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell recommended Sam Hogsett, an ES&S employee, to assist with the process. Despite complaints from a Democratic election officer, Hogsettt worked the central tabulator and counter. Hogsett somehow managed to make the recount match, thus avoiding a full manual recount.

Hogsettt is on record in a local newspaper saying that he would like to shoot a "liberal" so the liberal would learn that it wasn't the gun that killed him, but the shooter, Hogsett. Green Party recount coordinator Paddy Shaffer complained to Delaware County election officials about Hogsett's presence during the recount and his constant use of the computer. Her complaint has had no apparent impact.

In Hocking County, Board of Elections Deputy Director, Sherole Eaton was fired after she submitted an affidavit to U.S. Rep. John Conyers outlining how Hocking BOE officials pre-selected one precinct because it had the "right" number of voters (3%), thus illegally prescreening like Cuyahoga County. Eaton also complained that a Triad technician showed up unannounced on recount day and offered her a "cheat sheet" for the recount. He just happened to have a hard drive for a 12-year-old Dell computer that served as Hocking County's central tabulator. The county's official central tabulator went down mysteriously just prior to the recount. Eaton said the Triad technician installed his hard drive and told the election officials that the recount would match up perfectly if they didn't turn off the computer. Eaton has not been restored to her BOE position, and there has been no full recount in Hocking County.

In Coshocton County, Green Party recount observer Tim Kettler acquired public records showing that election officials pre-counted in secrecy in clear violation of Ohio law. Coshocton BOE officials desperately begged Secretary of State Blackwell for advice when the recount did not match. Blackwell's office urged the county to simply send in the results as official. But after being confronted by angry recount observers, Coshocton BOE officials became the only ones in Ohio to hand count every ballot. The recount resulted in a statistically significant vote pickup for John Kerry among previously uncounted ballots.

In part due to widespread public revulsion over his conduct of the 2004 election, Blackwell was soundly beaten in the 2006 gubernatorial race by Democrat Ted Strickland. Ohio also now has a Democratic Secretary of State and Attorney General. Whether they will conduct further investigations into what really happened in 2004 remains to be seen.

But a federal court decision has preserved the ballots from that election. Whether further legal charges come from the new administration in Columbus remains to be seen. But the Cuyahoga prosecutions provide more evidence that we still don't have a reliable vote count for the election that gave George W. Bush a second term.

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008 (, and, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO?, published by the New Press.

In accordance with Title U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Screencaptures of 2006 Exit Poll Data

The two downloadable PDF files below -- screencaptures of the 2006 Exit Polls taken at 7: 00 p.m. on election night, and again at 1:00 p.m.the following day after adjustments were made to mask the fraudulent reassignment of 3 million votes nationwide -- present the key evidence of the Landslide Denied report.

These screenshots taken from the CNN website are preserved in multi-page PDFs documents.

Election Eve, 7:00 pm

November 9, 1:00 pm

HOUSE_EP_7PM.pdf243.33 KB
HOUSE_EP_1PM.pdf243.29 KB

Tennessee Vote-Shift May Have Flipped U.S. Senate Race

Tennessee Appears to Be Worst State for Vote-flipping in 2006

Prefatory comments by Bernie Ellis, of the Tennessee election integrity group Gathering to Save Democracy:

There were myriad problems reported throughout the state -- two counties had a complete meltdown of their new equipment, much illegal software was found on the central vote tabulator in Memphis (Harold Ford, Jr's hometown), touch-screen flipping was widespread, "lost" voter registrations were common in Democratic strongholds, etc. With all of these problems, however, I was unprepared for the following analysis received from Jonathan Simon with the Election Defense Alliance. Read and weep -- we will be forwarding this analysis on to Harold Ford, Jr. to help explain why Tennessee was the ONLY state to elect a freshman Republican Senator in 2006.


Jonathan Simon writes:

As you probably know, there was a statewide exit poll conducted by Edison-Mitofsky for the major media consortium. This exit poll was "adjusted" to conform to the statewide vote totals once they became available, the ostensible theory behind this being that the demographic picture of the electorate and its voting patterns will be most accurate if the poll results match the vote count, which is taken for gospel and therefore the best standard of calibration.

If this were indeed the case, we would expect the resulting sampled electorate as portrayed by this adjusted poll to accurately reflect the electorate that went to the polls and voted on Election Day (and early and absentee voting, which are incorporated into the exit poll via telephone survey).

There are yardsticks that enable us to check whether this is indeed the case. One is Presidential Approval Rating, which can be compared to a known baseline as established by tracking polls in the state.

In Tennessee the results are dramatic. In the most recent pre-election baseline poll of Bush approval, taken by Survey USA on October 17, 2006, Bush approval stood at 39% Approve, 59% Disapprove, for a net of minus 20%. In the Edison-Mitofsky poll adjusted to match the 2006 vote totals, Bush approval was 48% Approve, 50% Disapprove, for a net of minus 2%.

The difference between the two nets, a whopping 18%, was the greatest of any of the 32 states for which data was available. Bear in mind what this means: To get the vote to come out the way it [reportedly] did, an electorate has to be created or postulated that is grossly overpopulated with pro-Bush or Republican voters, voters with a very great propensity to vote for other Republican candidates in 2006.

There are only two ways in which such a disparity could come about.
One is if the Republicans trounced the Democrats in the turnout battle in the 2006 election, so that the poll's "roomful of Republicans" sample did accurately represent an electorate that was also a "roomful of Republicans." No one, not even Republicans, suggests that this was the case.

The only other explanation is that the vote counts, to which the exit poll was adjusted, are themselves grossly distorted and mistabulated. In Tennessee it appears that the degree of vote shifting--i.e., election theft--was in the double digits: certainly more than enough to alter the outcome of the Senatorial race, among others.

There are a few caveats:

Misreported Bush Approval?
One might argue that perhaps Bush approval was misrepresented by the Survey USA poll. To the contrary, we have found that the weighted national average (using all 50 state polls and assigning them weight according to state voting population to yield a representative nationwide result) for the October 17 poll we've used as the best available baseline was 37% Approval, which is squarely in line with other nationwide pre-election tracking polls of Bush approval.

Bush Surge?
One might then postulate that perhaps Bush approval surged by 18% or so between October 17 and Election Day (though observation tells us this is hardly likely). The Survey USA post-election tracking poll of November 16, 2006 measured a 15% net Bush Disapproval, rather than 20% on October 17. If we use this figure, the disparity decreases from 18% to 13%. If we interpolate and use the average of 17.5%, the disparity comes in at 15.5%. In either case it remains dramatic and highly probative of gross mistabulation of the vote.

Methodological Disparity?
The sole remaining possibility is that the questions in the Survey USA and Edison-Mitofsky polls were framed in a materially different way, such as to engender a methodology-based disparity. This is highly unlikely because the Presidential approval question format has become quite standardized, but we are attempting to obtain the precise wording of both questionnaires to make sure.

Tennessee turned out to be one of the most egregious examples of a national pattern, which Bruce O'Dell and I have analyzed in our paper, "Landslide Denied," posted at It is a wake-up jolt for anyone who has made the mistake of equating a Democratic victory with a fair election and a lowering of cause for concern.

The Threat Level to democracy remains RED.

All the best,

Jonathan Simon (Election Defense Alliance)

Uncounted - Election Day 2006 (Landslide Denied)

This excerpt from the documentary film Uncounted features EDA co-founder Jonathan Simon describing how newsmedia collusion in exit poll manipulation covered the electronic theft of 3 million votes in the 2006 midterm election -- and why we can expect more of the same in the Nov. 2008 presidential election.

Widespread Vote-Switching Detected by EDA Data Analysis

EDA Blog

Update from Jonathan Simon, on EDA Data Analysis findings

To Everyone Keeping Score At Home--

My apologies for being out-of-touch over much of the past two very eventful days. I have been holed-up with Bruce O'Dell and a few others crunching numbers, lots of numbers, including historical data, pre-election polling trends, authentic(!) and adjusted official exit polls, independent exit polls and Election Day canvasses, and of course the reported returns. The analysis will go on for quite some time. But I want to give a very brief preliminary impression of what we see so far.

It is simply this: there are, venue for venue, plenty of "anomalies" and vote-shifting patterns to go around. So far, once again, the "glitch" pattern and the shift patterns do not appear to be random. Without pursuing a detailed analysis, it would be easy to overlook this while oohing and ahhiing at the overall results.

The danger here in our view is that E2006, because the Democrats "won," will be spun as a triumph for electoral honesty and security--when in fact it appears that the combination of massive public revulsion and heightened public scrutiny may simply have made this one too high and risky a mountain for the prospective manipulators to climb to the top. There are numerous signs emerging that the climbing party brought its gear and tackled the slopes, reaching a good way up this Everest before meeting the howling winds and bitter cold that kept them from reaching the summit, as they had in prior expeditions up less lofty and forbidding peaks.

We will continue assembling the data and analyzing the patterns, reporting our findings along with supporting data as they emerge. For now, those inclined to celebrate the apparently unthwarted triumph of the public will, by all means feel free to go out and paint the town red, or blue. But, although E2006 should certainly confirm for us the value of our work and of the heightened scrutiny our hard labor engendered, it should in no way seduce us into any prolonged sense of satisfaction or, dare I say it, mission accomplished. We have as much work before us as behind us, in fact more. The system is no less vulnerable this week than it was last week, and the numbers we have crunched thus far appear to confirm that vulnerability.

We've all made sacrifices and worked very hard. The warm bath beckons and we've surely earned it.
But make it a very short one.

All the best--Jonathan Simon

How to Gather Election Evidence

This guide composed by Bev Harris and originally published at Black Box


Also recommended is this Poll Monitoring Guide by Count the Vote/Voters Unite

Gathering_Election_Evidence_BBV.pdf28.75 KB

2000 Election

Under construction

The Path to Florida 2000

The Path to Florida 2000

*New* Revision of HR 811, 7.27. Read the new "Voter Confidence" Act

The language of HR 811 has been changed yet again in a "floor managers' revision" issued July 27.

Click here to download the revised bill text.

Click here to read an analysis of the Voter Con Act (that is only partly satirical).

811_Revised_Voter_CON_Act.pdf79.45 KB

>> CONGRESS: HR 811 Unsafe for Democracy! Halt Holt!<<

H.R. 811 Resource Page

Click here for the Halt 811 Action Page

UPDATE: July 27 "Floor Manager" revision of H.R. 811
Click here to download PDF
Click here to read critical annotation by Nancy Tobi

UPDATE:Text of Amended Holt Bill ("Lofgren substitute")
Released May 8th by House Committee on Administration

UPDATE: Clause-by-Clause Analysis by Nancy Tobi
of the Amended Holt Bill of May 8 (the "Lofgren Substitute")

UPDATE: HR 811: Let the Debate Begin, in the Open, in Public
by Nancy Tobi

UPDATE: A Five-Point Proposal for Publicly Accountable Elections
by Nancy Tobi

Related Links:
Statement on Election Reform by NASS (National Assoc. of Secretaries of State)
NASS Resolution on Election Assistance Commission (EAC)

UPDATE: EAC Takes Aim at Paper Ballots
by Nancy Tobi

Click here for (Pre-Amendment) Text of H.R. 811 (as published on 02/05/07)

Thirteen Significant Problems in H.R. 811, the New Holt Bill

by Nancy Tobi

HR 811: Ten Blunders in A Deceptive Boondoggle

By Bruce O'Dell

Son of Holt, No Better

Critical Annotation of H.R. 811 by Bev Harris.

State (NCSL) and County (NACo) Election Administrators' Joint Statement of Opposition to H.R. 811

Request by Voters to Amend the Holt Bill

The "Request by Voters" is a nationally distributed appeal to Congress for needed election reforms proposed by the election integrity movement. Election Defense Alliance joins many other organizations in endorsing these proposals for effective legislative reform, to correct the damage wrought by HAVA and to amend or replace well-intentioned but seriously misguided proposals currently present in the "Holt Bill" (H.R. 550).

We are asking for your support of our Request by Voters, and for permission to add your name to our letter to Congress. Please respond with your affirmation of support TODAY by visiting this link to add your name and organization (if applicable) to the petition:

Election Reform/HR 811 Hearings, House Committee on Administration

 HR 811 The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007

HR 6414

Companion measure to HR 811 containing audit provisions extracted from HR 811

Analyses of EAC:

Danger of centralized, federal executive control over elections
Futility of "certification" of voting machines

EAC Certification as a Ponzi Scheme: Summary
EAC Voting Equipment Certification as a Ponzi Scheme

2 attachments

Analysis of Certification Timelines

The proposed Holt Bill (HR 811) attempts to require a text converter in every precinct

Letters and Testimony by Election Officials Opposing HR 811

The Election Center

Boone County, Missouri writes Congress in opposition to Holt Bill

President of Access for the Handicapped, writes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

Maryland Election Officials write Congress in opposition to Holt Bill

Chris Nelson, South Dakota Secretary of State writes to Congress in opposition to Holt bill

New Jersey emails Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

Texas County Clerk faxes Congress in opposition to Holt Bill

Ohio faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

NH faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

California faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill

NH faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill (#2)

California faxes Congress in opposition to the Holt Bill (#2)

Thanks to Kathy Dopp of NEDA/USCountVotes for Providing these Links to Selected Articles

"Fool Me Once: Checking Vote Count Integrity"

DeForest Soaries says that "EAC and Federal efforts for election reform 'A Charade,' 'Travesty'!

"Why not Re-Authorize the EAC"

"The US Election Assistance Commission Has Not Done its Job"

Voting System Software Disclosure.pdf
David Wagner - testimony before the House Admin committee

"Critical changes are needed to HR811"

"What's Wrong with Holt II (HR 811)" by Bev Harris of Black Box Voting

"New Version of Holt Bill: A Giant Step Backwards"
by Nancy Tobi of Democracy for New Hampshire

"Essential Revisions to HR811"
By John Gideon, Voters Unite, February 27, 2007

HR811 Review by Marian Beddill

HR811_LofgrenSubstitute_050807.pdf160.24 KB

Clause-by-Clause Analysis of HR 811 as Amended May 8


Also see Five-Point Legislative Alternative below for essential election reform (stripping out the secrecy, computers, unfunded mandates, and executive power grab contained in the Holt bill).

by Nancy Tobi

The Holt Bill is falsely marketed as a paper trail and audit bill.

It is instead a multibillion dollar unfunded boondoggle that embraces and codifies into federal law secret vote counting, White House control over American voting technology, complex computerized voting technology that places an impenetrable and opaque layer between the voter and his vote, and impossible bureaucratic requirements that will threaten and cripple election officials and cause death by bureaucracy to our state election systems.

Our nation’s election officials oppose this bill because they want to protect our election systems from failure, not because they oppose paper based voting.

Our nation’s election officials are ready to implement paper based voting, even after having been sold an e-voting bill of goods following Congress’s 2002 passage of the “Help America Vote Act” (sic), which encouraged the states to use $3 BILLION American taxpayer dollars to purchase of the paperless e-voting equipment for which election officials are now being publicly derided for buying!

We don’t need this bill to bring paper back into our state election systems! We don’t need another multibillion dollar boondoggle to inject even more complex, more opaque, high tech democracy demolishing gadgetry into our voting systems.

There is another answer. See the 4-point Alternative Legislative Proposal at bottom of this posting.

The two BIG LIES being propagated and very successfully circulated about the bill reported out of committee to the House:

1. It is now fully funded

2. It is a completely new bill ("the Lofgren substitute")


1. The $1 BIL appropriated in the bill is not going to come close to covering the costs for the mandated text converter/readback technology, not for this year, and certainly not in 2-3 years when new federal guidelines obsolete (once again) ALL voting technology currently available. And that is not even going into the two new mandated state functions - both of which need to be staffed and operational (certification and audit functions)

2. The bill reported out of committee is titled the Lofgren substitute, I suppose, because it is what Lofgren released from her subcommittee in charge of the bill. However, it is commonly accepted that this version, with the exception of the Capuona amendment, and other small edits, came directly from Holt's office and his counsel, Michelle Mulder, who has been in charge of writing the bill all along. It is different from previous versions, yes, mostly in bad ways, but it is NOT a completely new bill.

Careful readers of the bill reported out of committee to the full house will find the following:

The Capuano amendment, which gives voters choice to use paper ballots if they wish, is the best thing to come out of the bill, and opens the doorway for new thought. A whole new bill, if you will. In fact, a REAL paper ballot bill that could and should be strengthened with guidance, funding and training for what to do with those real paper ballots: i.e., hand count em. This provision has been added to the 4-point proposal appended at bottom of this posting.

Otherwise, most of the old flaws in the bill still exist and have in fact been made worse.

This version of the bill removed all prohibitions on nondisclosed software that had been present in previous versions and actually proactively requires public officials to sign nondisclosure agreements with evoting vendors! The codification into federal law of nondisclosure contractual requirements is unprecedented and anathema to a free democratic society. While they tout the bill as a "paper trail/audit" bill, it now actually provides waivers for thermal paper DREs until 2010 as long as they use those useless reel to reel printers. As anyone knows by now, this paper trail output is difficult to handle, and for all practical purposes, useless for auditing, so the representation of the bill as a paper trail/audit bill is misleading and is nothing other than a bait and switch.
Although they have removed the provision to extend the EAC, the bill consistently extends authority to the democracy-demolishing entity and even broadens its authorities and responsibilities, going so far as to authorize the EAC to manage taxpayer money for the fraudulent testing and certification Ponzi Scheme! Since the EAC will continue to receive appropriations as long as bills like HR 811 give it broadened and continuous powers and authority, removing the provision in this manner is nothing but a disingenuous shell game.
HR811 mandates entirely new and highly complex technology (“conversion of human-readable printed or marked vote selections into accessible form”) for every polling jurisdiction in the nation. The requirement for new, complex, opaque computerized technology in the form of a text converter for every polling place in the nation is another nail in the coffin for democratic elections with citizen oversight. Ballot text or selection conversion for multiple language and multiple ballot designs requires the most complex high tech gadgetry yet proposed for our voting systems. This level of complexity injected between American citizens and their votes is unacceptable.

Additionally, it is a

vastly underfunded mandate. Proponents like to say that the increased funding to $1 billion makes HR 811 a fully-funded bill, but estimates for the text converter alone reach up to a minimum of $4 billion for the technology and programming costs it will incur.


the device does not even exist in any form tested or certified, and it is still questionable whether any existing technology can meet matrix ballot design needs or pictorial language needs, such as Chinese. This mandated technology is so complex and high tech that the e-voting industry itself does not believe it can deliver the product in any workable, practical, or financially feasible form by the deadline date of 2010
And once the next iteration of the federal voting system guidelines kicks in, any investment in this technology will be rendered obsolete in 2-3 years by the new software independence requirements in the next version of the guidelines, triggering a whole new round of unfunded investment in Holt-mandated computerized voting technology. This means an exorbitant expense today with an additional “investment”in this Ponzi scheme as soon as the next version of the federal standards is released in 2-3 years.
The bill actually asks states to disregard their own laws in order to comply with its mandates, stating, in effect, "Do what we – the Feds –say, and don't worry about your own state laws that may not actually support our mandates. Just do what we say, then pass the laws just as we are requiring them to be. Don't act as though state legislation is a deliberative process, just pass the laws as we tell you to."

HR 811 is presuming an outcome for state legislation thereby denying any deliberative process that might result in an outcome different from that the bill presumes. This is utter disrespect for the rule of law, state sovereignty, the deliberative legislative process, and is outrageous.

IMPOSES IMPOSSIBLE TIME LINES AND IS OVERLY PRESCRIPTIVE The bill gives states 90 days to come up with plans to completely overhaul their voting systems, and further imposes burdensome reporting requirements to the White House-controlled EAC. The bill contains too much detail for how to implement its requirements, superseding any state requirements, traditions, or other variables. The bill promises todestabilize our state election systems as election officials scramble to meet impossible mandates, leaving no time to take care of the things like security, accuracy, and citizen oversight that are required for democratic elections!

4-Point Alternative Legislative Proposal for Real Paper Trail with Checks and Balances
Plus Incentives for Real Paper Ballots and Hand Counts

1.  In support of the principle of checks and balances and citizen oversight:
Require that Paper Ballots be Offered and Provided Voters at the Polls—
The appropriate election official at each polling place in an election for Federal office shall offer each individual who is eligible to cast a vote in the election at the polling place the opportunity to cast the vote using a pre-printed paper ballot which the individual may mark by hand and which is not produced by a direct recording electronic voting machine. If the individual accepts the offer to cast the vote using such a ballot, the official shall provide the individual with the ballot and the supplies necessary to mark the ballot, and shall ensure (to the greatest extent practicable) that the waiting period for the individual to cast a vote is not greater than the waiting period for an individual who does not agree to cast the vote using such a paper ballot under this paragraph.

Jurisdictions will ensure that a sufficient supply of paper ballots be available, that notice of the option is provided, that the ballots are treated with equal dignity provided to other ballots, including canvassing/counting those ballots on election day, and that consequences are provided for violations. In the event of violations related to the provision, canvassing, and handling of paper ballots, any citizen eligible to vote in the jurisdiction will have standing to go to court to require compliance and authority for the court to grant immediate relief. Funding for training and documentation for election officials and election workers in the proper hand counting methods and election administration using paper ballots will be appropriated to support this provision. Prior to election certification, appropriate protocols must be implemented to ensure the integrity of election results as authenticated by transparent vote counting methods.

(Compliance to be determined by each state in a state plan process that supports the standards for democratic elections, those being citizen oversight and security, and which process includes diverse stakeholders group including citizen representation, published plans, and consequences for noncompliance. State Plans will be published in the Federal Register.)

Effective Date State Plan: February, 2008

Effective Date Implementation: General Election November 2008

2.  In support of the principle of fiscal responsibility and stabilization of state governmental administration, checks and balances and citizen oversight:

BUYOUT funding for states wishing to replace DRE systems with paper-based voting systems.
(BUYOUT funding can be applied to paper ballot, optical scan voting systems, paper ballot, hand count systems, or a combination thereof. In the case of buyout funding as applied to hand count systems, training costs may be included.)

(Compliance to be determined by each state in a state plan process that supports the standards for democratic elections, those being citizen oversight and security, and which process includes diverse stakeholders group including citizen representation, published plans, and consequences for noncompliance. State Plans will be published in the Federal Register.)
Effective Date: February, 2008

3. In support of the principle of checks and balances:
Dissolution of EAC and reallocation of its functional responsibilities to appropriate representational groups (as described below)

Effective Date: January 2008

4.  In support of the principle of fiscal responsibility and stabilization of state governmental administration:
Prohibition on any additional unfunded mandates being added into the bill

Effective Date:  Upon passage

Reallocation of EAC Responsibilities:

  • Generate technical guidance on the administration of federal elections.
  • Produce voluntary voting systems guidelines.
  • Research and report on matters that affect the administration of federal elections.
  • Otherwise provide information and guidance with respect to laws, procedures, and technologies affecting the administration of Federal elections.
  • Administer payments to States to meet HAVA requirements.
  • Provide grants for election technology development and for pilot programs to test election technology. 
  • Manage funds targeted to certain programs designed to encourage youth participation in elections.
  • Develop a national program for the testing,certification, and decertification of voting systems. 
  • Maintain the national mail voter registration form that was developed in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), report to Congress every two years on the impact of the NVRA on the administration of federal elections, and provide information to States on their responsibilities under that law. 
  • Audit persons who received federal funds authorized by HAVA from the General Services Administration or the Election Assistance Commission.
  • Submit an annual report to Congress describing EAC activities for the previous fiscal year.

811_May_17_2007.pdf110.97 KB

H.R. 811 Bill, Summary View

On This Page:

1. HR 811 Summary
2. Sponsors and Related Bills
3. HR 811 Section Overview

To return to the full text view of HR 811, Click here

Congressional Research Service Summary



Title: To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require
a voter-verified permanent paper ballot under title III of such Act,
and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12]
(introduced 2/5/2007)
     Cosponsors (200)

Related Bills:

Latest Major Action: 3/29/2007
House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Committee Hearings Held.



Voter Confidence and Increased
Accessibility Act of 2007 - Amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002
(HAVA) with respect to:

(1) ballot verification and mandatory paper
record audit capacity; and
(2) accessibility and ballot verification of
results for individuals with disabilities.

Requires the Director
of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to study, test,
and develop best practices to enhance the accessibility of ballot
verification mechanisms for individuals with disabilities, voters whose
primary language is not English, and voters with difficulties in

Requires laboratories to meet standards prohibiting
conflicts of interest as a condition of accreditation for the testing
of voting system hardware and software.

Outlines additional voting system requirements and prohibitions.

Extends the authorization of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

Provides for complaints to the Attorney General by persons aggrieved by violations of HAVA.

Makes available additional funding to enable states to meet the costs of the requirements imposed by this Act.

the chief auditor of each state to appoint an Election Audit Board to
administer, without advance notice to the precincts selected, random
hand counts of the voter-verified paper ballots required to be produced
and preserved for each such election held in the state.

Repeals the exemption of the EAC from certain government contracting requirements.


Title: To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require
a voter-verified permanent paper ballot under title III of such Act,
and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12]
(introduced 2/5/2007)
     Cosponsors (200)

Related Bills:

Latest Major Action: 3/29/2007
House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Committee Hearings Held.

All Information
(except text)
Text of Legislation
CRS Summary Major Congressional Actions
All Congressional Actions

All Congressional Actions with Amendments
With links to Congressional Record pages, votes,reports
Cosponsors (200)
Related Bills Amendments Related Committee Documents
CBO Cost Estimates Subjects  

Section Overview


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H.R. 811

Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)

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To retrieve the following Sections of the Holt bill click here

February 5, 2007














`Subtitle C--Mandatory Manual Audits by Election Audit Boards


HR 811 (The Holt Bill): Let the Debate Begin

By Nancy Tobi

There is a raging and often destructive debate among voting activists. The source of the discord is "The Holt Bill," a piece of federal election reform legislation named for its primary author, Democratic Congressman Rush Holt from the great state of New Jersey. The destructive nature of the exchanges among activists has led some of us who oppose the bill to propose, in the best of our American democratic traditions, a public debate on the merits of the bill.

We who oppose believe anything that stands to so dramatically transform, and possibly violate, the nature of American democracy deserves robust public debate, based on facts and principle.

Congress has already held its so-called public hearings on the bill, but those hearings were stacked with many pro-811 witnesses, and the few opponents of the legislation were not debating what we oppositional citizens believe are the real issues that need a good, public airing:

* The bill violates state sovereignty and cements control over the nation's voting systems in the hands of four white house appointees.
* The bill codifies into federal law the use of secret vote counting technologies in the United States of America.
* The bill mandates impossible, ineffective and controversial audit and reporting requirements and timetables.
* The bill confuses technology with democracy, embracing the tenets of the one over the other.
* The bill furthers the misguided and undemocratic direction initiated with the Help America Vote Act that replaces observable voting with verifiable voting

Unfortunately, in what appears to be a desperate desire to keep the rhetoric flying and the facts suppressed from any public discourse, supporters of the bill have refused every offer for real public debate.

Some of the more vocal supporters of the bill state that if we opponents are questioning the confusing language of the bill, it must be that we are not as "intelligent" as they are. Sort of like the way a sales person for an exclusive item will look down his nose and tell you, "if you have to ask what it costs, you obviously can't afford it."

If we have to ask what this bill means to our democracy, we are obviously in the wrong shop.

I, for one, would like to see robust debate on the merits of this complex bill. For one thing, the principles of democracy are at stake.

The American people deserve to hear honest debate on if and how this proposed election reform supports the fundamental principles of American democracy without which our elections are nothing but a sham.

As well, the language of the 62 page bill is so dangerously ambiguous in so many critical areas, that we ought to expose the ambiguities to the light before HR811 becomes the law of the land and our elections are thrown to the courts to decide what means what.

And finally, public debate is called for because of the complex, often conflicting, and seemingly impossible and impractical requirements of the bill. These requirements are outrageously expensive, the costs of which will be borne in large part by American property taxpayers as the nation's towns, cities, and counties struggle to meet the bill's unfunded high tech mandates.

And a careful analysis of the bill's timelines, equations, and reporting requirements indicates they just don't seem to add up to anything that will actually work in the real world. This fundamental flaw in the bill puts every state in the nation at risk if it forces them to try to run legal elections when the law itself is unsupportable.

This is not the birthright of democracy the framers of the U.S. Constitution bequeathed us.

The Holt Bill, in its former incarnation as HR 550, languished in committee under the former Republican majority, and was never released to the full House for a vote. With the Democratic takeover, the bill resurfaced in its current incarnation, HR 811. Within days of the November 2006 victory, Dem leaders were predicting the swift passage of election reform. They were going to "own" the issue that had been stymied under the Republican rule.

Unfortunately, the new leadership was stuck holding the same moldy bag of election reform that had been decaying in the former Republican majority's pantry. And time was not kind to the Holt Bill. As it languished, its unpleasant odor wafted through the ranks of citizen activists, many of whom, one by one, began to experience an unmistakable squeamishness about the bill.

When HR 550 was whisked out of the pantry, washed down, spiced up, and placed on the table of the House Administration Committee in its new form as HR 811, many former supporters found they could no longer stomach the bill, even in its shiny new form. One might even say, especially in its shiny new form.

The ranks of ordinary citizens, who laboriously studied the bill and its implications, the nation's election officials, counties, legislators, and even the e-voting industry itself, uniformly rose in loud and raucous opposition to its passage.

HR 811 quickly became a disputed and controversial bill, left only with its primary supporters being well funded lobbying groups like Common Cause, MoveOn, TrueMajority, Verified Voting and VoteTrustUSA.

Nonetheless, rumors abounded that the bill was going to be "fast tracked" through the Committee, on to the House floor, where it would be swiftly passed by a leadership-sponsored "unity" Democratic vote and dropped into the laps of the American people.

But apparently the bill's controversial nature has slowed down the fast track. Now the bill sits on the table, waiting for someone to take a bite. But while it is tempting and delectable to some activists and their seemingly well funded lobbyists, others of us are as repelled by the odor emanating from the bill as ever before.

The arguments proposed by HR 811 proponents are as effective in addressing the problems of the bill as spitting on a house on fire:

* "This is the best bill we can get passed by Congress."
* "If we don't pass this bill now we won't have any election reform in place for 2008."
* "Even if the bill supports secret vote counting, at least we'll force the states to conduct election audits."
* "At least our elections will be, if not observable by the citizenry, verifiable by 'qualified' persons and 'experts'."
* "If you oppose the bill you are not as intelligent as we are."

The problem is that the defects of the bill are not small and can not be dismissed, as has been attempted with each new version of the bill, through copyediting, wordsmithing, and vagaries of text. In fact, the bill's flaws touch - at the deepest levels - our very notions, ideals, traditions, and fundamental constitutional rights with respect to American democracy.

In a recent email exchange inviting Holt proponents to a public debate, activist and attorney Paul Lehto was accused by a central Holt Bill proponent of "blowing hot air and quoting 18th century statesmen." Does this mean that this particular HR 811 proponent, whose organization has recently hired a high powered lobbyist just to get the bill passed, agrees with what George W. Bush is rumored to have stated, that our Constitution is "just a piece of paper"?

God bless Paul Lehto for quoting "18th century statesmen." They are the revolutionary spirits and first American patriots, who rose in opposition to a centralized power that used its authority to make bad and dangerous decisions for the people of this country. It is to them that we owe our freedoms and our dignities.

It is not enough for us to breeze past their messages and to sit content in our air conditioned homes, driving our Mercedes, eating our abundance of food.

Our country, the United States of America, was founded on ideals and principles, the principles of freedom and democracy, bolstered by robust public dissent, dialog, and debate. It is the strength of these principles that have enabled us to become the greatest superpower on earth. It is the words of those "18th century statesmen" that we must shine like a beacon to light for us the way forward, to remind us that our country is a country of the rule of law, and the basis and foundation for that rule of law is the U.S. Constitution.

This revolutionary document and declaration of democratic principles, written in the midst of much public debate and honest dissent and discourse, has stood the test of time. Our Constitution must be in the forefront of everything we do when tinkering with anything as crucial as the foundation of our democracy: our elections.

Lehto provides this quote from 18th century statesman, American patriot and founder James Madison:

. . . [T]he Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation's destiny. . . . The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost." --James Madison

Lehto also reminds us that the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence are clear: we the people are the masters, our elected officials are the servants. Our democracy guarantees us the right to "kick the bums out" when our servants are misbehaving. And this means that we can not allow our elected representatives to enact laws facilitating the rigging of our elections, debasing the tenets of our democracy, and enshrining secret vote counting, which is the foundation of fascism and not democracy.

Lehto, like Madison, reminds us that this right is worth defending, at whatever the cost.

We who oppose HR 811 believe that a public debate on the merits of this legislation is not too high a cost to pay in defense of our country.

National Association of Secretaries of State Resolution Regarding Election Assistance Commission


NASS Position on Funding and Authorization of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission

Dear Members of Congress:

The secretaries of state voted at the 2005 National Association of Secretaries of State winter conference to dissolve the U.S. Election Assistance Commission after the 2006 federal general election. The following position statement was passed by a majority of the secretaries in attendance:

Recognizing the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's (EAC) task as a limited one, Congress, in the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), wisely authorized the EAC for only three years. Any duties assigned to the EAC can be completed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology or by the state and local election officials who make up the HAVA Standards Board and its Executive Committee.

The National Association of Secretaries of State encourages Congress not to reauthorize or fund the EAC after the conclusion of the 2006 federal general election, and not to give rulemaking authority to the EAC.

The secretaries believe that allowing the EAC to evolve into a regulatory body is contrary to the spirit of HAVA, and that by 2006 the EAC will have served its purpose. Congress should preserve the states' ability to serve as independent laboratories of change through successful experiments and innovation in election reform.


The National Association of Secretaries of State

State and County Election Administrators Oppose H.R. 811

Statement published at
Click to download as PDF

March 19, 2007

Dear Member of Congress:

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the National Association of
Counties (NACo) urge you to oppose H.R. 811, S. 559 or other legislation that would
require dramatic changes in state and local election laws, technology and procedures.

State law controls the processes and administration of elections for federal, state and local
office and the procedures and technology vary greatly across the nation. States have been
extremely aggressive in addressing concerns about the security of our voting systems that
arose as a result of the mandates that Congress imposed as part of the Help America Vote
Act. In addition, counties are going to great lengths to ensure administrative practices
that protect the security of the voting systems and ensure the transparency of audit
processes. This legislation would exacerbate, rather than assist states and counties
in addressing, these challenges which could lead to disastrous unintended
consequences in the 2008 presidential election.

H.R. 811 and S. 559 are a one-size-fits all approach which would rush new voting
technology to market that has not even been developed without testing or certification
and without adequate time for pollworker training and voter education. Twenty-seven
states have already passed paper trail laws and thirteen more are considering this
approach in their current legislative sessions. In total, forty states have either passed or
are considering the question of whether a paper audit trail is right for their state. States
that have passed laws have done so in unique and varied ways to best meet the needs of
their constituents. The pending federal legislation seeks to undermine the hard work of
our nation’s state legislatures and is deeply flawed.

Even if the requirements of this legislation were realistic within the specified deadline,
state and local governments are understandably skeptical of promises of federal funding
for a new, multi-billion-dollar federal mandate for additional election technology and
practices. Congress has repeatedly failed to live up to its fiscal commitments under the
Help America Vote Act. It neither provided timely resources to the Election Assistance
Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to adopt voting
systems standards as promised nor fully funded grants to the states for purchase of
accessible voting equipment.

The Help America Vote Act achieved implementation of new voting equipment and
procedures within a four-year timeframe without disastrous unintended consequences
only because Congress carefully crafted its provisions through extended consultation and
significant input from organizations representing state and local elected officials and
election administrators.

To pursue a more reasoned approach on this issue, please have your staff contact or
Alysoun McLaughlin with the National Association of Counties at 202-942-4254/ or Susan Frederick with the National Conference of State
Legislatures at 202-624-3566/


William T. Pound, Executive Director
National Conference of State Legislatures

Larry Naake, Executive Director
National Association of Counties

NCSL_NACo_Opposition.pdf547.05 KB

Text of H.R. 811 (as of Feb. 5, 2007, GPO)



The HR 811 text is being marked up with final amendments in the House Committtee on Administration and may emerge substantially altered from the text presented below, which is only the most recent form released to the general public. We understand this bill is on a fast-track and may be released at any time, to go straight to a House vote without affording any further opportunity for public review or comment. If you find this situation as offensive to democracy as we do, feel free to convey those sentiments to the House Committee on Administration and to the Speaker of the House. --EDA

Source: The Library of Congress, THOMAS website

The full text of HR 811 is displayed on this page.

For a summary view of the bill by sections, Click here

HR 811 IH


1st Session

H. R. 811

To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a<br/> voter-verified permanent paper ballot under title III of such Act, and<br/> for other purposes.


February 5, 2007

Mr. HOLT (for himself, Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia, Mr. WEXLER, Mr.
COOPER, Mrs. JONES of Ohio, Mr. CLAY, Mr. SHAYS, Ms. KAPTUR, Mr.
ENGLISH of Pennsylvania, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. RAMSTAD, Mr. MEEK
of Florida, Mr. ISSA, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mrs. BIGGERT, Ms. LEE, Mr. CASTLE,
Ms. KILPATRICK of Michigan, Mr. KUHL of New York, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of
Florida, Mr. MACK, Mr. SCOTT of Virginia, Mr. ABERCROMBIE, Mr.
BOUCHER, Mr. BOYD of Florida, Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania, Mr. BRALEY of
Illinois, Mr. LINCOLN DAVIS of Tennessee, Mrs. DAVIS of California, Mr.
FRANK of Massachusetts, Mrs. GILLIBRAND, Mr. GONZALEZ, Mr. GORDON of
Tennessee, Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr.
Texas, Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia, Mr. KAGEN, Mr. KENNEDY, Mr. KILDEE, Mr.
Washington, Mr. LOEBSACK, Mrs. LOWEY, Mrs. MCCARTHY of New York, Ms.
MICHAUD, Mr. MILLER of North Carolina, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California,
Mr. MITCHELL, Mr. MOLLOHAN, Mr. MOORE of Kansas, Mr. MORAN of Virginia,
Mr. PATRICK J. MURPHY of Pennsylvania, Mr. NADLER, Mrs. NAPOLITANO, Ms.
PASTOR, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. PETERSON of Minnesota, Mr. PRICE of North
of Washington, Ms. SOLIS, Mr. SPRATT, Mr. STARK, Mr. STUPAK, Ms.
Mr. UDALL of Colorado, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. WALZ of Minnesota, Ms.
WOOLSEY, Mr. WU, Mr. WYNN, and Mr. ALTMIRE) introduced the following
bill; which was referred to the Committee on House Administration


To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a
voter-verified permanent paper ballot under title III of such Act, and
for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007'.


    (a) Ballot Verification and Audit Capacity-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Section 301(a)(2) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)(2)) is amended to read as follows:
        `(A) IN GENERAL-
          `(i) The voting system shall require the use of
          or produce an individual voter-verified paper ballot of the voter's
          vote that shall be created by or made available for inspection and
          verification by the voter before the voter's vote is cast and counted.
          For purposes of this clause, examples of such a ballot include a paper
          ballot marked by the voter for the purpose of being counted by hand or
          read by an optical scanner or other similar device, a paper ballot
          prepared by the voter to be mailed to an election official (whether
          from a domestic or overseas location), a paper ballot created through
          the use of a ballot marking device or system, or a paper ballot
          produced by a touch screen or other electronic voting machine, so long
          as in each case the voter is permitted to verify the ballot in a paper
          form in accordance with this subparagraph.
          `(ii) The voting system shall provide the voter
          with an opportunity to correct any error made by the system in the
          voter-verified paper ballot before the permanent voter-verified paper
          ballot is preserved in accordance with subparagraph (B)(i).
          `(iii) The voting system shall not preserve the
          voter-verifiable paper ballots in any manner that makes it possible, at
          any time after the ballot has been cast, to associate a voter with the
          record of the voter's vote.
          `(i) The permanent voter-verified paper ballot produced in accordance with subparagraph (A) shall be preserved--
            `(I) in the case of votes cast at the
            polling place on the date of the election, within the polling place in
            the manner or method in which all other paper ballots are preserved
            within such polling place;
            `(II) in the case of votes cast at the
            polling place prior to the date of the election or cast by mail, in a
            manner which is consistent with the manner employed by the jurisdiction
            for preserving such ballots in general; or
            `(III) in the absence of either such manner
            or method, in a manner which is consistent with the manner employed by
            the jurisdiction for preserving paper ballots in general.
          `(ii) Each paper ballot produced pursuant to
          subparagraph (A) shall be suitable for a manual audit equivalent to
          that of a paper ballot voting system.
          `(iii) In the event of any inconsistencies or
          irregularities between any electronic vote tallies and the vote tallies
          determined by counting by hand the individual permanent paper ballots
          produced pursuant to subparagraph (A), and subject to subparagraph (D),
          the individual permanent paper ballots shall be the true and correct
          record of the votes cast and shall be used as the official ballots for
          purposes of any recount or audit conducted with respect to any election
          for Federal office in which the voting system is used.
        AND OVERSEAS VOTERS- In the case of votes cast by absent uniformed
        services voters and overseas voters under the Uniformed and Overseas
        Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the ballots cast by such voters shall
        serve as the permanent paper ballot under subparagraph (A) in
        accordance with protocols established by the Commission, in
        consultation with the Secretary of Defense after notice and opportunity
        for public comment, which preserve the privacy of the voter and are
        consistent with the requirements of such Act and this Act, except that
        to the extent that such protocols permit the use of electronic mail in
        the delivery or submission of such ballots, paragraph (11) shall not
        apply with respect to the delivery or submission of the ballots.
        inconsistency between any electronic vote tallies and the vote tallies
        determined by counting by hand the individual permanent paper ballots
        produced pursuant to subparagraph (A), any person seeking to show that
        the electronic vote tally should be given preference in determining the
        official count for the election shall be required to demonstrate, by
        clear and convincing evidence, that the paper ballots have been
        compromised (by damage or mischief or otherwise) and that a sufficient
        number of the ballots have been so compromised that the result of the
        election would be changed. For purposes of the previous sentence, the
        paper ballots associated with each voting machine shall be considered
        on a voting-machine-by-voting-machine basis, and only the sets of paper
        ballots deemed compromised, if any, shall be considered in the
        calculation of whether or not the election would be changed due to the
        compromised paper ballots.'.
      ALTERNATIVE LANGUAGE ACCESSIBILITY- Section 301(a)(4) of such Act (42
      U.S.C. 15481(a)(4)) is amended by inserting `(including the paper
      ballots required to be produced under paragraph (2) and the notice
      required under paragraph (8))' after `voting system'.
      (3) OTHER CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- Section 301(a)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)(1)) is amended--
        (A) in subparagraph (A)(i), by striking `counted' and inserting `counted, in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3)';
        (B) in subparagraph (A)(ii), by striking `counted' and inserting `counted, in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3)';
        (C) in subparagraph (A)(iii), as amended by
        paragraph (2), by striking `counted' each place it appears and
        inserting `counted, in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3)'; and
        (D) in subparagraph (B)(ii), by striking `counted' and inserting `counted, in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3)'.
    (b) Accessibility and Ballot Verification for Individuals With Disabilities-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Section 301(a)(3)(B) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)(3)(B)) is amended to read as follows:
        `(B)(i) satisfy the requirement of subparagraph (A)
        through the use of at least one voting system equipped for individuals
        with disabilities at each polling place; and
        `(ii) meet the requirements of subparagraph (A) and paragraph (2)(A) by using a system that--
          `(I) allows the voter to privately and
          independently verify the content of the permanent paper ballot through
          the conversion of the printed content into accessible media, and
          `(II) ensures that the entire process of ballot verification and vote casting is equipped for individuals with disabilities.'.
        (A) STUDY AND REPORTING- Subtitle C of title II of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15381 et seq.) is amended--
          (i) by redesignating section 247 as section 248; and
          (ii) by inserting after section 246 the following new section:


    `(a) Study and Report- The Director of the National
    Institute of Standards and Technology shall study, test, and develop
    best practices to enhance the accessibility of ballot verification
    mechanisms for individuals with disabilities, for voters whose primary
    language is not English, and for voters with difficulties in literacy,
    including best practices for the mechanisms themselves and the
    processes through which the mechanisms are used. In carrying out this
    section, the Director shall specifically investigate existing and
    potential methods or devices that will assist such individuals and
    voters in creating voter-verified paper ballots and in reading or
    transmitting the information printed or marked on such ballots back to
    such individuals and voters.
    `(b) Deadline- The Director shall complete the requirements of subsection (a) not later than January 1, 2010.
    `(c) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized
    to be appropriated to carry out subsection (a) $1,000,000, to remain
    available until expended.'.
        (B) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of contents of such Act is amended--
          (i) by redesignating the item relating to section 247 as relating to section 248; and
          (ii) by inserting after the item relating to section 246 the following new item:
      `Sec. 247. Study and report on accessible voter verification mechanisms.'.
      VOLUNTARY VOTING SYSTEM GUIDANCE- In adopting any voluntary guidance
      under subtitle B of title III of the Help America Vote Act with respect
      to the accessibility of the ballot verification requirements for
      individuals with disabilities, the Election Assistance Commission shall
      include and apply the same accessibility standards applicable under the
      voluntary guidance adopted for accessible voting systems under such
    (c) Additional Voting System Requirements-
      (1) REQUIREMENTS DESCRIBED- Section 301(a) of such Act
      (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new
      shall ensure that all election officials are instructed on the right of
      any individual who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness,
      other disability, or inability to read or write to be given assistance
      by a person chosen by that individual under section 208 of the Voting
      Rights Act of 1965.
        `(A) IN GENERAL- The appropriate election official
        at each polling place shall cause to be placed in a prominent location
        in the polling place a notice containing the following statement, in
        boldface type, large font, and using only upper-case letters: `THE
        voting systems equipped for individuals with disabilities shall
        transmit by accessible media the statement referred to in subparagraph
        (A), as well as an explanation of the verification process described in
        paragraph (3)(B)(ii).
      VOTING SYSTEMS- No voting system used in an election for Federal office
      shall at any time contain or use any software not certified by the
      State for use in the election or any software undisclosed to the State
      in the certification process. The appropriate election official shall
      disclose, in electronic form, the source code, object code, and
      executable representation of the voting system software and firmware to
      the Commission, including ballot programming files, and the Commission
      shall make that source code, object code, executable representation,
      and ballot programming files available for inspection promptly upon
      request to any person.
      DEVICES IN VOTING SYSTEMS- No voting system shall contain, use, or be
      accessible by any wireless, power-line, remote, wide area, or concealed
      communication device at all.
      OF SYSTEM INFORMATION OVER THE INTERNET- No component of any voting
      device upon which votes are cast shall be connected to the Internet at
      any time.
        `(A) IN GENERAL- No voting system may be used in an
        election for Federal office unless the manufacturer of such system and
        the election officials using such system meet the applicable
        requirements described in subparagraph (B).
        `(B) REQUIREMENTS DESCRIBED- The requirements described in this subparagraph are as follows:
          `(i) The manufacturer and the election
          officials shall document the secure chain of custody for the handling
          of all software, hardware, vote storage media, and ballots used in
          connection with voting systems, and shall make the information
          available upon request to the Commission.
          `(ii) The manufacturer of the software used in
          the operation of the system shall provide the appropriate election
          official with updated information regarding the identification of each
          individual who participated in the writing of the software, including
          specific information regarding whether the individual has ever been
          convicted of a crime involving election, accounting, or computer
          security fraud.
          `(iii) The manufacturer shall provide the
          appropriate election official with the information necessary for the
          official to provide information to the Commission under paragraph (9).
          `(iv) After the appropriate election official
          has certified the source code, object code, and executable
          representation of the voting system software for use in an election,
          the manufacturer may not--
            `(I) alter such codes and representation; or
            `(II) insert or use in the voting system any software not certified by the State for use in the election.
          `(v) The appropriate election official shall
          ensure that all voting machines and related supplies to be used in the
          election shall remain secured within storage facilities arranged for by
          the election official, and shall not be removed from such facilities
          until such time as they are to be delivered to the relevant polling
          place and secured at the polling place until used in the election.
          `(vi) The manufacturer shall meet standards
          established by the Commission to prevent the existence or appearance of
          any conflict of interest with respect to candidates for public office
          and political parties, including standards to ensure that the
          manufacturer's officers and directors do not hold positions of
          authority in any political party or in any partisan political campaign,
          and shall certify to the Commission not later than January 31 of each
          even-numbered year that it meets the standards established under this
          `(vii) At the request of the Commission, the
          appropriate election official shall submit information to the
          Commission regarding the State's compliance with this subparagraph.
        voter-verified paper ballots required to be used under this Act
        (including the emergency paper ballots used under paragraph (14)) shall
        be marked, printed, or recorded on durable paper of archival quality
        capable of withstanding multiple counts and recounts without
        compromising the fundamental integrity of the ballots, and capable of
        retaining the information marked, printed, or recorded on them for the
        full duration of the retention and preservation period called for by
        title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1960 (42 U.S.C. 1974 et seq.) or
        under applicable State law, whichever is longer.
        PRINTED PAPER BALLOTS- All voter-verified paper ballots marked or
        printed through the use of a marking or printing device shall be
        clearly readable by the naked eye and by a scanner or other device
        equipped for voters with disabilities.
        State shall ensure that the voting systems it uses to conduct elections
        for Federal office are designed in a manner that ensures that no voter
        will be unable to cast a ballot at a polling place due to a shortage or
        failure of voting equipment, ballots, or necessary supplies.
        SYSTEM OR EQUIPMENT FAILURE- In the event of the failure of voting
        equipment or other circumstance at a polling place that causes a delay,
        any individual who is waiting at the polling place to cast a ballot in
        an election for Federal office and who would be delayed due to such
        failure or other circumstance shall be advised immediately of the
        individual's right to use an emergency paper ballot, and upon request
        shall be provided with an emergency paper ballot for the election and
        the supplies necessary to mark the ballot. Any emergency paper ballot
        which is cast by an individual under this subparagraph shall be counted
        and otherwise treated as a regular ballot and not as a provisional
        ballot, unless the individual casting the ballot would have otherwise
        been required to cast a provisional ballot if the voting equipment at
        the polling place had not failed.'.
        (A) IN GENERAL- Section 231(b) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15371(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
        `(A) IN GENERAL- A laboratory may not be accredited by the Commission for purposes of this section unless--
          `(i) the laboratory certifies that the only
          compensation it receives for the testing carried out in connection with
          the certification, decertification, and recertification of the
          manufacturer's voting system hardware and software is the payment made
          from the Testing Escrow Account under paragraph (4);
          `(ii) the laboratory meets the standards
          applicable to the manufacturers of voting systems under section
          301(a)(11)(B)(vi), together with such standards as the Commission shall
          establish (after notice and opportunity for public comment) to prevent
          the existence or appearance of any conflict of interest in the testing
          carried out by the laboratory under this section, including standards
          to ensure that the laboratory does not have a financial interest in the
          manufacture, sale, and distribution of voting system hardware and
          software, and is sufficiently independent from other persons with such
          an interest;
          `(iii) the laboratory certifies that it will
          permit an expert designated by the Commission to observe any testing
          the laboratory carries out under this section; and
          `(iv) the laboratory, upon completion of any
          testing carried out under this section, discloses the test protocols,
          results, and all communication between the laboratory and the
          manufacturer to the Commission.
        `(B) AVAILABILITY OF RESULTS- Upon receipt of
        information under subparagraph (A), the Commission shall make the
        information available promptly to election officials and the public.
        Commission shall establish an escrow account (to be known as the
        `Testing Escrow Account') for making payments to accredited
        laboratories for the costs of the testing carried out in connection
        with the certification, decertification, and recertification of voting
        system hardware and software.
        `(B) SCHEDULE OF FEES- In consultation with the
        accredited laboratories, the Commission shall establish and regularly
        update a schedule of fees for the testing carried out in connection
        with the certification, decertification, and recertification of voting
        system hardware and software, based on the reasonable costs expected to
        be incurred by the accredited laboratories in carrying out the testing
        for various types of hardware and software.
        manufacturer of voting system hardware and software may not have the
        hardware or software tested by an accredited laboratory under this
        section unless--
          `(i) the manufacturer submits a detailed request for the testing to the Commission; and
          `(ii) the manufacturer pays to the Commission,
          for deposit into the Testing Escrow Account established under
          subparagraph (A), the applicable fee under the schedule established and
          in effect under subparagraph (B).
        `(D) SELECTION OF LABORATORY- Upon receiving a
        request for testing and the payment from a manufacturer required under
        subparagraph (C), the Commission shall select at random, from all
        laboratories which are accredited under this section to carry out the
        specific testing requested by the manufacturer, an accredited
        laboratory to carry out the testing.
        `(E) PAYMENTS TO LABORATORIES- Upon receiving a
        certification from a laboratory selected to carry out testing pursuant
        to subparagraph (D) that the testing is completed, along with a copy of
        the results of the test as required under paragraph (3)(A)(iii), the
        Commission shall make a payment to the laboratory from the Testing
        Escrow Account established under subparagraph (A) in an amount equal to
        the applicable fee paid by the manufacturer under subparagraph (C)(ii).
        `(A) INFORMATION ON TESTING- Upon completion of the
        testing of a voting system under this section, the Commission shall
        promptly disseminate to the public the identification of the laboratory
        which carried out the testing.
        SUSPENDED- If the Commission revokes, terminates, or suspends the
        accreditation of a laboratory under this section, the Commission shall
        promptly notify Congress, the chief State election official of each
        State, and the public.'.
        (B) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- Section 231 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15371) is further amended--
          (i) in subsection (a)(1), by striking `testing,
          certification,' and all that follows and inserting the following:
          `testing of voting system hardware and software by accredited
          laboratories in connection with the certification, decertification, and
          recertification of the hardware and software for purposes of this Act.';
          (ii) in subsection (a)(2), by striking
          `testing, certification,' and all that follows and inserting the
          following: `testing of its voting system hardware and software by the
          laboratories accredited by the Commission under this section in
          connection with certifying, decertifying, and recertifying the hardware
          and software.';
          (iii) in subsection (b)(1), by striking
          `testing, certification, decertification, and recertification' and
          inserting `testing'; and
          (iv) in subsection (d), by striking `testing,
          certification, decertification, and recertification' each place it
          appears and inserting `testing'.
        ESCROW ACCOUNT- The Election Assistance Commission shall establish the
        standards described in section 231(b)(3) of the Help America Vote Act
        of 2002 and the Testing Escrow Account described in section 231(b)(4)
        of such Act (as added by subparagraph (A)) not later than January 1,
      If any of the voting systems used in a State for the regularly
      scheduled 2006 general elections for Federal office did not operate by
      having voters cast votes on paper ballots (such as through the use of
      an optical scan voting system), the State shall certify to the Election
      Assistance Commission not later than 90 days after the date of the
      enactment of this Act that the State will be in compliance with the
      requirements of section 301(a)(13) of the Help America Vote of 2002, as
      added by paragraph (1), in accordance with the deadline established
      under this Act, and shall include in the certification the methods by
      which the State will meet the requirements.
    (d) Availability of Additional Funding to Enable States to Meet Costs of Revised Requirements-
      REVISED REQUIREMENTS- Section 257(a) of the Help America Vote Act of
      2002 (42 U.S.C. 15407(a) is amended by adding at the end the following
      new paragraph:
      `(4) For fiscal year 2007, $300,000,000, except that
      any funds provided under the authorization made by this paragraph shall
      be used by a State only to meet the requirements of title III which are
      first imposed on the State pursuant to the amendments made by section 2
      of the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007, or to
      otherwise modify or replace its voting systems in response to such
      Section 252(b) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15402(b)) is amended to read as
    `(b) State Allocation Percentage Defined-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2),
      the `State allocation percentage' for a State is the amount (expressed
      as a percentage) equal to the quotient of--
        `(A) the voting age population of the State (as reported in the most recent decennial census); and
        `(B) the total voting age population of all States (as reported in the most recent decennial census).
        `(A) IN GENERAL- In the case of the requirements
        payment made to a State for fiscal year 2007, the `State allocation
        percentage' for a State is the amount (expressed as a percentage) equal
        to the quotient of--
          `(i) the number of remedial precincts in the State; and
          `(ii) the total number of remedial precincts in all States.
        `(B) REMEDIAL PRECINCT DEFINED- In this paragraph,
        a `remedial precinct' means any precinct (or equivalent location)
        within the State for which the voting system used to administer the
        regularly scheduled general election for Federal office held in
        November 2006--
          `(i) did not use paper as the medium for vote
          casting, or if the system used paper, did not use durable paper of
          archival quality; or
          `(ii) did not provide that the entire process of ballot verification was equipped for individuals with disabilities.'.
      (3) INCREASE IN STATE MINIMUM SHARE OF PAYMENT- Section 252(c) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15402(c)) is amended--
        (A) in paragraph (1), by inserting after `one-half
        of 1 percent' the following: `(or, in the case of the payment made for
        fiscal year 2007, 1 percent)'; and
        (B) in paragraph (2), by inserting after `one-tenth
        of 1 percent' the following: `(or, in the case of the payment made for
        fiscal year 2007, one-half of 1 percent)'.
      (4) REVISED CONDITIONS FOR RECEIPT OF FUNDS- Section 253 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15403) is amended--
        (A) in subsection (a), by striking `A State is
        eligible' and inserting `Except as provided in subsection (f), a State
        is eligible'; and
        (B) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    `(f) Special Rule for Fiscal Year 2007- Notwithstanding any
    other provision of this part, a State is eligible to receive a
    requirements payment for fiscal year 2007 if--
      `(1) not later than 30 days after the date of the
      enactment of the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of
      2007, the State certifies to the Commission the number of remedial
      precincts in the State (as defined in section 252(b)(2)(B)); and
      `(2) not later than 90 days after the date of the
      enactment of such Act, the chief executive officer of the State, or
      designee, in consultation and coordination with the chief State
      election official, has filed a statement with the Commission describing
      the State's need for the payment and how the State will use the payment
      to meet the requirements of title III (in accordance with the
      limitations applicable to the use of the payment under section
      PREVIOUSLY INCURRED- Section 251(c)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C.
      15401(c)(1)) is amended by striking the period at the end and inserting
      the following: `, or as a reimbursement for any costs incurred in
      meeting the requirements of title III which are imposed pursuant to the
      amendments made by section 2 of the Voter Confidence and Increased
      Accessibility Act of 2007 or in otherwise modifying or replacing voting
      systems in response to such amendments.'.
      Nothing in the amendments made by this subsection or in any other
      provision of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 may be construed to
      prohibit a State which received or was authorized to receive a payment
      under title I or II of such Act for replacing punch card, lever, or
      other voting machines from receiving or using any funds which are made
      available under the amendments made by this subsection.
      (7) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendments made by this
      subsection shall apply with respect to fiscal years beginning with
      fiscal year 2007.


    Section 401 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15511) is amended--
      (1) by striking `The Attorney General' and inserting `(a) In General- The Attorney General'; and
      (2) by adding at the end the following new subsections:
    `(b) Filing of Complaints by Aggrieved Persons-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- A person who is aggrieved by a
      violation of section 301, 302, or 303 which has occurred, is occurring,
      or is about to occur may file a written, signed, notarized complaint
      with the Attorney General describing the violation and requesting the
      Attorney General to take appropriate action under this section.
      `(2) RESPONSE BY ATTORNEY GENERAL- The Attorney General
      shall respond to each complaint filed under paragraph (1), in
      accordance with procedures established by the Attorney General that
      require responses and determinations to be made within the same (or
      shorter) deadlines which apply to a State under the State-based
      administrative complaint procedures described in section 402(a)(2).
    `(c) Clarification of Availability of Private Right of
    Action- Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit any person
    from bringing an action under section 1979 of the Revised Statutes of
    the United States (42 U.S.C. 1983) (including any individual who seeks
    to enforce the individual's right to a voter-verified paper ballot, the
    right to have the voter-verified paper ballot counted in an election,
    or any other right under subtitle A of title III) to enforce the
    uniform and nondiscriminatory election technology and administration
    requirements under sections 301, 302, and 303.
    `(d) No Effect on State Procedures- Nothing in this section
    may be construed to affect the availability of the State-based
    administrative complaint procedures required under section 402 to any
    person filing a complaint under this subsection.'.


    (a) In General- Section 210 of the Help America Vote Act of
    2002 (42 U.S.C. 15330) is amended by striking `each of the fiscal years
    2003 through 2005' and inserting `each fiscal year beginning with
    fiscal year 2003'.
    (b) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (a)
    shall take effect as if included in the enactment of the Help America
    Vote Act of 2002.


    (a) Mandatory Manual Audits by Election Audit Boards- Title
    III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481 et seq.) is
    amended by adding at the end the following new subtitle:

`Subtitle C--Mandatory Manual Audits by Election Audit Boards


    `(a) Establishment- Not later than 60 days before the date
    of each election for Federal office held in the State, the chief
    auditor of each State shall appoint an Election Audit Board to
    administer, without advance notice to the precincts selected, random
    hand counts of the voter-verified paper ballots required to be produced
    and preserved pursuant to section 301(a)(2) for each such election held
    in the State (and, at the option of the State or jurisdiction involved,
    of elections for State and local office held at the same time as such
    `(b) Composition-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- Each political party in the State with
      a candidate in any of the regularly scheduled elections for Federal
      office held in the State whose candidates in the most recent regularly
      scheduled general elections in the State received at least 5% of the
      aggregate number of all votes cast in such elections, together with any
      independent candidate who received at least 5% of the aggregate number
      of all votes cast in the most recent regularly scheduled general
      elections in the State, shall select a qualified individual for
      appointment to the Election Audit Board of the State.
      `(2) UNAFFILIATED MEMBERS- In addition to the
      individuals serving on the Board pursuant to paragraph (1), the chief
      auditor of the State shall appoint qualified individuals who are not
      nominated by any political party or candidate and who are not employees
      or agents of any political party or candidate to serve on the Board.
      The number of individuals appointed pursuant to this paragraph shall be
      sufficient to ensure that the total number of individuals serving on
      the Board is an odd number not less than 7.
      `(3) QUALIFICATIONS- An individual is qualified to be
      appointed to the Board if the individual has professional experience in
      carrying out audits on an impartial basis, and does not have any
      conflict of interest with the manufacturer or vendor of any voting
      system which was used in any of the elections that will be audited by
      the Board.
      `(4) DIVERSITY IN APPOINTMENTS- In making appointments
      to the Board, the chief auditor of the State shall (to the greatest
      extent practicable) ensure that the members of the Board reflect the
      demographic composition of the voting age population of the State.
    `(c) Special Rule For Runoff and Special Elections-
      `(1) RUNOFF ELECTIONS- If a runoff election for Federal
      office is held in the State, the Election Audit Board which was
      appointed for the initial election which resulted in the runoff
      election shall serve as the Election Audit Board with respect to the
      runoff election.
      `(2) SPECIAL ELECTIONS- If a special election for
      Federal office is held in the State (other than a special election held
      on the same date as the date of a regularly scheduled election for
      Federal office), the Election Audit Board which was appointed for the
      most recent regularly scheduled election for Federal office in the
      State shall serve as the Election Audit Board with respect to the
      special election.
    `(d) Chief Auditor Defined- In this subsection, the `chief
    auditor' of a State is an official of the State government, who, as
    designated by the Attorney General of the State and certified by the
    Attorney General of the State to the Commission, is responsible for
    conducting annual audits of the operations of the government of the
    State under the laws or constitution of the State, except that in no
    case may an individual serve as the chief auditor of a State under this
    subsection if the individual is the chief State election official.


    `(a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (b), the
    number of voter-verified paper ballots which will be subject to a hand
    count administered by the Election Audit Board of a State under this
    subtitle with respect to an election shall be determined as follows:
      `(1) In the event that the unofficial count as
      described in section 323(a)(1) reveals that the margin of victory
      between the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes in the
      election is less than 1 percent of the total votes cast in that
      election, the hand counts of the voter-verified paper ballots shall
      occur in 10 percent of all precincts (or equivalent locations) in the
      Congressional district involved (in the case of an election for the
      House of Representatives) or the State (in the case of any other
      election for Federal office).
      `(2) In the event that the unofficial count as
      described in section 323(a)(1) reveals that the margin of victory
      between the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes in the
      election is greater than or equal to 1 percent but less than 2 percent
      of the total votes cast in that election, the hand counts of the
      voter-verified paper ballots shall occur in 5 percent of all precincts
      (or equivalent locations) in the Congressional district involved (in
      the case of an election for the House of Representatives) or the State
      (in the case of any other election for Federal office).
      `(3) In the event that the unofficial count as
      described in section 323(a)(1) reveals that the margin of victory
      between the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes in the
      election is equal to or greater than 2 percent of the total votes cast
      in that election, the hand counts of the voter-verified paper ballots
      shall occur in 3 percent of all precincts (or equivalent locations) in
      the Congressional district involved (in the case of an election for the
      House of Representatives) or the State (in the case of any other
      election for Federal office).
    `(b) Use of Alternative Mechanism- Notwithstanding
    subsection (a), a State may adopt and apply an alternative mechanism to
    determine the number of voter-verified paper ballots which will be
    subject to the hand counts required under this subtitle with respect to
    an election, so long as the National Institute of Standards and
    Technology determines that the alternative mechanism will be at least
    as effective in ensuring the accuracy of the election results and as
    transparent as the procedure under subsection (a).


    `(a) In General- The Election Audit Board of a State shall
    administer an audit under this section of the results of an election in
    accordance with the following procedures:
      `(1) Within 24 hours after the State announces the
      final unofficial vote count in each precinct in the State, the Board
      shall determine and then announce the precincts in the State in which
      it will administer the audits.
      `(2) With respect to votes cast at the precinct or
      equivalent location on or before the date of the election (other than
      provisional ballots described in paragraph (3)), the Board shall
      administer the hand count of the votes on the paper voter-verified
      ballots required to be produced and preserved under section
      301(a)(2)(A) and the comparison of the count of the votes on those
      ballots with the final unofficial count of such votes as announced by
      the State.
      `(3) With respect to votes cast other than at the
      precinct on the date of the election (other than votes cast before the
      date of the election described in paragraph (2)) or votes cast by
      provisional ballot on the date of the election which are certified and
      counted by the State on or after the date of the election, including
      votes cast by absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters
      under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the
      Board shall administer the hand count of the applicable voter-verified
      ballots required to be produced and preserved under section
      301(a)(2)(A) and section 301(a)(2)(B) and compare the count it
      administers with the count of such votes as announced by the State.
    `(b) Special Rule in Case of Delay in Reporting Absentee
    Vote Count- In the case of a State in which, under State law, the final
    count of absentee and provisional votes is not announced until after
    the expiration of the 7-day period which begins on the date of the
    election, the Election Audit Board shall initiate the process described
    in subsection (a) for administering the audit not later than 24 hours
    after the State announces the final unofficial vote count for the votes
    cast at the precinct or equivalent location on or before the date of
    the election, and shall initiate the administration of the audit of the
    absentee and provisional votes pursuant to subsection (a)(3) not later
    than 24 hours after the State announces the final unofficial count of
    such votes.
    `(c) Additional Audits if Cause Shown-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- If the Election Audit Board finds that
      any of the hand counts administered under this section do not match the
      final unofficial tally of the results of an election, the Board shall
      administer hand counts under this section of such additional precincts
      (or equivalent jurisdictions) as the Board considers appropriate to
      resolve any concerns resulting from the audit and ensure the accuracy
      of the results.
      GOVERNING ADDITIONAL AUDITS- Not later than January 1, 2008, each State
      shall establish and publish procedures for carrying out the additional
      audits under this subsection, including the means by which the State
      shall resolve any concerns resulting from the audit with finality and
      ensure the accuracy of the results.
    `(d) Public Observation of Audits- Each audit conducted
    under this section shall be conducted in a manner that allows public
    observation of the entire process.


    `(a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (c), the
    selection of the precincts in the State in which the Election Audit
    Board of the State shall administer the hand counts under this subtitle
    shall be made by the Board on an entirely random basis using a uniform
    distribution in which all precincts in a State have an equal chance of
    being selected, in accordance with such procedures as the Commission
    determines appropriate, except that--
      `(1) at least one precinct shall be selected at random in each county; and
      `(2) the Commission shall publish the procedures in the Federal Register prior to the selection of the precincts.
    `(b) Public Selection- The random selection of precincts
    under subsection (a) shall be conducted in public, at a time and place
    announced in advance.
    `(c) Mandatory Selection of Precincts Established
    Specifically For Absentee Ballots- If a State establishes a separate
    precinct for purposes of counting the absentee ballots cast in an
    election and treats all absentee ballots as having been cast in that
    precinct, and if the state does not make absentee ballots sortable by
    precinct, the State shall include that precinct among the precincts in
    the State in which the Election Audit Board shall administer the hand
    counts under this subtitle.


    `(a) Submission to Commission- As soon as practicable after
    the completion of an audit under this subtitle, the Election Audit
    Board of a State shall submit to the Commission the results of the
    audit, and shall include in the submission a comparison of the results
    of the election in the precinct as determined by the Board under the
    audit and the final unofficial vote count in the precinct as announced
    by the State, as well as a list of any discrepancies discovered between
    the initial, subsequent, and final hand counts administered by the
    Board and such final unofficial vote count and any explanation for such
    discrepancies, broken down by the categories of votes described in
    paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 323(a).
    `(b) Publication by Commission- Immediately after receiving
    the submission of the results of an audit from the Election Audit Board
    of a State under subsection (a), the Commission shall publicly announce
    and publish the information contained in the submission.
    `(c) Delay in Certification of Results by State-
      AUDITS- No State may certify the results of any election which is
      subject to an audit under this subtitle prior to the completion of the
      audit and the announcement and submission of the results of the audit
      to the Commission for publication of the information required under
      this section.
      ELECTIONS- In the case of an election for electors for President and
      Vice President which is subject to an audit under this subtitle, the
      State shall complete the audits and announce and submit the results to
      the Commission for publication of the information required under this
      section in time for the State to certify the results of the election
      and provide for the final determination of any controversy or contest
      concerning the appointment of such electors prior to the deadline
      described in section 6 of title 3, United States Code.


    `(a) Payments For Costs of Conducting Audits- In accordance
    with the requirements and procedures of this section, the Commission
    shall make a payment to a State to cover the costs incurred by the
    State in carrying out this subtitle with respect to the elections that
    are the subject of the audits conducted under this subtitle.
    `(b) Certification of Compliance and Anticipated Costs-
      `(1) CERTIFICATION REQUIRED- In order to receive a
      payment under this section, a State shall submit to the Commission, in
      such form as the Commission may require, a statement containing--
        `(A) a certification that the State will conduct
        the audits required under this subtitle in accordance with all of the
        requirements of this subtitle;
        `(B) a notice of the reasonable costs anticipated
        to be incurred by the State in carrying out this subtitle with respect
        to the elections involved; and
        `(C) such other information and assurances as the Commission may require.
      `(2) AMOUNT OF PAYMENT- The amount of a payment made to
      a State under this section shall be equal to the reasonable costs
      anticipated to be incurred by the State in carrying out this subtitle
      with respect to the elections involved, as set forth in the statement
      submitted under paragraph (1) a notice submitted by the State to the
      Commission (in such form and containing such information as the
      Commission may require).
      `(3) TIMING OF NOTICE- The State may not submit a
      notice under paragraph (1) until candidates have been selected to
      appear on the ballot for all of the elections for Federal office which
      will be the subject of the audits involved.
    `(c) Timing of Payments- The Commission shall make the
    payment required under this section to a State not later than 30 days
    after receiving the notice submitted by the State under subsection (b).
    `(d) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized
    to be appropriated to the Commission for fiscal year 2008 and each
    succeeding fiscal year such sums as may be necessary for payments under
    this section.


    `This subtitle does not apply to any election for which a
    recount is required automatically under State law because of the margin
    of victory between the two candidates receiving the largest number of
    votes in the election. Nothing in the previous sentence may be
    construed to waive the application of any other provision of this Act
    to any election (including the ballot verification and audit capacity
    requirements of section 301(a)(2)).


    `This subtitle shall apply with respect to elections for
    Federal office beginning with the regularly scheduled general elections
    held in November 2008.'.
    (b) Availability of Enforcement Under Help America Vote Act
    of 2002- Section 401 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 15511), as amended by
    section 3, is amended--
      (1) in subsection (a), by striking the period at the
      end and inserting the following: `, or the requirements of subtitle C
      of title III.';
      (2) in subsection (b)(1), by striking `section 303' and inserting `section 303, or subtitle C of title III,'; and
      (3) in subsection (c)--
        (A) by striking `subtitle A' and inserting `subtitles A or C', and
        (B) by striking the period at the end and inserting the following: `, or the requirements of subtitle C of title III.'.
    (c) Clerical Amendment- The table of contents of such Act
    is amended by adding at the end of the item relating to title III the

`Subtitle C--Mandatory Manual Audits by Election Audit Boards

      `Sec. 321. Establishment of Election Audit Boards.
      `Sec. 322. Number of ballots counted under audit.
      `Sec. 323. Process for administering audits.
      `Sec. 324. Selection of precincts.
      `Sec. 325. Publication of results.
      `Sec. 326. Payments to States.
      `Sec. 327. Exception for elections subject to automatic recount within 24 hours under State law.
      `Sec. 328. Effective date.'.


    (a) In General- Section 205 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15325) is amended by striking subsection (e).
    (b) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (a)
    shall apply with respect to contracts entered into by the Election
    Assistance Commission on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.


    Except as otherwise provided, this Act and the amendments
    made by this Act shall apply with respect to elections for Federal
    office occurring during 2008 and each succeeding year.


Attack Vectors in Computerized Voting Systems: An Election Fraud Slideshow

The attached PDF slideshow, prepared by Bev Harris of, presents a detailed explanation of computerized election systems and the many ways they are vulnerable to undetected intrusion and rigging of election results. Cheating in elections is nothing new. But whereas the methods for defrauding traditional paper ballot elections are well-known and can be effectively countered by recognized chain of custody procedures and public observation, votes counted by computer software are not observable by the public, and the potential pathways of attack into computer-driven voting systems are limitless and impossible to defend. Absorb the lessons presented in this graphic summary, and you will begin to understand why.
This presentation courtesy of

BBV_attackpoints_SS.pdf9.04 MB

Federal Election Legislation

This section of the Topics category is devoted to in-depth discussion and analysis of particular federal laws or pending bills concerning elections and voting.

For a listing of all pending federal election-related bills, linking to summaries and bill text,
see the Summary Guide to Federal Election Legislation under the Resources menu tab.

Thirteen Significant Problems in H.R. 811, the New Holt Bill

Thirteen Issues with the Holt Bill (HR 811) As Written

Contact: Nancy Tobi, ntobi(at)democracyfornewhampshire(dot)com, 603.315.4500

(Click here for PDF file download)

1. The timeline for 2008 implementation is unobtainable by the federal government's very own guidelines with respect to the EAC Certification Program and voting equipment that would be available, tested, and certified to that program’s requirements. Because 39 states require some form of compliance with Federal Guidelines, they must use equipment to meet these EAC standards. However, there is no voting equipment on the market that can or will meet the text conversion (“Accessible Media”) or the VVPAT (archival quality paper) requirements under the EAC Certification Program by 2008.

2. Section 2 Special Rule for Votes Cast by Absent Military and Oversees Voters. Pre-empts state's rights to disallow fax and e-mailed ballots. States, such as NH, use state-issued paper ballots for the Military and Overseas voters in order to protect their voting privacy and the integrity of the state election.

3. Section 2(d)(1) The Conversion of Printed Content to Accessible Media is an unfunded mandate for voting equipment that does not exist and probably will not exist until at the earliest 2012-2016. Jim Dickson, lobbyist for American Association of People with Disabilities, has publicly stated that the AAPD and other disability groups oppose the Holt Bill on these grounds.

4. Section 247(c)(Item 9) The prohibition of undisclosed software does not provide any exemption for COTS software (commercial off the shelf). No existing voting equipment meets this requirement because they all use COTS, and many use Microsoft software. Microsoft will never share its code, and this requirement would make every piece of voting equipment in use today illegal, requiring jurisdictions to replace equipment at a high cost, unfunded by HR 811.

5. Section 247(c)(Item 13) Durability requirements for paper ballots require archival quality paper. No equipment currently on the market will work with this requirement and it could take several years to develop. Federal law only requires the paper to last 22 months. Why require it to be archival? Again, this requirement would make every piece of voting equipment in use today illegal, requiring jurisdictions to replace equipment at a high cost, unfunded by HR 811.

6. Section 247 (4) (a) Procedures for conducting testing and payment of user fees that establishes an escrow account. The EAC made it clear that they cannot pay the test lab under current law (“Miscellaneous Receipts”) because the payment must come directly from vendor. On its face, the law appears to be illegal. If the law is changed to accommodate EAC payments to test labs, there is the additional risk of expanding EAC powers and authority. EAC is a four-person commission presidentially appointed, and expanded power to the executive branch in the oversight of federal elections is inappropriate.

7. Section 4 Extension of Authorization of the EAC. The EAC under HAVA should have been sunsetted in 2006, when their mandate to fulfill HAVA was complete. Extension of this executive-appointed body raises the risk that Congress will expand the regulatory authority of the EAC, which expands the power of the Executive Branch over federal elections.

8. Section 321 Establishment of Election Audit Boards mandates a whole new state election function that may or may not exist in any given state, and which may or may not be suitable in any given state.

9. Section 322 thru 326 Number of Ballots Counted Under Audits uses unreasonable auditing protocols that are insufficient to uncover any discrepancies, fraud or failure. This also creates the State Audit Board, which is non-existent in several states, and is another unfunded mandate.

10. Section 328. Effective Date for Audits. Impossible effective date for implementation among states for whom no such audit function currently exists.

11. Section 7. Effective date for implementing the entire bill is also impossible for all the reasons given above with respect to available voting equipment to match HR 811 requirements.

12. Section 247. (3)(d)(4) Allocating $300 million. Estimates for accessibility devices alone reach $4 billion. This does not even address the matter of new VVPAT equipment, or new state functions for auditing and certification of voting equipment.

13. Section 247(a)(c) Any place that calls for an "appropriate election official" to make a decision should raise a red flag. Many states do not currently have voting equipment offices in place. Funding such a state function can run up to $1 million/year, as is seen in Georgia with the Kennesaw budget. How quickly can states be expected to find that appropriate official, set up an office and fund it? This is not a one- or two- year process; it asks more of our secretaries of state (or some other entity that does not yet exist) than has been expected to date. It is unnecessarily complex.

13Issues_HR811_Tobi.pdf19.24 KB

H.R. 6200, "The Paper Ballot Act of 2006"

Note: The Kucinich bill was introduced as H.R. 6200 in the previous, 109th Congress, and needs to be introduced with a new bill number in this current, 110th Congress.
Call on your Representatives to join Congressman Kucinich in reintroducing the bill.

H. R. 6200

To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those ballots by hand, and for other purposes.


September 27, 2006

Mr. KUCINICH (for himself, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. CLAY, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. FILNER, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Ms. KAPTUR, Ms. LEE, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Ms. MCKINNEY, Mrs. MALONEY, Ms. SOLIS, Ms. WATERS, and Ms. WOOLSEY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on House Administration, and in addition to the Committee on Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require States to conduct Presidential elections using paper ballots and to count those ballots by hand, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Paper Ballot Act of 2006'.


Section 301(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 15481(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

`(7) SPECIAL RULES FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS- Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, in the case of a regularly scheduled general election for the electors of President and Vice President (beginning with the election in November 2008), the following rules shall apply:

`(A) The State shall conduct the election using only paper ballots.

`(B) The State shall ensure that the number of ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location which are placed inside a single box or similar container does not exceed 500.

`(C) The ballots cast at a precinct or equivalent location shall be counted by hand by election officials at the precinct, and a representative of each political party with a candidate on the ballot, as well as any interested member of the public, may observe the officials as they count the ballots. The previous sentence shall not apply with respect to provisional ballots cast under section 302(a).'.


Section 6103(a) of title 5, United States Code, is amended--

(1) by inserting `the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in 2008 and every fourth year thereafter, and' after `Washington's Birthday,'; and

(2) by inserting `in any other year' after `February'.

Analysis: S.450, "Count Every Vote Act of 2007"

Contact: Nancy Tobi,

The “Count Every Vote" bill was recently resurrected by Senator Clinton
and instantly embraced by People for the American Way and other good liberal
groups enamored of sweeping federal election reform bills. And faster than you
can say “centralized power” election reform activists began praising the bill
and exhorting one another to support it. But one thing we election activists
need to get through our heads: sweeping election reform at the federal level is
always a disastrous path. History has proven this time and time again. You can
read about that here.

I think it's great for people to get excited about legislation, but does
anyone actually read these bills before promoting them far and wide?

Maybe not. So, here we go. I have taken the liberty of going through the
entire Clinton
bill in its previous iteration from the last Congressional session. If the good
Senator plans to revise it, we have not been informed of this, so we’ll just
assume that it is staying as is for now.

The "Count Every Vote" bill is what is known as a “Christmas Tree”
bill. A little something for everyone is hanging off it. This means the bill
is, in and of itself, complex. Complexity in legislation is always a red flag,
because it easily obscures things. Items you might not want are easily hidden
in the complexity. So in the interest of untangling some of the threads, I am
simply listing below sections from the bill itself with my own comments, in
italics, beneath that section.

The original text of the bill can be found here:


S. 450 [109th]: Count Every Vote Act of 2005, 109th CONGRESS, 1st Session

To amend the Help America
Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified paper record, to improve
provisional balloting, to impose additional requirements under such Act, and
for other purposes.

The bill is going to impose new requirements on top of the already
burdensome and unachievable HAVA requirements, which have broken our nation’s
election systems.


Mrs. CLINTON (for herself, Mrs. BOXER, Mr. KERRY, Mr. LAUTENBERG, and Ms.
MIKULSKI) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to
the Committee on Rules and Administration

A BILL To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a
voter-verified paper record, to improve provisional balloting, to impose
additional requirements under such Act, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the w:st="on">United States of America
in Congress assembled,


(a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Count Every Vote Act of



This entire section is devoted to perpetuating the myth of DREs and
VVPATs. If you didn’t like it in Holt, you won’t like it here. But just wait
until you see what they have in mind for expanding HAVA to meet the needs of
“language minority” voters. It’s the old TEXT CONVERSION DEVICE.

 (b) Voter-Verification of Results for Individuals With Disabilities
and Language Minority Voters- Paragraph (3) of section 301(a) of the Help
America Vote Act of 2002 ( href="§ion=15481">42 U.S.C. 15481(a)(3)) is amended to read as follows:


`(A) IN GENERAL- The voting system shall--

`(i) be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual
accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that provides
the same opportunity for access, participation (including privacy and
independence), inspection, and verification as for other voters;

`(ii) be accessible for language minority individuals to the extent required
under section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973aa-1), in a manner that provides the same
opportunity for access, participation (including privacy and independence),
inspection, and verification as for other voters;

Yes, this expands the unachievable HAVA requirements to even more open
ended and unachievable requirements, which will doom the states to failure.
Technology can not be created to meet the myriad of language requirements, just
as it couldn’t meet all disability requirements. The Federal government is
enacting laws that are IMPOSSIBLE, and setting themselves up to take over our
elections by establishing a situation in which the states have no choice but to
violate the impossible law.

Are you ready to surrender state sovereignty to the federal

`(iii) satisfy the requirement of clauses (i) and (ii) through the use of at
least one direct recording electronic voting system or other voting system
equipped for individuals with disabilities at each polling place; and

`(iv) if purchased with funds made available under title II on or after
November 1, 2006, meet the voting system standards for disability access (as
outlined in this paragraph).

`(B) VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS- Any direct recording electronic voting
system or other voting system described in subparagraph (A)(iii) shall use a
mechanism that separates the function of vote generation from the function of
vote casting and shall produce, in accordance with paragraph (2)(A), an
individual paper record which `shall be used to meet the requirements of
paragraph (2)(B);

`(ii) shall be available for visual, audio, and pictorial inspection and
verification by the voter, with language translation available for all forms of
inspection and verification in accordance with the requirements of section 203
of the Voting Rights Act of 1965;

The talking and painting ballot: This is requiring technology that 1)
doesn’t exist 2) can not possibly exist to the extreme requirements shown here
(imagine the cost and complexity of technology that can translate into any
language on earth plus into pictures, every word on every ballot for every
ballot design in the nation) 3) if it could be invented would be so
prohibitively expensive that public election jurisdictions would have no budget
to support it, and 4) would be so complex that citizen oversight of the
election would be rendered completely impossible.

`(iii) shall not require the voter to handle the paper; and

So now, in addition to talking and painting ballots, we need ballots
with hands. Yes, they actually want a requirement for the ballot to drop itself
into the ballot box unaided by humans.

`(iv) shall not preclude the use of Braille or tactile ballots for those
voters who need them.

The requirement of clause (iii) shall not apply to any voting system certified
by the Independent Testing Authorities before the date of the enactment of this

subparagraph (B) shall be subject to the requirements of section 203 of the
Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the extent such section is applicable to the State
or jurisdiction in which such record is produced.'.

This expands HAVA to include more impossible requirements from the
Voting Rights Act now. Voting Rights are a good thing, to be sure. We are
fighting for them. But these open-ended and unachievable requirements conflict
with, and in any reasonable case, would negate, other equally important voting
rights, such as security, accuracy, and citizen oversight.


system shall at any time contain or use any undisclosed software. Any voting
system containing or using software shall disclose the source code, object
code, and executable representation of that software to the Commission, and the
Commission shall make that source code, object code, and executable
representation available for inspection upon request to any citizen.

Here we have the no-COTS (Commercial off the shelf) waiver predicament.
Since every voting machine in existence uses COTS right now, the prohibition of
undisclosed software with no COTS waiver would require the replacement of every
voting machine in the country with equipment that doesn’t yet exist: COTS-less.
So that’s great if the nation is prepared to go to hand counted paper ballots
everywhere. Unfortunately, since the nation is not yet ready for that
transition, this provision creates a situation where states must run elections
using illegal equipment, setting them up for litigious hell and chaos to our

SYSTEMS- No voting system shall use any wireless communication device.

OK – we like this provision. It can stay.

`(11) CERTIFICATION OF SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE- All software and hardware used
in any electronic voting system shall be certified by laboratories accredited
by the Commission as meeting the requirements of paragraphs (9) and (10).

With this provision, Clinton et al wish to perpetuate the EAC
Certification Ponzi scheme, which, as we know, is a scheme wherein American
taxpayers continue to pay for voting equipment that never meets the impossible
Certification standards and testing requirements established by the EAC, and in
which the States effectively lose their sovereignty because the EAC gains de
facto regulatory control over the nation’s voting equipment. For more
information on the Ponzi Scheme, see: href="">


Security standards for vendors is a good thing, but the recertification
of altered software provides a logistical problem….

`(iv) In the same manner and to the same extent described in paragraph (9),
the manufacturer shall provide the codes used in any software used in
connection with the voting system to the Commission and may not alter such
codes once certification by the Independent Testing Authorities has occurred
unless such system is recertified.

The problem here is that inevitably, because of the nature of software,
and because of the nature of elections, changes always occur in one or the
other. If a state must then retest and recertify every change, it becomes quite
a costly affair. Testing costs for one product alone have been estimated by the
EAC itself in a public meeting as rising to between $500,000 and $1
million.  Does every state need to pay these costs following every ballot
change requiring a software change?


On and after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Election Assistance
Commission shall conduct random unannounced manual mandatory recounts of the voter-verified
records of each election for Federal office (and, at the option of the State or
jurisdiction involved, of elections for State and local office held at the same
time as such an election for Federal office)

Before we go on, let’s think about this. The bill wants us to invite the
Election Assistance Commission, four people hand picked by the President of the
United States,
to conduct recounts of our federal, state, and local elections? Unannounced and
at their discretion? This doesn’t pass the smell test for any democracy loving

in 2 percent of the polling locations (or, in the case of any polling
location which serves more than 1 precinct, 2 percent of the precincts) in each
State and with respect to 2 percent of the ballots cast by uniformed and
overseas voters immediately following the election and shall promptly publish
the results of those recounts in the Federal Register. In addition, the
verification system used by the Election Assistance Commission shall meet the
error rate standards described in section 301(a)(5) of the Help America Vote
Act of 2002.

Now, let’s think about these error rates. The Voting System Standards
the bill refers to require the following with respect to acceptable error rates
for voting equipment:

For each processing function indicated above, the system shall achieve a
target error rate of no more than one in 10,000,000 ballot positions, with a
maximum acceptable error rate in the test process of one in 500,000 ballot

If there exists any equipment to meet this worthy, yet impossible,
standard, we don’t know about it. In April 2006, prior to the May 2 primary,
the Cuyahoga w:st="on">County Commission contracted with the
Election Science Institute (ESI) to conduct a comprehensive review of how their
new voting system actually worked on an election day. ESI’s report, including
the performance of the Diebold Accuvote TSX voting system, was released by the w:st="on">Cuyahoga w:st="on">County Commissioners: “…members of the
manual count team found that 10 percent of the paper ballots were physically
compromised in some way.” (Election Science Institute, 08/22/2006)

In other words, the Cuyahoga
study showed a 1
in 10 error rate, not a 1 in 10 million. So we are off by 1 MIL times the


We think study is a good thing, and should be enacted. In fact, we think
study should have been enacted prior to the proliferation of HAVA-paid-for
voting equipment that broke our election systems and did not meet the most
basic voting requirements for security, transparency, and accuracy, never mind


`The Election Assistance Commission shall study, test, and develop best
practices to enhance accessibility and voter-verification mechanisms for
individuals with disabilities.'.

As above, this is probably the best and only thing that should come out of
Federal election reform. EXCEPT we don’t want the EAC to exist anymore, so we
would turn this task over to the GAO or another entity, which should convene a
taskforce including all stakeholders and ordinary citizens as well.


This section is authorizing the EAC to pay out $500 Million to the
states so they can “improve” their DRE equipment and make it VVPAT. Even if you
thought this was a good idea, the sum is not enough, making the whole thing
another unfunded mandate.


The EAC has already been conducting a “Death by Bureaucracy” campaign
against our State election offices. Under the threat of Department of Justice
intervention, our state election offices spend countless hours completing
bureaucratic reporting requirements for the EAC. Now, we are all in favor of
accountability, but bureaucratic requirements must be reasonable and achievable
and must not come at the cost of election administration itself.


This section deals with the unachievable error rates mentioned above,
and brings in the matter of “residual votes.” The residual vote benchmark
refers to under- and over-voting, and is controversial in that it is often used
in legal cases to justify the use of DREs. We contend this issue requires study
and not mandates.



This section tries to clean up the processing of provisional ballots.
This is, in and of itself not a bad thing, but we’d like to get rid of the
concept of “provisional ballots” altogether. It is a black hole for fraud.
States are encouraged to implement election day registration, and the Federal
requirement for provisional ballots in election day registration states ought
to be abolished.


Subtitle A--Shortening Voter Wait Times

We can live with this provision. It appears to have good intent and to
cause no harm.



There is no justification for federal law to pre-empt state law on the
matter of absentee voting. Absentee voting, while a lovely idea, does
constitute a security risk in the chain of custody in elections. States must
determine their own needs and requirements for absentee voting without federal

Subtitle C--Collection and Dissemination of Election Data

This entire section could be replaced with the Freedom of Access to
Election Information as defined clearly and succinctly in the Request By Voters
Here it is:


elections-related information at the local, state and federal levels be made
available to any person under the civil rights principles embodied in the
Freedom of Information Act in a way that addresses the special circumstances in

a. All information necessary to validate elections must be produced by the
voting system and its accompanying elections procedures;

b. When information to validate the election is requested, it must be
provided before recount and contest periods have expired;

c. The information must be provided in a usable and cost-effective manner;

d. There will be no restrictions imposed by proprietary claims, nor shall
access to information be placed outside of governmental custody.

Subtitle D--Ensuring Well Run Elections

Training is not a bad thing, we can live with this provision.


We like this provision as well.


These problems would be eliminated with election day registration, but
barring that, this provision is supportable except for the references to
empowering the EAC with this authority. The EAC as a four person commission
appointed by the President is an undemocratic, nonrepresentational,
consolidation of Executive power and must be abolished.


We like election day registration. But we like state sovereignty as
well. And this provision empowers the EAC again to enforce state election laws.
This is unacceptable. We would like each state to rise to the challenge of
providing election day registration, but we will not pay the cost of the loss
of state sovereignty, as embodied in this provision, to make this happen.


As with absentee voting, there are security risks involved in enabling
early voting.  Each state must decide on its own and not be pre-empted by
the federal government in the administration of its own elections.


Again, this is an unnecessary federal intervention in the conduct of
elections.  Each state must decide on its own and not be pre-empted by the
federal government in the administration of its own elections. The w:st="on">US Constitution
wisely decentralized power by endowing the States with authority over the
conduct of elections. This bill has too many pre-emptive provisions. This is a
risky strategy for lovers of democracy, which relies on decentralized power and
checks and balances.


Now what the heck is this in here for? I don’t want my money used for
this boondoggle. Democracy depends on COMMUNITY. We need to connect our votes
with our lives, and when we vote in our community-based elections, we know it
matters, and we can see that it COUNTS. Staying in your community keeps things
in balance and in check. We take care of things when we are part of the
community. As my woodland friends like to say, “you don’t shit where you live.”


No thanks, I don’t want the EAC making decisions that my state
legislature can make with input from and accountability to me and my fellow
citizens. Besides, this provision is cementing photo identification into the
system. Under the guise of paying for it. No thanks.


On the face of it, this sounds like a good idea. But so did the idea of
certifying voting machines, and we see where that has led us. I vote for
further study before sending any more of my taxpayer dollars to the federal
government to carry out more voting equipment certification schemes.



Okay, this pretty much makes sense. But I’m not sure it belongs in this
bill. Should probably be dealt with in a separate bill that can give it the
full study.


Okay, this also pretty much makes sense, but may not belong in this
bill. Should probably be dealt with in a separate bill that can give it the
full study. Obama tried that, but he  brought in the EAC to oversee
things. Unacceptable for all the reasons already explained above.


Okay, this also pretty much makes sense, but may not belong in this
bill. Should probably be dealt with in a separate bill that can give it the
full study.


Not a bad idea. But I’m not sure it belongs in this bill. Should
probably be dealt with in a separate bill that can give it the full study.


Not a bad idea, except it further relies on the EAC. Also, I’m not sure
it belongs in this bill. Should probably be dealt with in a separate bill that
can give it the full study.


Not sure what this is accomplishing. It seems to want to speed up
reporting information or something.


OK – the title says it all. This provision can not stand. We need to
abolish and not strengthen the democracy-demolishing entity called the EAC.


On the face of it, this is fine. But we need to abolish the
democracy-demolishing entity called the EAC. We need to revisit the role of
NIST and its authority with respect to voting systems as well.

ClintonBill_Annotated.pdf50.81 KB

Analysis: Vote Tabulation Audit Act of 2006 (HR 6414)

Opinion by Kathy Dopp

This is the bill Rep. Holt introduced in early Dec. of 2006.

I read this bill and although it has some good points, I can't figure out why Holt calls it "Vote Tabulation Audit Act of 2006" because it certainly requires no independent audit of vote count accuracy.

Its GOOD POINTS are that it:
- requires states to make public their ballot security procedures
- funds only optical scan paper ballot systems to meet its requirements
- might be "pass-able"
- requires precinct-level Election Day vote counts to be publicly posted at the precinct after polls close and before ballots are moved to central count location

- would allow the public to have oversight to eliminate central count tabulation tampering

- it does nothing to ensure that vote counts are not miscounted at the precincts
- it is not software-independent and it is not an independent audit because hand-counts are only performed only in particular precincts where discrepancies are discovered between the two machine counts (the counts at the precinct and the totals at the central count location)

- a procedure like this is easily subverted by election fraudsters
- the integrity of the machine counts are never checked with manual counts
- it allows aggregation of early, provisional, and absentee vote counts into one pile and does not require that they be broken out by precinct or by machine
- it allows aggregation of election day counts by precinct and does not require separate machine counts that would be needed to verify any independent audits

While this bill would be a step forward, to put the word "Audit" in its title is disengenuous at best because it does nothing to ensure the integrity of election outcomes, but I certainly would not campaign against this bill because it does provide funds to replace DREs with optical scan machines or require jurisdictions with DREs to spend their own nickel to purchase devices for doing precinct tallies and requiring precinct tallies on election day at the polls is a good thing.

It is unfortunate that the Holt office refuses to return my phone calls or emails and instead consults with folks who are much less competent in the arena of election auditing. However, perhaps this is
the only measure that Holt thinks he can pass and it is certainly a good step to fund the replacement of DRE voting systems and require precinct counts.

Election Reform/HR 811 Hearings, House Committee on Administration

Public documents of the House Committee on Administration reproduced here were originally published at
prior to general public release via US government websites.

During March, 2007, the Elections Subcommittee of the Committee on House Administration held three public hearings on election reform.

Members of the Elections Subcommittee are:
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Chair;
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Ranking Member;
Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA);
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-CA);
Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA); and
Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI).

The submitted written testimony can be downloaded by clicking on the hyperlinked names of each of the witnesses who testified.

Thursday, March 15, 2007, 2:00 p.m. "Machines and Software"

Opening Statement of Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

Panel One: Accessibility and Machines
Kelly Pearce, Disability Access Voter, Working Group Cook County Illinois
Ted Selker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Eric Clark, Secretary of State, Mississippi
Diane Golden, Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities

Panel Two: Software Disclosure
Matt Zimmerman, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Brit Williams, Kennesaw State University
David Wagner, UC Berkeley, ACCURATE
Hugh Gallagher, Election Systems Acquisition and Management Services

Bruce Behrendorf,, Apache Software Foundation

Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 2:00 p.m. "Election Audits"

Panel One
Matt Damschroder, Director Franklin County, Ohio Board of Elections
Ion Sancho, Supervisor of Elections , Leon County, Florida

Panel Two
Candice Hoke, Center for Election Integrity, Cleveland State University
R. Doug Lewis, Executive Director, The Election Center
Lawrence Norden, Brennan Center, New York University
Tammy Patrick, Federal Compliance Officer, Maricopa County Arizona Elections Department
Pamela Smith, President, Verified Voting

Friday March 23 at 9:30 a.m. HR 811 The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007

Panel One
Hon. Charlie Crist, Governor of Florida

Panel Two
Hon. Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Hon. Tom Petri (R-WI)

Panel Three

Hon. Debra Bowen, Secretary of State, California
Hon. Chris Nelson, Secretary of State, South Dakota

Panel Four
Tanya Clay House, Director of Public Policy, People for the American Way Foundation
George Gilbert, Director of Elections, Guilford County, North Carolina
Edward Felten, Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University
Don Norris, Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland - Baltimore

Panel Five
Noel Runyan, Personal Data Systems
Harold Snider, Access for the Handicapped
Warren Stewart, Policy Director, VoteTrustUSA
Gail Mahoney, Jackson County MI, Chair National Association of Counties

S. 1487, the "Ballot Integrity Act of 2007," Is Anything But

Bookmark and return to this "parent" page for analyses and recommended actions concerning Senate bill S. 1487, ("The Ballot Integrity Act of 2007" ) sponsored by Sen. Feinstein.

EDA and most of the election integrity movement say: S. 1487 is BAD NEWS, an electoral wrecking ball coming at us.
The Senate will open hearings on this bill July 25.
See the EDA action on this issue here.

While there have been opposing views and strenuous debate regarding House bill 811,

there is virtually no disagreement that this Senate bill S.1487 has got it all wrong and must be amended or ended.

Click here> to access papers analyzing S. 1487 by Ellen Theisen, Theresa Hommel, Richard Bancroft, Jim Soper and others.

Click here to download the text of S.1487

We will be adding more updates to this section as they become available.

s1487.pdf174.33 KB

State Election Legislation

This section of the TOPICS subject area is being established for suggestions, examples, and analyses of proposed or potential state legislative measures to improve election integrity.

The first entry in this category is a contract provision for public disclosure of voting system software, that is included in a pending contract between the County of San Francisco, CA, and Sequoia Voting Systems.

Documents posted here may also be cross-filed in Working Group Forums and under the relevant State folder located at Resources > 50 State Directory.

Contract Provision for Public Disclosure of Voting System Software

The following contract provision, recently approved by the County of San Francisco
in negotiation with Sequoia Voting Systems, is presented here as an
example for implementing similar full software disclosure clauses in any contracts
with vendors providing electronic voting systems for public elections.

EDA does not endorse electronic voting systems; we're in favor of a complete transition
to hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB). But we do believe that full disclosure of any software
in any voting system is necessary, and must be paired with concurrent code verification
for the disclosure itself to constitute any meaningful public check on software-mediated voting processes.

Electronic voting is an existing fact; full-disclosure of voting system software is a minimal starting point--not a final solution-- for restoring some degree of public accountability and transparency to the privatized, secret-software voting systems that are already installed and operating in more than 96% of U.S. voting jurisdictions.

Brent Turner is a California voting activist who works with the Open Voting Consortium
and was directly involved in getting the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors to approve this contract provision in their negotiations with Sequoia for an optical scan voting system for SF County.

The following document was provided by Brent Turner.

Form Contract Provision for Public Disclosure

Section ___: Public Disclosure of Technology Required.

Prior to the delivery of any products, Vendor shall submit proof of
Public Disclosure in a form satisfactory to the City. At a minimum,
Vendor will affirm that it (1) has entered into an agreement for a
term concurrent with this agreement with the California Secretary of
State, the Open Voting Consortium, or other similar third party for
public access to the technology used in the subject products; (2) that
the disclosure is freely available through that third party to the
public at no cost; (3) the disclosure contains complete documentation,
including software source code of all hardware and software components
created or modified for the voting application; (4) the disclosure of
commercial off the shelf (COTS) components by manufacturer, model, and
revision; and (5) the disclosure of all product data sheets, manuals,
and other publicly available documentation for unmodified COTS

Vendor is not required to provide hardware to the public for testing
purposes; however, the technology disclosure package shall be
sufficiently detailed such that competent engineers with the correct
tools can fully recreate the hardware and software systems.

In the event that the Public Disclosure Service becomes unavailable
from Vendor's provider, Vendor shall provide City proof, within 30
days of unavailability that Vendor has contracted with another third
party public disclosure service provider for disclosure as provided
herein for the remainder of the term of this agreement.


The following is a policy statement from the Open Voting Consortium, sent to the San Francisco County Elections Commission members, in advocacy for inclusion of the above software disclosure clause in the pending voting systems contract between San Francisco County and Sequoia.



Citizens have the right to know how their votes are counted. Technology
shall not be used in a voting system that interferes with this right to

"Publicly Disclosed" technology refers to hardware and software whose design
details have been made public, freely available for public inspection. In
addition, the vendor of publicly disclosed technology grants the right to
the public to test the technology and publish the test results.

The technology disclosure package is an electronic file that contains all
the documents required to show exactly how the system works.

Voting system technology includes components specifically designed or
modified for the voting application, as well as components that are general
purpose commodity items (sometimes called COTS for
"commercial-off-the-shelf"). The vendor is not expected to reveal the inner
workings of unmodified COTS components. However, all unmodified COTS
components must be identified by manufacturer, model, and revision. In
addition, all product data sheets, manuals, and other publicly available
documentation should be included for unmodified COTS components in the
technology disclosure package.

All hardware and software components created or modified for the voting
application must have complete documentation, including software source
code, in the technology disclosure package.

"Open Source" technology refers to Publicly Disclosed technology where
additional rights have been conferred to the public. These additional rights
that go with open source software include the right to [1],

- Run the program for any purpose (not just testing)

- Adapt the program for your needs

- Freely redistribute copies

- Make improvements and release the improvements to the public

Open Source has additional features and benefits compared to Publicly
Disclosed source. Open Source enables [2]:

- Ensure interoperability

- Avoid vendor lock-in

- Avoid imposing technology decisions on the citizenry

- Drive cost effectiveness

- Enhance efficiency and service levels

- Ensure future access to information

- Ensure a level playing field for competition

- Maximize freedom of action, ensure flexibility

The City and County of San Francisco prefers "Open Source" -- and will
support efforts to reach this goal -- but requires, at a minimum, Public
Disclosure of all voting technology. The vendor is not required to freely
provide hardware to the public for testing purposes, but the technology
disclosure package shall be sufficiently detailed such that competent
engineers with the correct tools can fully recreate the hardware and
software systems.

All contracts that include the purchase of voting equipment executed by the
City and County of San Francisco shall include provisions for Public
Disclosure of Technology; specifically, the vendor must make arrangements to
have a complete technology disclosure package available for free public
download on Public Disclosure website, such as Open Voting Consortium, or
the California Secretary of State, or any other third party offering to make
publicly disclosed technology available for free download to the public. In
the event that the Public Disclosure service becomes unavailable from the
vendor's provider, the vendor agrees to make arrangements for Public
Disclosure with another entity within 30 days from the time the service
becomes unavailable from the original Public Disclosure service provider.

[1] Definition from Free Software Foundation

[2] IBM presentation on Open Computing, Open Standards and Open Source
Recommendation for Governments

Impeachment Resolution Coming to NH State Legislature This Week

Original source at:

NH impeachment resolution comes up for House vote (HB24)

A state legislative petition for Congress to commence impeachment proceedings

New Hampshire's House Resolution 24, an effort to commence impeachment procedures in the US Congress is part of a history-making effort originating from Thomas Jefferson's Manual, Sec 603.

To read the full text of the resolution, see

When HR 24 passes the New Hampshire House, it will be enacted as a petition, transmitted to Congress as a directive from the State level to the U.S. Congress, bypassing the gridlock of Washington DC politics.

Only passage inthe New Hampshire House is needed to commence impeachment in the US Congress.

The New Hampshire House of Representative's "full" House Vote is scheduled tentatively in this week's New Hampshire House Session. The exact date and time is yet to be determined, but it's likely the vote will either be Wednesday, March 5th or March 12th. The House is in regular session on Wednesdays, but may add a day in the case of a full schedule.

Representative Betty Hall, author of the resolution, needs huge support from across the nation for this measure to succeed. We ask you to send your message to the legislators of New Hampshire telling them for the sake our country, vote in the affirmative for HR 24!

Send your messages to: I.Support.HR24[at]gmail[dot]com


Rep. Pamela D Coughlin for the Majority of State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs: The majority of the committee believes that the world is in perilous and uncertain times and this House Resolution will encourage intolerance, violence and hatred around the world. Our President is the Commander in Chief. Our United States military has many troops along with many civilian contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan since the attacks on United States soil on September 11, 2001. This House Resolution will encourage terrorists to continue their attacks and hurt the morale of the United States' military forces and civilian contractors throughout the world. It will also undermine our troop's ability to pursue and accomplish their mission, which is the protection and security of the United States of America.
Vote 10-5.

Rep. Eleanor Glynn Kjellman for the Minority of State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs: This bill is a petition to the US House of Representatives to commence impeachment procedures. Under Section 603 of Jefferson's Manual of Parliamentary Practice, a state legislature may bring this action. Many citizens and several representatives of the NH House of various political persuasions and parties, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents and Democrats, appeared before the committee in favor of this resolution. It appears to be not only bi-partisan but also multi-partisan. This resolution does not impeach the president, but requests that the US House begin an investigation regarding the various grievances of the petitioners. It is not our prerogative in the NH House to argue the merits of the grievances, or to seek proof of their validity, indeed that is the purpose of the impeachment inquiry in the US House. Impeachment is a tool of accountability – part of the checks and balances process of our democracy - which is available to the citizens in our democracy. The people have a right to petition their representatives and we have a duty to respond and act – regardless of the timing, convenience, political expediency or other concerns which are secondary to the preservation of the democratic process. We believe the process of impeachment should be exercised to maintain accountability in the office of the Presidency.

The NH House State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee voted 10-5, 1 protest vote and 3 not present for ITL, or inexpedient to legislate, but the bill continues to go forward, for the full House vote of New Hampshire's Honorable Representatives.

"Live Free or Die"

The New Hampshire Bill of Rights, Sec. 10, retains the right of REVOLUTION, enacted in 1784 and never changed since.

A feature unique to New Hampshire legislative procedure, is that every bill introduced and sent to committee receives a vote in the full House. In New Hampshire there are 400 House legislators representing a relatively small population.

When HR 24 passes, it does not require approval by the New Hampshire Senate and it does not require the New Hampshire Governor's signature to be brought to the US Congress.

When approved in the Ne Hampshire House, HR 24 will be enacted as a petition, and transmitted to Congress as a directive from the State level to the U.S. Congress, bypassing the gridlock of Washington DC politics.

Send your messages to: I.Support.HR24[at]gmail[dot]com

E-mails will be printed for every legislator to read of the People's concern and support of HR24.

'Return-Oriented Programming" Exploit Foils Voting Machine Defenses

Source:  EurekAlert! 
Public release date: 10-Aug-2009
Contact: Daniel Kane
University of California - San Diego

Computer Scientists Take Over Electronic Voting Machine
with New Programming Technique

Voting machines must remain secure throughout their entire service lifetime, but this new study demonstrates that return-oriented programming can be used to execute vote-stealing computations by taking control of a voting machine designed to prevent code injection.

'The computer scientists showed that an attacker
would need just a few minutes of access to the machine
the night before the election
in order to take it over and steal votes the following day'

Video: Hovav Shacham erklärt den Wahlcomputer-Hack (5:06)

Computer scientists led by Hovav Shacham, a UC San Diego professor, hacked an electronic voting machine and stole votes using a malicious programming approach that  had not been invented when the voting machine was designed. The team of scientists from University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University employed “return-oriented programming” to force a Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machine to turn against itself and steal votes.

“Voting machines must remain secure throughout their entire service lifetime, and this study demonstrates how a relatively new programming technique can be used to take control of a voting machine that was designed to resist takeover, but that did not anticipate this new kind of malicious programming,” said Hovav Shacham, a professor of computer science at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering and an author on the new study presented on August 10, 2009 at the 2009 Electronic Voting Technology Workshop / Workshop on Trustworthy Elections (EVT/WOTE 2009), the premier academic forum for voting security research.

In 2007, Shacham first described return-oriented programming, which is a powerful systems security exploit that generates malicious behavior by combining short snippets of benign code already present in the system.

The new study demonstrates that return-oriented programming can be used to execute vote-stealing computations by taking control of a voting machine designed to prevent code injection. Shacham and UC San Diego computer science Ph.D. student Stephen Checkoway collaborated with researchers from Princeton University and the University of Michigan on this project.

“With this work, we hope to encourage further public dialog regarding what voting technologies can best ensure secure elections and what stop gap measures should be adopted if less than optimal systems are still in use,” said J. Alex Halderman, an electrical engineering and computer science professor at the University of Michigan.

The computer scientists had no access to the machine’s source code—or any other proprietary information—when designing the demonstration attack. By using just the information that would be available to anyone who bought or stole a voting machine, the researchers addressed a common criticism made against voting security researchers: that they enjoy unrealistic access to the systems they study.
UCSD PhD student Stephen Checkoway
UC San Diego computer science Ph.D. student Stephen Checkoway clutches a print out
demonstrating that his vote-stealing exploit that relied on return-oriented programming
successfully took control of the reverse engineered voting machine

“Based on our understanding of security and computer technology, it looks like paper-based elections are the way to go. Probably the best approach would involve fast optical scanners reading paper ballots. These kinds of paper-based systems are amenable to statistical audits, which is something the election security research community is shifting to,” said Shacham.

“You can actually run a modern and efficient election on paper that does not look like the Florida 2000 Presidential election,” said Shacham. “If you are using electronic voting machines, you need to have a separate paper record at the very least.”

Last year, Shacham, Halderman and others authored a paper entitled “You Go to Elections with the Voting System You Have: Stop-Gap Mitigations for Deployed Voting Systems” that was presented at the 2008 Electronic Voting Technology Workshop.”

“This research shows that voting machines must be secure even against attacks that were not yet invented when the machines were designed and sold. Preventing not-yet-discovered attacks requires an extraordinary level of security engineering, or the use of safeguards such as voter-verified paper ballots,” said Edward Felten, an author on the new study, who is also Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy and Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

Return-Oriented Programming Demonstrates Voting Machine Vulnerabilities

To take over the voting machine, the computer scientists found a flaw in its software that could be exploited with return-oriented programming. But before they could find a flaw in the software, they had to reverse engineer the machine’s software and its hardware—without the benefit of source code.

Princeton University computer scientists affiliated with the Center for Information Technology Policy began by reverse engineering the hardware of a decommissioned Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machine, purchased legally through a government auction. J. Alex Halderman—an electrical engineering and computer science professor at the University of Michigan (who recently finished his Ph.D. in computer science at Princeton) and Ariel Feldman—a Princeton University computer science Ph.D. student, reverse-engineered the hardware and documented its behavior.

It soon became clear to the researchers that the voting machine had been designed to reject any injected code that might be used to take over the machine. When they learned of Shacham’s return-oriented programming approach, the UC San Diego computer scientists were invited to take over the project. Stephen Checkoway, the computer science Ph.D. student at UC San Diego, did the bulk of the reverse engineering of the voting machine’s software. He deciphered the software by reading the machine’s read-only memory.

Simultaneously, Checkoway extended return-oriented programming to the voting machine’s processor architecture, the Z80. Once Checkoway and Shacham found the flaw in the voting machine’s software—a search which took some time—they were ready to use return-oriented programming to expose the machine’s vulnerabilities and steal votes.

The computer scientists crafted a demonstration attack using return-oriented programming that successfully took control of the reverse engineered software and hardware and changed vote totals. Next, Shacham and Checkoway flew to Princeton and proved that their demonstration attack worked on the actual voting machine, and not just the simulated version that the computer scientists built.

The computer scientists showed that an attacker would need just a few minutes of access to the machine the night before the election in order to take it over and steal votes the following day. The attacker introduces the demonstration attack into the machine through a cartridge with maliciously constructed contents that is inserted into an unused port in the machine. The attacker navigates the machine’s menus to trigger the vulnerability the researchers found. Now, the malicious software controls the machine. The attacker can, at this point, remove the cartridge, turn the machine’s power switch to the “off” position, and leave. Everything appears normal, but the attacker’s software is silently at work.

When poll workers enter in the morning, they normally turn this type of voting machine on. At this point, the exploit would make the machine appear to turn back on, even though it was never actually turned off.
“We overwrote the computer’s memory and state so it does what we want it to do, but if you shut off the machine and reboot from ROM, the exploit is gone and the machine returns to its original behavior,” explained Checkoway.

The computer scientists tested a machine that is very similar to machines that are used today in New Jersey and Louisiana. These New Jersey and Louisiana machines may have corrected the specific vulnerabilities the computer scientists exploited, but they have the same architectural limitations. The researchers highlight the possibility that current voting machines will be vulnerable to return-oriented programming attacks similar to the attack demonstrated in this study.

“This work shows how difficult it is to design voting machines that will remain secure over time. It’s impossible to anticipate what new kinds of attacks will be discovered in the future,” said Halderman.

Watch a four minute video interview with Hovav Shacham, professor of computer science at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering at: or

County by county information on voting machines is available, via Verified at:

This return-oriented programming development comes less than one year after a pair of UC San Diego computer science graduate students both extended return-oriented programming to RISC computer architectures and automated much of the necessary low level programming.

“Can DREs Provide Everlasting Security? The Case of Return-Oriented Programming and the AVC Advantage” by Stephen Checkoway, University of California, San Diego; Ariel J. Feldman, Princeton University; Brian Kantor, University of California, San Diego; J. Alex Halderman, University of Michigan; Edward W. Felten, Princeton University; Hovav Shacham, University of California, San Diego.

The computer scientists presented this work on August 10, 2009 at the 2009 Electronic Voting Technology Workshop / Workshop on Trustworthy Elections (EVT/WOTE 2009), the premier academic forum for voting security research.

Related publications:

J.A. Halderman, E. Rescorla, H. Shacham, and D. Wagner. “You Go to Elections with the Voting System You Have: Stop-Gap Mitigations for Deployed Voting Systems.” In D. Dill and T. Kohno, eds., Proceedings of EVT 2008. USENIX/ACCURATE, July 2008.

R. Roemer, E. Buchanan, H. Shacham, and S. Savage. “Return-Oriented Programming: Systems, Languages, and Applications.” 2009. In review.

E. Buchanan, R. Roemer, H. Shacham, and S. Savage. “When Good Instructions Go Bad: Generalizing Return-Oriented Programming to RISC.” In P. Syverson and S. Jha, eds., Proceedings of CCS 2008, pages 27–38. ACM Press, Oct. 2008.

Bowen Issues California Voting System Decertifications/Recertifications

On August 3, 2007, Secretary Bowen announced her decisions regarding which systems in the review will be permitted to be used in the 2008 elections and beyond. The following documents detail Secretary Bowen's decisions.

Decertification/Recertification Decisions Issued August 3, 2007,
by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen

Diebold Election Systems, Inc.

Hart InterCivic

Centralized Voter Registration Databases

This section of Topics will be devoted to voter registration databases and the increasing vertical integration of automated
database systems with the vote-counting machinery -- including electronic poll books -- generally with hardware and software prepared by the big four voting machine vendors or by other large commercial database corporations.

The most comprehensive study on the subject to date, already a couple of years old, is the Brennan Center report, available for download here, called "Making the List" .

Individual state reports from the Brennan report are filed in each of the state folders in the 50 States Directory also on this website:

Submissions on this important and underreported topic are invited.

Please send files and contact information to Info[at]ElectionDefenseAlliance[dot]org

Brennan_MakingList_DatabaseMatching.pdf1.2 MB

40,000 Potential Provisional Voters May Get SOAKED

--Contributed by Jane Schiff

Regular voters can become provisional voters overnight through evacuations, foreclosures, bankruptcies, floods, fires, and more. We somehow need to find or create organizations that can help ferry people back and forth to motor vehicle bureaus, assist them in obtaining valid drivers' licenses (or state IDs for those who aren't drivers), and then transport them to their boards of elections to re-register.

Maybe the rest of us should create, produce, sell and buy bumper stickers and t-shirts that say "THE UNITED STATES OF PROVISIONAL VOTING" with the proceeds going to fund operations to preserve or restore people's eligibility to vote when disaster situations wipe out the documentation that states are increasingly requiring as a condition for voting.

2008 Federal Disaster Declarations

Major Disaster Declarations

Number Date State Title DFRNs Designated Counties FOIA
1770 06/20 Nebraska Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1769 06/19 West Virginia Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Flooding, Mudslides, and Landslides
1768 06/14 Wisconsin Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1767 06/13 Montana Severe Winter Storm
1766 06/08 Indiana Severe Storms and Flooding
1765 05/30 Nebraska Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1764 05/28 Mississippi Severe Storms and Tornadoes
1763 05/27 Iowa Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1762 05/26 Colorado Severe Storms and Tornadoes
1761 05/23 Georgia Severe Storms and Flooding
1760 05/23 Missouri Severe Storms and Tornadoes
1759 05/22 South Dakota Severe Winter Storm and Record and Near Record Snow
1758 05/20 Arkansas Severe Storms, Flooding, and Tornadoes
1757 05/19 Kentucky Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Flooding, Mudslides, and Landslides
1756 05/14 Oklahoma Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1755 05/09 Maine Severe Storms and Flooding
1754 05/09 Oklahoma Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1753 05/08 Mississippi Severe Storms and Flooding
1752 05/05 Oklahoma Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1751 03/26 Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1750 03/20 Georgia Severe Storms and Tornadoes
1749 03/19 Missouri Severe Storms and Flooding
1748 03/12 Missouri Severe Winter Storms and Flooding
1747 03/07 Illinois Severe Storms and Flooding
1746 02/21 Kentucky Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding
1745 02/07 Tennessee Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding
1744 02/07 Arkansas Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1743 02/06 Hawaii Severe Storms, High Surf, Flooding, and Mudslides
1742 02/05 Missouri Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding
1741 02/01 Kansas Severe Winter Storms
1740 01/30 Indiana Severe Storms and Flooding
1739 01/11 Nebraska Severe Winter Storm
1738 01/08 Nevada Severe Winter Storms and Flooding
1737 01/04 Iowa Severe Winter Storm

Emergency Declarations

Number Date State Title DFRNs Designated Counties FOIA
3286 04/24 Ohio Snow
3285 03/19 Wisconsin Snow
3284 03/14 Texas Wildfires
3283 03/13 Illinois Snow

Fire Management Assistance Declarations

Number Date State Incident
2776 06/22 California Wild Fire
2775 06/20 California Trabing Fire
2774 06/16 Texas Camp Bowie Fire
2773 06/13 North Carolina Evans Road Fire
2772 06/11 California Martin Fire
2771 06/11 California Humboldt Fire
2770 06/10 California Ophir Fire
2769 06/05 Oklahoma Gotebo Fire
2768 06/05 Texas Hughes Ranch Fire
2767 06/03 Texas Rein Street Fire
2766 05/22 California Summit Fire
2765 05/12 Florida Brevard Fire Complex
2764 05/01 Texas Price Fire
2763 04/27 California Santa Anita Fire
2762 04/21 New Mexico Trigo Fire
2761 04/16 Texas Hebbronville Fire
2760 04/16 Colorado Ordway Fire
2759 04/10 Texas Parker Fire
2758 04/01 Texas Kentwood Fire
2757 03/27 Texas Silver Heels Fire
2756 03/21 Oklahoma Quinlan Fire
2755 03/20 Texas Encino Fire
2754 03/19 Texas Burns Ranch Fire
2753 03/14 Texas 322 Fire
2752 03/14 Texas Eighty-two Fire
2751 03/14 Texas Old Bastrop Highway Fire Complex
2750 03/12 Texas Arabella Fire
2749 03/04 Texas La Perla Fire
2748 02/28 Texas New Archer Fire
2747 02/25 Texas Silver Fire
2746 02/25 Oklahoma South Woodward Fire
2745 02/25 Texas South Odessa Fire
2744 02/23 Texas Scurry Complex Fire
2743 02/13 Texas Broadway Fire
2742 02/08 Texas Chevron Fire

Last Modified: Monday, 23-Jun-2008 12:48:15
FEMA 500 C Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20472
Disaster Assistance: (800) 621-FEMA

Election Assistance Commission

Does the EAC serve a purpose consistent with electoral democracy, or is it another mistake engendered by HAVA that is better ended than amended?

We will be posting news articles and analysis essays about the Election Assistance Commission in this area, addressing its stated purpose and functions, reporting on its performance to date, and questioning the rationale for its existence.

Banned Test Lab Certified Machines 68.5% of US Voters Used in 2006

EAC secretly pulled Ciber's accreditation last year, without informing the public

By Michael Richardson

Last week Christopher Drew of the New York Times informed a shocked nation that the leading "independent testing authority" of electronic voting machines, Ciber, Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colorado had not been following its own quality-control procedures and could not document that it completed required tests for reliability and security.

The federal Election Assistance Commission, which accredited the Ciber testing lab, secretly pulled its interim accreditation last year, without informing the public or election officials relying on Ciber's results. Independent testing centers, including Ciber, are not really independent at all and are funded by voting machine vendors to whom they issue their testing reports and only recently have come under federal scrutiny.

The EAC has yet to explain why it withheld the accreditation of Ciber from the voting public and the omission has entangled the controversial election oversight panel in the growing national distrust of electronic voting machines and may threaten its continued existence.

How many voting machines might be affected by the lax security inspections of Ciber?

Respected electronic voting machine authority and self-described "politechnologist" Joseph Hall did some digging. "The answer was not something I would have predicted...I knew Ciber did a good deal of software ITA testing, but it looks like, in terms of voting system deployment, that Ciber qualified the voting systems used by 68.5% of the registered voters (67.9% of precincts) in the 2006 election."

Hall explained the difficulty he encountered to acquire his data. "Since the test reports are not public, it is difficult to find information about who tested what when."

Undeterred by the veil of secrecy surrounding the testing of electronic voting machines, Hall used old testing identifiers, called NASED numbers, to track the deployment of voting machines around the nation. Ciber tested any machine that had a NASED number beginning with the digit "1".

"With this key piece of information, we can use published lists of qualified voting systems to determine which models were qualified by Ciber." explains Hall. Discovering that Ciber tested the vast majority of machines in the country Hall says, "In fact, it is much more simple to list which systems were not qualified by Ciber."

Hall concludes, "I suppose it would have been completely impractical to decertify all these systems. Even decertifying those systems in which the qualification testing Ciber performed was specifically lacking would likely be a significant double-digit percentage of voting systems used by registered voters."

One thing the ITA laboratories, or any other testing agency, cannot determine is if an electronic voting machine has been rigged with malicious self-deleting software code. All voting machines and optical scan vote-counters are subject to being hacked with self-deleting code that cannot be detected with any test. Self-deleting software code does its dirty deeds, including flipping or erasing votes, and then deletes itself erasing any sign of tampering.

A growing number of election integrity advocates are realizing that software technology has no place in the election systems of our country because of the inability to even detect mischief. The solution that is emerging is both simple and obvious, a return to time-tested hand-counting of paper ballots.

[Permission granted to reprint]

Author: Michael Richardson is a freelance writer based in Boston. Richardson writes about politics, election law, human nutrition, ethics, and music. In 2004 Richardson was Ralph Nader's national ballot access coordinator. "The way to be happy is to make others happy."

Barbara Simons Named to EAC Advisory Board

Thu Aug 7 10:29:36 2008 Pacific Time
ACM Press Advisory
Virginia Gold

ACM Electronic Voting Expert Named to Key Federal Advisory Committee;
Dr. Barbara Simons Fills Position for Technology Professionals

NEW YORK, Aug. 7 (AScribe Newswire) -- Dr. Barbara Simons, a computer scientist and founder of ACM's U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM), has been appointed to the Board of Advisors for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the Federal body that oversees voting technology standards. Simons, a past president of ACM, fills a vacancy on the Board. The seat is one of four positions out of a total of thirty-seven members allocated for representation by science and technology professionals. Simons was appointed to the board position by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The EAC was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) to assist in the administration of Federal elections.

"With the increasing use of technology in the voting process, it is important for the EAC to have the benefit of strong scientific knowledge and advice," said Eugene H. Spafford, who chairs USACM. "Dr. Simons brings valuable technical expertise to the Board of Advisors to help inform the Commission's focus on the intersection between voting issues and computing technologies. Her extensive experience with USACM as well as her advisory roles in high-profile national voting groups qualifies her as an expert on voting systems, election technology, and election processes."

Dr. Simons was a member of the National Workshop on Internet Voting, convened at the request of President Clinton, which produced its report in 2001. She participated on the Security Peer Review Group for the U.S. Department of Defense's Internet voting project (SERVE), and co-authored the report that led to the cancellation of SERVE because of security concerns. Dr. Simons also co-chaired the ACM study of statewide databases of registered voters.

An encryption and privacy expert, Dr. Simons served on a subcommittee of the President's Export Council for Encryption. In preparation for anticipated security considerations for the year 2000, Dr. Simons also served on the information Technology-Sector of the President's council on the Year 2000 Conversion.

In 2005, Dr. Simons became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award from the College of Engineering of the University of California, Berkeley. She received the Alumnus of the Year Award from the Berkeley Computer Science Department; the Distinguished Service Award from the Computing Research Association; and the Norbert Wiener Award from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. She was also awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award from ACM and the Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Dr. Simons was selected by C|Net as one of its 26 Internet "Visionaries" and by Open Computing as one of the "Top 100 Women in Computing." Science magazine featured her in a special edition on women in science.

A Fellow of ACM and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Simons was president of ACM from July 1998 to June 2000, and founded USACM in 1993, where she served for many years as chair or co-chair. She is retired from IBM Research, and is co-authoring a book on voting machines with computer scientist Douglas W. Jones of the University of Iowa.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery ( ), is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

The ACM U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM) serves as the focal point for ACM's interaction with U.S. government organizations, the computing community, and the U.S. public in all matters of U.S. public policy related to information technology. Supported by ACM's Washington, D.C., Office of Public Policy (, USACM responds to requests for information and technical expertise from U.S. government agencies and departments, seeks to influence relevant U.S. government policies on behalf of the computing community and the public, and provides information to ACM on relevant U.S. government activities. USACM also identifies potentially significant technical and public policy issues and brings them to the attention of ACM and the community.

EAC Gopher Bash

April 14, 2007

By Nancy Tobi

The Holt Bill (H.R. 811) is being advertised as a "paper trail" bill, but it also makes permanent the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The EAC is four White House appointees who control the nation's voting systems.

Holt Bill proponents say that this is not a problem. They point to recent news coverage of the EAC, showing its incompetence and its questionable and even fraudulent actions. They say that the EAC has conducted itself so poorly as to make itself irrelevent. They look to hiring new Commissioners to "do a better job".

But the issue is not who are the Commissioners or how they conduct themselves. The issue is the very entity itself: four White House appointees with the power to determine what voting equipment is in use in our nation's elections, and to influence policy through the release (or nonrelease, as the case may be) of valid (or fraudulent) studies and reports.

Activists point to the EAC's first Chair, DeForest Soaries, now a vocal critic of the Commission. One of Soaries' first acts as Chair was to seek the authority to cancel national elections in case of a "homeland security threat". Soaries' resignation, and his subsequent criticism of the EAC is not about the inherently undemocratic nature of the Commission in our political structure, but rather the lack of authority held by the EAC. There is no solace to be found in this school of thought. The problem is not, as some activists claim, that we need to hold the EAC accountable or even replace current Commissioners with "better" ones. The problem is the existence of the entity itself.

The Holt Bill neither broadens nor weakens their power per se. Last year's version of the bill, H.R. 550, did broaden their powers, giving them audit and de facto recount authority, but this year's version H.R. 811 was changed, possibly to defuse that criticism. But H.R. 811 makes the EAC a permanent entity, removing the EAC sunset date imposed by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) when it created the EAC.

HAVA created the EAC as “an advisory” commission, with the exception of granting it regulatory power over the NVRA. As an executive commission it can become 100% regulatory with the insertion of one line of text in any congressional legislation.

This is how the FEC became regulatory; it began advisory just as did the EAC.

If the EAC had been created as a congressional commission this picture changes, because a congressional commission can never be regulatory. This, in fact, was the rationale behind the advise of then counsel for the architects of HAVA. Counsel advised against making the EAC executively appointed, but the HAVA gang of four (McConnell, Dodd, Hoyer, and Ney) overrode his objections.

We don’t know why they wanted to centralize election control, but we know full well the implications and we need to make this clear to all those good people supporting Holt because they think it requires paper trails and that is the full essence of the bill.

Holt's office and his supporters want us to believe that making the EAC permanent is a “nonissue”. But if they think it is such a great idea, then why did Hholt's office deliberately remove the word "Permanent" from the December draft of the bill, and make the section header " sec. 4. Extension of authorization of election assistance commission" instead of “PERMANENT Extension…" as it had been spelled out in the December draft. Do they think that by removing the word "permanent" we won't understand that the unlimited extension means the same thing?

As appalling as is the notion of cancelling elections proposed by former Chair Soaries, the who and how question with respect to the EAC Commissionres is not really the issue. It is, rather, the unprecedented proposal in H.R. 811 for Congress to use its constitutional authority to preempt state sovereignty in the conduct of elections in order to shift power not to itself, a representative body, but to a nonrepresentational executive commission of four White House appointees, and to permanently change the entire structure of governance and control in the United States.

Historically, Congress has taken the dramatic step of intervening in election administration when it held in doubt the states' intentions to carry out their duties to preserve and protect the rights of their voters. A GAO report ("The Scope of Congressional Authority on Elections" - March 2001) on this matter states:

"Congress has passed legislation relating to the administration of both federal and state elections, pursuant to its various constitutional powers. Federal legislation has been enacted in several major functional areas of the voting process, as described in more detail below. These areas include the timing of federal elections; voter registration; absentee voting requirements; accessibility provisions for the elderly and handicapped; and prohibitions against discriminatory voting practices."

But it is unprecedented for Congress to pass legislation that makes permanent an unchecked and unbalanced executive commission with broad powers and control in the matter of elections.

I will note at this point that we have, in our Request by Voters ( ) proposed an alternative solution to shift EAC responsibilities to the HAVA-created Standards Board, which unlike the EAC, is a truly representational body.

With the EAC in permanent control over voting system technologies and standards, the American people lose all control and decisionmaking authority over our elections. Any mandates we impose at our state or local levels are easily overridden by the EAC. And any action we may want to take against questionable electronic voting technology is mooted by the EAC, which is the final authority on what electronic voting technology is not only approved and recommended, but may actually be mandated in our cities and towns.

Just like the Gopher Bash (or Whack-a-Mole) arcade game, you can keep bashing the gophers, but they will keep popping up again. You can bash down DREs, and the EAC can pop them back up.

With an Executive Commission permanently controlling election systems, no matter what your local, state, or federal government may legislate, the EAC gopher can come up with its own voting system requirements whenever they want.

In other words, you can fight to amend Holt so it bans DREs, or you can knock down the technovote gopher in your own home states by passing laws requiring paper ballots and manual recounts, but the EAC can pop up those technovote gophers by writing contravening and contradictory requirements into their voting system guidelines.

The technovote gopher then becomes the law of your state if your state requires compliance with federal voting system guidelines, or if something like the Holt Bill comes along and just writes them into federal law, as it has done with the EAC-recommended text converter technology.

Consider this: Dixville Notch, NH has roughly 16 registered voters. They cast and count their ballots by hand. It might cost them under $100 to run their elections. They don’t need to worry about the EAC’s technovote gophers because they have no technology in their polling jurisdiction. Right?

In January 2007 Holt’s office, citing the EAC’s “voluntary” voting system requirement, inserted into its bill a mandate for an entirely new technological device to be used in every polling jurisdiction in the nation.

This ballot text converter, a scheme concocted by the EAC in 2005 against the advice of the Standards Board, may or may not even exist. Industry experts say it does not exist. Nonetheless, the Holt Bill mandates it for use in every polling place in the nation for the 2008 elections. Voila. The EAC's "voluntary" voting system guideline is now the law of the land. Presumably some industry maven will come up with something that is claimed to meet the requirement, and there goes another $4 billion of our American taxpayers money into more proprietary, nontransparent, undemocratic, but federally mandated voting system technology.

So where does Dixville Notch come up with the $6,000 initial investment for this device, and will it fit nicely, do you think, on top of their old wooden ballot box to “read back” the voter’s choices as prescribed by the EAC and Holt?

In March 2007 the EAC’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) had a lengthy discussion as to whether to use the language of shouldor shallregarding their new resolution for “accessibility of paper-based vote verification.” Their proposed resolution initially was drafted as follows:

“For the purpose of allowing voters to verify their ballot choices then the system should provide a mechanism that can read that record and generate an audio representation of its contents. The use of this system should be accessible to voters with dexterity disabilities.”

I don't want to spend too much time even going into the meaning of this particular TGDC resolution. But it would be irresponsible of me to not at least point out that it is "simply" requiring all paper-based voting systems to talk and be independently mobile (the paper ballot needs to get itself into the ballot box independent of the voter, who may have dexterity disabilities). . . . Hmmm . . . Do you think this is do-able or feasible in any economic, practical, or realistic way?

What I'd like us to focus on here is not the idea of a group of people (with little to no election experience) sitting around a DC office coming up with all sorts of pie in the sky ideas (just because they can), which our states, cities and towns can neither afford nor implement. I'd like to instead really take a close look at the decisionmaking process itself and what that means to the nation.

Holt proponents claim that the EAC is ineffective and benign. But we have already seen that EAC "guidelines" are easily transformed into the law of the land through bills like H.R. 811.

Holt proponents like to say that the EAC is only an advisory committee. A look at the TGDC's discussion tells us otherwise. The TGDC discussion around the use of two words: should and shall, reveals the extent to which the EAC understands its inherent regulatory nature. Bear with me on this slightly esoteric jaunt down a linguistic pathway.

In statutory language, should is very different from shall. Shall is mandatory, but should is recommended. During the discussion, TGDC member Paul Miller, representing the Standards Board, made the statement,

“If you make this a ‘shall’ there are implications because it [equipment meeting this requirement] doesn’t yet exist’.”

Changing the language to shalleffectively means the “voluntary” guideline will apply to all electronic voting systems and not just “accessible” systems. It means that should another bill like the Holt Bill come along, this requirement for talking and walking paper ballots becomes the law of the land.

In practical terms, it means further complexification of our elections, further nontransparency of the vote casting and counting processes, and expanded costliness of high tech voting equipment.

And it also means, for all intents and purposes, the death of the simple hand count paper ballot voting system.

Despite Mr. Miller's acknowledgment that they were mandating something that doesn't even exist, a nearly unanimous vote (with Mr. Miller voting in assent and only one dissenter) adopted the statutory “SHALL” rather than “SHOULD".

At the heart of this discussion we can see clearly that the TGDC, as they craft their expensive and possibly non-implementable, and therefore destabilizing to our election systems, “voluntary guidelines” are fully aware that their use of language can easily transform their “voluntary” system to statutory given the right conditions (such as federal or state law, or even just the industry product development meeting those EAC requirements).

So now you see how, just like a Gopher Bash, with a permanent EAC, technovoting requirements can keep coming back to haunt you. You can knock down as many gophers as you want, but the EAC can keep making them pop up again.

And the gophers will have ruined your country. Game Over.

Take action to Halt Holt. Election Defense Alliance has complete information and action pages. Click here!

Authors Website:
Authors Bio:
Nancy Tobi is the author of numerous articles on election integrity, including "The Gifts of HAVA: Time to Ask for a Refund," "What's Wrong with the Holt Bill,"and the newly released "We're Counting the Votes: An Election Preparedness Kit." She is Legislative Coordinator of Election Defense Alliance, co-founder of Democracy for New Hampshire and Chair of the New Hampshire Fair Elections Committee. Her writings may be found at and

Open Letter to NIST on Electronic Voting Machine Recommendations

Originally published by Democracy for New Hampshire

Open Letter to NIST on Electronic Voting Machine Recommendations

Comments on the (Un)verifiability of Election Equipment


We read your draft paper "Requiring Software Independence in VVSG 2007: STS Recommendations for the TGDC" with considerable interest. Reading between the lines, I get the distinct impression that you're working your way toward some of the same conclusions our local group has reached -- and some that the New Hampshire legislature has reached. Perhaps if I lay out our line of reasoning, it will let you know that you're not alone in the direction you appear to be going. (This is basically a summary of what we said in our comment in the recent EAC inquiry, which I've attached as a PDF.)

Let me start with your words "...the DRE, which does not produce an independent voter-verified audit trail. Therefore, audits of its electronic records cannot be against any independent evidence of the voter's intentions as cast and as a consequence, its electronic records cannot be audited independently..." Right there is the heart of the matter. It goes straight to the nature of modern elections. Fundamentally, we're dealing with a problem in public records. The secret ballot was introduced into our election laws late in the 19th century in order to correct a major integrity problem: improper influence on voters. As long as it was possible to tell how a citizen voted, voter bribery and intimidation were rampant. The secret ballot fixed that, but it brought on a side effect. It made the vote recording step a single point of failure. The only person who's in a position to tell whether a vote is recorded correctly is the voter, and only while still in the voting booth.

more below the fold

But the only way the voter can tell for sure that the vote is recorded correctly and can't be changed is to see it, with his or her own eyes, indelibly marked on a durable paper ballot. Letting electronics get between the physical recording medium and the human-viewable display breaks the feedback loop. There's no way the voter, let alone any auditor coming afterward, can tell whether the display matches the recorded data. Unlike a banking system, there's no system of monthly account statements to expose errors -- and because of the nature of the secret ballot, there's no way such a thing could be introduced. Voter-retained receipts not only wouldn't provide a usable audit trail, because they could never all be collected, but they would destroy the secret ballot by providing a tangible record of who voted how. Then we come to the vote counting step. In order to make sure that the vote that counts is the same one the voter cast, it's necessary to require that the ballot counters, whether they're people or machines, look only at the physical marks the voter saw and verified.

The logical consequence follows inescapably: it's not only unacceptable for votes to be recorded electronically instead of on paper ballots, it's unacceptable to record them electronically *in addition to* paper ballots. In fact, human-readable indelible marks, on durable paper ballots that can survive storage and re-counting, are the only way to record votes that can support an open and verifiable election system. And that's exactly what the New Hampshire legislature figured out last spring, and wrote into law. For good measure, they passed a second law requiring all recounts to be done "by direct inspection of the ballots, without electronic, mechanical, or optical devices". Basically, that's what an audit is, and it depends on a reliable and durable public record as a starting point -- pretty much along the lines of what you said on page 3.

Obviously, that blows a hole in the concept of VVPAT. It's nothing but a public relations sham. It can't fix anything. This line of analysis doesn't directly invalidate EBM. Simple economics does. It makes no sense to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a complex machine that attempts to reproduce the function of a 50-cent hand-held pen, while introducing failure modes the pen isn't capable of. And it's a lot easier for cash-starved precincts to supply enough pens to handle the election day traffic than enough vote recording machines. Also, the hand-held pen is superior from a human factors viewpoint. There's a lot less chance of missing an incorrectly marked vote if the voter doesn't have to look at a screen, and then check the marked ballot to make sure it matches. With hand marking, the physical ballot is the only thing the voter has to look at. Voting with the pen is probably faster, too. There's no extra verification step.

Having talked about the crucial vote recording step, I've set the stage to talk about op scan machines. You wrote "Clearly, the needs of voters and election officials need to be addressed with improved and new technology. The STS believes that current paper-based approaches can be improved to be significantly more usable to voters and elections officials..." and "If an undetected change or error in the optical scanner's software were to cause erroneous counts, subsequent audits would show the errors." Yes and no. That depends on the audits actually being performed.

Op scan machines exist in the first place because today's ballots have so many races and questions on them that local officials can't count them all by eye in a secure and public environment, unless they set up a three-shift operation that can be sustained for several days. So in practice, the hand recounts don't get done unless somebody suspects a discrepancy and pays the recount fee. This means that an election using op scan machines isn't open and verifiable in actual practice, unless we can make certain that the machine won't cause an undetected error. That puts the machine into the category of safety-critical products, which just happens to be a very mature branch of engineering and administrative law. The FAA is very experienced in this field. Since you're a federal agency with an important problem, I'd hope they'd be willing to let you pick their brains.

There's probably a lot of material in their standards RTCA/DO-178B and RTCA/DO-254 that you could adapt. You're right that absolute correctness and absence of bugs can't be demonstrated by testing; it's done by a comprehensive analysis that requires access to the complete documentation for the whole system and everything it relies on for proof of correctness. Unlike safety-critical aviation flight controls, op scan ballot counting machines fall into the class of safety-critical devices in which a safe shutdown is possible. That comes very close to the family of safety-critical products I designed several years ago, flame safety controls. What we were required to prove to the satisfaction of the engineers at UL and their European counterparts was that the logical design was correct, and that if any component were to fail, the device would either operate within its specifications, or fail in a safe manner. A safe failure meant that the fuel valve would close and prevent a furnace explosion. (You really don't want a furnace explosion to happen in a 1-gigawatt steam power plant.)

A safe failure for a ballot counting machine would be one where it completely stops working and doesn't report any result. The standard we followed was UL 372, and it goes into great length on the requirements for a comprehensive Failure Mode Effects Analysis. I think a lot of that could be pasted into a standard for op scan machines. How to go about designing and approving a provably correct, fail-safe op scan machine? There's an engineering aspect, and an election law aspect. For an election to earn public confidence and so confer legitimacy on the elected public officials, everything about the election must be open and verifiable -- including the formal proof that everything about the ballot counting machine is correct in design and fail-safe in operation. So the complete design and all the records showing compliance with safety-critical product standards must be public records, and approved through an open regulatory process as required by the U.S. Administrative Procedures Act or equivalent state law.

Openness and verifiability must be pervasive; no secrets, trade or otherwise, can be tolerated anywhere in the internals of a piece of election equipment. Anything that isn't open to public inspection and peer review is a place where bugs and sabotage can hide. A little thought will show that it's not enough that the software be correct. A bug in the logical design of the hardware that the software runs on can produce an incorrect result as easily as a software error; it's just a lot harder to commit fraud that way. Similarly, correctly designed hardware can still produce an incorrect result if a component is faulty or damaged; this is why failure mode analysis is necessary. Finally, the election configuration data must also be provably correct and subjected to public review.

Last May Anthony Stevens, our Assistant Secretary of State, asked me for any diagrams I had showing principles for a machine that could be trusted. I put together the attached block diagram of a hardware platform for a fail-safe op scan machine. The heart of the thing is the two CPUs. To achieve failure-safety, they continuously send each other test vectors, which systematically test each component of the opposite processor down to the transistor level. In order to present a written proof of completeness for the test vectors, the exact logical design of the processors must be known and frozen under official revision control. This means they have to be built the way computers were 40 years ago, out of individual gates and flip-flops.

(I know I'm being paranoid about this, but in the immortal words of an early CIA director, am I being paranoid enough?) Simplicity is part of the discipline of safety-critical product design. The functions required of an op scan machine are pretty simple in principle. I believe the software and the hardware logic could be designed at a technical level that a bright high school student could understand and prove correct. Politically, it's very important to have as wide a pool of citizens as possible who can review the design for themselves and criticize it in public, so that confidence in the design doesn't rest on a few elite specialists. That's still not as good as every citizen being able to independently analyze the design, as they can analyze the state election laws, but it's the best I can suggest.

You gave attention to security vulnerabilities in DRE machines. The same consideration applies to op scan machines. I've thought a lot about that. It can't be applied as an afterthought; it has to be provided for from the beginning of requirements analysis. Of course, I'm not a specialist in that field, so professionals could undoubedly add a lot; NSA might have some unclassified papers on the problem of authenticated distribution, for instance. I don't think we can rely on a machine being protected from tampering and accident during year-long periods in unguarded storage. Therefore I emphasize design features that provide ways for local officials, partisan election inspectors, and possibly random members of the public to verify at the polling place that the machine conforms to its published and approved engineering drawings, contains the approved firmware and election configuration data, and is isolated from outside influences.

When I say an op scan machine should be transparent, I mean it literally. The party inspectors should be able to see all of the internal parts without breaking the case seals or exposing it to ESD or RFI. They should be able to check board and IC part numbers and serial numbers, look for unauthorized cuts and jumpers, read the numbers and signatures on the socketed OTP EEPROMS containing the firmware and the configuration file, and dump the complete contents into their own laptops so they can compare it bit-for-bit to the published source code that they downloaded and compiled on their own machines. That approach makes the entire machine auditable at the point of use. The more independent routes there are from the peer-reviewed original design documents to the machines in the field, the harder it is to hide fraud, negligence, or just plain human fallibility.

The only thing I want to say at this point about vote recording devices for disabled voters is that "accessibility" and "privacy" must not be permitted to become excuses to justify exposing the votes of the great majority of citizens to hidden and unverifiable recording processes. It's essential to keep our priorities straight. Openness and verifiability are absolute requirements, and cannot be compromised without sacrificing the legitimacy of representative government itself. A way for a voter who can't see the ballot to vote without human assistance is a convenience, not a necessity. New Hampshire law permits a voter to appoint anyone except an employer or a union official to assist in the voting booth; we can rely on that until we can solve the truly formidable problems of coming up with a provably correct, fail-safe, tamper-evident method of letting a blind voter verify that the marks on a standard-issue paper ballot are correct. If political pressure forces less-than-airtight devices for disabled voters into use without an independent method of verification in the voting booth, then it's best to mitigate the risk by confining their use to the smallest possible population.


John A. Carroll
Member, Fair Elections Committee

Why the Election Assistance Commission Must Be Abolished

Why the EAC Must Be Abolished

By Nancy Tobi, ntobi[at]democracyfornewhampshire[dot]com

The democratic processes of the American Republic are based on decentralized power. Centralized power led to the American Revolution. Centralized power is the antithesis of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

1. Centralization of Executive Power—White House Control over Counting the Votes: Current legislative proposals , such as the Holt Bill or Clinton's election reform bill, include extending beyond the existing expiry date the power and authority of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), establishing a Presidential Commission authorized to control the counting of votes in every election--federal, state, and local--in the nation.

2. Centralization of Executive Power—Crony Appointments: The potential for stacking of the EAC is evident in the scenario already played out under the current Administration. In early 2006, the Bush White House made numerous recess appointments, putting political appointees into positions of power and authority without any Congressional oversight or checks and balances. Of the eight recess appointments made on January 4, 2006, three were Commissioners to the Federal Election Commission. Two of those appointed Commissioners are known for their opposition to voting rights and clean elections. The third is a political crony of Senate Minority Leader Reid of Nevada.

3. Centralization of Executive Power—Regulatory Authority: Federal regulatory authority means the federal entity preempts state and local authorities. In the matter of elections, this becomes a Constitutional issue because the US Constitution wisely endowed the States with authority over election administration. This enforces decentralization of power, which is a foundational building block for American democratic processes. HAVA created the EAC as an advisory commission with one exception: it was granted regulatory authority over the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The EAC has been steadily positioning and even suing to assert its regulatory authority in other areas under its domain. Even if it does not succeed through litigation, the EAC could, with the insertion of a single line of text in ANY congressional act, become regulatory. This is how the FEC gained regulatory powers. A regulatory EAC means that a Presidential Commission—potentially stacked with political cronies—would have legal decision making and enforcement power over the following areas, for every state in the nation:

• Which voting systems are approved for use in our elections
• Who counts the votes in every election
• How votes are counted in every election
• How recounts are administered and how their outcomes are determined

An editorial in the New York Times, entitled "Strong Arming the Vote" (August 3, 2006) describes how the Department of Justice under the Bush Administration has been heavily involved in partisan ploys to negate necessary checks and balances in election practices.

Any legislation that makes permanent the EAC will establish a whole new arm of Executive power with dangerous authority to subvert the entire democratic process of elections that supports our system of government. It would result, in effect, in a bloodless coup.

Download a PDF of this article

For continued discussion of this subject, see also: EAC Gopher Bash

WhyTheEACMustBeAbolished.pdf122.81 KB

Election Auditing

This section of the Topics division includes reports and analyses of various proposals for election auditing methods.

NEW, June 1, 2008:

What Constitutes and Election Audit?

Presentation by R. H. Phillips at the "Building a New World" Conference, Radford, VA, May 24, 2008

As an introduction to the subject of election auditing, EDA recommends this essay by Richard Hayes Phillips, What Constitutes an Election Audit? With the help of Ohio volunteers, Phillips conducted an audit of the actual ballots cast in the 2004 Ohio presidential elecion, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the 2004 election was stolen in Ohio.

What Constitutes an Election Audit

What Constitutes an Election Audit

Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.

Presented at the Building a New World Conference
Radford, Virginia, May 24, 2008

What Ohio citizens conducted, under my direction, was a genuine audit of the 2004 presidential election. This was no mere “spot check” of randomly selected precincts, and no mere “recount” of the same ballots previously run through the electronic tabulators.

We learned to ask for everything: ballots, poll books, voter signature books, ballot accounting charts, packing slips, and invoices. We asked to see all the ballots, whether voted, spoiled, or unused. And we always asked to photograph the records, so that I could analyze them with painstaking accuracy, and reexamine the same records when necessary.

We lacked the element of surprise, as a list of requested precincts was almost always demanded in writing and well in advance. But I picked the counties, and I picked the precincts, and I rarely said how or why. “What are you looking for?” I was often asked. “I don’t know,” I would reply. “This is an audit.”

When the IRS audits your tax returns, you don’t get to pick the year, or decide which records to show them. They want to see everything. And so did we.

When election results have been altered, this will almost always be apparent at the precinct level. Either the numbers will be at variance with long-established voting patterns, or inexplicable combinations of choices will be attributed to the same voters on the same day, or both. Voter turnout, that is, the percentage of registered voters casting ballots, may be suspect, either too high or too low. The percentage of ballots recorded as having no choice for the office, equal to undervotes plus overvotes, may be anomalously high or low. Based upon these criteria, we audited the most suspect precincts.

All of the records we requested are important. It is rightly the responsibility of election officials to verify the accuracy of the elections they administer.

The ballot accounting charts for each precinct should state the number of ballots received at the start of the day, which should match the number on the itemized packing slip from the printer who supplied the county with all its ballots. That same chart should state the total number of “voted” ballots, which should equal the number of names in the poll book and the voter signature book. It should state the number of “spoiled” ballots, which should match the number of altered ballot stub numbers recorded in the voter signature book. And it should state the number of “unused” ballots remaining at the end of the day, which, when added to the number of “voted” and “spoiled” ballots, should equal the total number of ballots received at the start of the day. Without these records there is no way to tell if the ballot box contains too many ballots, or too few.

Ballot stubs are numbered strips of paper attached to each ballot. The stub number for each ballot issued, both “voted” and “spoiled,” should be recorded by a poll worker right next to the voter’s name in both the poll book, written by the poll worker, and the voter signature book, signed by the voter. The ballot stub should be torn off and placed into the ballot box separately, to protect voter privacy and the right to a secret ballot. The numbers on the torn-off stubs should match the stub numbers in the poll book and the voter signature book, and the numbers on the stubs still attached to the unused ballots should not; and all the stubs, and all the ballots, whether voted, spoiled, or unused, should be preserved. Without these records there is no way to tell if the ballots run through the electronic tabulator are the same ballots issued to the voters.

In Ohio, Boards of Elections are at liberty to “remake” ballots at their discretion, ostensibly so that the voter’s intent will be accurately recorded by the electronic tabulator. In the counties we audited, the number of “remakes” or “duplicates” ranged from a mere handful to more than one percent of the total ballots cast in the entire county. The original “spoiled” ballots which the “remakes” allegedly duplicate are supposed to be preserved. We never saw any of them. Without these records, there is no way to tell if the “remakes” are legitimate.

The subsets of regular, absentee, and provisional ballots in each precinct are also supposed to match the corresponding numbers of names recorded in the poll book and the voter signature book. If the books do not indicate which absentee ballots were returned by the voters and which were not, and which provisional ballots were approved and which were not, another opportunity arises for alteration of the vote count.

The ballots for each precinct must be kept in the same sequence in which the auditor found them. Failure to do so can compromise the evidence. Long consecutive runs of ballots for one candidate or another are proof of hand sorting, for which there might be no legitimate reason. Abrupt changes in voting patterns partway through the stack of ballots may be indicative of ballot tampering, especially if there is a marked increase or decrease in “ticket splitting.” This is why “whole ballot analysis” is essential. The combinations of choices attributed to individual voters on each ballot must be examined, not merely the contest being investigated.

Ballots from numerous counties must be examined. Unless this is done, there is no frame of reference, and there is no way to tell if ballots are counterfeit. Likewise, all the marks on the ballot must be examined, to see if one or more of the marks are made by a different hand than the others. Such forgeries can be a method for spoiling the ballot by turning the voter’s choice into an “overvote,” or by turning an “undervote” into a vote for the candidate desired by the election riggers.

One cannot overstate the importance of the chain of custody for the ballots, as it is here that the opportunity for election rigging arises. Lapses in the chain of custody after the ballots leave the polling place on Election Night provide the opportunity for ballot tampering prior to tabulation, in which case a subsequent hand count will nicely match the tabulator count. Lapses in the chain of custody after the ballots are tabulated provide the opportunity for ballot substitution in order to get the ballots to match a rigged tabulator count. And the greater the number of “extra” ballots ordered by the Board of Elections, above and beyond what could possibly be needed to accommodate all the voters, the greater the margin by which the vote count can be altered. All that is needed to cover the tracks is to destroy the unwanted ballots and the unused ballots, or to leave the “extra” ballots off the invoice and the packing slip in the first place.

Despite the numerous methods of ballot tampering practiced in Ohio, doing away with paper ballots is not the solution. Quite the contrary; the fact that eighty-five percent of the votes in Ohio in the 2004 election were cast on paper is what made the fraud detectable in the first place, whereas electronic voting with no paper record makes election fraud undetectable. What made ballot alteration and ballot substitution possible in Ohio were the breaks in the chain of custody; and what allowed the 2004 election to withstand the initial court challenge was the fact that investigators were not allowed to examine the ballots until 2006.

The preconditions for any crime are motive, means, and opportunity. In case of election fraud, the motive will always be provided by the desire to win the official count, and the means will always be provided by whatever voting method is used. The only way to prevent election fraud is to prevent the opportunity.

In my judgment, based upon three years’ experience auditing a rigged presidential election, the solution is this: paper ballots, counted by hand, in full public view, at the polling place, on Election Night, no matter how long it takes. In this way the counting takes place before any chain of custody questions have arisen, which effectively prevents the opportunity for wholesale election fraud associated with central tabulation. If this seems old-fashioned, so be it. When one is on the wrong path, a step backward is a step in the right direction.

Make them steal elections the old-fashioned way, by altering ballots, destroying ballots, or stuffing the ballot boxes right at the polling places, in precinct after precinct. This requires the collusion of large numbers of poll workers, both Republican and Democrat, and runs the risk of exposure at any polling place where we, the people, are watching.

Richard Hayes Phillips is the author of “Witness to a Crime: A Citizens’ Audit of an American Election,” the document of record for the stolen 2004 presidential election in Ohio. His is the only book based upon analysis of actual forensic evidence, including 126,000 ballots, 127 poll books, and 141 voter signature books from 18 counties in Ohio.

Connecticut's 20% Manual Audits a Model for Election Security

Originally published January 14, 2007 at OpEdNews

Connecticut a National Model for Election Security: 20% Manual Audits

By Kathy Dopp

20% is sufficient to ensure integrity of outcomes in almost all federal elections for most election systems, although it would fall short of ensuring election integrity in small close local races. CT's
new procedure is a vast improvement in the sufficiency of manual audits. This is a terrific step forward by Susan Bysiewicz who also had the smarts to select optical scan voting systems (no DREs) for CT!

Secretary of State would make Connecticut National Model for Election Security

By Keith M. Phaneuf , Journal Inquirer, 01/12/2007
Excerpts from the article below:

HARTFORD - Hoping to make Connecticut a national model for safe elections, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz unveiled a proposal this week calling for mandatory annual audits of one-fifth of all polling places.

"We owe it to the voters to allow them to always feel confident that they have an fair and transparent election process," Bysiewicz said during an interview in her Capitol office.

And while an ongoing debate on Capitol Hill includes a proposed national standard of audits in at least 2 percent of each state'svoting precincts, Bysiewicz says she's looking at a much tougher

The secretary said Thursday she is submitting a proposal to the state legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee that would require audits in at least 20 percent of the state's 769 voting precincts, to be selected randomly.

Connecticut conducted a pilot program in 25 communities this fall. Two post-election analyses found no mistakes made by the new machines -which read ballots that voters mark by filling in ovals next to candidates' names.

But unlike the outgoing metal lever machines, they easily allow each ballot to be re-examined, both visually and electronically. Local election officials normally can complete an audit within one day.

"We have the capacity to do it, and I want the taxpayers to know that we've spent money on machines that work," Bysiewicz said. "I think it's very clear we made the right decision as to voting tech, but this would make us a national leader.
AOT 2007
(c)Journal Inquirer 2007

HR 5630 and Auditing Standards

HR 5630 and Auditing Standards
The articles linked from this page are a related body of work on election auditing standards and methods,
by Kathy Dopp of USCountsVotes/National Election Data Archive.

Here is the text of the weakened House Substitute to HR5036:

Compare to the bill HR5036 as introduced by Holt:

Please tell any House Admin or Technology Cmte members' staffers that

"There cannot be valid election audits without a requirement for the
public release of a report of all the machine-counted vote counts
which might be selected for audit 'before' making the random
selections of such vote counts to manually audit."

All the votes to be audited must be first counted and then
publicly released BEFORE randomly selecting which precincts (or other
audit units) will be audited; and the audit units must be selected
from this publicly released report of vote counts -- not, as in Utah,
where the "audited" vote counts are never publicly released.

See these docs for a description of some sham election audit procedures that the
House Admin Substitute version of HR5036 would allow if it is not fixed:

A valid election auditing procedure is described here:

How Big Should an Election Audit Be?

How Big Should an Election Audit Be?

Fixed Rate Audits Do Not Work For Elections
Kathy Dopp

January 17, 2007


This paper presents a simple formula for estimating vote count audit sample sizes to achieve any desired
certainty for ensuring the integrity of election outcomes. The formula described in this paper for
estimating election audit sample sizes, was derived first by Ronald Rivest.1
In particular, this paper briefly shows how to derive an estimate for vote count audit sample sizes:

1. to achieve any desired probability of detecting vote miscount that could alter an election outcome, and

2. to incorporate the principle of maximum vote shift per machine vote count2 that is required for logical consistency when auditing elections

Vote count audit sample sizes must be based on margins between the leading two candidates because the
smaller the margin, the smaller the amount of miscount that could wrongly alter the election outcome,
and the larger the audit sample must be to detect the smaller number of corrupt counts.

In conjunction with this paper, a spreadsheet is available to calculate exact minimum election audit
sample sizes necessary to ensure the integrity of election outcomes. Marian Beddill helped to craft this
new version of an earlier audit calculator spreadsheet created by Dopp.3 This new spreadsheet allows
any person, without a lot of experience, to enter the important factors and obtain a result and see the
efficacy of doing smaller or larger audits. It is available here:

Why Assume a Maximum Vote Shift Per Machine Vote Count?
A maximum rate of miscount within any one vote count must be assumed to derive an estimate because
100% of votes cannot be wrongly shifted within each vote count. It would not only be unlikely that
100% of votes are available to target, but it is also unlikely that anyone trying to rig an election would
try to steal 100% of the target votes because it would be immediately noticed.4 However, to avoid
detection, a fraudster would corrupt as few counts as possible. So a maximum rate of vote shift per vote
count is assumed to calculate the amount of corrupt counts that could wrongly alter an election outcome.
The larger the assumed maximum wrongful vote shift rate per machine vote count, the fewer number of
corrupt vote counts could wrongly alter an election outcome; and the larger the audit sample size must
be to detect the corrupt counts.


1 Ron Rivest “How Big should a Statistical Audit Be?”, November, 2006

2 The Brennan Center “The Machinery of Democracy: Protecting Elections in an Electronic World”, June, 2006

3 July 2006

4 If vote miscount were made by innocent error, miscount would be more likely to appear in all vote counts and so be
detected with any audit amount. Independent audits should be designed to detect deliberate fraud.

We divide the margin between leading candidates by 2 to obtain the overall rate of votes which could be
shifted to alter an outcome, and then divide by the assumed maximum wrongful vote shift per vote count
to find the minimum percentage of vote counts that must be corrupt to wrongly alter an election

Historical Background

In 1975 Roy Saltman first introduced the concept of the necessity to base election audit sample sizes on
the margins between candidates because the closer the margin between candidates, the smaller the
amount of vote fraud or miscount and the fewer the number of corrupt counts which could wrongly alter
the outcome.

To detect small numbers of corrupt vote counts, larger audit samples are necessary. For example, if the
margin between the two leading candidates is 1%, then only approximately 3 corrupt vote counts out of
100 might put the wrong candidate into office. If the margin is 5%, it might take 15 or more corrupt
vote counts out of 100 to wrongly alter the outcome. A larger manual audit sample size is needed to
uncover one of 3 corrupt counts than to uncover one of 15 corrupt counts.

Unfortunately Saltman’s work in 1975 was substantially ignored at the time until the concepts were
rediscovered by Kathy Dopp in July 2006. Dopp furthered Saltman’s work by applying maximum vote
shift per vote count assumptions and using an estimate based on sampling with replacement6 to create a
trial-and-test spreadsheet method to obtain the exact audit sample size.7

Beginning in July 2006, Dopp and Frank Stenger developed a numerical method to exactly calculate
election audit sample sizes, which they released in September 2006, “The Election Integrity Audit”8.

The Dopp/Stenger method included an optional method for adjusting audit sample sizes for precinct size
variation in case miscounts are targeted to the largest precincts. However, the Dopp/Stenger numerical
method has not caught on yet, perhaps due to the complexity of using a computer program at a time
when the public is demanding transparent, easily-understand verification of election results.

Ronald Rivest of MIT derived a formula that more accurately estimates vote count audit sample sizes9
than the one based on sampling with replacement suggested in the Brennan Center report because it
gives a smaller over-estimate of the exact minimum audit required to ensure the integrity of election
outcomes. For more detailed history and derivation of the formula, see Rivest’s paper.

This paper more simply describes the derivation of the Rivest estimate and shows more explicitly how to
use Rivest’s formula to estimate audit sample sizes for specific margins and assumed maximum vote
shift per vote count.

The minimum audit sample size necessary to ensure the integrity of election outcomes to any desired
level of certainty can be determined by using this small easy-to-use spreadsheet:


5 Vote counts with more than the assumed maximum vote shift relative to prior elections or partisan active voter registration
records in voter history files, must also be included in manual audits as well as randomly selected counts.

6 A sampling with replacement estimate was suggested in the appendices on parallel election day machine testing in the Brennan Center’s June 2006 report “The Machinery of Democracy…”

7 The Brennan Center introduced the idea of a maximum wrongful vote shift per machine in its appendix on sampling voting machines for Election Day random testing of paperless voting machines.
9 Ibid 1.

O'Dell Testimony to NH Legislature on UBS Auditing, 11.05.07

My name is Bruce O’Dell, and I am a self-employed information technology consultant based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I have twenty five years professional experience specializing in the design of very large scale computer systems with extraordinary requirements for security and integrity. For example, while an employee of American Express, I led a project to design a central computer security service to authorize access to financial systems across that company and exchange data and transact on our customers’ behalf, with other financial institutions throughout North America. In 2005 I was the architect in charge of deploying a comprehensive new company-wide security environment at one of the 20 largest public companies in America. I would like to thank the Sub-Committee for the opportunity to share my perspective on electronic voting as someone accountable for the security and integrity of computer systems which safely handle billions - or even trillions - of dollars of other people’s money.

Since the heady days of the 1960s, a new, multi-billion-dollar electronic voting industry with world-wide growth aspirations has emerged. Whether the original drive to automate our voting was driven by genuine desire to improve elections or a simple faith that the latest and greatest technology must necessarily be the best, that industry is now so entrenched it has now become almost impossible to question the original decision to automate voting through application of computer technology.

Problems with computerized voting equipment are well-documented in the computer security community, and began to surface as soon as it was first deployed more than 40 years ago. As early as 1984, as reported in the well-respected “Risks to the Public of the Use of Computer Systems” forum a “series of articles by David Burnham in The New York Times documented vulnerabilities to tampering in equipment sold by Computer Election Systems, then the dominant electronic vendor; elections with their machines were challenged in Indiana, West Virginia, and Maryland, with rigging suspected in the 1984 election in the first two states; Federal Election Commission standards were described as inadequate; Texas also investigated numerous discrepancies involving Business Records Corporation - formerly known as Computer Election Systems; the NSA was asked to investigate if CES systems were open to fraud; California and Florida also investigated; [voting systems examiner] Michael Shamos was quoted as saying CES systems equipment "is a security nightmare open to tampering in a multitude of ways."

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, in the fall of 1988, noted: "America’s fundamental democratic institution is ripe for abuse... It is ridiculous for our country to run such a haphazard, easily violated election system. If we are to retain confidence in our election results, we must institute adequate security procedures in computerized vote tallying, and return election control to the citizenry."

In a pattern often to be repeated over the years, little attention was paid to those reports nor to the urgent warnings from independent security experts; while Business Records Corporation prospered and grew rapidly, eventually merging into the company known as Election Systems & Services, currently the leading vendor of computerized election equipment and services.

Yet despite these warnings - which in hindsight seem remarkably prescient - several generations of increasingly complex and expensive computerized voting technology were subsequently developed, marketed and deployed. At the same time, for nearly twenty years, the catalog of reported problems, outages and security vulnerabilities also continued to grow - and recently, accelerated rapidly thanks in part to the “Help America Vote Act” of 2002 (HAVA). Passed in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election in 2000, HAVA was intended to improve the process of voting in America. But as a direct result of its enactment, a new wave of secret and proprietary computerized voting technology has completed the process of computerization of American elections.

With thousands of reported problems nationwide affecting newly-deployed electronic voting equipment in the subsequent elections of 2002, 2004 and 2006, it is clear that HAVA has had precisely the opposite effect to its stated intention. As an information technology professional I am dismayed that all this has been allowed to happen with the blessing and active participation of so many of my colleagues, many of whom make their living promoting e-voting technologies. Billions of dollars have been spent on new voting equipment in the absence of what I would consider adequate disclosure of the true costs and risks to policy makers and the general public. This is a disservice to those who must rely on IT professionals to assess the technologies they do not understand.

As we will see, not only are there fundamental limitations to our ability to prove the accuracy and trustworthiness of any complex real-world computing system, voting itself deserves the strongest degree of protection. Many of my colleagues, as well as their clients and the general public, seem to utterly misunderstand the essential point: computerized voting systems should be classified as national defense systems demanding a much higher standard of protection than more conventional applications.

Undetected widespread covert manipulation of computerized voting systems is the functional equivalent of invasion and occupation by a foreign power. In either case the people lose control of their own destinies, perhaps permanently. Undetected covert manipulation of voting systems could even be worse than mere invasion, since the “electoral coup” would appear to occur with the illusion of the manufactured consent of the governed, and there would be no “tanks in the street” to galvanize resistance.

Voting systems used in American federal elections grant regulatory powers over the world’s largest economy, disbursement authority for the federal procurement budget, control of the composition of the Supreme Court and federal judiciary, and command of the world’s only superpower military. The financial rewards alone for covert influence over the outcome of state elections are potentially very lucrative as well.

Yet despite the fact that our computerized voting systems collectively represent the most irresistible target for insider manipulation in the history of the world, they are not even currently given the same level of protection as systems I’m familiar with in banking and financial services, much less than to computerized gaming equipment in Las Vegas. This is a national scandal, and a disgraceful lapse on the part of my profession.

You may hear from those who believe, to the contrary, that there are powerful information technology industry quality assurance and inspection techniques - such as certification of hardware and software by independent testing laboratories, county-sponsored Logic and Accuracy Testing, or even source code inspection - that can ensure the integrity and accuracy of New Hampshire’s computerized vote tabulation software

Yet, ensuring the integrity of systems is the hardest of all challenges in computing. Once again I believe my profession has failed to adequately inform our clients and the general public.

One of the primary reasons why trustworthy technology is so hard to achieve is that the mind-boggling complexity of real-world systems provides an enormous number of potential points of vulnerability. Voting hardware is deployed at more than 180,000 precincts and in more than three thousand counties in the US -not to forge those of the 309 voting locations in New Hampshire that tabulate votes by machine. The mere physical logistics of moving all that equipment out to the field and getting election results back to the central tabulators for the official canvass is challenging.

Not only are there potentially hundreds of New Hampshire voting devices, there are thousands of individual hardware and software components within each device. This includes proprietary software developed by voting equipment vendors, mass market consumer products like Microsoft Windows, and a host of highly complex, very specialized software - most with no visible behaviors - supplied by a long list of other vendors, many of them offshore.

In addition to all the devices and their individual components, we must also consider the collective actions of the thousands of people who participate, directly or indirectly, in designing, programming, testing, distributing, manufacturing, installing, maintaining, configuring, operating, transporting, monitoring, repairing and storing the vast number of hardware and software components that collectively add up to our system of electronic voting.

You may well hear advocates for rigorous testing and controls to be applied throughout the end-to-end voting process, but the truth is, no amount of testing alone can conjure trust in the overall system.

It is well known in the information technology profession that computers are ultimately "black boxes" - you cannot actually see what bits are really present and executing; and all methods to attempt to do so require other software that itself has the same problem, in an infinite regress. There is no workaround.

The only way to truly know what is running in a computer at any given moment is to observe its behavior: give all possible inputs, measure its corresponding outputs, and then check to see if the inputs and outputs you observe match the specification.

It is reasonable to ask if computer software is always tested before use, why bother to double-check after the fact? Unfortunately, you really have no guarantee that a given computer program's behavior as measured, say, at 10:00 AM will have any relationship to the same program's execution at noon. Computers have clocks and can tell time, and can easily be programmed to behave differently at different times, on different dates – or under an endless variety of different circumstances.

When it comes to systems processing high-value transactions of interest to potential criminal embezzlers - like money or votes - the inherent limitations of point-in-time behavioral testing make it unacceptably risky. Instead, some kind of computer behavioral monitoring system is required to record a vulnerable system's inputs and corresponding outputs while it is processing critical transactions. This would provide all the information needed to enable a human auditor or another automated auditing system to spot processing errors or manipulation of the transactions. But as I will point out, the inherent nature of voting severely limits our ability to monitor the behavior of voting systems.

Independent inspection and certification of source code has no real benefit. If a malicious insider at Diebold or ES&S truly wanted to corrupt vote tabulation logic, they would hardly put it in the official release handed over for review. There’s simply no reason to trust that any software delivered for inspection bears any relationship whatsoever to the logic that actually runs on voting devices in an election.

Since real-world computer systems involve complex inventories of hundreds or even thousands of application program modules, firmware, device drivers and operating system components, static inspection alone will never be able to reliably determine what those components will actually do at any given point in time. There’s simply no reason to believe that a given executable binary file corresponds to the given source code, and no way to truly know what the executable is doing - except by running it. Static inspection is not a security measure.

If source code inspection could allow us to reliably predict how a particular instance of a program will actually work in the field, Microsoft Windows would be a rock-solid, bulletproof product - after all, tens of thousands of programmers spend their professional careers scrutinizing its source code every day. It’s simply absurd for serious IT professionals to state that it would be anything more than a sham to “inspect” whatever source code a vendor supplies. Worse yet, it misleads the public, making it seem as if IT professionals have the power to “know” the source code is benign, and to “know” precisely what it will and won’t do, and to “know” where and how it is actually running in a particular device in the field - when of course, we do not.

Nor can we test security into software. It is a truism in my profession that the purpose of testing is to find “bugs” - not to indicate that a piece of software contains no flaws. It’s a subtle point, but what it really means is that if I’ve found 100 errors, there is simply no magic oracle that will then tell me “well, that’s all, we’re done, no more bugs”.

If it was possible to test quality - much less security - into any piece of software Microsoft Windows would also be the bug-free, highly secure platform we all know it to be, since Microsoft has the world’s most sophisticated automated testing tools, thousands of paid testers, and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who volunteer to help. Yet even so several critical Microsoft security defects have been reported every month for the last several years. But not to pick on Microsoft; Secunia, a Danish company, maintains an online listing of security issues in popular software; in every case these flaws were discovered after completion of formal testing. The list itself is currently over 700 pages long.

As socially-responsible professionals we must openly acknowledge the inherent limitations of our ability to ensure voting is as trustworthy as a critical national security system should be. We cannot and should not ask the public to simply trust the outcome of any testing and certification process, no matter how many “experts” say so.

I know that some may at this point draw an analogy between computerized banking and computerized voting. For example, Michael Shamos, a noted advocate of computerized voting, and a long-time consultant to states on the certification of their electronic voting systems has stated:

“Why should voting systems be held to a standard of perfection when nothing else in society is? Nonetheless, electronic voting watchdogs insist that election equipment must be perfect or it is totally unusable. The analogy between voting systems and the bank is particularly apt because (1) the chance of a system being tampered with successfully is low; (2) even successful tampering does not necessarily result in the wrong candidate being elected; and (3) only a small portion of the vote is cast on one machine.”

Unfortunately, computerized voting and computerized banking actually have almost nothing in common.

One reason why electronic financial transactions are as secure as they are (by which I only mean that embezzlement is the exception and not the rule) is that while financial transactions are private, they are hardly anonymous; you need to prove your identity to all the other counterparties involved. Each counterparty gets and keeps their own independent records of the transaction, all counterparties are strongly motivated to spot discrepancies and compare their records with others, while procedures relating to resolution of financial disputes are legally mature.

Why are voting systems so different? In contrast with banking, voting is both a private and an anonymous transaction. Applying counterparty-based financial auditing mechanisms to voting transactions as they occur would compromise the confidentiality of the vote and voter.

To meet the standards of banking, not only would multiple independent copies of audit records fully describing the voter’s identity and ballot choices need to be generated and shared with multiple parties, 100% of those transaction records would be routinely audited and the results double-checked by external auditors as well as the voters themselves.

Although some computer scientists feel they can maintain both voter privacy and vote count integrity by some magical all-electronic secret internal audit, ultimately there is no reliable means to do so. At the moment of creating the electronic audit record, the computer could be programmed to electronically assert you input “Smith for Governor" even though you actually input "Jones for Governor". Every such all-electronic auditing scheme, no matter how elaborate, would from that point on then simply record a lie with every appearance of the truth.

The only way voters can protect themselves from such a consistently-told electronic lie is with some kind of corresponding tangible, visible record that can be used as a proof you really voted for Jones. Unlike in banking, we cannot give a voter a receipt or a monthly statement; the best we can do is receive from the voter an anonymous receipt that says the equivalent of "Someone Voted for Jones", and then entrust it to the electoral authorities to count (by hand or machine) and to retain for future auditing or recounting.

In voting, on the other hand, only a relative few states routinely audit their paper ballot records (if they have any) and then in only a few percent of the precincts are any ballots checked at all. Yet if a bank audited only a few percent of its accounts - or none at all unless one of their depositors paid for it themselves - its customers would flee, regulators would shut it down, and under current Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, its Board of Directors would face possible jail time.

To its credit the state of New Hampshire has avoided purchase and deployment of the most risky and problematic class of voting equipment: Direct-Recording Electronic voting equipment (with or without a so-called “voter verified paper audit trail”). Unfortunately it has chosen to continue to rely on Diebold optical scan voting equipment known to be vulnerable to manipulation. Yet by legally enshrining a voter-marked paper ballot, whether tallied by people or by machines, as the definitive record of voter intent, New Hampshire is far better prepared than many other states to ensure the integrity of its democratic processes.

The risks of errors and covert manipulation are inherent to the use of computer software. Human nature being what it is, those risks are ever-present in all systems that process high-value transactions - especially those involving money or voting. So to achieve trustworthiness, independent auditing of an electronic vote count via of an independent should always be performed.

Both the accuracy and integrity of any paper ballot record must also be assured.

To ensure integrity, no one must be able to alter, delete, or substitute paper ballot records after they are verified by the voter and until they are tallied. Immediately after the election, traditional paper-based audit and control concerns take precedence. In general, the more time passes since creation and the further it travels from point of origin, the more risk there is of manipulation or destruction of paper records.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as perfect security; the best we can do is to mitigate the risks as best we can. In recognition of this inherent problem, the Canadian system of counting paper ballots in-precinct on election night - in concert with their absentee/early voting procedure - is highly secure. The paper flow is always under observation, and ballots are immediately counted in front of multiple adversarial counterparties - namely the political party representatives.

Admittedly, even rigorous paper-handling processes are not perfectly secure - but on the other hand, in the last 600 years of general use of paper records, we have figured out some pretty good procedures. Yet I doubt that many jurisdictions in America handle paper election records with the level of custodial care that we find, say, in handling real estate collateral in the mortgage-backed securities market, much less in Canadian elections.

There are additional practical problems with checking the trustworthiness of an electronic vote tally after the fact. Since paper ballot records are typically not recounted unless margins are very close, brazen theft would be rewarded in practice. No candidate losing by a large margin wants to challenge an election and force a recount. Political culture being what it is in America, such candidates quickly get labeled as "sore losers" who "waste the public's money and the government's time" on pointless recounts, and who use "conspiracy theories" to compensate for their inability to admit they lost.

Although New Hampshire’s experience with recounts appears to show that electronic and paper tallies seldom differ by a significant number of votes, relatively few “top ticket” races have been recounted - presumably the rewards of altering the outcome of major state or federal offices are more likely to outweigh the risk of discovery.

When statewide recounts of paper ballot records for high-stakes races occur, recent experiences in Ohio and Washington state clearly reveal the potential for flaws in both approach and execution in conventional recount and spot audit protocols.

I personally believe that New Hampshire is better served by enhancing its hand-counted paper ballot protocols, to retain full citizen control and oversight of the electoral process. On the other hand, as long as optical scan tabulation is performed (especially on equipment known to be vulnerable to covert manipulation), counting some of the ballots by hand and comparing to the electronic tally can identify accidental or deliberate mistabulation of the vote. The details of the independent hand count protocol determine the probability of detection.

There are two general approaches for hand count validation of electronic vote tabulation: precinct random spot audits and universal ballot sampling. Several states currently rely on precinct random spot audits; for example, California counts 1% of its precincts by hand, and Minnesota performs a random post-election hand-count audit of 2 precincts per county (amounting to somewhat more than 4% of the total number of precincts). Due to differences between the human and the electronic and mechanical interpretation of voter intent, small discrepancies are not necessarily a sign of systematic mistabulation - although there are credible exploits in close elections where outcome-altering results can be determined by just a few votes per precinct. Typically there is a formal or informal standard for expanding the hand-count validation if significant discrepancies are detected; in Minnesota the standard for expanding the audit is a 0.5% discrepancy between the hand and machine tally.

There are several potential drawbacks with conventional precinct spot-audit protocols. (1) There are classic concerns about chain of custody which are proportional to the time which passes between casting the ballot and performing the hand count validation. Ideally, the spot audit would occur in precinct on election night. (2) The recent conviction and sentencing of election officials in Ohio who “gamed” the selection of precincts for the Ohio partial recount to ensure that no discrepancies would be detected illustrates the difficulty of ensuring true random selection is followed. (3) If hand count validation occurs in only a few percent of precincts and mistabulation is clustered, the laws of statistics tell us that there can still remain a significant chance that the mistabulation is not detected. (4) Clustered mistabulation may be detected, but the magnitude of the discrepancy may be too small to expand the audit further. Political pressures may be placed on a candidate such that even if a suspicious pattern of discrepancies is detected - but it appears to be insufficient to change the outcome - it would not be practical to continue to contest the result and expand the audit. (Candidates do not wish to be labeled a “sore loser” - those who do may find their career in peril.)

The Election Defense Alliance has created and published the results of computer simulations of a variety of precinct spot-audit protocols - such as the ones proposed in Washington DC in 2006 as HR 550, and this year, as HR 811. Our findings indicate that especially in the case of the US House of Representatives (involving on average about 440 precincts, nationwide), there is an unacceptably high rate of failure to detect outcome altering mistabulation in many credible scenarios as modeled.

The alternative hand-count election verification protocol involves a somewhat counter-intuitive approach: hand-counting a few percent of the vote in 100% of the precincts, rather than hand-counting 100% of the vote in a few percent of the precincts.

This protocol - which Election Defense Alliance calls UBS, or “Universal Ballot Sampling” - randomly selects a sample of individual ballots from every precinct voting location, and hand-counts just those ballots. The rationale for doing so is that this is an analogy to a “public opinion poll”, in that it randomly samples ballots for hand-counting in much the same way that an opinion poll randomly samples a population. If enough ballots are sampled and hand-counted, the accuracy of that sample can be estimated to a high degree of precision - just as the margin of error of a random public opinion poll can be estimated to a high of precision. It turns out that randomly sampling approximately 15,000 - 20,000 votes in any contest should produce a sample that reflects the outcome of the election as a whole within plus or minus 1%, with 99% certainty.
Since most US House races generate 150,000 - 200,000 votes, simply randomly sampling every tenth ballot in a precinct should ensure that when the precinct hand count sample results are rolled up, the votes for US House candidates in the sample match the votes in the electorate as a whole within plus or minus 1% with high confidence.

Election Defense Alliance has created computer simulations of the UBS protocol and empirically verified that, if the precinct ballot sample is random, indeed UBS did detect 100% of simulated mistabulations > 1% of the vote.

This addresses several problems with the alternative, precinct spot-audit approach. If the UBS and the optical scan tally are within 1% with the sample sizes indicated, there should be high confidence that there was no significant machine mistabulation. The false-positive rate should be very low.

On the other hand, if the difference between the UBS result and the optical scan tally is greater than 1%, there is a strong and objective mathematical case for a candidate to challenge the official tally and request an expanded hand (re)count. Since the UBS results are available as soon as the optical scan tally is available, a candidate is also empowered to challenge suspect results before the “official” tally becomes fixed in the minds of the voting public and their political peers.

We have identified a number of ways to ensure that the sample of ballots selected for UBS handcount is random. It is also important to make sure that absentee ballots are pooled with in-precinct ballots, and that both are sampled randomly. Once again the election practices in New Hampshire seem well-suited to a UBS-style protocol, since early voting (which introduces additional chain of custody risk) is not allowed, and absentee ballots are counted in-precinct on election night, and the pool of people familiar with efficient hand-count procedures is large.

Returning to the question posed earlier: the fundamental question - why should machines tally our votes in secret - remains unanswered. Other than for the obvious financial benefit of the vendors, why should voting be a transaction tallied in secret by machines, rather than a civic transaction performed by people in public view?

In fact, there is a fascinating study from 2001 (interestingly enough, published shortly before HAVA was enacted) which concluded that not only were hand-counted paper ballots the most accurate of all vote counting methods, measuring by residual vote rate, but that every single technological “innovation” of the last century - lever machines, punch cards, optical scan, DRE - actually measurably decreased the accuracy of the voting process. Their conclusion:

These results are a stark warning of how difficult it is to implement new voting technologies. People worked hard to develop these new technologies. Election officials carefully evaluated the systems, with increasing attentiveness over the last decade. The result: our best efforts applying computer technology have decreased the accuracy of elections, to the point where the true outcomes of many races are unknowable.

There is an entire industry which is predicated on the belief that computers are better than people when it comes to counting votes, yet the precise nature of the problem that electronic voting was intended to solve remains unclear. The balance of evidence indicates that while voting by computer may well be wide open to insider manipulation, and in practice has been plagued by glitches and inaccuracies, at least it’s more expensive than the alternatives. Even when legal paper ballots are tabulated on optical scanners, the effort required to put in place a statistically-valid hand-check of the machine tallies does tend to undermine the rationale for automation in the first place.

In the final analysis, I believe computer automation of voting will be regarded by future historians as one of the greatest blunders in the history of technology. Our choice now is to determine at what price - both in money and public good will - that realization will finally strike home. In the meantime, states like New Hampshire can take action to engage its citizens in safeguarding its democratic processes, though effective hand-count validation of optical scan vote counts.

Electronic Voting Machines

A collection of information about electronic voting machine vendors, deployment of electronic voting machines, documented evidence of machine failures and demonstrations of hacking vulnerabilities.

State Voting Machine Requirements Relative to Federal Testing and Certification

Source: Election Assistance Commission

State Requirements and the Federal Voting System Testing and Certification Program

Download Complete 50-State Report

How to Use This Guide

Section 311 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to periodically adopt standards for voting systems in the form of Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). Section 231 of HAVA further requires the EAC to provide for the testing, certification, decertification, and recertification of voting system hardware and software to these Federal standards.

To accomplish this goal, HAVA requires the EAC to develop a program to provide accreditation and revocation of accreditation of independent, non-federal laboratories to test voting systems. In this way, the EAC’s Certification Program provides (1) Voluntary Voting System Standards, (2) voting system testing by accredited laboratories, and (3) voting system certification.

Participation in these EAC programs is strictly voluntary. However, some states have, through legislation or administrative rules, mandated participation in EAC’s Testing and Certification Program in varying degrees. Currently, 35 states mandate some element of EAC’s Testing and Certification Program.

This document consists of a summary table, a fact sheet for each state, territory, and the District of Columbia, and an appendix of state statutes and administrative rules.

The purpose of this document is to provide a broad overview of the degree to which states have (though statutes or administrative rules) mandated the use of EAC’s Certification Program. In looking at state requirements in this area, it was apparent that states took varying approaches in what they required and the language used to require it.

Because of the diversity of approaches taken by the states, it was difficult to develop a document that could serve as a useful tool in understanding the big picture. To address this issue, EAC staff classified each state’s requirements into four groups:

(1) No Federal Requirements
(2) Requires Testing to Federal Standards
(3) Requires Testing by a Federally Accredited Laboratory
(4) Requires Federal Certification.

These classifications required staff to review each statute and make a determination based upon its plain language. In each case, the language of the reviewed statutes and regulations is provided so that readers can make their own determination about the effect of the jurisdiction’s statutes and/or regulations.

Please note that this document is meant to provide a general understanding regarding relationship between state and Federal certification. It is not meant to provide a definitive interpretation of state law. The EAC recognizes that such interpretation is not the purview of the Federal government. This document is not intended to provide an authoritative interpretation of state law.

In viewing each category, it is important to note that the classification only reflects state statutes and regulations. It does not address policy or practice. The fact that a state has not statutorily mandated the use of EAC’s Certification program does not mean that they do not utilize the program. For example, we noted that some small states, which have historically relied on national certification, are not required to do so by their jurisdiction’s statutes or regulations.

It is also important to remember that classification is based upon a narrow interpretation of the state requirement, not necessarily on intent. For example, when a state required voting systems to be certified by an accredited laboratory (as opposed to the EAC), staff read this requirement only as requiring testing by Federal laboratories and not requiring Federal Certification. Description of Categories: EAC staff reviewed statutes and administrative regulations for all states, territories, and the District of Columbia to determine what level of participation each may require regarding EAC’s Testing and Certification Program.

The following is a description of each category:

1. No Federal Requirements:
Relevant state statutes and/or rules make no mention of any federal agency, certification program, laboratory, or standard.

2. Requires Testing to Federal Standards:
Relevant state statutes and/or rules require testing to Federal voting system standards (states reference standards drafted by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the EAC).

3. Requires Testing by a Federally Accredited Laboratory:
Relevant state statutes and/or rules require testing by a federally or nationally accredited laboratory.

4. Requires Federal Certification:
Relevant state statutes and/or rules require that voting systems be certified by a federal agency.

U.S. Election Assistance Commission Categories of State Participation in Federal Voting Standards

1. No Federal Requirements  -- 20 States
AK   AS   AR   FL   GU   HI   KS    ME   MS   MT   NE   NH   NJ   OK   PR   TN   VT   VI   WV   WY

2. Requires Testing to Federal Standards -- 10 States
CT   DC   IN   KY   MN   NV   NY   OR   TX   VA

3. Requires Testing by a Federally Accredited Laboratory -- 15 States
AL  AZ   IL   IA   LA*   MD*   MA   MI*   MO   NM   OH   PA   RI*   UT*   WI*   WA

4. Requires Federal Certification -- 10 States
CA   CO    DE    GA    ID **    NC**   ND    SC    SD               

* Statutes/rules require testing by an independent testing authority (ITA)  or NASED accredited laboratory
according to standards adopted by the FEC or EAC.

**Statute allows for NASED or EAC certification.

Download Complete 50-State Report

State_Requirements_ &_Federal_Voting_Machine_Testing_Certification_EAC_Oct2007.pdf4.29 MB

Electronic Voting Machines -- Bookmark Compendium


The Verifier
Election Law @ Moritz voting system inventory 50 states


Verified Voting Foundation: Blind Voters Rip E-Machines


California Secretary of State - Elections & Voter Information - Ad Hoc Touch Screen Task Force Report - Section 4
NASED - cert procedures
Diebold Admits Vote Software Used in Maryland Primaries Did Not Meet Fed Standards |
AccuPoll Incorporated News Releases
Avante Optical Vote-Trakker v. 1.5.0 and Vote-Trakker Ballot Preparation CA cert report, not ready 12 04

Avante about Trakker

Google Search: Avante "Vote Trakker"
Avante Accessible Voting Integrating the Touch-Screen Accessibility of DRE System with the Optical Scanning Paper Ballots
Avante Home
Avante International Technology, Inc. Optical Vote- Trakker v. 1.5.0 and Vote-Trakker Ballot Preparation
Cast a Vote by Yourself: A Review of Accessible Voting Machines - November 2002
Avante Accessible Voting Integrating the Touch-Screen Accessibility of DRE System with the Optical Scanning Paper Ballots
Avante Vote-Trakker - The Tally


AccuPoll Incorporated News Releases
AccuPoll Incorporated
AccuPoll Incorporated Why AccuPoll?
AccuPoll Incorporated Voting System
AccuPoll Incorporated News Releases
AccuPoll Incorporated Voting System
AccuPoll Incorporated Voting System
AccuPoll Incorporated White Papers
Press Room - Ohio Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell
EAC Voting System Standards/Guidelines, Final
NASED - ITA (Independent Testing Autority) Overview of test procedures
Black Box Voting Forums: Certified Voting Machines / Devices, 07/16/04 in New Jersey
Verified Voting Foundation : Ballot Marking Devices and Certification


Verified Voting Foundation: Costs
Voter Verified Paper Ballots are Cost Effective

Defense Contractors

Grumman OR Lockheed OR Accenture OR EDS "Election Systems Task Force " - Google Search
Project Censored Media democracy in action
Science Applications International Corporation - SourceWatch
Index of /downloads

Election Data Services, Inc.: Product List
Election Data Services
EPIC's Public Information Requests to States on DRE Voting Technology


Verified Voting Foundation: Resources
Verified Voting Foundation: Resources
Verified Voting Foundation: Voting Technology
Florida 2002: Sluggish Systems, Vanishing Votes
Safeguarding the Vote By Doug Pibel
A Short but Tragic History of E-voting Public Relations - SourceWatch
E-Voting: Digital Democracy or a Cash Cow for Consultants? - SourceWatch - Election officials fear '06 season of the glitch
The History of Voting Machines


Overview of Voting technology 0405
VotingMachineErrors -longline history
Verified Voting: Voters' Guide to Electronic Voting
Wired News: Machine Politics
Voting Equipment Manufacturers
IFES Buyer's Guide to Election Supplies, Services, and Voting Equipment
Verified Voting: vendor contacts
Verified Voting: Machine user sheets, manuals, demos,
VerifiedVoting. Wizard
The Verifier -
"If You Want To Win An Election, Just Control The Voting Machines"
The Manufacturers of Vote Counting Computers - S.A.V.E. Democracy
Teresa Hommel
Voting Security
Voting Machine Fiasco
Scoop: Bald-Faced Lies About Black Box Voting Machines
Scoop: U.S. Election Integrity Flaw Discovered At Diebold
California Secretary of State - Elections & Voter Information - Voting Systems
California Secretary of State - Elections & Voter Information - Ad Hoc Touch Screen Task Force Report
Fair Elections: E-voting machines' confidence gap
Sum of a Glitch: Evidence shows that machines might be the real swing voters this November -- In These Times
The Independent Online - News
Wired News: Pols, Don't Count on Recounts
E-voting: The people's choice
Wired News: Did E-Vote Firm Patch Election?
Wired News: E-Vote Firm on the Hot Seat
Electronic Voting Machines
Douglas W. Jones Illustrated Voting Machine History
VOTING 2004: Vote System Map
Who Makes the Voting Machines
VoteHere, Inc.
Verified Voting Foundation: Merits of Optical Scan Voting
FairVote - Voting Equipment Vendor Survey (2005)
Study: New Machines Await 4 in 5 Voters - Yahoo! News


Black Box Voting Forums: 9-7-2005: Digital Image ballot scanners -- good or bad?
Black Box Voting Forums: 9-10-2005: Here's your chance to 'Look inside the Black Box':

Known Failures

VotersUnite! Messups by Vendor
Voters report problems with voting machines in Roanoke Co.

Known Vulnerabilities

Black Box Voting : 03-18-06: BBV EXCLUSIVE - Diebold TSx touch-screen study (Part I) - News - Team 4 Investigates Electronic Voting

Caltech-MIT Voting Technology Project ACM articles
TOC ACM special issue on voting


Avante VOTE-TRAKKER™ Overview
AccuPoll Incorporated
AccuPoll Incorporated Why AccuPoll?
Nevada Secretary of State - Clark Co. VVPAT
Equal Vote Blog - Dan Tokaji -- mentions the NV VVPAT video, numerous critics of VVPAT tech problems


Verified Voting Foundation: Delta County, Texas Selects AccuPoll Voting System
Times Record News: Local News

AVANTE VoteTrakker

CO Cert
RELEASE AVANTE "Full-Face" Touch-Screen Voting System With
Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail Is Now NASED and Federally Certified
to 2002 Standards

Avante Home
Frequently Asked Questions about VOTE-TRAKKER™
Avante VOTE-TRAKKER™ Overview
Avante Vote-Trakker White Papers
Avante Accessible Voting Integrating the Touch-Screen Accessibility of DRE System with the Optical Scanning Paper Ballots




DFM Associates - EIMS®
DFM Associates
Black Box Voting : DFM Associates


Diebold Press Releases
Diebold e-mails
Verified Voting: Diebold AccuVote TS
Why War? Targeting Diebold with Electronic Civil Disobedience
Analysis of an Electronic Voting System
Diebold Election Systems - SourceWatch
Wired News: Con Job at Diebold Subsidiary
US-CERT Cyber Security Bulletin SB04-252 -- Summary of Security Items from September 1 through September 7, 2004
Diebold GEMS Central Tabulator Contains Stunning Security Hole by Bev Harris
alteration of Audit Log in Access
Dennis Kucinich publishes internal Diebold memos
Diebold Election Systems, Inc. Staff Website
Douglas W. Jones on the Diebold FTP Story
Douglas W. Jones on the Diebold FTP Story, Aug. 6, 2003 summary
Scoop: Diebold Confirms U.S. Vote Count Vulnerabilities
Douglas W. Jones on the Diebold FTP Story
Diebold's Political Machine
Keith Long's Excellent Adventure in Georgia
Scoop: Bald-Faced Lies About Black Box Voting Machines
LA Weekly: News: Diebold’s Secret Fears
OH machine county map 2005 post TSx
Chronological Index (200105)
Allegheny County remains undecided about new voting machines
MontgomeryCo. revote -- TSx errors
Daily Kos: Diebold on ropes 2-11-06
Wired News: Diebold Hack Hints at Wider Flaws
The Raw Story | Documents show Maryland held election, primary on uncertified, illegal Diebold voting machines
Welcome To Diebold Election Systems
3 states mandate more security for Diebold e-voting machines
New Fears of Security Risks in Electronic Voting Systems - New York Times
Hursti II TSx bios hole
NPR : Security Risk Seen in Electronic Voting Machines
NASED memory card warning
Black Box Voting : Connecting Work on Threat Analysis to the Real World (Doug Jones)
Diebold VS USe Procedures 2006
UPDATE 1-Diebold faces formal SEC accounting probe |
Diebold Election Systems home
Freedom to Tinker » Blog Archive » “Hotel Minibar” Keys Open Diebold Voting Machines
Infrared port on TSx ("Accu-Touch") circa 1999 and tie-in with electronic pollbooks in development
Diebold internal memos Thread Index (199904)


ESS group tab

ES&S - Products & Services
ES&S - Products & Services
ES&S - Products & Services
DecisionOne - Services, Telework Planning
Two voting companies & two brothers will count 80 percent of U.S. election using both scanners & touchscreens
ES&S - Election Systems & Software
ES&S - About
ESS Automark VVPB system
election-2004 ESS details
ESS iVotronic Counted Votes Several Times
Verified Voting: ES&S iVotronic
INTRODUCTION & SUMMARY Miami Dade ESS machines 2003 report
Hagel’s ethics filings pose disclosure issue
Wichita Co. TX ESS screwups
Election Systems & Software, Inc. Company Profile - Yahoo! Finance
ITAA eLearning Vendor Directory
WISH-TV - Indianapolis, IN - Excerpts from Interview with Election Systems & Software (ES&S) Executive
ES&S - About
ES&S - About
WISH-TV - Indianapolis, IN - Marion County Election Board Demands Answers from ES&S
Beacon Journal | 03/16/2006 | Voting system's troubles spread (Photo package)
Company to pay for election problems |


Black Box Voting Forums: 36 more Hart Intercivic documents: Procedures, manuals, products
Clerk & Recorder: Hart InterCivic Ballot Now
The BRAD BLOG : EXCLUSIVE: Hart InterCivic Whistleblower Warned of Texas, Ohio E-Voting 'Fraud' Concerns in 2004!
VoteTrustUSA - Hart Intercivic
Black Box Voting : Hart InterCivic


InkaVote Plus
LA Daily News - Vote system's foreign links raise concern


World Leader Of Lottery Systems
International Lottery & Totalizator Systems, Inc. (Form: 8-K)


Vermont Secretary of State -


Liberty Election Systems - Election Solutions


Nedap Election Systems - Google Search
NewsForge | Successful public election joins Diebold, free software


The Open Voting Consortium
UPDATE: Voting Machines Count Backwards in Okla. - National Elections & Legislation - OK Indymedia


SJ-R.COM - Testers try out new chad-free voting machines - Journal Star News
Convicted inside dealer -- Wittry -- Populex

POPULEX - EAC testimony

"Populex" - Google Search
Prison Do You Have the Knowledge to Escape?
New Populex Voting Machine Receives Federal Approval Midwest Technology Business News
Fwd: P1583 Draft Comments Populex 112904.xls
New Populex Voting Machine Receives Federal Approval
Voting-Project for December 2004: Populex qualified...
EAC - Voluntary Voting System Guidelines
EAC - Voluntary Voting System Guidelines
POPULEX main page
Prison Do You Have the Knowledge to Escape?
New Populex Voting Machine Receives Federal Approval Midwest Technology Business News


Sequoia Voting Systems- Sequoia Voting Systems
: : : SMARTMATIC_all things connected : : :
VoteTrustUSA - Twists and Turns - Who Owns Sequoia?
Smartmatic Info Collection | Plane Gossip
Need help--Looking for Sequoia employees, names of Corp. officers
Watchdog group questions 2004 ballots: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Business Week online -- Sequoia ownership
VoteTrustUSA - Why Is San Francisco Rolling The Dice With Sequoia?

SHOUP Advanced Voting Systems

Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems

Advanced (all tabs)

Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems
Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems
Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems
Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems
Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems
Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems
Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems
Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems
Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems
Advanced Voting Solutions ::: Voting made Easy ::: Touch-screen Voting Systems


Triad Governmental Systems, Inc. - Demopedia - Rapp family and business ties
Triad Governmental Systems, Inc. - Demopedia
Governmental Systems Inc. - Company Profile, Research, News,
Information, Contacts, Divisions, Subsidiaries, Business Associations


TrueBallot, Inc.




Unilect Patriot
Mercer PA sues Unilect

VoTing Technologies International

VoTing Technologies International


110805Voters report problems with voting machines in Roanoke Co.

Ballot Marking Devices

Verified Voting Foundation : Ballot Marking Devices and Certification
EFF: Paper on 7 E-voting machines

State Board Blocks Brunner's Plan to Test Ohio Voting Machines

Why doesn't the GOP want Ohio's voting machines tested?

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman Sept. 11, 2007

Ohio Republicans have blocked a proposal to test electronic voting machines prior to the 2008 presidential primary

By a 4-3 vote, Republicans on Ohio's State Controlling Board blocked Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's proposed $1.8 million unbid contract for voting machine testing. Brunner had already set aside the $1.8 million for the test. Her specific request to the Controlling Board was a waiver for competitive bidding. Her office had hoped to complete all testing by November 30, 2007.

A former judge, Brunner is successor to the infamous J. Kenneth Blackwell, who helped engineer the theft of Ohio's electoral votes for George W. Bush in 2004. Brunner won election as a reform candidate, vowing to guarantee the public access to the polls---and an accurate vote count---in 2008.

In California, Democratic Secretary of State Debra Bowen recently completed an extensive testing of that state's electronic voting machines. She decertified many of them and is on course to rework how America's biggest state casts and counts its ballots.

Brunner has not been quite so aggressive. When it was recently revealed that 56 of 88 Ohio counties illegally destroyed protected materials from the 2004 election, she showed little reaction. She has also stated publicly doubts that the irregularities that defined the Ohio vote that year could have affected the outcome or that the illegal destruction of more than 2000 ballots could have been intentional.

But in attempting to carry out her promise to test Ohio's electronic voting machines, Brunner has followed through on public demands that the ability of Ohio's electronic machines to deliver a fair and reliable vote count be proven. Tests and studies conducted by the federal Government Accountability Office, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins, the Brennan Center, the Carter-Baker Election Commission, John Conyer's House Judiciary Committee and others have all shown clearly that electronic voting machines are unreliable and easily rigged.

The New York Times has now joined that consensus, calling for an outright federal ban. "Electronic voting has been an abysmal failure," the Times said. "Computer experts have done study after study showing that electronic voting machines, which are often shoddily made, can easily be hacked. With little effort, vote totals can be changed and elections stolen."

MORE . . .

Brunner's Plan to Retest Voting Machines has Skeptics

The Columbus Dispatch
Sunday, September 9, 2007

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner wants to spend more than $1.8 million to retest the state's voting machines, but some members of the Ohio Controlling Board aren't convinced it's necessary.

"I don't understand why we're doing it," said Sen. John Carey, R-Wellston, a member of the board, which is scheduled to consider Brunner's request Monday afternoon.

"I have real concerns about that particular request," said Sen. Steve Stivers, a Columbus Republican.

Brunner wants all of the electronic touch-screen and optical-scan systems used in Ohio and the procedures for handling them thoroughly examined to allay concerns about their security and accuracy.

MORE. . .

Voting Machine Deployment in the 50 States

Original research by Election Online, posted at

Brought to you by the Election Reform Information Project
Your First Stop for Election Reform Information

Voting Systems 2006

(As of 9/26/06)

Note: Information for California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York and Texas updated 9/26/06

State Voting System Manufacturer Link

Optical scan and ballot-marking device


Voting system video 1
Voting system video 2


Optical scan, hand-counted paper ballots and DRE with VVPAT

Diebold (optical scan and DRE with VVPAT)



Optical scan, DRE with VVPAT and ballot-marking device

Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia Voting systems by county

Optical scan and DRE with VVPAT

ES&S and Danaher

Voting systems by county


Optical scan, DRE with VVPAT and ballot-marking device

Diebold, ES&S, Hart InterCivic, Sequoia and DFM Associates

Voting systems by county


Optical scan, DRE with VVPAT and hand-counted paper ballots

Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, and Hart InterCivic (more recent information not yet available)

Voting systems by county (more recent information not yet available)
Connecticut Optical scan and vote-by-phone system Diebold and IVS (vote-by-phone system) Press release 1 and press release 2
Delaware DRE Danaher Voting systems
District of Columbia Optical scan and DRE Sequoia Voting systems
Florida Optical scan and DRE Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia Voting systems by county
Georgia DRE Diebold Voting machines
Hawaii Optical scan and DRE with VVPAT ES&S (optical scan) Hart InterCIVIC (DRE with VVPAT) News story and information about how to use DRE
Idaho Optical scan, punch card, hand-counted paper ballots and ballot-marking device ES&S (ballot-marking device) Voting systems by county and ballot-marking device information
Illinois Optical scan, DRE with VVPAT and ballot-marking device Diebold, ES&S, Hart InterCivic, Sequoia, and Populex Voting systems by county
Indiana Optical scan, DRE and ballot-marking device MicroVote, Diebold, ES&S, Voting Technologies International Voting systems by county
Iowa Optical scan, DRE and ballot-marking device Diebold and ES&S Voting systems by county
Kansas Optical scan, DRE, ballot-marking device and hand-counted paper ballots Diebold, ES&S and Voting Technologies International Voting systems by county
Kentucky DRE and optical scan Hart InterCivic, ES&S, MicroVote, Diebold and Danaher Voting systems by county
Louisiana DRE Sequoia Voting systems
Maine Optical scan, hand-counted paper ballots and vote-by-phone system Diebold, ES&S and IVS (vote-by-phone system) Press release - vote-by-phone system
Maryland DRE Diebold Voting systems
Massachusetts Optical scan Diebold and ES&S (more recent information not yet available) League of Women Voters voting systems by town and
News story about delayed implementation of accessible voting machines (8/14/06)
Michigan Optical scan and ballot-marking device Diebold and ES&S Optical scan and ballot-marking device
Minnesota Optical scan and ballot-marking device Diebold and ES&S Voting systems by county
Mississippi DRE with VVPAT and optical scan Diebold, ES&S, Advanced Voting Solutions Touch and Vote Web site
Press release 1 (8/19/05)
Press release 2 
Press release 3 (2/22/06)
Missouri DRE with VVPAT, optical scan and ballot-marking device Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Populex Voting systems by county
Montana Optical scan, hand-counted paper ballots and ballot-marking device ES&S Voting systems by county
Nebraska Optical scan and ballot-marking device ES&S Voting systems by county and press release
Nevada DRE with VVPAT Sequoia Press release
New Hampshire Optical scan, hand-counted paper ballots and vote-by-phone system Diebold, ES&S and IVS (vote-by-phone system) Voting systems by municipality (last updated January 2004) &
News story on vote by phone system
New Jersey DRE (VVPAT by 2008) Sequoia and Avante Voting systems by county
New Mexico Optical scan and ballot-marking device ES&S All counties will use the ES&S M-100 and the ES&S AutoMark
New York Lever, ballot-marking device and DRE with VVPAT AVM (lever), ES&S (ballot-marking device), and Avante (DRE) Accessible voting systems by county
North Carolina DRE with VVPAT, optical scan and ballot-marking device ES&S Voting systems by county
North Dakota Optical scan and ballot-marking device ES&S Voting systems and
Voting system videos
Ohio DRE with VVPAT, optical scan and ballot-marking device Diebold and ES&S

Voting systems by county

Oklahoma Optical scan and vote-by-phone system ES&S and IVS (vote-by phone system) Testimony before EAC
Oregon Vote by mail and vote-by-phone system IVS (vote-by phone system) Press release
Pennsylvania DRE, optical scan and ballot-marking device ES&S, Diebold, Danaher, Sequoia, Hart InterCivic and Advanced Voting Solutions Voting systems by county
Rhode Island Optical scan and ballot-marking device ES&S Press release
South Carolina DRE ES&S Voting system
South Dakota Optical scan and ballot-marking device


Press release
Tennessee Optical scan and DRE MicroVote, Hart InterCivic, ES&S and Diebold Voting systems by county list
Voting systems map
Texas DRE, optical scan and ballot-marking device ES&S, Hart InterCivic, Diebold and AccuPoll Voting systems by county
Utah DRE with VVPAT Diebold Voting system
Vermont Optical scan, hand-counted paper ballots and vote-by-phone system Diebold (optical scan)
IVS (vote-by phone system)
Voting systems by town and Press release
Virginia DRE, optical scan and ballot-marking device Diebold, Sequoia, UniLect, Advanced Voting Solutions, Hart InterCivic and ES&S Voting systems by county
Washington Optical scan, DRE with VVPAT and ballot-marking device ES&S, Diebold, Hart InterCivic and Sequoia Voting systems by county
West Virginia DRE with VVPAT, optical scan, hand-counted paper ballots and ballot-marking device ES&S Voting systems by county
Wisconsin Optical scan, hand-counted paper ballots, DRE and ballot-marking device ES&S, Diebold, Voting Technologies International, Vote-PAD and Sequoia Voting systems by municipality
Wyoming Optical scan, DRE and ballot-marking device ES&S and Diebold Voting systems by county


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Voting Technology Follies of the Summer of 07

Originally published at Huffington Post

Every Vote Counts (Hopefully)

Posted September 10, 2007
Read More: Arianna Huffington , Breaking Off The Bus News

The following piece was produced through OffTheBus, a citizen journalism project hosted at the Huffington Post and launched in partnership with NewAssignment.Net. For more information, read Arianna Huffington's project introduction. If you'd like to join our blogging team, sign up here If you're interested in other opportunities, you can see the list here.

This is the first installment of a two-part report by Kirsten Anderson.

Which of the following best describes taking the SAT and voting?

A. They both take about four hours to complete.
B. They both require a thorough knowledge of a specific issue.
C. Their results are affected by the number of people participating.
D. Their results are affected by the weather.

Did you choose D? Here's why you should have: on August 24th, the College Board and NCS Pearson announced a tentative settlement of a class-action suit brought by about four thousand students whose October 2005 SATs were scored incorrectly. The College Board maintains and administers the SAT. Pearson NCS scores the tests.

In announcing the settlement, the College Board also described new quality control measures that have been put into place to reduce the likelihood of similar errors: all answer sheets will be scanned twice from now on, using different machines each time.

Tests will be kept in low humidity areas because high moisture had apparently contributed to the faulty reading of answers as the tests were scored by optical scanners (refresher to those of you haven't taken a standardized test for a while: you fill in the answer bubble on a test sheet, shading it as dark as you can. The answer sheet is fed into an optical scanner which records your answers and stores the results).

So what does this have to do with voting? NCS Pearson sells its own line of optical scan test-scoring machines, but one of the models sold under the Pearson name is made by Chatsworth Data Corporation (CDC). Another CDC client that sells a line of optical scanners under its own name is Election Systems & Software. ES&S is one of the primary suppliers of optical scanners used for voting in elections.

Now it's probably not likely that states holding primaries on February 5th, 2008, will be afflicted with bouts of humidity high enough to stretch out the ballots running through the scanners, causing the votes on them to be incorrectly counted. But it's not impossible either.

It's been a great summer for fans of voting technology follies.

On August 3rd, California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen announced that the state was decertifying a number of DRE (direct-recording electronic) voting machines after a two-month review revealed a number of security flaws in machines made by major voting systems players Diebold and Sequoia, as well as smaller company Hart Intercivic. In addition, another group of machines was disqualified after it was revealed that the company, ES&S, sold them in California before those models were certified by the state. ES&S faces an investigation on this matter and up to $10,000 in fines per uncertified machine. Meanwhile, counties all over California are scrambling to replace the machines they no longer can use.

Florida came close to facing its own decertification nightmare. A study by Florida State University researchers revealed security flaws in a model of Diebold optical scanners that were set to be used in upcoming elections. The state threatened to decertify the machines if a solution was not presented by August 17th, allowing time to get them ready for local elections in Sarasota County. In a letter to Diebold dated August 10th, Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning stated that the problems had been resolved and the machines were certified for use.

An August 20th report from described how the secret ballot in Ohio isn't so secret. A state open records law gives people the right to go to an election office and ask to look at a list of voter sign-ins and a list of votes cast--a list which is time-stamped. Putting the lists together could allow someone to make a reasonable match of voter in order of sign-in with the time-stamped vote.

The maker of the machine that includes the time-stamp, ES&S, protested that variables in the time it takes to vote could throw the list out of order. That may be true in a major election where there is a large turnout and there are many questions and candidates on a ballot. However, in a small local election, where voters may come in at slower pace, the lists probably agree quite easily and it is in this situation that being able to identify voters is more problematic. With a ballot of questions of importance to neighbors, colleagues and friends, finding out who voted how could lead to political or economic punishment or reward.

In addition to this problem, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunning is reviewing all models of voting machines used in Ohio. Some of the models they are investigating are Diebold machines that were decertified in California. Kentucky also recently discovered that its largest county has been using uncertified Diebold machines. In Colorado, Jefferson County is reconsidering their choice of machine.

And remember--the presidential primaries are about five months away.

The way votes are cast and counted has been in flux since the rocky 2000 presidential election. In October, 2002, the enthusiastically named Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed. The intent of HAVA, as described in the opening paragraph, was:

"To establish a program to provide funds to States to replace punch card voting systems, to establish the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the administration of Federal Elections and to otherwise provide assistance with the administration of certain Federal election laws and programs, to establish minimum election administration standards for States and units of local government with responsibility for the administration of Federal elections, and for other purposes."

HAVA also stated that new voting systems should allow voters the opportunity to check their vote before it is cast and counted; that there should be a paper trail for audit purposes; that machines should be accessible to people with disabilities; and that alternative language choices should be available.

In order to help states change their voting systems, HAVA authorized an amount in excess of three billion dollars distributing funds in amounts based on voting age population per state. States quickly began spending this money in order to get in compliance with HAVA. Three companies--Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia--took advantage of the new electronic voting machine gold rush, jumping into the lead and dominating the nation's purchases of new election equipment.

The Election Assistance Commission was formed to help oversee HAVA. One of its jobs is implementation and funding of a system to federally certify voting machines; previously, there was a volunteer system for federal certification, overseen by the National Association of State Election Directors, a nonpartisan group that was not federally funded. As described by the Maryland State board of elections the NASED approved independent testing authorities (ITAs) and the ITAs tested voting systems. The ITA that tested a given system, though, was chosen and paid by the system manufacturer. This, of course, leads to questions of conflict-of-interest and reliability; one of these ITAs, Ciber Inc., which tested a large number of the systems in use throughout the country was shut down earlier this year due to questions of quality control and failure to complete all required tests.

States are not required by the EAC to participate in its own new federal lab certification program. However, most states demand federal certification in addition to state certification and are therefore likely to use it. Unfortunately, the EAC's first group of labs was not accredited until February, 2007. This means that the various new voting systems sold since 2002 have been certified under a patchwork, questionable system. The results have been predictably wild.

TrueVoteMD, a non-partisan organization, sent trained observers to precincts all over Maryland to watch voting in the elections on November 2, 2004. They reported a variety of problems that resulted in lost or incorrect votes. There were memory card failures and hard drive crashes. Touch screens were so sensitive that people complained they couldn't tell who they had voted for. Review screens went blank before they could check their votes. Ballots were submitted before the voter had made any choices. Polling places opened late because of trouble booting up machines, and votes were lost because people could not wait. Inadequate staffing meant voters weren't able to get help when they needed it.

VotersUnite!, a national election watch group collected information about voting problems in the November, 2006, mid-term elections. Difficulties with starting machines again contributed to precincts opening late. Voters saw machines register different candidates than those they had selected; staffers told them it was their fault for not knowing how to use a computer. At the end of the day, tallying the votes became a nightmare. Election workers reported machines adding votes multiple times; subtracting votes instead of adding them; and reporting a tally greater than the number of people who had voted. Some had trouble retrieving any information from the memory cards. Others got different sets of results every time they tried to get a total. One frustrated worker in North Carolina said that when they called the ES&S home office to get help with their machine, the phone was off the hook.

Most notably that year, in Sarasota, Florida, it was discovered that 18,000 people who had cast votes on other ballot questions had not marked a vote for the race for the District 13 Congressional Seat. The 13% "undervote" is considered an astonishing anomaly. According to a report on the incident by Common Cause, nearby Manatee County experienced only a two percent undervote, and a typical presidential election usually registers an undervote of less than one percent.

Essentially 18,000 votes were missing, which is particularly meaningful in light of the fact that the winner, Vern Buchanan, beat his opponent, Christine Jennings, by only 369 votes. Lawsuits by Jennings and local voters led the state to investigate the election, but they determined the machines were not at fault. However, a report on the state investigation by electronic voting experts David Dill and Dan Wallach found that the state's investigation was conducted incomplete, and improperly conducted in an unrealistic setting.

Electronic voting systems were supposed to make elections more secure, more convenient, and easier for voters. Instead, the 2006 elections had shown that the new systems were just as trouble-plagued as the banished punch-card and lever machines. With presidential primaries on the horizon, the question of what makes electronic voting machines so insecure and how can they be fixed, has to be answered.

Election System Vendors

Three large private corporations provide the systems that count more than 90% of Americas votes. The corporations, through their board members, have serious economic and political conflicts of interest. The largest companies, Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia gained some start up capital from right-wing billionaires such as Howard Ahmanson, and also have employees with criminal records related to computer fraud.

Overview of Four Main Companies

From ""

There are four Big Daddies in the manufacture of our Election equipment in America:
Diebold Election Systems, E.S.&S., Sequoia Voting Systems, and Triad.

Diebold and ES&S together count 80% of our